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Goodbye MIT, not bye for good

My last three days at MIT helped me use all my love languages, even the one I never thought I could express

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My last few days at MIT involved anything but a pset.
Max Yu—The Tech

When it comes to love languages, mine is certainly not words of affirmation. I don’t need to hear how much someone appreciates me, and the words “I love you” don’t mean as much as being held silently in someone’s arms. It’s because I grew up with a single parent. My father was never around to drive me to soccer practice, attend my recitals, or take me to doctor appointments. Instead he would send me daily text messages or letters through the mail about how much he’s proud of me and loves me. His frequent tagline is “好宝,” which roughly translates to “good child,” but means “my baby.” My relationship with my father is saturated with words of affirmation, to the point where they start to lose meaning. It’s even more difficult to communicate to someone how I feel about them.

But during the last few days at MIT, given our limited time, my friends have given me some of the most heartfelt and touching words. Tuesday’s email didn’t faze me. It was only when my senior friend Darnell tried to say goodbye that I cried for the first and last time about the situation. He thanked me for being a positive light in his life and for making him laugh every time we saw each other. I know I was speechless at the time, but I just want to say to him and everyone else who expressed how much I meant to them through words, that I feel so much gratitude for having them in my life. 

I didn’t show it through words of affirmation, but I tried my best to show it through my primary love languages of quality time and acts of service. In other words, I just showed up. 

French House, which I only moved into last semester as a junior, became super important to me. From our wine nights filled with gossip to cooking every week with my cook team, the people of French House made me feel at home. On Thursday, a friend and I bought fancy pastries from Newbury for each senior for our senior send-off. However, we miscalculated and needed one more. So during the send-off, I took a Lyft back to Newbury but ended up going to Georgetown Cupcake since the other bakery was closed. It meant a lot to me that every senior was properly recognized, so the trip was not a problem at all. 

Being there for others and performing small acts of kindness became my priority other than packing. I went to the McCormick send-off even though I don’t live there anymore because of the seniors I’m still friends with. I helped my friend move out of her room so her mother didn’t have to enter the building. I was an outlet for people’s emotional rage and confusion. Making someone’s life even a little bit easier during this time of stress and hardship was all I needed to do before going.  

And I did this because, as I transitioned from swimming with my head in the water to floating back up to the surface, I realized that everything I have done and learned at MIT is inspired by the people and community surrounding me. Like a voice part in a choir. The key to harmony is when one person’s instrument is supported and strengthened by everyone else’s. Not only did the people of MIT simply make me happy, but they taught me how to be vulnerable, curious and ambitious, a cultivated and balanced human being in an academic environment that can be absolutely grueling. 

Darnell told me that this ordeal really showed people’s true colors, that MIT is truly about people over psets. So yes, when it comes to love, I’m bad at words. I’m trying to improve, which is why I’m writing this love letter to you all.