028. Wants and Wishes

tldr: this has been a long and reflective week

My parent’s generation (or arguably, those barely older than I am) all remember what they were doing on 9/11. I thought that was just a cliché story. But, here I am, remembering the day March 13th. It was the day we were told that school would not have school in person next week, and one I will likely remember for the rest of my life.


My friends and I celebrated. We drove around that entire afternoon, ironically singing the Dear Evan Hansen lyric

“We walk a while and talk about, the things we’ll do when we get out of school”

Note, that my best friend is just out of frame to the right. ❤

At the top of our lungs. That night we went to an escape room [absolutely dominating at it], got fro-yo at a ‘Big Kahuna’, and made plans for what we would do in two weeks after the shelter in place was over. We knew that the SIP would be coming based on the responses of other states, but interestingly the orders didn’t come until March 18th. What we thought would be two weeks, turned into five months with no end in sight.

Since then, I have only seen my friends in person 3 times.

  1. To exchange right shoes with my best friend.
  2. To give back the multitude of books I have borrowed over the years.
  3. To say goodbye to my friend the day before she moved to New York.

That last one really stung. It was inevitable that we would be moving away to our various universities, we just thought we would have months of hanging out beforehand. In hindsight, what probably hurt more was not joining her at the airport as she moved on to the next part of her life. That, and knowing that I would be making the same trip in about a week.

The Tower District

The first day without in-person classes (or, classes in general given that teachers had a week to transition online) it rained. It almost never rains in Fresno, yet God has a perfect sense of comedic timing to make it rain on the first day of ‘freedom’ before forcing [debatable for some] us to stay indoors.

Things in the tower district were slower than normal. I, knowing that stores may start closing/closing seating soon, went to the Revue. I had my usual large iced mocha, sat down with my Logic book, and watched the rain hit the windows.

The Revue and Rain.

That may have been the last time I will sit down in the Revue and drink coffee for a while. I wish I just had one more day, but even if I were staying in California, it would’ve been a while until I would be able to spend an afternoon at one of my favorite places on Earth.


In the weeks leading up to quarantine, my schedule was *packed* for April. I had college trip after college trip planned, many of which would have been my first time ever traveling in a plane. When CPW was cancelled, I was slightly relieved albeit sad. With CPW no longer on the agenda, I would be able to compete in the local integration bee. And when the Stanford trip was cancelled, I would be able to go to prom. I remained hopeful that events would keep happening while the rest of the world started going on quarantine. In fact, the Saturday before the SIP I went to a Math Kangaroo practice session. [Math Kangaroo is a small United States math competition.] That was, for the foreseeable future, the last time I will get to work on math problem solving problems with my maths advisor.

Sometimes I wish that I could have done more. That I could have been a better student, joined the club earlier, participated in more competitions. Fresno Math Circle has made me a better thinker and problem solver. If I hadn’t joined FMC two years ago, I probably wouldn’t be registering for MIT classes this week. I cannot express the deep gratitude I have for Dr. Nogin and Dr. Sabuwala. Hopefully one day I can work with you two again.

There’s so much that I have missed out on this year. For a good reason, sure, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck. I hate that I haven’t been able to spend my last few months in Fresno being a part of the community I have come to love.

A month ago I packed my bag to travel to New York. I was so conflicted on the fact that my life fits into two suitcases and a carry-on. But that isn’t true. My life doesn’t neatly fit into a container. My life is intertwined with the people I got to know, and the world that will keep evolving even while I am gone.

I wish that I could have taken Fresno with me to the east coast. That’s the ironic part of my application to MIT. I spent so much time describing the little world I had fallen in love with, not realizing that if I got accepted I would have to leave it all behind. The reality, is that I left it all behind in March. I just hadn’t realized it until I had taken my first flight in an airplane. I am still going to miss my friends, parent, school, community, advisors, and Fresno. I want to, and can’t wait to, come visit again.

As of Monday evening, 8/24/2020, I have arrived in New York.


Published by Paige Bright

Hi- my name is Paige Alexandria Bright. I am a rising junior at MIT interested in mathematics and philosophy. I have been writing this blog since the beginning of COVID. Lets see where this goes.

2 thoughts on “028. Wants and Wishes

  1. yeah saying goodbye is always hard 😦 i felt this especially bad with the seniors because i thought id have like two more months of time with them before they all graduated,,, and a lot of them were like, oh but ill be an meng and ill be around the area but oops guess that isnt happening

    also i do feel that comment about fmc; if i didnt join my math club at school i definitely wouldnt be where i am now

    Liked by 1 person

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