Diversity

My response to COVID-19

Being aware of the COVID-19 crisis in China and Italy, I found myself researching it and getting involved in conversations about it here in the US. Even before MIT sent out its first official announcement to shut down the campus, I was already working from home. A few days later, the official announcement followed and everyone else was asked to do the same. This was a relief to me since it was very obvious that some people around me hadn’t realized the seriousness of the situation yet.

How I passed my 1st-year classes

That’s right, I confess: I am a serial class skipper. It all started in high school, when I discovered it was possible to learn a lot more about a subject if I studied the material during class instead of paying attention to the teacher. Of course, I couldn’t physically skip classes back then without getting into some serious trouble, but you’d be surprised how well a girl can hide a pair of earphones behind long hair.

Am I too busy for radio?

The way I see it, a major part of being an “entitled millennial” is our personal conviction that we all have a message to share and a voice to be heard; its primary symptoms are the oversaturated podcast market and the unlimited supply of Instagram influencers. As a new graduate student at MIT with new inferiority complexes, a poetry habit, and a Middle Eastern-American identity crisis, I also was swayed by the opportunity to empower a community with personal anecdotes and eloquent adages. So, I searched for a platform.

Piruksraurugut!

For thousands of years, Inuit women celebrated womanhood and rites of passage by giving and receiving traditional markings. Two years ago, I received my tavluġun (chin tattoo) through a traditional Inuit hand poke method, where a needle is dipped into ink and then poked into the skin.

An Indian Spice Blend™ You Won’t Find at Whole Foods

One of the most challenging tasks every family must undertake at some point in their lives is deciding what to watch together. One evening, the compromise for our family was Hasan Minhaj’s Netflix standup special, Homecoming King. It was a win-win: my immigrant parents got to see a young brown man rise to fame, and I got to hear relatable jokes on the trials and tribulations of growing up brown in America. As I laughed unabashedly through jokes about subtle racism in romance, school and beyond, my parents sat beside me looking amused but mostly confused.

Big Changes in the Qualifying Exam Procedure

Imagine standing in front of a panel of faculty members, some of the most prominent academics in the world of aerospace engineering, having prepared for a short 60 minutes to complete an oral exam and prove your competence in the field in which you hope to receive your PhD. In many departments at MIT, this is the qualifying exam procedure (‘quals’), widely regarded as one of the most terrifying and stressful aspects of graduate studies.

The Pod Leader Experience

Every year, the Office of Graduate Education (OGE) hosts around 40 undergraduate students from around the country to engage in meaningful research at MIT during the summer. This effort, called the MIT Summer Research Program (MSRP), aims to provide underrepresented minorities an opportunity to conduct research at world-renowned labs on campus. The cohort consists of interns with diverse nationalities, ethnicities, abilities, and academic backgrounds. An integral part of MSRP is having the students interact with current MIT graduate students. That’s where Pod Leaders come in to play. 

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