Blogs: Fear and Failure

The Paradox of Choice:

Too many flavors at the ice cream store

Nov 2019
Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology
I am a brand-new Ph.D. student and I have already figured out my least favorite part about MIT: the overwhelming number of choices. As I am enrolled as a student in the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology Medical Engineering Ph.D. program, the situation is even more intense. I can take...

The Unofficial Guide Book for the Grad School Applicant

If you have no idea what to do, you’re well on your way!

SEP 2019
Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology
I made the decision to apply for graduate school in mid-September of my senior year of college. With application deadlines only weeks away and the GRE looming in the distance, I spent one month scrambling to familiarize myself with the application materials that some of my peers had been refining...

Being Strong in Strong Situations

Having agency even when your choices aren't fully your own

SEP 2019
Technology and Policy Program
At my undergraduate institution (one of the three big U.S. military academies), every cadet was required to take a class called “The Behavioral Science of Leadership”. In this class we discussed something called strong situations. Strong situations are environments in which a person's options...

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...


What a scientist should look like

JUN 2019
"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
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...


Feeling at MIT

APR 2019
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...