Update: The Doodler Process

new-doc-15

If the world ever sucks, just listen to music and read graphic novels. Also, I really need a scanner.

Not going to lie, I’m awful at keeping up with a blog when it isn’t summer. On the other hand, my weekly process of schoolwork has stabilized. I’ve modified my schedule and I can focus better on work.

I still procrastinate but it’s considerably less than before, a change that was unthinkable a year ago. Meanwhile, my cooking ability leaves much to be desired (“it’s…edible”).

But there are also good things.

For the first time, I’ve attended a live orchestral performance, a piano concert, an opera, and a music concert. I helped set up an art gallery and joined the Arts Scholars.  I write regularly for The Tech where I get to leave the “MIT bubble” and venture into Boston.

Aside from my general coursework, I am also taking a 21W.744 course for fun, where I read graphic novels and draft comic scripts. Two weeks ago, our professor invited Evan Dahm to our class to speak with us and we were able to ask questions about his process of creating his webcomics.

It’s truly amazing what the opportunities here are. To have them so readily available (and occasionally shoved in our faces via email) is remarkable. I’m grateful every day since I never expected to be here at the Institute.

Other changes include this new blog title. The other day, I was sifting through old OneNote files and journal entries which act as a collection of my thoughts rather than the results of a daily regimen. I remembered what made this journal so effective–the lack of pressure to write and the freedom to capture thoughts.

College work requires some form of a schedule, and professional artists also need to set up regular blocks of focused work. But artistic expression that is not bent on a specific goal, such as journaling or doodling, is difficult to contain in a rigid structure when there isn’t an endgame in mind.

Like the process of finding my way through college, this blog has also become a process. “One Doodle a Day” is ideal, and a challenge I’m likely to pick up again in the future, but seems to be unfeasible with the other things I enjoy doing.

Until then, I want to not feel guilty each time I look at my homepage.

20161130_111451

The Zebra Comic G Nib that I bought is gorgeous.

Advertisements

The Sun Will Rise Again Tomorrow

For many Americans, the election of Donald Trump was an upset, a reversal of decades of groundwork for human equality. It was terrifying for families who had been marginalized for so long to witness their bleak future unfold. It was joyous for families who believed Trump would be the solution.

I’m in the former group, yet I hope I can understand why half of America voted for Trump. Maybe you saw something in him that I didn’t. Anti-establishment and “make America great again” are bounced around, and I really do agree with you and hope for a greater America. Truly.

But like many other Americans, I also see Trump as a symbol of discrimination. He uses words as a divisive and scathing weapon against those who were judged by the color of their skin and the gender of their bodies. I don’t want to neglect the marginalized, underprivileged white citizens who saw a leader in Trump, but I also don’t want to neglect those that Trump’s words have disparaged.

I am hopeful that President Trump turns out to be a president that brings positive change. I hope that he manages to create this future that Trump supporters believed he would. I hope that this discriminatory future won’t come to pass, and that instead, Americans can embrace each other and listen to one another–empathetic human beings who work together rather than hate each other.

I woke up this morning feeling contemplative, because what felt like an illusory idea before had become real. A future with President Trump had not sunk in yet. So all I could do was keep living.

I made breakfast. I went to class. I did my calculus problem sets.  I walked through the halls of my school. I saw people comforting each other. I saw people afraid and hopeful.

And honestly, I’ll probably go to sleep tonight, thinking of the work that needs to be done. I don’t want to sleep afraid. I want to sleep knowing that if there’s ever a time to be kind to one another, it is now. And hoping for it all to be okay is a legitimate reason to sleep well tonight.

I’d like to end this with something that Alexandre Dumas wrote in Le Comte de Monte Cristo–

“All human wisdom is contained in these two words – Wait and Hope.”

The sun will rise again tomorrow morning. And it’ll be okay.

What Home Is and the Future of this Blog

You feel an interesting sentiment after your physics professor tells you, “Figure out these problem sets when you go home.” You realize he chose “home” to describe your dorm room, your second home away from home, miles and miles off. Somehow, the word fits like good diction. I can dig that.

Before the semester began, I heard many descriptions of this place and its people: passionate, smart, but mostly, special. And for many MIT students, they find “home” in this campus.

But “passionate,” “smart,” and “special” share only one side of the story. The loaded description of MIT makes you think that these people are geniuses with passions in a wide variety of hobbies and fields.

Okay, they are.

