i’d have written you a song last night;
we’d have drowned in soft, silk sorrows.
together, we’d have made our plans
for all our great green morrows.
and, despite the desperate cage
formed from others’ fright,
together, we’d have loved, not raged,
beside the dying light.
Today was an okay day. I’m reusing the song for today’s title, but it’s appropriate—after all, it’s 1234!
I got up this morning around 12:30, or whenever lunch occurred—I had woken up at some points before that, but was not very functional until I eventually rolled myself out of bed. I did have another nightmare last night, or, at least, I think I did—I’ve concluded that it’s probably the result of sleeping on my back on a much firmer mattress than I’ve been used to, but I suppose I will live with it. I ate lunch with my mom and then my day began—
My day today mostly consisted of back-and-forth edits on multiple emails, and lots and lots of waiting in-between. Shuli and I spent a good amount of time going back and forth on the email to [email protected], and then the waiting for the email from Suzy and Cecilia began. At 3 PM (5 PM EDT), the email hit my inbox, and the adrenaline kicked in. Over the course of the following hour and a half, I started working on an email to [email protected], workshopped it a little with Leo, and then sent the email to dorm presidents asking them to stay in communication with DormCon/HRS and to communicate urgency to their residents. I eventually passed a completed draft of the [email protected] email over to Meghana for whenever she awoke, and laid down for a bit.
Over the course of the following two hours or so, I occasionally got a bit of feedback from Meghana, made some changes, and then laid back down. At some point, I fell asleep for a little bit, which was helpful, but I was getting a pretty large headache from the ongoing dehydration of being at home and being online and at my screen all day. (South Dakota is so much drier than Boston, oh my God.) Eventually, it came dinner time, and I did my best to relax and just chat with my parents and sister around the table, which was assisted by the fact that today’s meal was hot pot. My sister and I spent some time bantering in Spanish, which was kind of fun, and I felt a lot better. Meghana sent me the OK to send out this email at some point during dinner, and I scheduled it for tomorrow morning. It has been a crazy few days of following policy changes and a crazy few hours of writing emails, and there are many more plans to be made, but I feel much better now than I did a few hours ago.
I sat in bed for a while listening to music and chatting with folks after this, before it eventually came time for me get a haircut from my mother. I completed that process, showered, and then sat in bed and continued to calm down. It has been a wild day, but it is over now, and soon it will be better. I will be sad about having fewer folks present during IAP than I would have otherwise hoped, but I will be back regardless, both to run Next House and for similar reasons to SHARP last fall. The only thing left to do is survive the coming few weeks before that happens.
Some thoughts from today:
At the dinner table, it was extremely clear that this day of urgent emails had sent my stress levels skyrocketing. In this regard, my parents did their best to remind me that leadership requires delegation and an ability to scrutinize work after it is performed, although one must also be willing to put boots on the ground in crucial moments. I suppose this was particularly informed by my dad’s experience, especially now that he’s department head and busier than ever. Yet, in this reminder, he also expressed a sense that he was still learning the ropes in his position, and, in some sense, navigating the same waters. I think it was refreshing to hear that even “real adults” struggle with the same tasks as me, and perhaps even a little confidence-boosting to know that I will have perhaps a little more experience in the future.
Some of the ‘26s are asking about impostor syndrome in the Discord server. I think it was not really until sophomore spring that I have really gotten past full bulk of my impostor syndrome, and although it still lingers around the odd corner (especially in regards to say, graduate school and research experience), in many ways I feel like I have fully bloomed in the past year and in the past semester. (I’ve written more about this in 长大, which I’m still pretty proud of.) I suppose that I should dissect this idea a little more in a bit, but I have plenty more time while at home to more firmly reflect on this. The point, of course, for the ‘26s, is that it’s hard, and progress is slow, but it does come.
And, just for future reference, to express the absolute insanity of the past 72 hours, here’s a timeline of all the craziness in Eastern Time, of which I’ve surely only seen a portion:
- Monday, 12 pm: Ian Waitz, Suzy Nelson, et. al. tell DormCon, UA, IFC, and Panhel, that there’s a 50/50 chance of a virtual IAP. In particular, they’re struggling to solidify isolation plans for students, and contingency plans in case many staff test positive.
- Monday, 6:30 pm: Ian Waitz calls the DormCon president as he’s driving home in order to inform us that they’ve found a plan for student isolation that is acceptable to all involved parties, which is what is ultimately adopted. He notes that isolation plans for staff are still pending, as is the overall go-no go for virtual vs. in-person IAP.
- Tuesday, 8:00 am: Ian Waitz presents most of the information present in the Tuesday email to the 8 AM call folks. In particular, this announces an in-person IAP for people who need to be there. Lily Tsai informs the faculty that they can choose to make any class remote if they would like, and that the relevant Institute Committees will be reviewing and approving any other changes as quickly as possible.
- Tuesday, 1:40 pm: An email goes to the entire MIT community with all the changes announced at 8 AM. Suzy Nelson, Cecilia Stuopis, and Housing and Residential Services continues to work on writing up its policies for undergrads.
- Wednesday, 5 pm: After lots of writing and editing, including lots of work from the DormCon president and vice president, HRS sends out its email containing updated policies for undergraduates.
- Wednesday, 6:30 pm: An email, written by yours truly, goes out from DormCon to dormitory presidents asking them to communicate with DormCon/HRS with any concerns, and to communicate with their residents about the urgency of the situation.
- Thursday, 10:45 am: An email, written by yours truly, goes out from the Next House president and president-elect reiterating and clarifying the emails from administration.
- Thursday, later in the day: An email from DormCon goes out to all undergraduates living in dorms with a similar intent.
Tomorrow, well, I’m going to relax a little. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll read a book? Seems kind of unlikely, to be honest.