Relationships and Networking

The scientific method behind burnt mozzarella sticks
How many of you know how an oven works? I mean, like, reallllyyy know? Personally, I do not, and yet here I am, a graduate student at MIT.  I am…
Crying in C-Mart
I can’t survive for a week without eating Asian food. Honestly, a big reason why I chose to come to MIT was because H-Mart was down the street from campus.…
First-year reflection
More than once in our career, most of us will find ourselves asking whether we made the right decision. Often, this questioning is triggered by setbacks, “less-than-ideal” circumstances or a…
From B1G to little
My undergraduate university couldn’t be much more different from MIT. Penn State is a school of 50,000 students in a small town surrounded by farmland. The campus culture centers around…
Non-sense or non-science?
Imagine a group of people falling into a deep ditch. Some make ladders to climb their way out. Others wait for floods to fill the ditch and then swim their…
Artsy at thirty
When I turned 30 on August 6th, I had a feeling that this is my decade. I don’t know why, but I was quite excited, unlike many who might feel…
Do it now. Seek help now.
Mental illness is not unfamiliar to many MIT graduate students. People as smart as typical MIT students, when placed under that much pressure, are bound to have it. Look beyond…
Color my life with the chaos of trouble
Cracking open the trailer door and peeking out, I checked to see if the storm had subsided. Who knew it could rain so much in the desert? Water had begun…
Flying far from the hive
I’ve always enjoyed collaborating with people. You have fun, you make friends, and in the case of academic collaboration, it opens the door to addressing questions from diverse perspectives. When…
Survive? No, let’s thrive
“You’re going to MIT? Pfft, have fun getting a social life – nobody has one there.” “I’ve heard that people only eat, sleep and work at MIT. Sometimes they have…
A guide to museums in Cambridge and Boston
I come from a tropical country, which means that every December to March, I go to extraordinary lengths to minimize my outdoor time in an effort to escape the Boston…
Relearning how to learn
As I sat down at my desk in the middle of the Pacific Ocean waiting for an Internet connection, I wondered if the long-awaited response would be sitting in my…
An ode to Kenji’s Cooking Show
At the start of the pandemic, my cooking skills were in top form. I had mastered scrambled eggs and had honed my selection criteria for one pot pastas (the simpler,…
The roller coaster ride of research life is no less scarier than those at Six Flags!
While I remember most events from my past with an extremely high level of detail thanks to my photographic memory, there is more to why I remember what happened on…
Working out my body… and my mind
You’ve probably seen countless exercise videos promising to help you drop 10 pounds in a month and copious articles telling you why you should start a new fitness regimen, but…
Be water, MIT friend
I just finished my third year of graduate school in the Mathematics Department. I work in Fourier analysis, a part of math that studies qualitative and quantitative questions about the…
MIT can work for couples 
Do you believe that keeping up with a romantic relationship and completing a graduate degree abroad at a top university are incompatible? This is the story about how I was…
The evermore squares
During quarantine, and especially during the era of Zoom classes, I became re-obsessed with crochet. I noticed that crocheting while listening to Zoom lectures helped me stay focused on the…
The breaking point
I got off the escalator and stepped onto the platform. Three minutes until the train, eighteen minutes until I get to MIT, twenty minutes until my meeting. My breath was…
An experimental study of the Holy Cannoli
Introduction The Cannoli is a form of dessert, which, in its most basic form, includes a pastry shell wrapped around a sweet ricotta filling. Historians have long debated the origin…
Getting back to reading for pleasure
Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t read Harry Potter, Catch-22, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The Count of Monte Cristo – there are a few references here that you may want…
How a tree decided where I live
It was a hot summer day in India, and I was holding my dad’s arms and standing in front of this old tree. My young mind was fascinated by the…
The White House is on the phone
President Jimmy Carter conceded the 1980 election earlier than expected. Ronald Reagan recounted, “I never dreamed it would be in the late afternoon when I was taking a shower, standing…
Recreating the taste of home
“Do you need anything from home?” say my parents whenever we chat, asking if I wanted anything to be mailed. “I’m good!” I usually reply. There was one thing I…
Life lessons from a cookie
One of the most famous movie quotes is Forrest Gump’s, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” As a hobby baker with a…
Wait, there’s a fun scale?
As a statistics-loving graduate student, I am prone to quantifying everything. I have a tracking app for my running mileage, a separate one for my sleeping hours, and even a…
Tomatoes, parmesan, bread… oh, my!
Focaccia – Your favorite (or soon to be favorite) dimpled bread that seems to have taken the world by storm recently. For those who haven’t heard of it, focaccia is…
Reactivating
As a budding biologist, I am familiar with the way metaphor is employed to effectively communicate scientific concepts. For example, the molecule of the moment is messenger RNA, whose name…
How to hang in there
I was skimming the schedule of a conference last week when I saw the last thing any 6th year PhD student wants to see: a title that could describe my…
MIT-only memories
MIT is a unique place, full of fascinating people and experiences that you won’t have anywhere else. As students, I love to take advantage of the incredible opportunities offered by…
The conflict and the privilege of MIT
The arrival It feels very strange to be writing this. I never thought I would be writing as a student at MIT but after a rollercoaster of events I was…
How my journey to the Philippines brought me to MIT
During the summer of 2019, my mom and I visited the Philippines for our first-time to meet relatives and learn more about our heritage. To see as much of the…
3 things I did as an international graduate student this summer
When I was accepted to the Master of Science (M.S). in Comparative Media Studies last summer, I had very specific goals of how I wanted to spend the next two…
Innovation and the daily grind
A life with daily grinds Over the last ten years, I remember working long hours on mergers and acquisitions (M&A), project finance deals, and operational issues without even realizing when…
Whales of quals
This is my story of how I prioritized my mental health over qualifying exams. When I was studying for quals1, my phone kept autocorrecting quals to whales. I thought it…
Nurturing yourself by nurturing some greens
Grad student life is filled with significant transitions like qualification exams, new roommates, selecting PIs and committee members, and more. But the uncertainties of grad school life suddenly became much…