Blogs: Relationships and Networking

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...

Auspicious Boston Snow

Celebrating the successes of my labmates in the new year

MARCH 2018
Nuclear Science and Engineering
As an old Chinese saying goes, “A timely snow promises a good harvest.” In China, it is thought, snow at the New Year always brings some good luck. In early January, I found myself thinking, what kind of good luck might a really heavy Boston snow (“near blizzard conditions,” according to The...

Are You Alive Still?

Maintaining a healthy marriage in the face of graduate school challenges

MARCH 2018
Urban Studies and Planning
“Are you alive still?” the text read. My wife Alex woke up in a panic. 4:41 AM and the bed was still empty next to her. My team and I had been working in the urban design studio on our final proposals for a development in Union Square since 9 AM the morning before. I laughed. Her texts and...

Saying Goodbye

The sadness and pride of bidding farewell to a long-time collaborator and friend

September 2017
Nuclear Science and Engineering
This week, I got to celebrate Brandon’s defense. For four years we worked together, studying for quals, desperately rebuilding accelerators, taking data for hours ... and now he is done. I helped him prepare for his defense, sat in the front row, and even got nervous as he started. It hits me now...

My Recipe for Getting In

An application assistance program to level the playing field

Biological Engineering
I had never considered a PhD until late in my undergraduate degree. Most students in my program were either grabbing one-year master's degrees or becoming entry-level grunts at consumer goods or biomedical device companies. I remember a career fair where I talked to a recent graduate who was...

Where Are All the Women?

Experiences in computer science from visit weekend and beyond

Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
This may sound crazy, but for a brief time, I pictured MIT’s Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) department as only women. Yes, this happened. Due to a weirdly warped golden recall of MIT’s Visit Weekend, I somehow only remember the Saturday Pancake Breakfast for women in EECS: A...