It makes you think that this place fosters innovation beyond the status quo. That this institute changes the future with its research.

Alright, that’s true, too.

But then we have the other side of the story, the part that both disappoints the nerd stereotype and excites the nonconformists. These people are brilliant, but they can be equally as down-to-earth, funny, surprising, and delightful.

Maybe subconsciously, I expected perfect geniuses that I could never compete with. The truth: they are really cool people and really cool people help other really cool people when they face problems. The other truth is that this campus is not a battleground of students vying for number one in academics and partying. There’s a reason why MIT does not have a valedictorian.

Collaboration is encouraged in every class–working on psets (problem sets) together, learning from each other, growing up with each other. The notion of the single protagonist is a lonesome idea here, because it’s the flaws and successes of each person that create a unique culture when they all coalesce.

I’ve met someone who has his own startups and another who is taking eight classes while working on two research projects. I’ve also met people who have beautiful singing voices. I’ve met people who stay up until 4am and sleep in, people who sleep at 9pm and wake up at 6am, people who go out to eat often, people who cook every meal, people who play the piano well, people who can’t play the piano but play other things well, people who run fast, people who draw and paint and write and read, and people from all around the world with beautiful accents and beautiful stories.

Oh, and engineering and something called science. But everyone does that.

As I stayed here, I realized that I’ve become good at adapting–at figuring out how to defrost chicken after screwing it up the first time, at finding pianos to play on, at finishing a physics pset that took me ten hours, at not failing my first three exams, at finding people I could hang out with, at creating a schedule that works for me, at getting decent sleep (6-7 hours a night).

In other words, as far as my mother’s concerned, I’m managing my life quite decently.

What I found here is a place where I can get by, where I can find my own place in, where I can learn and grow into a somewhat more tolerable person.

MIT is a bubble of strange happenings.


I imagine that in the near future, I will be continuing this blog with solely daily doodles. A recent Amazon purchase of index cards should suffice. Starting again at Doodle #1 because I sure miss this blog.

Update | Hiatus

Hello Doodlers,

First, I should apologize for not posting the past two days and not making up for it.

With more events than a person could possibly attend, MIT’s resident halls provide activities, games, free food, and people to meet. The past three nights, I got back from a tour named after a fruit at 4am, a Cards Against Humanity game at 1:30am, and a puzzle hunt at 2:30am.

I want to enjoy the orientation period before classes officially start so I will be taking a hiatus for a week or two, until my schedule stabilizes.

I am trying to find a balance between attending the fun dorm events that go long into the night and maintaining the rest of my life such as sleep and of course, this blog. I only have one chance to be a freshman so I want to attend as many things as possible while still sleeping at least 6 hours. So if blogging has to go for a bit, it has to go.

Besides, the few days of my FPOP were equally a hassle as I found myself doing quick doodles rather than spending time brainstorming, putting more thought into my posts, and referencing interesting articles I read online. It disheartened me that a daily blogging schedule felt more like an obligated quota I had to meet rather than something I did for pure enjoyment.

I’m not leaving forever and will definitely be back. Thank you for supporting me and for taking the time to comment. And even if you are just passing by, thank you for even glancing at what I write. You are the reason why this is a worthwhile endeavor and you are the reason why I will be coming back.

Warmest regards,

Ivy

Doodle 092 | What It’s Like So Far

20160826_192543

Our team of three took an excursion to Boston after our FPOP (Freshmen Pre-Orientation Program) ended for the day. Boston is beautiful in the gap of time when the sun sets, while the gentle waves reflect a faded rainbow sky.

So far, it’s great here. Exciting activities are happening all around as dorms start holding events for incoming freshmen. Most importantly, free food is everywhere.

Meanwhile in our Aero/Astro FPOP, we are touring labs and constructing rockets from bottles, balsa wood, and trashbags.

Our team is working on parachute deployment in preparation for our FPOP rocket competition this Sunday. We need it to deploy faster while not increasing drag in the initial half of the flight. Being limited (no electronics or remote control) means our plans need to be simplified but we don’t want our rocket’s payload–in this case, passengers, including tennis balls, ping pong balls, and “egg”stronauts (strangle me now)–to break apart.

I am working with really great people, who are more brilliant than I am and offer unique and valuable insight.

Looking forward to the coming years as we all grow and work together to create solutions to challenging problems and discover answers where there were none before.

New Doc 6.jpg