Blogs: Staying Sane

Lost Hobbies and How to Find Them

Finding time for hobbies during graduate school

Jan 2021
Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology
“Someday I’ll have more time for _______(insert your lost hobby here).” For years, this statement has been my approach to hobbies. I’ll have more time when this project is completed, or when the semester is over, or when I graduate from college. By constantly pushing these activities into the...

Dousing First-Year Burnout

The importance of making MIT your home

Jan 2021
Nuclear Science and Engineering
“How was your first week, hon? Have you found any fun clubs to join? Are you making any friends?” Typical Mom, still thinking of me as a kid. I had just started a graduate program at MIT. I was joining a group of the world’s most elite scientists, and I certainly didn’t have time for the frivolous...

Ohana means family

Finding a community outside of MIT

Dec 2020
I was freaking out. My whole body was shaking from a massive adrenaline rush. No, I hadn’t just seen the data that would complete my thesis work. I had just been hit by a car. Honestly, it was more of a “love tap” and I was okay, but there was real contact by a real clueless driver, and I needed to...

Strange lands

On being a (foreign) grad student mom

Dec 2020
Political Science
“So how’s everything? How’s the baby?” This is the opening line at almost all of my meetings. And I really can hear the emphasis on the second part.  Growing up watching my own parents complete graduate degrees and then becoming a grad student myself for many years did not prepare me for the life...

Volunteering in a home away from home

Is it possible to volunteer while studying at MIT?

Dec 2020
History, Anthropology, and Science, Technology, and Society
When I was accepted to the Comparative Media Studies Master’s program at MIT, I had spent the previous five years working on technology for social justice nonprofits in Mexico. This work exposed me to and involved me in hundreds of projects with all sorts of collectives and organizations, and it...

A stroke of luck?

Hospitalization during a pandemic

Dec 2020
Aeronautics and Astronautics
Back in April, I wrote about how running has remained an important form of stress relief to me during the pandemic, despite the loss of the usual social runs and goal races that motivate me to put on my shoes and get out of the house. On April 20th, I was meant to run my first Boston Marathon....

Reasons to Cook for Yourself

An optimization problem

Dec 2020
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
 Have you noticed how MIT seems to repel good restaurants? Go Northwest to Harvard Square, and you'll see a squadron of restaurants catering to fortunate Harvard students. Go South, across the river, and you'll see a delightful selection of restaurants catering to happy shoppers. Go further East to...

Beer in Class—but Peers Afar

Navigating the Freedom and Isolation of Virtual MIT

Oct 2020
Supply Chain Management
I sat in class, the professor again repeating the technique we were expected to learn but about which I was still woefully confused.  I was immediately struck with self-doubt.  I put my head down on the desk and started to cry. The small upside was that at least no one could see my meltdown. ...

Finding a Cambridge coffee home

An inner journey in pursuit of good coffee

Oct 2020
* Writer’s Note (September 2020): Wow, how things have changed. Re-reading this piece, which as written pre-COVID, makes me feel as if I’m now in my late seventies, looking back fondly upon the simpler times of my youth. Ironically, I write this note while drinking jasmine tea, alone in my garden,...

Bench, bath and beyond

Transform your apartment into a yeast lab, and have fun doing it!

Sept 2020
One of the very first lessons you learn in microbiology is that while countless things can - and will - go wrong, you can almost always count on your microbes to grow. There is some strange comfort in knowing that what looks like clear liquid today will reveal countless gleaming colonies smiling up...