Thursday, January 31, 2008

Good thing I worked out yesterday

I considered going down again tonight, running and lifting a bit while watching either the Celtics game or the Presidential debate. But I don't want to watch the Presidential debate. I've already made up my mind and nothing can dissuade me; the only thing that can happen is that I will re-ignite into hatred of Hillary. I don't want that. Obama is pulling closer and could certainly win, but at the same time by enthusiasm blooms, I also want to steel myself for the possibility of having to vote Hillary. Deep down, I don't want to stop loving Bill because of his campaign tactics, and I don't want to abstain from voting out of bitterness. There would be worse things that a McCain presidency, but all the same, I'd rather not have my cousins continually shipped to combat zones in a pointless war.

But that's not why I skipped my workout. Out of gratitude for editing his brother's grad school entrance personal statement into something that sounds like it was written by a native speaker, my roommate, Ke Jia, started offering me booze. To my credit, I was polite and only took a small amount. And then just now he came over and filled my wine glass up right to the brim with a pretty good French cabernet. So I guess I'll work out again tomorrow.

I've been pretty good overall, and have stuck to my plan of exercising about every other day since I came home mid-month. After a vacation of too much food and not enough accomplishment, I feel pretty good about what I've done -- in two-plus weeks back in Boston I've already dropped quite a few pounds (I don't have a scale so I don't know how many), I've decided on a lot of the places I'm going to apply for an internship, I've done some more lab observation and today prepared most of my presentation for next week's class.

Despite going on an accomplishment splurge, I feel rather empty a lot, for this reason: MIT graduate school is a place for people who have the will, or at least the stubbornness, to work on their stuff pretty much constantly. It's not that I'm not driven, it's that, as said before, I'm no good at being a true believer anymore, even in writing or science or writing about science. And trying to sustain this level of mental intensity mostly with person pride is a tall goddamned order. I overheard the woman who works the front desk the other day, who is not a student, telling someone who is that MIT students have no perspective on life. It's no coincidence. Whatever your program, MIT is a place where you're encouraged to be unreasonable, to give over other parts of your life in pursuit of your research or your writing. All high-profile universities are like this, but MIT has a special chip on its shoulder, trying to prove itself as a meritocracy in the face of perceived Harvard entitlement two miles down the road.

At home I felt imbalanced in favor of sloth, and now I feel imbalanced in favor of aloneness. So it goes.

2 comments:

Sasha said...

Finding solace in the reality of soon having an MIT graduate degree does little. Maybe this isn't much, but at least the Celtics are good again (Play Baby!). How can so many of today's youth, at least those I know, be so disenfrachised? Nostalgia can be counterproductive, but do remember the companionship of playing cards with Suzanne and Marijn. By the way, Marijn admitted to me the other night she'd think it'd be fun it I moved to Holland and she and I dated. I almost bought a ticket.

A.G. said...

I was just arguing to my friend Nate last night that Holland is probably the world's best country. We should.