How do we know who we are?

Something I’ve been thinking about recently is the question of how much of what we think/”know” about ourselves is a consequence of what others have said about us, and how much of it is from first principles. I was surprised when two of my classes this week touched on this question. In my Attitudes and Persuasion seminar, we were discussing the difference between explicit and implicit attitudes, and which one is one’s “real” attitude. There is actually no consensus in the field about whether or not explicit and implicit attitudes are even internally represented separately. Explicit attitudes are ones that can be measured using surveys, like Likert scales, and are known to us. Implicit attitudes are commonly measured using the implicit association test, and use responses that are automatic/out of our control in some way (like muscle activity in the face, heart rate, etc.). There was one study on racial attitudes that examined body language as well as implicit and explicit attitudes

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Fall semester (so far) in review

I’m taking 5 classes this semester, and something that’s been surprisingly nice is that I have a pretty regular schedule (and no classes on Fridays). Monday through Thursday, I have a class 11-12:30, a one hour lunch break, and then either a 1.5 or 3 hour-long class. I realized that having a consistent daily schedule really helps with establishing a regular sleep schedule and morning routine. Usually, I wake up a bit before my alarm at 9:20 (unless I go to bed late/am super tired, in which case I wake up later and skip breakfast), and have a slow and relaxed morning in. Usually I have time to walk to class early and either journal by the Woody Woo fountain or reflect inside the Richard Serra sculpture. In terms of my classes…they’re definitely a lot of work as a whole, which I kind of touched on in my last post. I’ll just go through them one by one. World Drama

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Doing pomodoros is changing my life

For people who don’t know what pomodoros are, they’re basically alternating periods of work + break (usually 25 min working / 5 min break), and there are a bunch of desktop and mobile pomodoro apps that you can get. I’ve known about pomodoros for a pretty long time but only started doing them after learning more about them when I took the Learning How to Learn online course while I was at RC. Even then, I never fully incorporate them into my work until this past month. I feel like doing pomodoros has changed my life in a big time way, by making me more aware of both the passage of time and my own mental state. For instance, now I can set daily goals for myself like “work on cos pset for 3 pomodoros,” which allows me not only to break down big (and undesirable) tasks into manageable daily chunks, but also to become more aware of how long it

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What it means to be a nice girl

Basically, putting the needs of others before your own. For instance: Doing the “right thing” even if you don’t want to Letting other people encroach on your personal space and boundaries, and not standing up for yourself and your needs until they’ve egregiously overstepped  Second-guessing yourself and your intuitions while giving others the benefit of the doubt Comforting others (and taking on their emotional/etc. burdens!) even when you’re not in the right/best mental state to do so Doing things that are inconvenient, annoying, or downright bad to you because they make someone else’s life (even slightly) better   Fuck being a nice girl.

Link to me talking about mono no aware + other things

Hi all! I figured I would post the link to this “video” on my blog since it basically is just an unedited oral blog post. I recorded the audio around two weeks ago and just posted it. I enjoyed making it, and I will probably continue to use this media format for topics that are more difficult to write about concisely. Maybe I can live out my dream of making a podcast/radio program? 😊 I feel that I am in a period of many changes in my life. (click on the video for some more context + helpful links in the description!)

Why I stopped identifying as a rationalist

I’ve told this story to a few people in person, but I wanted to write it out because honestly I just wanted to challenge myself to say something that many people I know may disagree with. Some background on how I got into rationality and my experience being a rationalist: Michael introduced me to LessWrong and Slate Star Codex when we “met” in October 2014. I became more interested in rationality because I wasn’t happy with myself and was getting more into self improvement around this time (during my freshman year). I attended a CFAR workshop during the summer of 2015 (the summer after freshman year). I became friends with a few rationalists and came to know quite a few others through Facebook, mutual friends, and various other random things (posting on the Princeton class pages looking for other rationalists, attending EAG in 2016). I don’t want to pretend that I’m a super complicated person or try to construct a

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My first Glossier experience

This post has been in my drafts for awhile… Last month, I visited New York and took a trip to the Glossier showroom, the first (out of two, now) Glossier store in the world! I had never purchased any Glossier products before, and I was not super familiar with their product line, so this was a very new experience for me. The showroom is located in the penthouse of a building that is actually pretty close to RC. When I arrived, there was a line of about 10-ish people waiting to get in. It was somewhat deterring, but the woman in front of me told me that the line moved quickly. We were probably waiting for less than 5 minutes, and then we got ushered into an elevator and went up to the showroom together. The place was fairly crowded and smelled like roses. There was music playing. The interior decoration was spot on, and very on-brand, like the graphic design

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Honest reflections on my junior year at Princeton

Junior year was really not what I expected it to be. Coming back from my gap year, I had all these ideas about what I wanted to do differently, and how I would make the most of my time and get a lot out of being back at Princeton. In some ways, that did happen. I took some great classes that I was actually interested in and tried things that I wouldn’t have otherwise tried. But after my first semester back, I felt that I had lost a lot of the personal and mental growth that I had made during my time off, and I felt incredibly lonely. It seemed unthinkable that I would end up feeling more lonely in a school full of 5000 people my own age, than in the cities full of strangers that I lived in during my time off. In January, I felt really lonely. I felt like I did my first semester all wrong,

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My first Amazon Books store experience

This past weekend, I visited the Amazon Books store on 34th Street in NYC. According to Wikipedia, it’s one of the 13 Amazon Books stores in existence! First, let me show you some of the pictures I took of the store, and then I’ll tell you why I dislike the entire concept of the store (and why I’ll never go there to buy books). 🙂 Btw, hope the scroll-down gallery is fine! The slideshow view doesn’t seem to display long captions.     Now…onto why I don’t like the store and could never see myself choosing it over any (reasonably) normal bookstore – barring fundamental changes. Let’s think about buying books and visiting bookstores. For me, those two are actually very different things. If I’m buying a physical book (not an e-book), there are only a few different scenarios. Either a) it’s a textbook I need for school, in which case I would go to my university bookstore which is conveniently located

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A thought on beauty

The word beauty is overloaded: it’s used to describe both “outer beauty” and “inner beauty.” Inner beauty is pretty much an unobjectionable idea. Of course we all want to be good people! But why does inner beauty have to have any relationship to outer beauty? C.f. quotes about “true beauty comes from within.” Even if outer beauty does reflect inner beauty, I don’t understand why the relationship is drawn at all, other than the fact that the two ideas happen to share a common word! This is also why I find messages like “strong is beautiful,” “skinny is beautiful,” etc. so problematic. Although well-meaning (whatever that counts for!), in an attempt at inclusivity, they reinforce the idea that outer beauty – rather than inner beauty – is something that should be universally sought.