Hi y’all. It’s been a long time since I left this blog on the note that I would try to write more, but I got carried away by the activities and people at RSI to the point that writing this blog would’ve been…implausible, although not impossible, as demonstrated by some studious individuals (*ahem*).1 It’s already been three days since the end of RSI, but I have yet to recover from the brutalizing rigor of Hell Week and the subsequent emotional trainwreck that was saying goodbye. Over the past three days, many seemingly good things have happened: I got my braces off, we held a group bedcheck, I prepared for my upcoming school year, all while sleeping for about 80% of the time. But all of them seem washed out against a searing and vast emotional emptiness, a stronger homesickness than I have ever felt, for a place that was my home for just six weeks.

I miss it. By God, I miss all of it. And maybe I’ll write about all these little details later, but that might reduce me a puddle of tears, because it suddenly occurs to me that perhaps the best six weeks of my life are over, and I am hopelessly alone, separated by vast distances from my new family, who are scattered across the entire world. I have friends here, sure, and with time I will recover, but to have perhaps said goodbye to seeing this whole group of 81 or even 14 siblings in one place at the same time forever is a scary concept, and it leaves me still almost crying, for the third, fourth, or even fifth day in a row.

Beyond that, I am scared by the future. Looking at my to-do list, which is now stored on Google Keep for some godawful reason, I see so much that I have yet to accomplish and finish. And despite having completed a very difficult set of high-stress trials at RSI, which required getting thirty minutes of sleep in a sleeping bag in the student center at one point, I know I completed that set of trials with the support of my Rickoid peers, who faced the same stresses as I did and stayed up with me.

Even further beyond that, I am scared by college. RSI kids often say things like “Let’s meet in Cambridge” (at MIT or Harvard) or “let’s meet at Stanford”, and I’m here, scared to have to make a choice between them, and then, realizing how far I’m jumping the gun, scared I won’t get into either. I have accomplished at best slightly better than average results in a large diversity of things, but nothing truly exceptional stands out. Admissions are holistic, and I’m scared the officers will look and say “so he’s good at test-taking, but what else?” Perhaps that is what essays are for, and all I can do is try my best, but no amount of such consolation will put my anxieties to rest.

And at the end of the day, who’s to say what the future holds? All I know is that I’m sitting here, writing this, back at the bottom of the well, looking at my small patch of sky, crying for the world out there that I know exists and I just can’t see. I know I have too many anxieties but I can’t just help asking why being back in the well doesn’t feel like home. And now that that particular home is gone, will I ever get to feel anything like it? It is far too early to know, but I just worry, worry, worry.

I keep trying to spin this stream-of-conciousness into something positive to end on, but I can’t find it in me today. I miss being in the place where I felt open to be the most “me” I could be. I miss 4AM walks on- (and sometimes off-) campus in a city with actually tall buildings with some of the most intelligent high schoolers you could ever meet, who are kind enough to take a small boy from South Dakota into their lives. I miss being there to support some of the most hard-working people I have ever met at 1, 2, or even 6, or 7 AM. I miss being woken up in building 12 and getting back to work on some paper or presentation. I miss travelling down the Infinite Corridor, whether it be via swivel chair, sleeping bag, flip-flops, or in formal attire. I miss walking through the tunnels, getting pictures, plotting my own murder. I miss climbing statues that visibly say “DO NOT CLIMB”. As I said before, I miss all of it. Maybe some day I’ll get something like it back.2 Maybe I’ll get something different, but better. Maybe I’ll never get anything as great. Only time will tell.

  1. Note (2021): my friend and future roommate, Kevin Liu, successfully maintained a near-daily blogging habit during RSI. I did not. 

  2. Note (2021): I did. I am so much better off than I was when I was in high school, and I think I often forget that. In many ways, I am living this Alan’s dream.