Thursday, February 21, 2013

I'm an OxyMoron.

Today, I looked over some of my previous blog posts. Then, out of shameful realization, I stood up to bang my forehead (lightly haha) against the wall of my room.


Compare my October post to a recent February post.

Yeah...who the f*** do I think I am??

One day I'm proudly proclaiming being the Course 6 hipster triumphing alternative energy and the next second I sell my soul to become another Noogler. Oy.

Baby Lohan: What are you doing girl??

A few days ago, I found myself finishing my work up at 2am and, instead of jumping straight to sleep, sitting up and staring at the Boston skyline and the cars zipping across the Harvard bridge... and just thinking. Well, not just thinking, but stressing about the future. 

You know how I said I would stop regretting? Well it was like the f***ing reservoir of regrets busted open and flooded every nerve in my brain. Every classification of philosophical thought was exposed to my self-doubting mind. Who am I? What the hell am I doing? Will I just become a code monkey? But I thought I was going towards the EE side? Why am I doing a CS internship and then going to study EE at Cambridge? Why am I going to Cambridge? I'll miss out on all the entrepreneurship initiatives I wanted to explore on campus! What do I want to do my junior year summer? What if I just become one of those "social" engineers? Fixing small problems and not worrying about the waay cooler bigger problems that are hanging over our world like a cloud that is so massive that it makes you think it's actually just the sky and ignorantly live the rest of your days. Ughhhhh. Nooooo. I'll stop Google and just stay at my lab. All of those people are so smart so what they're choosing to do is obviously the smart thing to do right? Wait, I've been so excited about Google and I'm going to learn so much while I'm there. But how will it help shape me to be someone who can make big things happen? Gah. It's already 2:33am -- why am I doing this now? Wow this pillow's really soft. No, focus! No, this is stupid wallowing in self-regret in the middle of the night. Okay fine, good. night. Ugh. 

...followed by a restless sleep. 

So that's my state of mind right now. The bigger me knows this is all very STUPID thinking and that I should be grateful for the opportunities I have and embrace the decisions I make. So it goes. 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Snowpocalypse of 2013

Last weekend, Boston got hit with an epic 24.9 inches of snow from Nemo! It was the most incredible three-day weekend ever (since we got Friday off) and I had a BLAST. Here are some photos either from MIT's website or from my friends' camera of our adventures that weekend:

First, I went outside with my friend and roommate at 2:30 am after the blizzard to make our mark in the fresh powder snow. The view (or lack thereof) of Boston was breathtaking. 
Everything just merged into one great whiteness.

The next day, there was an epic campus-wide snowball fight!

Even President Rafael Reif came for an appearance.

There was a whole day when vehicles were prohibited from traveling 
so it made pedestrian life much more casual. 

(aka "Cars Only" my ass.)

Mass Ave was deserted.

So some people skied to get to Point B...

Or just as an alternative to running a bridge loop.

The Charles had these huge cracks between the sheets of ice that covered it.
The ice would move and widen and narrow the cracks in a slow rhythm that made it seem like the Charles was breathing in its lazy slumber.

Snow babies. Ya know.

There were just some huge chunks of ice covered in snow.

Our beloved Maseeh.

Casually lying on the frozen Charles river.

Our sailing pavilion looked so tiny from the amount of snow that covered the dock.

It's incredible to look at the contrast between the snow-covered Boston and the sea.


I didn't use my bike for a while after that...

It was really hard to make snow angels in the fluffy snow. 
We kind of just sank into it and didn't couldn't get back up.

Stop hoarding our snow!

Um. A scantily clothed snow-woman.

Winter makes great artwork.

A photo from my friend when she went to the North End. 
Isn't this EPIC?

Weather definitely unites people, and for one weekend, it didn't matter what group you usually hung out with -- the snow brought the campus together. 
I've always been a snow kind of girl. White Christmas. Building snow furniture on my birthday. 

This is one of the top reasons why I never see myself moving to somewhere like Florida or SoCal for the rest of my life.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Where I Love

Why I love Boston:

1. The people here seem to love their lives. Whether it's the hustling, black-suited commuters heading towards the Pru, or the early morning runners, or the sarcastic homeless people asking for your money to save the 'Hipster Apocalypse,' there's a spunk to everyone here.

2. There is a charm in the air. Every corner I turn, there's character in this town. I love the tiny stores and cafes that rip you off and the brick paths that make my bike jingle up and down.

3. Every brownstone looks so pretty. The doors look so elegant and each balcony, window, rooftop has its own touch.

4. It's small. If you look at a map of Boston, everything is close to one another. You could technically take a bike and travel around all of Boston in one day if you wanted to. And yet, there's so many obscure and beautiful places you will overlook and these take years to discover :)

5. I feel energetic here. I go on morning runs because it seems like the whole city is up and running at 7am in the morning. Fenway is a single, collectively boisterous human fort before and after a Red Sox game. There are always street bands and singers jamming on the weekends. It's a great place to grow.

6. People are friendly. When you're running, sometimes people greet you as they pass by you. When I'm on the T towards South Station with a bunch of luggage, people let me have their seats. There's a lot of random places where people will strike up conversation with you. And these conversations aren't usually awkward, because Boston kind of brings people together and you end up discovering you have something in common with them.

7. It is a wander-friendly zone. You know how I like to wander and explore and get lost. Well, Boston is perfect for the nomad in me. Once I walked from Mass Ave to Park Street and found some awesome stores. Once I ran to the North End and found a new zen spot. I wouldn't have known where the Christian Science Church was and the awesome fountain by it if I hadn't decided to one day run past Berklee.

8. People are fashionable. There are so many creative people here, and I always pick up some inspiration on my runs.

9. There's always people visiting Boston. Whether it be for a history class field trip, visiting colleges, or seeing the sights and visiting family, I love that I can sit down somewhere and know there's someone there who's seeing the place for the first time. There are constantly people appreciating what Boston has to offer.

