Blogs: Staying Sane

Loafing Around at MIT

Why baking bread should be your next hobby

MAY 2020
Biology
I started baking not too long ago, mostly at the advice of acquaintances who were already proficient bakers. My first few attempts weren’t great; I once managed to omit an entire cup of water from a naan recipe, resulting in a hard puck-shaped mass with the texture of stale Ritz crackers. But I...

Is Grad School Harder than a Headstand?

How practicing my headstand turned into a metaphor for my PhD

MAY 2020
Chemistry
Editor Note: This post was originally written before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the US. The first semester of graduate school is pretty hard. You’re surrounded by new people from all over the world, you’re taking challenging classes, and in many departments, you’re also required to teach...

The Bright Side of Isolation

A few positive aspects of social distancing

MAY 2020
Mechanical Engineering
Being a graduate student whose work mostly takes place on a PC, the changes in MIT policies related to COVID-19 have not impacted my academic work by a large amount so far. On the other hand, the social impact of it has been much more profound. From an exponential increase in the discussions (...

COVID-26.2

Running from your problems

APR 2020
Aeronautics and Astronautics
I’m a big fan of running, to the point where one of my labmates described me as being known among her friends as “a running and cider fiend”. I’ve written before about my...

Reset (or Set) Your Morning Routine

Tips for jumpstarting your days when working from home

MAR 2020
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Coronavirus has caused a work from home (WFH) phenomenon unlike anything seen before. It’s an experimental time for many and, given the circumstances, it can be stressful and isolating. Setting up a good routine can be a great way to create order in chaos. A while ago, I read a book called “...

Work From Home 101

How to be productive when working in the lab isn’t an option

MAR 2020
Chemistry
Being a grad student is hard. Being a grad student during the coronavirus pandemic is even harder. We’re used to running between classes, meetings, and labwork; suddenly, we’re barricaded in our apartments with no access to our labs, coffee shops or libraries, and we’re somehow expected to still be...

Schrödinger’s Graduate Student

The paths to success in graduate school are as arbitrary as the goal itself

MAR 2020
Biology
Four years into graduate school, I still struggle with a simple question: what makes a successful graduate student? I don’t mean the end product of a student with a flashy C.V., a long list of publications, or a dream job. Instead, I wonder: what does a successful graduate student look like in...

Controlling Chaos

Learning to love my calendar

FEB 2020
Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology
“Hey, you ready for the call in five?” The what? With who? Did I have to prep for this? When did we decide to schedule a call? What are we even talking about? Maybe I’ve just been getting old, but I never had a problem remembering all my commitments before graduate school. Or maybe I never had to...

Overcoming Anxiety

How my first year of graduate school pushed me to reach out for help

FEB 2020
MIT-WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography / Applied Ocean Science and Engineering
This post is part of a special issue: "Mental Health Matters: Asking for Help & Reaching Out". Hey there! I’m Jessica, a current 3rd year graduate student and PhD candidate, and I have anxiety. I choose to say this in the...

Surviving Grad School for the Strong of Mind

A year with anxiety and depression

FEB 2020
Biology
This post is part of a special issue: "Mental Health Matters: Asking for Help & Reaching Out". It was New Year’s Day ’17 when I first set foot at MIT for a one-week intensive...