Blogs: Staying Sane

Adapting to a Pandemic World

And how to make a difference in the process

JUN 2020
Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology
I am the absolute worst at working from home. During college I often did my homework not only from home, but also while all nice and cozy in my bed – needless to say, those days are long behind me. When I got to grad school, I vowed to have some sense of normalcy about my workday and have done...

Making It Work

Makerspaces, corgis, and my Grad School Puzzle

JUN 2020
Mechanical Engineering
What if I told you that a grad school education could include the finer details of wooden corgi carving? If you told me that a year ago I would immediately respond with skepticism — “right, because that’s a productive use of time”. Yet, today I would argue that such education is not only possible...

The Buddy System

How checking in weekly can keep your goals on track

MAY 2020
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Graduate school is overwhelming and lonely at times. In addition to producing good research, graduate students have to balance networking, taking classes, staying updated on advances in their field by reading papers, and managing personal life goals. Everyone has a research advisor and, usually,...

A Thermodynamic Model of Friendship

Keeping up with friendships is energy-intensive

MAY 2020
Mathematics
Disclaimer: I have not taken a physics class in years, and the unavoidable inaccuracies in the discussion that follows should in no way reflect poorly on the professors/department that bestowed a physics degree upon me back in the day. Friendships take energy to maintain. Entropically speaking,...

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...