Blogs: Why I Came

You Are Not Alone OR I Am Here

Applying to graduate school with impostor syndrome

NOV 2018
At this time two years ago, I was considering not applying to graduate school.   That is not to say I did not want to go to graduate school. On the contrary, the better part of me wanted to go to graduate school to mentor students through teaching and research while earning the qualifications to do...


What to do if nothing goes according to plan

APRIL 2018
Technology and Policy Program
As a military brat, growing up was often an exercise in how to exist in the in-between. Moving every two years fostered a patchwork identity that seemed too foreign for anywhere, and so I was content to introduce myself in a brief, adapted way: Hi. I’m Julia, I’ve moved around a lot, but I consider...

Remember That Undergraduate Internship?

How an unhappy internship experience helped me discover my passion for research

MARCH 2018
Biological Engineering
I did not know I was considering graduate school until the beginning of my senior year. During undergrad, I felt like a squirrel in a nut factory jumping at every opportunity that came my way. In the summer of my sophomore year, I began working for a traditional chemical engineering company called...

My Recipe for Getting In

An application assistance program to level the playing field

Biological Engineering
I had never considered a PhD until late in my undergraduate degree. Most students in my program were either grabbing one-year master's degrees or becoming entry-level grunts at consumer goods or biomedical device companies. I remember a career fair where I talked to a recent graduate who was...

From Professional to PhD

The costs and benefits of a substantial career change

Nuclear Science and Engineering
A 70 percent cut in pay — that’s what my next career move would cost me. And yet it was an opportunity I knew I couldn’t pass up, and it was possibly the best thing I could for my career. Still, a 70% pay cut would definitely change my idea of a vacation for the next few years…  When I started my...

It's Not About the Weather

Don't choose a grad program for the location or climate

Materials Science and Engineering
I’m a first year graduate student in Materials Science and Engineering, or "Course 3" to anyone who’s familiar with MIT’s classification system for majors (more on this later). I’m on my way to a PhD (or as my good friend calls it – Permanent Head Damage, Piled Higher and Deeper, Pretty Huge...

Being a Historian at MIT

Perspectives on MIT from a student of the humanities

Science, Technology, and Society
I’m a graduate student at MIT, but my experience here is not the norm. I state that with confidence because I… am a historian. As of writing this post, I’m a fourth-year doctoral candidate in an interdisciplinary PhD program shared among the History, Anthropology, and Science, Technology &...

From My Future Self

Advice from a fourth-semester graduate student

Nuclear Science and Engineering
Dear Alicia (circa 2015), Hi! It’s me. Or you, from the future. I’m writing you from the fourth semester of our grad school experience (the one you’re about to embark on!). I know you’re simultaneously thrilled  and terrified to start a PhD program at MIT! Let me tell you, it’s going to be one of...

Returning to MIT

Choosing to attend graduate school at my undergraduate institution

Materials Science and Engineering
I came back to MIT as a graduate student more in spite of my time as an undergraduate here than because of it. And I’m so glad that I did. Now, don’t get me wrong. My hesitation wasn’t because my undergraduate experience wasn’t amazing. It was. I loved my first time at MIT, and would definitely...

Why Choose MIT?

The reasons I came to MIT, and the reasons I'm glad I stayed

Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
When asked the entitled question ("Why Choose MIT?"), especially by prospective students whom I haven’t gotten to know well personally, I’m often at loss as to how to respond. The follow-up question that I’ve always secretly wanted to ask back is this: When your initial reasons for going to MIT are...