Blogs: Staying Sane

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...

Drawing the Lines of Work-Life Balance

How my time-management skills are crucial to my productivity, and more importantly, to my happiness

MARCH 2018
Brain and Cognitive Sciences
Most mornings, I don’t set an alarm. As a student in cognitive science, when I’m not working with participants, almost all of my work is done on the computer and can be done from anywhere at any time. This is both a blessing and a curse, but it translates to the fact that I am almost entirely...

PhD and a Baby

Debugging code and changing diapers

MARCH 2018
Media Arts and Sciences
I wasn't married when I got to MIT, but I had a boyfriend named Randy who moved up to Boston with me. Two years in, we discover that it is, in fact, possible to simultaneously plan a wedding and write a master's thesis! Two years after that? I'm sitting uncomfortably in a floppy hospital gown at Mt...

Impostor Syndrome vs. the Scientific Method

My strategies for fighting the idea that I don't belong at MIT

MARCH 2018
Technology and Policy Program
I received my acceptance letter to MIT a few days after the 2017 Oscars – shortly after a human error led to the wrong film being announced as Best Picture winner live on national television.   The mix-up loomed large in my mind.   As I slowly read the email informing me that I had been admitted to...

Myths Worth Busting to Stay Sane in Grad School

March 2018
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Caricatures by Maria G. (Zoya’s sister) As we approach the middle of the second semester and inch on all-fours towards the summer, we look back at what we’ve gained and cultivated since the year began, and we inevitably start to make resolutions to do things bigger, better, and faster before the...

An Open Letter to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

The life lessons I have learned from my favorite extra-curricular

March 2018
Urban Studies and Planning
Dear Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, When we first met, I was a chubby fifteen-year-old kid. I had no real experience with martial arts, nor any natural physical ability I could call “athleticism.” You first captured my imagination through reruns of the Ultimate Fighting Championship that aired late night on...

Literature Review for Pleasure

The importance of reading in my life, both for research and personal pleasure

FEBRUARY 2018
Urban Studies and Planning
Literature review - nothing strikes terror into a graduate student’s heart more than these two words! You can’t live with it, you can’t live without it. Considered an essential part of research, you print hundreds of papers till the printer’s ink and/or paper runs out, read tens of papers with...

Ayşe, Ali, and Oya

Three types of students- from the eyes of a procrastinator

FEBRUARY 2018
Technology and Policy Program
After seventeen years of being a student at three different schools, in three different countries. I have come to the resounding conclusion that students can more or less be placed into three categories based on how they procrastinate: the always-overachiever, the workaholic socialite, and the...

Out of the lab, into the Rice Paddy

A reflection on engineering principles observed on an adventure in Laos

DECEMBER 2017
Biological Engineering
I’ll pose this question to the MIT and scientific community: how would you identify and separate healthy rice grains from empty or insect-damaged grains to feed to the chickens? As MIT graduate students, we’d probably over-engineer this. Is there some protein in the healthy grain I can image for? I...