Blogs: How To...

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...

Starting Over Summer

Settling down before the semester starts

OCT 2018
Materials Science and Engineering
Out of school for a year, I was not sure if I could fit in classes, choosing a lab, doing research, and settling down in a new country all at once when I started graduate school in the fall. So, when the option on the acceptance letter said that I could join over the summer instead, I was more than...

Not a Contradiction

You can raise a family at MIT

OCT 2018
Biological Engineering
“You know,” my wife said, “For our kids, MIT won’t be this abstract place they hear about sometimes in the news. It’ll be home: where they learned to ride their bikes and to read. They’ll think of it as the place where they grew up.” My wife – who deserves more credit than I could ever give her –...

The Yellow Zone

Five Ways to Break Out of the Department Bubble

AUG 2018
MIT Sloan MBA Program
In my very first lecture at MIT Sloan School of Management, a professor started class with a drawing of a huge three-ring target. The bullseye was colored green, the middle ring was yellow, and the outer ring was red. “This is your comfort zone,” she said, pointing to the green circle. “We want you...

Shaping Another Person’s Decision

Navigating the interview process

JUNE 2018
Media Arts and Sciences
After just 30 days of officially starting grad school in the Synthetic Neurobiology group at the Media Lab, my advisor asked me to help interview a couple of rotation...

Do What You’re (Not) Good At

Avoiding the tendency to over-specialize in science

JUNE 2018
Biology
“What do you want to work on?”   This is one of the most expected--and sometimes dreaded--questions that prospective graduate students encounter during the interview process. Because, as they say, “it’s a trap!”...

Good Ideas

They don't grow on trees, so where do you get them?

JUNE 2018
Media Arts and Sciences
Even at MIT, good ideas don't grow on trees. Instead, I've found that good ideas have two ingredients: preparation and practice.   1. Preparation. The act of acquiring new knowledge and ideas. The foundation on which my good ideas will be built.   2. Practice. Generate lots of ideas. Engage with...

In Pursuit of Riches

Publications as the currency of academia

MAY 2018
Biology
I am a poor grad student. And I don’t mean in the classic, monetary sense. (Although, let’s be real, what grad student isn’t poor?) I am ‘poor’ in the currency of academia- publications. If you’ve never experienced academia for yourself, you might not be aware of how profound and accurate that...

MIT Graduate Housing

The guide I wish I'd had

MAY 2018
Biological Engineering
During my interview weekend at MIT, I went on a brief housing tour of three MIT graduate housing residences that current students lived in. One student proclaimed her room was the biggest bedroom in the whole building. I made a mental note—the biggest room in the furnished dorm is not very big. Don...

Beyond the Dorms

A guide to off-campus housing near MIT

MAY 2018
Biology
When I committed to attending MIT for graduate school, I was ecstatic. I immediately began planning out my courses, researching clubs on campus, and looking up potential advisers. But wait, I’d need a place to live, too. Boston’s a city- but how bad could housing be, really? Ah the naiveté! As...