Blogs: Staying Sane

Curiouser and Curiouser…

Why being at MIT is like being Alice in Wonderland

NOV 2018
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
On my first day of grad school. I drank a magic potion from the firehose! And there I went, down the rabbit hole… “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must...

Tuning out the Noise

My advice on learning to use challenging lab equipment

NOV 2018
Materials Science and Engineering
Have you ever looked at an instrument that a senior labmate is using - one of those behemoth installations that has a million glowing buttons and wires sticking out everywhere - and think to yourself, "There's no way I'll EVER learn how to use that"? That was what I thought when I saw a...

Finding Belonging through Community

Make the time to seek out familiar spaces

NOV 2018
Mechanical Engineering
There’s a common feeling that many incoming graduate students can attest to: I don’t belong here. MIT seems designed to keep us feeling this way, perhaps as motivation to work long hours, or perhaps to perpetuate its imposing reputation. It starts from the moment of acceptance. Elation and surprise...

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...