Blogs: Staying Sane

Are You Smart Enough to Be at MIT?

Attacking the smart versus non-smart cliché

OCT 2018
Aeronautics and Astronautics
The Letter: It is mid-April. You receive an email from the MIT graduate office congratulating you on your admission to MIT. You are overjoyed. You tell your family and friends about it. A few days pass by. The news sinks in, and a cloud of doubts appears as you browse through the MIT webpages, the...

Staying Sane

An insider’s view on underappreciated graduate struggles

OCT 2018
Chemistry
Brainstorming the challenges of an upcoming graduate school? Let me help. Soon after grad school kicked off I started hearing complaints from my classmates about how insanely intense the workload and expectations are. I, too,  started to feel a lot of pressure. Here I will share a few honest facts...

Fiddling through Grad School

My experiences learning the violin as a grad student

OCT 2018
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
“Do you want to get lunch this weekend?” “Can we get dinner instead? I have a violin class in the afternoon.” You can do that as a grad student? Wow. As a first-year graduate student, I had not yet realized the degree of independence I now had in the choices I made in my life. Having gone to...

The Wonderful World of Procrasti-Baking

How I manage grad school stress in the kitchen

OCT 2018
Biological Engineering
You have spent days – maybe even weeks – planning the perfect experiment. You have gathered all the materials you need, written down the protocol in your lab notebook, and made sure all the necessary equipment is available. Line by line, you perform the protocol with precision and manage to get...

The Yellow Zone

Five Ways to Break Out of the Department Bubble

AUG 2018
MIT Sloan MBA Program
In my very first lecture at MIT Sloan School of Management, a professor started class with a drawing of a huge three-ring target. The bullseye was colored green, the middle ring was yellow, and the outer ring was red. “This is your comfort zone,” she said, pointing to the green circle. “We want you...

Don’t Study; Imagine

Creativity is a critical ingredient to learning

JULY 2018
Brain and Cognitive Sciences
When I was quite young I asked my mother if I could take apart a VCR – a relic of the old times when movies came from video rental stores on cassettes you had to rewind. Like any good mother, she told me that I was under no circumstances allowed to disassemble what she paid for. Like any ornery son...

Finding Work-Life Balance Through Sport

Extracurricular activities can help keep you sane

JUNE 2018
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
After a long day of class or research in lab, there is no better feeling than walking across campus to soccer practice. The stress of the day melts away as I step onto the field. Finally, I am able to clear my head and to connect to the present. We pull on our cleats and start to warm-up, the...

Passing on the Fountain of Knowledge

Knowing when to say no

JUNE 2018
Media Arts and Sciences
As soon as I officially started as a grad student in the Media Arts & Sciences program, I was paired with a more experienced graduate student in the lab to learn protein engineering and molecular cloning techniques for the first time in my life, though my undergrad studies had covered some of...

A Tale of Two Responsibilities

Living sustainably while researching climate change

MAY 2018
Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences
“So all my office plants died from how high the heat’s turned up.” “Wait. You mean your succulents?” “Yeah. The ones I specifically got for their drought and heat resistance.” Such occurrences might seem unexpected in the MIT Green Building, where I and many others study humanity’s impact on our...

Option B

How to help a grieving friend

MARCH 2018
Technology and Policy Program
On November 1st, 2017, I lost my father. He was one of my best friends. And now, instead of my best friend, all I have left is memories and emotions.   My father died of an unexpected heart attack in my hometown of Izmir, Turkey at the age of 57. The two weeks that followed were the hardest of my...