Blogs: Relationships and Networking

Wasting My Degree

Why is having kids, moving out of the city, and following an unusual path a waste?

MAR 2019
Media Arts and Sciences
"She's worried you'll waste your degree." My friend (let's call her Anna) relays this message to me as coming from another friend, but I can tell from her tone of voice that she's clearly worrying about the same potential waste. That makes the question doubly irritating. As if pretending to be...

Unscrambling a Scrambled Egg

An algorithmic approach to sustain a healthy long-distance relationship

MAR 2019
Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology
“We are pleased to offer you a spot for the HST MEMP program for Fall 2018….” I freeze while my brain works very hard to process multiple emotions and thoughts. I send a message: “the HST program offered me a spot.” Shortly after, my computer blinks with a response. “Can we talk?” I minimize one...

How Not to Die Alone

Free cats at MIT

MAR 2019
Nuclear Science and Engineering
This is an account of how three grad students came to befriend a cat at MIT.   Year 1 B.C. (Before the Cat) Grad school can be an isolating experience if you allow yourself  to be consumed by the lab or classes. Fortunately, I found at least two acceptable individuals in my program named Guillaume...

Pottery before P-Sets

How marriage and a reindeer plate gave me some much needed perspective

MAR 2019
by Sam M.
Technology and Policy Program
I wouldn’t really call myself a pottery guy. Don’t get me wrong… I can appreciate a good bowl every once in a while, and some of those vases can really knock my socks off, but that hardly means I was dreaming of making my own. And yet, there I was in a small pottery painting shop called the Clay...

Subtle Scandals

Everyday lies incentivized by funding sources

FEB 2019
Chemical Engineering
My first experience with academic misinformation occurred during my junior year of college. In my final project for my engineering ethics course, my group found that the EPA’s initial report on the impact of hydraulic fracturing (commonly known as “fracking”) on drinking water lacked sufficient...

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...

When It’s Hard to Talk

Cultivating meaningful relationships in graduate school despite social anxiety

OCT 2018
I walk into a meeting with my advisor. I’ve met him before, but this is our first meeting since I joined his lab. He is a leader in the field, like most professors at MIT. I feel as though I need to make a good impression: come up with a brilliant idea or at least say something reasonably...

My First Desk on Campus

The good and bad of moving into a student office

JUNE 2018
Linguistics and Philosophy
The key to my new student office finally arrived in the mailbox. On my first day as a graduate student of the linguistics program, I found my way to the office, and stood outside the door for a minute before opening it. I had never had an office of my own before. What would the office look like?...


What to do if nothing goes according to plan

APRIL 2018
Technology and Policy Program
As a military brat, growing up was often an exercise in how to exist in the in-between. Moving every two years fostered a patchwork identity that seemed too foreign for anywhere, and so I was content to introduce myself in a brief, adapted way: Hi. I’m Julia, I’ve moved around a lot, but I consider...


Where scientists talk religion

APRIL 2018
Every Monday night, I shuffle down Mass Ave, past the towering columns of MIT’s entrance to a small unassuming building almost directly across the street. Inside I meet with a group of about ten students. We continue our discussion of something that can make people uncomfortable, something that isn...