Blogs: Fear and Failure

From My Future Self

SPRING 2017
by Alicia E.
Nuclear Science and Engineering
Dear Alicia (circa 2015), Hi! It’s me. Or you, from the future. I’m writing you from the fourth semester of our grad school experience (the one you’re about to embark on!). I know you’re simultaneously thrilled  and terrified to start a PhD program at MIT! Let me tell you, it’s going to be one of...

Fighting Depression

SPRING 2017
by Dongying S.
Chemical Engineering
“Who is she? Why does she look so sad?” It was a summer day in 2013. After lying in my bed and staring at the ceiling without doing anything for the entire day again, I finally got up. When I looked into the bathroom mirror, I saw my eyes filled with tears. What is worse, I could not recognize the...

45 Dreams Deferred

SPRING 2017
by Amanda C.
Biological Engineering
Dressed in a freshly dry-cleaned suit for graduate school visits, I marched proudly and eagerly into my first one-on-one interview with a prospective PI. “Hi, I’m Amanda!” “Nice to meet you, I’m Rob. Are you good at failing?” “What do you mean?” I stared blankly, taken aback by his bluntness. He...

Plan to Feel Unprepared

SPRING 2017
by Katie M.
Technology and Policy Program
There are few things more intimidating than standing in front of an MIT classroom after your very first semester, preparing to lecture on topics you just finished learning about. I was in this situation during my first IAP (Independent Activities Period). I had been dreading the thought of teaching...

Reaching the Summit

SPRING 2017
by Leigh Ann K.
Nuclear Science and Engineering
I saw the police car just a little too late. I looked at the speedometer, and unlike the rest of the morning when I’d been sticking to the speed limit, I’d somehow drifted up to over 80 mph. Sally, my friend and hiking buddy, murmurs, “Oh no,” as she sees the red and blue lights come on. I was...

Not Just a Grad Student

SPRING 2017
by Alicia E.
Nuclear Science and Engineering
From the day I moved to MIT, I worried about whether I belonged here. Was I smart enough? Would I be able to handle the intense, rigorous workload? Would I be able to balance my work with my life, and take care of my physical, mental, and emotional health? Why did my department’s admissions...

Don't Panic

SPRING 2017
by Katherine S.
Materials Science and Engineering
The people that get into MIT and places like it are used to being the best of the best. The people who come here are used to success. In particular, they’re used to success being easy. The easy success you may have experienced in undergrad is not going to continue at MIT. (Okay, it might continue...