Blogs: How To...

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...

On Becoming a Professional Student

How I emerged from the chaos of undergrad to embrace professionalism in my graduate career

SEP 2019
by Sam C.
Mechanical Engineering
If you are an academic masochist who constantly enjoys being over-involved and under pressure, then your undergraduate “career” was probably something like mine. My (pre-grad) college years regularly felt like a frenzied, unorganized attempt to accomplish the umpteen items on my mental to-do list....

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...

Giving Back to Society

How I got involved in service activities at MIT

AUG 2019
Mechanical Engineering
The ultimate aim of all the jobs the world has to offer in today’s time, whether in the field of entertainment, business or research, is to ultimately serve the human civilization. While none can claim to be better than others, some have a more direct and faster impact. These include service...

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...

BYOB or… Bring Your Own Bowl

How we could all make our lunchtimes at MIT zero-waste

APR 2019
Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences
I don’t know about you, but I like to take a break at lunchtime. When, two years ago, I started my PhD, I used to walk everyday out of building 54 to go to the Stata Center cafe, ...

MIT in a Year

How to make the most of a brief MIT experience

APR 2019
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Nine months. The length of a human pregnancy. Also the length of my time at MIT. To clarify, this is not a story about pregnancy. Ask most MIT graduate students how long they plan to be here, and two years is the minimum. Many will be here well beyond four as they pursue a PhD. But for...

Taking the Lead on Leadership

What MIT could do better

APR 2019
by Sam M.
Technology and Policy Program
A surprising portion of my undergraduate education at the United States Military Academy (West Point) was spent getting punched in the face, trying to stay alive in a class called survival swimming, and gasping for fresh air as I ran indoor obstacle courses. My after-school activities included...

How to Combat Homesickness

Building your village in Boston

DEC 2018
Aeronautics and Astronautics
It’s a small thing, ordering a coffee. Most of us do it, in some cases several times a day (or more likely several times an hour if you’re a grad student at MIT). But for an Australian international student like myself, this simple action comes with a pang of homesickness. Back home in Sydney, my...

Fighting Unfair Rules

Aligning MIT’s actions with its mission

NOV 2018
Chemical Engineering
When I got an offer to be a Graduate Resident Tutor (GRT),  a graduate student mentor who lives in an undergraduate dorm, I leapt across the hallway to exclaim to my friends that I didn’t just get a GRT position:  I got assigned to Random Hall - the quirkiest, nerdiest dorm filled with murals in...