Blogs: Staying Sane

On Grieving from a Distance

Learning to speak the language of loss

Sept 2021
Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology
“Can you make a short video for 爷爷? Just a few lines to cheer him up.” I received this text from my mother on the evening of October 12, 2020.  My paternal grandpa (爷爷, pronounced “...

Touring Colleges on Foot

A brief jog through some of Boston’s many universities

Sept 2021
Materials Science and Engineering
Coming from an undergraduate university located in a smaller city, I was used to living in an area with few nearby schools to compare to my own. In contrast, the Boston area is littered with colleges! In fact, Wikipedia cites that there are...

From Procrastination to Productivity

How I Found Motivation in a Remote Semester

July 2021
Linguistics and Philosophy
A few months after receiving the exciting news that I’d been admitted to MIT, I was informed that my semester of grad school would be fully online. Little did I know that it would turn out much worse than I could’ve ever anticipated. Don’t get me wrong, remote learning has many advantages. There is...

What A Poet Taught Me About Sitting Still

Building a mindfulness practice into a busy grad student schedule

July 2021
MIT Sloan MBA Program
One year ago or so, many of us found ourselves suddenly with more time that we ever knew we had. With no commute, no social engagements, and little to do outside the house, we were left alone with ourselves. Perhaps for the first time, or at least, for me, for the first time in a long time. ...

PhD Parenting in a Pandemic

Challenges and lessons learned from a tumultuous time in my life

April 2021
Civil and Environmental Engineering
When I first heard about SARS-CoV-2, my wife and I had just flown back to the U.S. from visiting her family in China. She was already in her second trimester of pregnancy and was concerned that the virus might spread to North America. At the time, I didn’t think too much of it. Evidently, her “...

Routine in Chaos

Discovering opportunity to hack your own personal productivity habits

April 2021
Mechanical Engineering
About a month into my first semester at MIT, I found myself sitting on my couch at 4pm, still in my pajamas I’d been wearing all day, working on a math Problem Set (PSET), with a bag of pretzels as my only meal of the day beside me when I thought:  What the heck am I doing? Who have I become?? For...

Hunting for What We Lost

How the MIT Mystery Hunt Reminded Me Of How Bleak Pandemic Life Is

April 2021
Aeronautics and Astronautics
It is a unique feeling to be having such a fantastic time that you make yourself hopelessly, achingly sad.  During the Independent Activities Period (IAP) this past January, the annual MIT Mystery Hunt took place, and I competed with my undergraduate team, NES*. For those that don’t know, the MIT...

Mayan, what else?

Take the time to breathe and do what you like

April 2021
Technology and Policy Program
I was tired. My first semester at MIT was tougher than I had expected. I still have vivid memories of that defining evening of November. I was making my way back home with research ideas spinning in my head and started to feel anxious about the three p-sets I had to finish by week’s end. In short,...

A Food Scientist’s Views on Instant Foods

How to consciously generate instant happiness!

March 2021
System Design and Management
What comes to your mind when you hear the word "instant"?  How about "instant foods"?  When it comes to food, people tend to relate instantaneity with unhealthy, "bad for you", or processed. All those associations were also on my mind as a consumer. However, other questions were: Why do people...

Grad Student by Day, Standup Comic by Night

Finding communities outside of MIT

March 2021
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
According to, Americans fear public speaking more than death. Personally, I’ve never been followed by an unknown man in an alley after dark and thought I bet he’s trying to...