10. Boston is an intersection point, a crossroad if you will. People come here to become better people. They leave to pursue their dreams. It's a place to grow. People don't seem to settle down in Boston as much as live here for a few years and then depart. Yet everyone looks back fondly at their time in Boston :)

This is something I've been compiling and editing since I stayed in a brownstone in Back Bay Boston over the past summer. I love Boston. A lot. I'm going to miss it next year!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

To the Future Me: If You're Feeling Down...

When I go to Cam, I'm sure there will times when I want to regret my decision. It's not that going there would actually be regrettable, but because I'm a inherently paranoid decision maker. Here are a few things that I want the future me to remember so that I make the most of my time there :)

- After deciding to participate in CME, I've already stopped taking for granted what MIT offers us. There are so many opportunities MIT offers to help us kickstart our careers, whether in research, industry, grad school, or entrepreneurship. Some classes I want to take when I get back are 6.115 (Microcomputer Project Laboratory hopefully with Steve Leeb), Founders Journey, Engineering Innovation and Design (GEL 1), and New Enterprises (Sloan E&I). MIT may be hard, but you get a lot more application and experience here than any other engineering school (in my opinion)!
- At Cam, we have more control over our time. Therefore, I want to take time to build my portfolio, software-wise and engineering-wise. I want to join competitions there and student clubs, and get active early. I want to be self-directed and find motivation in working because I understand how important hands-on experiences are.
- Time is precious. I will only have one year abroad to do all the amazing things I've imagined. Travel, learn, meet people, try new things, and challenge myself in every aspect!

To the future me: When I have a real hard time abroad, remember that I knew and felt that this was the right decision. I am happy about this decision and feel the joy of breaking free. I've impressed my parents with how mature I was about considering my academic and professional paths while making the decision and how motivated I was to capitalize on the opportunity and fulfill a lot of dreams while challenging myself.

So there. If you're feeling down, think about how rough some of the times were back at MIT. YEAH. So keep your head up and smile. You're at an incredible place filled with amazing people and an ocean of possibilities. So go have fun and live your life!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Why I'm Going to Cambridge.

This is one of the surest things I've done in a while. Which is sad, because even on this decision, I wavered a bit.
But it's one of the first occasions that I feel like I'm doing something for me. And I feel like my mind and my heart agree. I feel free. For once, I've broken past any expectations of me or the pressure I feel from comparing myself to my peers.
I am doing this one for me. In my first few semesters at MIT, I developed a four-year plan without even giving thought to what or why I wanted something in the first place.
I have a Word Document (typing that made me feel archaic for some reason...) that contains all of the most interesting or inspiring words I have ever read online. Today I pull one out from Steve Jobs at the 2005 Stanford Commencement. It's one that I remind myself of often and quoted around the sides of one of my paintings:

"Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
I know my education is important. But what makes education more valuable is what you put into it - your ambitions, dreams, and confidence. Currently, I lack the latter two, and it terrifies me. Hopefully, by making myself realize that I can do something very different from my peers for a year and survive and feel phenomenal, I can believe that life can be lived without a dictated roadmap. Well, being the paranoid individual I am, I will still at least have a loosely designed plan for everything :)
I'm young. So I shouldn't live life scared of whether I'll fail. I should do things that interest, inspire, and intrigue me. And I am.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Mutual Admiration?

As I was walking down Memorial Drive today after a class at the Tang Center, I looked out across the river at the Boston skyline. I realized that none of these buildings existed more than 300 years ago. 
And yet in Europe, they have buildings that are well over 1500 years old that have such great intricacies (e.g. St. Peter's Basilica). 
I know our generation treasures the architectural innovation and beauty of these long-standing structures, but would the architects and commissioners from back then appreciate our modern architecture? Would they find it too simplistic or austere for the amount of money they take? Or would they be dazzled by the shininess and space each of our buildings shapes? 
Just a thought...

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Capture the Rapture.

It's amazing how some artists can capture the scenery in a beautiful city with watercolor and pen:

and this high-speed sketching - very efficient:

from SilverMere by Barbara Philip

Not exactly a scenery, but I'm going to do something like this for my trip to England
(it'll be a good incentive to not bring too many items if I'm drawing everything I bring!):

Sunday, February 3, 2013


W.O.W. = What. Obvious. Wonders.

It's crazy how blessed I've been these past few months. 

Two big (I know - kind of cliche) things I'm very very thankful for:
- I am interning with Google this summer! (And had the problem of deciding between that and GE, a company I've wanted to work with for a long time!) 
- I am studying abroad at the University of Cambridge for my junior year! 
This is one of those opportunities I never dreamt taking, and now that it is becoming a reality, I am in awe. My heart literally starts freaking out every time I think about it, and I'm pretty sure I'm banned from the topic around my friends because I've exhausted it into annoyance. 
So now I've just been compiling a Google Doc Bucket List based on places I want to go to and activities/foods I want to try!

Now allow me to freak out about this on my blog for a while (betches, it's my online space!): 
holy carp*, holy carp, holy carp, holy carp, holy carp, holy carp, holy carp, 
 holy carp, holy carp, holy carp, holy carp, holy carp, holy carp, holy carp,
 holy carp, holy carp, holy carp, holy carp, holy carp, holy carp, holy carp ♥

I deserve neither of these opportunities, and yet they're happening. I feel like the luckiest most blessed person in the whole world. 

I feel like Ron here. Ooh, or Cam. Better yet, this winner here. (I still love SNL.)

But in all seriousness, I am so grateful and undeserving of the blessings around me and I hope I can remind myself of how good my life is as the semester rolls in.

*see this blog post

And just for kicks: