Blogs: How To...

5 Ways to Enrich Your Life in Grad School

SPRING 2017
by Sarah B.
Biology
In undergrad, I lost the journey for the destination. I came to college with blinders on. I was determined to focus 100% of my energy on academics and not let anything distract me from good grades. And, for better or worse, that is exactly what happened.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, I fell naturally...

Winter Survival Guide from a Tropical Islander

SPRING 2017
by Nicole A.
Biology
I grew up in Puerto Rico (PR), where the average temperature is about 85 degrees Fahrenheit in “winter” time. Despite not knowing what winter meant in New England, I decided to come to MIT for graduate school. I knew that it would be an adjustment, and a few things caught me by surprise, but if I...

PhD Student vs. PhD Candidate

SPRING 2017
by Alison L.
Science, Technology, and Society
Do you know the difference between a PhD student and a Ph.D. candidate? A candidate is someone who has fulfilled all the requirements for the degree except the dissertation. I’m a historian (see my earlier post about being a humanist...

Finding Great Escapes

SPRING 2017
by Lauren S.
Biological Engineering
As a 78 degree breeze brushed against my shoulders, I took my first sip of the local cocktail of choice, Ti Punch. I must look like such a local, ordering a Ti Punch and not a mojito, I thought to myself. The burning sensation of alcohol shot up my nose. Whoa! Punch was an understatement. Doesn’t...

Rebooting Your PhD (Is Not the End of the World)

SPRING 2017
by Sarah B.
Biology
In July of 2013, I was abruptly told to leave lab. No warning, no chance to explain myself. The fact is, a sizable fraction of students do end up changing labs. Sometimes the cause is relatively benign — a professor gets a job offer elsewhere, or you realize you don’t like working with mice after...

The Key to Successful Applications

SPRING 2017
by Amanda C.
Biological Engineering
If you are applying for graduate school and fellowships – variations of this paragraph will read eerily familiar to you: The Statement of Purpose should briefly detail your reasons for applying to the proposed program at [organization]. Please describe your background and experience (academic and...

Handmade Research

SPRING 2017
by Leigh Ann K.
Nuclear Science and Engineering
When I first took my parents to my lab, my father was appalled. “This place is worse than my shop.” To truly understand this insult, consider that my father is a farmer who works in a 40-year-old shop with concrete floors and metal walls. Seed is sometimes stored in the back, the machining...

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...