Blogs: Beyond the Lab

Two cats move to Cambridge

How—and why—to relocate with pets

JUN 2020
Biology
Every night, when I come home, I’m greeted by the hungry calls of my two cats, Kiwi and Clem. Clem, the tortie, usually weaves in between my legs as I walk in, while her sister Kiwi, the calico, leads the way to the kitchen. After dinner, the cats loaf around in their usual spots―Kiwi on the couch...

Making It Work

Makerspaces, corgis, and my Grad School Puzzle

JUN 2020
Mechanical Engineering
What if I told you that a grad school education could include the finer details of wooden corgi carving? If you told me that a year ago I would immediately respond with skepticism — “right, because that’s a productive use of time”. Yet, today I would argue that such education is not only possible...

My Year in the Wild

Why I Chose to Go into Industry Before Pursuing Grad School

MAY 2020
Aeronautics and Astronautics
Once I realized I wanted to be a professor, grad school felt inevitable. It was a question of when I wanted to spend at least five more years in school, not if I was going to do so. I spent my last couple years of college deliberating whether I was going to apply to graduate programs for aerospace...

Loafing Around at MIT

Why baking bread should be your next hobby

MAY 2020
Biology
I started baking not too long ago, mostly at the advice of acquaintances who were already proficient bakers. My first few attempts weren’t great; I once managed to omit an entire cup of water from a naan recipe, resulting in a hard puck-shaped mass with the texture of stale Ritz crackers. But I...

Terraforming Friendship

How friendship started to flourish after a game of Terraforming Mars

MAY 2020
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
My friend recently flew back to visit his grad school friends. All of us used to do many things together. Since he was back, we decided to play a game we enjoyed — Terraforming Mars. The game...

Is Grad School Harder than a Headstand?

How practicing my headstand turned into a metaphor for my PhD

MAY 2020
Chemistry
Editor Note: This post was originally written before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the US. The first semester of graduate school is pretty hard. You’re surrounded by new people from all over the world, you’re taking challenging classes, and in many departments, you’re also required to teach...

Dungeons and Biology

A tale of biologists, some dice, and keeping each other sane

MAY 2020
Biology
Every other Sunday, six biologists gather around my apartment’s dining table. The meeting starts out normally enough, each of us giving one science and one non-science update about our lives since we last met. We recap our previous meeting. What happens next is less normal. I begin narrating: “The...

What Do I Do When I Can’t Go to Lab?

Ways to move your research forward when running experiments isn’t an option

APR 2020
Chemistry
Sometimes, going to lab isn’t an option. Whether it’s due to an injury, illness, family or, as in 2020, COVID-19, life often gets in the way of planned experiments. But that doesn’t have to stop you from working on your research! There are lots of ways to push your research forward without...

Great Podcasts to Accompany Quarantine

Ranked from highly-dignified to 100% guilty-pleasure

APR 2020
Biological Engineering
Allow me to remind you of a fantastic form of entertainment that you used to listen to during your commute: podcasts! For those of us who have already finished Tiger King (as well as seemingly everything else on Netflix), podcasts are a great way to pass the time between Zoom calls. I’ve...

What Business Does a Modeler Have at Sea?

Lessons learned from a research cruise

APR 2020
Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences
If you’re anything like me, then there is a good chance you have never even heard of a research cruise. That was about my (lack of) knowledge level until I started applying to graduate schools. Next thing I knew, I was a part of the incoming class for the MIT-WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography/...