My finals ended two days ago, and I’m still in my recovery period. I slept in until noon, ate junk food all day, and watched four episodes of “CSI: Miami” as well as other mediocre television that I can only tolerate after wearing out my brain. I can’t believe I actually watched an episode of “Laguna Beach” today. This show left me with a feeling of, “well, I may have failed my MIT finals, but at least I’m not like the rich, spoiled teenagers on this show.” That must be part of the appeal. Shows like this make normal people feel a little bit better about their lives.
I think another few days of laziness, Christmas cookies, and holiday marathons (where is the “Spike TV” James Bond marathon, I ask???), and I should be ready to face another semester. Assuming I don’t fail all my courses, I suppose…
Yes, finishing a college degree is tough. I’m finding grad school at MIT even more challenging than my undergraduate work, but that’s okay. I’m not sure that MIT– or any college, really– needs to be so stressful, but I guess that the college work I do is just a set of hoops I need to jump through so that I can live the sort of life I want to live. If it weren’t challenging, the degree wouldn’t be so valuable. At least, that’s what I tell myself to justify all the work I do.
Sometimes I wonder, though, if some of the work is just there to be difficult, not necessarily to teach me anything useful. At times I feel that the challenge of going to a place like MIT is just to prove that you can survive. When you have that degree, you show that you’re tough. You made it, both academically and psychologically. Not fun, but a necessary hoop, again, for doing what I really want to do. Of course, I do love many of my classes. I wouldn’t be in grad school if I didn’t. But certain classes… honestly, I just find them monotonous, difficult, and stressful at worst and marginally useful at best.
This coming summer, at least, I will be able to have a taste of the sort of life I want to live– I want to travel, and I want to study rocks. Today, I learned that my research cruise is leaving from Thailand in June. We weren’t expecting to leave from Thailand, and I’m very excited. I’ve never been to Thailand before, and I’m hoping to spend at least a couple of days there before we leave. I bet that the scenery and the food will be fantastic.
Tentatively, we are scheduled to end our cruise in Sri Lanka. My advisor forwarded me an email containing a debate about the Sri Lankan port. Apparently, the scientists as well as the people at Scripps who run the ship are worried about some “at-sea skirmishes” that have been occuring around Sri Lanka recently. They’re considering ports in the Maldives as alternates.
At-sea skirmishes? Wait a minute… that means they’re worried about pirates! And somehow I don’t think they mean the Johnny Depp sort of pirates. While I’d not like to run into any pirates (aside from Depp, of course) on my cruise this summer, I still am sort of hoping we end up in Sri Lanka. Because Sri Lanka sounds beautiful, and maybe we’d run into Arthur C. Clark. Then again, I’ve never been to the Maldives either… yes, another semester at MIT will be challenging, but it will all be worth it for this summer.