Blogs: Fear and Failure

How to Craft a Personal Statement

Some practical tips and perspective

AUG 2019
Biological Engineering
There’s one part of any application that can always make you freeze: the dreaded personal statement. Writing about yourself is an exercise in embarrassment, anxiety, and existential doubt. Don’t worry; I’m here to help! Let’s get one thing out of the way first. The point of a personal statement is...

Girly

What a scientist should look like

JUN 2019
Physics
"Let us choose for ourselves our path in life, and let us try to strew that path with flowers." – Emilie du Chatelet, Physicist I love dresses and bows, face masks and makeup. When I get ready for a day in lab, I avoid it all...

A Structured Approach to Course Planning

Strategies for graduate students in a FOMO world

MAY 2019
Integrated Design and Management
Whether you attend MIT or another school, one of the things you may find challenging is planning the courses you will take over the entirety of your graduate career. As an incoming student of a cross-disciplinary program in Integrated Design & Management, I had the opportunity to select courses...

What the Puck?

How a new sport helped me find clarity in grad school

MAY 2019
Chemistry
In my first year of graduate school, I fell on my butt a lot. It’s as if I would forget about my feet. I would be gliding along smoothly, comfortably shifting from one skate to the other, but if a puck slid in my direction — and I had to get it! — my skates would be gone from under me, my heavily...

Grief

Feeling at MIT

APR 2019
Physics
My dead dad emailed me today. I was sitting in a shared office along with a postdoc when I saw my dad’s name pop into my inbox. My breath caught in my throat. Is this a message from beyond? A beat passed. I clicked. I was sure the note was written by my dad. Alyssa, You have written this almost...

The Project Management Triangle

Applying project management fundamentals to graduate school

APR 2019
Integrated Design and Management
Graduate school is a wonderful time to indulge in research, fun side projects, and coursework. This is especially true at MIT, where opportunities are plentiful, whether it be startups, teaching, courses, or working with professors. This is both a blessing and curse, especially for someone like me...

Safety First!

When science comes before safety

APR 2019
Chemical Engineering
As an MIT grad student doing cutting-edge research, have you always keep safety as your first priority? I hope your answer to this question is, “yes”. But in reality, many people feel that paying attention to safety will reduce their productivity. All graduate students coming to MIT are undoubtedly...

Dressing for Battlefield Science

Fashion & being yourself while complying with laboratory safety

APR 2019
Biological Engineering
My first three years of grad school blur together as a haze of experiments and little else. Doing laundry every other week marked the passage of time. I would wash the same set of Gap Body shirts in every neutral color along with my three identical pairs of NYDJ jeans. At some point, I realized I...

You Can't Run Before You Walk

Navigating the initial stressful months at MIT

APR 2019
Mechanical Engineering
After completing my undergraduate studies in 2014, I began a slow-paced government job in India. As part of the job, I got a chance to explore the depth and widths of the country, with temperatures ranging from -10oC to 50oC. Overall it was an enriching experience, it taught me a lot about the...

A Corridor full of Giants

My transition from a tiny college to MIT

APR 2019
Chemistry
If you told me in high school that I would go to MIT, I definitely wouldn’t have believed you. And if I had, I would have been terrified of the future. Although I certainly was not sheltered from most aspects of life, I would say that I was, to some extent, sheltered academically. I went to a...