Staying Sane

MIT-isms
“Are you a first-year grad student?” “Yes, I am! What are you studying?” “Oh, I’m a Course 2, working on my SM – I’m taking my last 24 Units this…
Strange lands
“So how’s everything? How’s the baby?” This is the opening line at almost all of my meetings. And I really can hear the emphasis on the second part.  Growing up…
Volunteering in a home away from home
When I was accepted to the Comparative Media Studies Master’s program at MIT, I had spent the previous five years working on technology for social justice nonprofits in Mexico. This…
Vacation time!… What to do? What to do?
When packing my suitcases to do my Master’s in Engineering and Management at MIT, I was not just thinking about which classes I was going to take, but also about…
A stroke of luck?
Back in April, I wrote about how running has remained an important form of stress relief to me during the pandemic, despite the loss of the usual social runs and…
Reasons to cook for yourself
 Have you noticed how MIT seems to repel good restaurants? Go Northwest to Harvard Square, and you’ll see a squadron of restaurants catering to fortunate Harvard students. Go South, across…
Why I vote and why you should too
“Voting is our civic duty.” This sort of rationale can seem awfully abstract to a graduate student who has multiple class assignments due this week and is being hounded by…
How I came to Cambridge before I came to Cambridge
I could finally see the finish line. If you were to ask me five months ago where I would be by Aug 10, 2020, I’d have said “in Boston” without…
Beer in class—but peers afar
I sat in class, the professor again repeating the technique we were expected to learn but about which I was still woefully confused.  I was immediately struck with self-doubt.  I…
Finding a Cambridge coffee home
* Writer’s Note (September 2020): Wow, how things have changed. Re-reading this piece, which as written pre-COVID, makes me feel as if I’m now in my late seventies, looking back…
From rockets to rocking chairs
Lots of things have changed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Classes have moved online, schedules have shifted for fall breaks and holidays, and in general, everyone’s life has been…
Bench, bath and beyond
One of the very first lessons you learn in microbiology is that while countless things can – and will – go wrong, you can almost always count on your microbes…
Playing Avalon on Zoom
Many of us feel lonely during quarantine times, especially international students who are now outside the US, such as myself. To stay mentally healthy through this pandemic, it’s important to…
Shaking hands with death
When I entered the room, I took a few moments to look around. The room was lit by a warm, orange glimmer sneaking through the window blinds, announcing the end…
Managing your finances when your spouse can’t work
“Are you ready for the change in lifestyle?” That is the question that most of our friends asked when they heard about my plan to go back to school. We…
Ode to crosswords
(If you are interested in listening along to me reading the poem aloud, click here)   Eighteen across, “Ponzi scheme”: fraud. Twenty-four down, “Heap kudos on”: laud.   “Opening word”,…
Any tips on tipping?
Picture having dinner at a restaurant with some friends. There’s a fun conversation going on right up to the point where the bill arrives. Perhaps it’s only me, but I…
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…
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…
L’Autre, c’est moi
As a child, I vividly remember staring for hours out the window in the back seat of my parents’ car, scrutinizing nearby people stopped at the red light or passing…
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…
The infinite rotation
Switching labs is, optimally, disruptive. On September 3, 2019, the very beginning of my second year at MIT, my PhD program director called me into his office to explain that…
Navigating MIT
MIT exemplifies a uniquely analytical and quantitative intellectual approach. It’s a good thing, usually; after all, scientific revolutions like Newtonian physics began when we started putting stuff into quantitative perspective.…
Rethinking orientation in the COVID-19 era
Orientation is the stepping stone of the graduate student life experience at MIT. Every year, the Graduate Student Council (GSC) Orientation Committee (OC) organizes a series of orientation events for…
All-weather outings/innings in the Northeast
Moving to Boston from the Bay Area to start school at MIT, I had already mentally prepared to reduce my outdoor climbing and indoor climbing train time. Paradoxically, while being…
Times may have changed, but MIT will not
My first year at MIT was filled with opportunities, more than I was able to take advantage of. In just one walk down the Infinite corridor, I could pick out…
Best burgers and convos at BBC
The first friend I made in grad school doesn’t go to MIT. We didn’t even meet in Cambridge. Josh and I met at a chemistry grad school visit weekend at…
Making the switch
A year and a half into my master’s program, I decided to change labs. This may not sound as terrifying, but it means jumping into an ocean of uncertainty. Unlike…
Have something to say or share? Then blog about it!
Hi MIT Grads! The MIT Graduate Admissions Blog is excited to announce its upcoming August workshop on blog writing. In brief, Attend a 2-day blogging workshop: August 10th and August 13th, 10am-12pm.…
Life at MIT could be stressful, but not for you!
Stress is one of the common issues that every grad student experiences. Experiments or simulations don’t work most of the time, and the relationships with advisors/lab mates/friends might have their…
So… you were accidentally admitted to MIT
I’m going to let you in on a secret: I’m a total imposter. I was admitted to MIT even though I’m not nearly as smart, driven, or successful as any…
Pass the class — get a tat
Of all the injustices committed by well-intentioned cartographers, the one dealt to Antarctica is one of the most common and, from the point of view of this glaciologist, the worst.…
It’s not just about the degree
The beginning of grad school coincided with a lot of life changes. Grad school was one of them. Moving from Europe to the US was certainly another. However, the biggest…
What’s your grocery strategy?
Good food has long been my main vice. Before moving to Cambridge, I lived in DC and loved taking advantage of the diverse food scene. My Sunday ritual was going…
How to walk (or bike, or bus) a mile in my shoes
According to Apple Maps, my apartment is exactly one mile from the entrance of MIT’s campus. I just moved to Boston last August and was able to find a great…
Getting into gear
Living in the south of the US for most of my life, where the distance between locations of interest are large and biking infrastructure is almost non-existent, biking as a…