Thursday, May 31, 2012

Book the Third

Whenever a lot is happening in my life, I seem to stop writing about it. That could be a good sign, because, as Annie once said, I'm too busy living life to be writing about it. In that light I've never had a better year, because the last post was a whole year ago!

One year ago, I was depressed. I'd left Dil Se, I'd lost all my so-called friends, my lab visits had waned, and in general I just didn't have much going for me. Yes, I had Varun, and the 505 girls, and the hopes of new connections with other physicists, but on the whole I felt rather down in the dumps.

Then I went to Cambridge and my life changed pretty quickly. I was in Cambridge, possibly the most beautiful town I'd ever seen (among the few towns I've seen in my short life), and I was living in a new and vibrant world. I met Josh, another physicist and mathematician, and we got along quite well. And I was reminded that the world was, in fact, beautiful. I left wide-eyed, having seen and done things I never imagined I'd get the opportunity to see and do, and having met a great many extraordinary people I would otherwise never have met.

School started. I was taking core (and that means hard) math classes for the first time, the murky and dissatisfying second half of quantum mechanics, and the universe's most time consuming class: Physics 111 BSC lab. And yet I still had a good time. When I look back on Fall 2011, I remember slogging through lab with Nitin, one of the greatest men I'll ever meet, slogging through late nights in the Reading Room with three friends who grew very close very quickly, and slogging through late nights at my apartment with Sunny (who knows everything that I don't). But I remember these nights fondly, and above all, working hard, training my mind, becoming epic. And no, I barely saw anyone from the old days; with a few fleeting exceptions, there was no Katy, no one from Dil Se, and though I tried, not that much of the 505 group. But I left for home that winter happier than I'd been in a while.

School started again. I came back prepared to attack everything that I was involved in with force. Tutoring, BSA (that didn't happen), classes, and lab (that didn't happen either). And together we built the little community known as the Fifth Circle of Hell, our special network of the people we worked with and knew so well in college. I worked hard, tried hard, and excelled. I walked away with excellent term grades, the experience of tutoring physics, and a small group of amazing friends.

So what's bothering me? My future. Once again I am faced with the annoyance of putting together an application that makes me looks good, with the sordid task of selling myself to grad schools. And I don't think it'll be so easy this time. I have decent grades, but I don't know what the tests will bring, and I still wonder what my letters are going to look like. And above all, I need some solid research experience. I look to this summer to fulfill some of this, and also to become human. To do research, and also to spend time with friends, do music, read Bangla, and study for the GREs. If I can do all that, I'll be pleased with myself.

So that was my junior year --
a reminder that I have a place in the world, that I love what I do, and that the universe is beautiful.