Student spotlight: Donavon Clay

Donavon Clay appears on a hike, wearing a blue rock-climbing helmet.

Donavon Clay is a junior majoring in 6-2 Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. A native Texan, the Zeta Psi member enjoys the proximity of his FSILG to Beantown Taqueria–but when he’s on campus, you’re likely to find him in the outlet-rich EECS Lab in building 34, which Clay calls “a very productive space for me.” Clay shared his thoughts on gaming, hiking, and the importance of living deliberately. 

Tell us about your favorite game!

Dance Central on the Xbox 360: my sister and I used to play that and The Michael Jackson Experience (Wii version) all the time growing up. I still remember a lot of the choreography.

What’s one trend you wish would disappear, and one you wish would come back?

What needs to disappear: the increasing number of vehicles with the blueish-white LED headlights. I’m tired of being blinded by oncoming traffic or a Ford F-150 that’s tailgating me.

What should come back: Online computer games, such as Club Penguin and Poptropica.

Do you have a bucket list? If so, share one or two of the items on it!

Building my own tiny house would be sick. I used to have an obsession with them back in high school. The level of creativity and intricacy that goes into maximizing the use of space without making it too crowded while also making it look aesthetically pleasing is insane. Tiny houses also have a reduced impact on the environment and offer the added benefit of being mobile. 

My second bucket list item would be visiting all of the U.S. National Parks. After taking a trip to Yosemite (and some subsequent hikes) this past summer with some other interns, I’ve realized how nice it is to just have a stroll through the beautiful scenery nature has to offer.

Tell me about one teacher from your past—here at MIT, at your high school, or even earlier, who had an influence on the person you’ve become.

While I was a typical STEM student who dreaded essay writing, I actually came to look forward to my 11th grade English teacher’s class. My favorite lesson of hers came from the time we were reading Thoreau’s Walden and discussed the concept of ‘living deliberately.’ I take that phrase to mean making choices that allow you to live your life to the fullest, in a way that makes you happy, rather than blindly following the opinions of others or society. Though it might’ve meant disconnecting from society and living in a cabin in the woods for Thoreau, for me right now, that could be something as little as dropping the class that everyone considers a “must-take” for the major or not pursuing a FAANG internship in favor of something more fun to me. It might also include delaying an early graduation and stepping out of my comfort zone to study abroad in London for the year. This idea of being more intentional with choosing my own adventure is something I’ve come to be more aware of over the past few years, and I look forward to seeing how I’ll grow and where I’ll go from here. So thanks, Mrs. Mumme 🙂

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