Welcome to the 20.109 Class Blog! Our 20.109 Blog is here for MIT's emerging cadre of biological engineers from Course 20. The blog is for your thoughts and work and discoveries in our lab fundamentals class. By capturing your collective experiences in the subject, we hope to learn even more about the work we do -- what's working well and where we need to get better. Please see the first blog post for some important administrative information.
Saturday, May 14, 2016
Why do I always think the words “suggested” and “possible” imply “optional”?
So, technically, they do. But it always evades me that an
assignment being “suggested” is like hearing “I suggest you don’t leave your
dog’s crap on my lawn.” Technically it’s optional, but… you also might end up
staring at flaming dog poop at some point in the near future questioning at
what point your life took this turn. Here’s to hoping my blog posts actually
satisfied the suggested topics and weren’t just humorous sentences that left
the instructors wondering, “Okay but where’s the actual assignment?”
I’ve also learned to triple check due dates. Just because
you swear everyone has said “5 pm,” it’s equally likely everything is due at 11
am and you’re going to be the sad individual copying and pasting things that
were done days ago into a box at 4 pm hoping you don’t end up staring at
flaming dog poop in a week questioning the meaning of life.
My internal dialogue
Fairly often, I find myself thinking back to the saying
“time flies,” but not just when you’re having fun. Judging from the number of
times I’ve heard things along the lines of “those four years are just gonna fly
by,” I think we can all agree that if we could take the derivate of time, its
second derivative would be positive. Not to beat sayings we’ve all heard before
to death, but it’s like we’re on a bus going downhill and the brakes don’t work
and all of a sudden there’s no such thing as friction and the road is life and
welcome to the struggle bus.
Sometimes I take a moment to admire the beauty of it.
Sometimes I pause, take a breath, and just stand there
thinking about the game it feels like life is playing with us. Don’t get me
wrong, I do not complain about the going being rough or having too much work. I
know what I signed up; we all do. We wouldn’t be here if we hadn’t made an
active choice to do so. But I bemusedly contemplate my outlook on life, how I
desperately cling to the thought “next week will be better” or “these two weeks
are tough but it’ll get lighter soon,” and I think a lot of us feel that way.
Or when that moment to breathe finally comes, we find ourselves scared to
I guess I should be frightened by the realization that this
is probably never going to go away, but the truth is I don’t want it to. Life
would be boring otherwise, at least for me. These blog posts are worth maybe 1%
of my final grade, but there’s something strangely relaxing, pleasantly calm,
about sitting down and having an excuse to get my thoughts together. Not “how
am I laying this essay/paper/report out” thoughts, but straight up “what am I
actually thinking” thoughts. It’s easy to get lost in your head but it’s also
so easy to lose yourself in your head, to forget you are a person who exists in
there and have your own thoughts and desires and needs and wishes. It’s so easy
to forget how valuable you are as a person, that you’re more than all the
assignments you have to do, more than that list on your calendar of things you
need to accomplish today.
And even though I wrote 95% of this three or four weeks ago,
it’s no less relevant now than it was when I sat there for two hours
procrastinating on a Tuesday night. Bring it on, life. Although in a week I
hope to be staring at a flaming grill, I’ll take whatever is thrown at me in
stride, as I have and as I always will. And maybe I’ll learn to actually pay
closer attention to not only the due dates, but also the times.