069. Nice

tldr: nice

A few months ago, while I was waiting for my flight to Boston to start my summer research, I wrote Blog #053: Lists Pt. 2 full of hopes, dreams, etc for my next year of life as a 20-year-old. [Months later, and I still don’t feel like I’m 20, though I don’t feel like I’m a teenager so that’s progress I guess.] Of these hopes and dreams, I’ve been able to accomplish quite a few:
1. I got that goldfish tattoo on my right upper arm.
2. I started a UROP [Undergraduate Research OPportunity].
3. I recorded a podcast episode with OCW [more on that later].
4. I recieved confirmation that I can teach the metric spaces class this IAP again (paid this time!).
5. I got a Britta filter.

But most excitingly: I am very close to achieving my goal of 75 blogposts by my 21st birthday. I’ve been able to write quite a bit this year. Now that I am on my 69th (nice) blog, I want to make a new list. A list of nice cool things that have happened this fall semester. Seemed only appropriate. Plus, I haven’t written a non-MITAdmissions post in a while. So here goes.

1. I have stopped stressing about exams so much. This has been one of the largest highlights of my Junior year if I’m being honest. 7.012 (Bio) has four midterm exams and a final, and if I actively stressed over this class I would go insane. Literally an exam for nearly every two~ PSETs. So I’ve done what nearly every upperclassman has advised me to do over the last few ears: stop worrying as much about it. Graduate schools aren’t going to care if I put Bio on PNR, and I want to make the most out of my PNRs.

2. I’ve gotten to know Larry’s graduate students more. They’re all just so nice. I’ve grabbed coffee with some of them and attended the Analysis/PDE seminar with them (which is annoyingly Right before the biweekly blogger check-ins). Overall, I feel a lot closer to the math community this semester. Perhaps because the way I am getting closer to the community isn’t necessarily through the math but through the people.

3. I survived being sick! It still seems like there is something spreading around the MIT community with a nasty cough, but at least now I can go to classes and actually focus on my work. It was a tough few weeks to simply be out of commission, but it made me really motivated to get back into my classes. It felt like the beginning of the semester all over again.

4. I’ve been attending therapy! Honestly, wish I hadn’t stopped. My previous therapist stopped working at MIT Medical, so over this summer I didn’t have anyone to talk to about things on a “Therapy level” (whatever that means). Thankfully, I really like my new therapist who I started seeing at the beginning of the semester. I will at some point write about what we’ve been talking about, but that’s for another Not nice post.

5. I’ve been having more conversations about education. I know I know, I told myself I wanted to focus on research/graduate school as opposed to education. But I’ve since realized that I don’t want to work on research or go to grad school if I can’t be working on vaguely educational things. So, I’ve been talking to people more about this.

Firstly, Larry doesn’t think it’d be unreasonable to be a graduate student while also working on education through teaching recitations, running IAP classes, or whatever side project I’m working on. It makes sense that he would say something like this– I didn’t exactly expect him to discourage my hobbies– but it was still really nice to talk to him about this. Furthermore, through my CI-M (18.994: Seminar in Geometry), I’ve had the opportunity to work with Susan Ruff. She’s amazing. I had never thought about math education research that isn’t purely statistical but rather pedagogical. I might become an editor for this really cool site. Finally, I’ve been able to talk to my academic advisor Haynes Miller about these goals more. For next summer, we both agree that it may be worth trying to do a UROP and work on some pedagogical project to get a sense of what graduate school may be like. Cool stuff.

6. I’ve stopped wanting to take every single class that the math department has to offer. To some, this may seem like a bad thing– like I lost motivation somewhere down the line. And while it is slightly true that I have lost some motivation to learn anything and everything, what is more accurate to say is that I have started to understand what parts of math actually interest me. So why take a bunch of classes “just because”? I think in that way, this is a nice thing.

7. I’ve become really good at editing basic html, mostly to host this Meta Home Paige. It makes me feel powerful to just be able to edit something like this on my own. Apparently the mathcomm website started out just like the Meta Home Paige: a simple html site hosting PDFs and links for people to use and access information. I think that’s really cool.

8. I’ve stopped feeling so sad. Nice.

9. I’ve been writing more longform autobiography in my spare time. It’s not quite something for these blogs, but I really like how it’s going. There might be more information on this at some point, but I need to see how it goes. Really, I like seeing the page numbers grow. It, like the fact that this is my 69th blog post, feels like progress. Towards what? I don’t know. The same logic applied towards a weekly summary I’ve been typing for my UROP.

10. I’m a blogger. Like a person who actively blogs more than three times a semester, and who gets paid to do so. I feel like I say this too often but it really, really makes me happy. I get to have an idea about something I want to write about or do, and am actively encouraged to talk about those ideas with other people who are in a similar boat. I made a Blogger Spotify Account (work in progress), I’ve written a joint post (hopefully more to come), and I get paid to write about being a worm. What more could one want out of an MIT experience.

All nice things. See y’all at blogpost number 75 and beyond.

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.

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