holes / spring break / first life decisions

Over spring break, I went on a mini little road trip to Anza-Borrego, Joshua Tree and San Diego. It was my first nature-esque trip with friends, and it was pretty awesome. All of the photos are here, but I'll include some highlights below. 

 There was supposed to be a super bloom at Anza-Borrego, but caterpillars ate all of the flowers by the time we got there.  

There was supposed to be a super bloom at Anza-Borrego, but caterpillars ate all of the flowers by the time we got there.  

 We did the Lost Palms Oasis Trail to start off Joshua Tree. 

We did the Lost Palms Oasis Trail to start off Joshua Tree. 

 ^_^

^_^

 We stayed until sunset to catch some stars.

We stayed until sunset to catch some stars.

 Trying out some double exposure functionality...

Trying out some double exposure functionality...

 The stars were absolutely insane, and was probably the most unreal star scenes I've seen in the continental US. 

The stars were absolutely insane, and was probably the most unreal star scenes I've seen in the continental US. 


    A year ago, I thought I wanted to a mechanical engineer. I wanted to go into product design, and use all the skills I've learned at MIT to design physical systems. 

    This semester, I basically became a full-time anthropology student, and I love it. While reading endlessly and pondering about humankind may not seem like a logical step, I realize this type of thinking is what I've been looking for my entire academic career. 
    
    I started in engineering because it made sense - I liked building things, was decently good at it, and understood physics well enough to get through the program. Sure, some classes were really hard or really boring, but I expected MIT to be tough, and it was. I sometimes feel like I should regret all the late nights spent working on problem sets now that I am no longer going into engineering, but I don't. The tie between mechanical engineering and social science isn't very clear, but that intersection is my personal gold mine. After graduation, I will be working as a design strategist at Altitude Inc, an innovation firm near Boston that was recently acquired by Accenture. 

    I would never have gotten here without the path I took through engineering. My interests followed the product design process, but entirely in reverse. I thought mechanical engineering would be my niche in high school. At MIT, I started to think that maybe industrial design would be more fitting. Ultimately, I realized that talking to and understanding people was the most valuable part for me. Making people feel like their concerns are valid and understood brings me inexplicable joy. Knowing the process through which things are made is valuable, but I want to be a factor that determines what things are made, and why. Solving problems is exciting, but picking the problems to solve is what I want to do most. 

    To be honest, I never thought I would get an opportunity to do this right out of college. I stressed over it in bursts every few months, as any of my friends can confirm. I don't have the right educational background, I thought. And maybe if I had followed the clearly paved path, I wouldn't have. But paths are never as clear as you want them to be, and through an assortment of human-centered design classes, extracurricular projects, books, internships, and many, many desperate cold emails and calls, I did find my own way. I have no idea exactly where things are headed from here, but I don't think I've ever been as excited for a future step.