Uncategorized

A different kind of long-distance relationship
Now that we’re working from home and many of us have relocated from campus, maintaining effective communication with our advisors remotely presents an additional stressor (on top of trying not…
Wait? It snows here?
It was 7:00 AM. Okay, 7:08 AM because I always hit my snooze button at least once. Since Thanksgiving break had just concluded, I was feeling well rested for the…
To build a home
When you introduce two people to one another, you often contextualize who that person is to you. The words we use to categorize these people are sometimes simple, but sometimes…
Forced to leave home
A message to MIT grad housing: if your tenant’s best housing option is to haphazardly make a 13-hour interstate drive in the middle of a literal plague after being given…
COVID-19 prequel
Unlike a lot of MIT community members, who were only affected by the coronavirus outbreak starting in March 2020, I was paying attention to the outbreak since the very beginning…
Reset (or set) your morning routine
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…
Work from home 101
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…
To separate or to engage?
In China, each year begins twice. First on January 1 and once again on the traditional Lunar New Year (this year’s date: January 25, 2020). The days in between the…
Schrödinger’s graduate student
Four years into graduate school, I still struggle with a simple question: what makes a successful graduate student? I don’t mean the end product of a student with a flashy…
Practice imagination in MIT Hogwarts
In J.K. Rowling’s commencement speech at Harvard, she talked about the importance of imagination. I was really struck by her definition of imagination – how she described it as people…
A matcha latte a day…
It’s no secret that students everywhere love their coffee, so when I tell people that I almost never consume the magical beverage, I usually receive an incredulous response. Something along…
I want to be a ballerina when I grow up
It was an average Wednesday. I rolled out of bed at 7:30AM, turned on Spotify’s “Monday Motivation” playlist and tried to let the cheerful pop seep into my bones. Everything’s…
Guidance beyond your advisor
Before starting grad school, whenever I considered the concept of “mentorship,” the first person I envisioned was my future advisor. However, as a PhD student in the middle of my…
The unlikely friends you’ll find
I still remember the feeling of disappointment. This was right in the first week as a grad student and I was still in the social-butterfly phase, meeting the people I…
A week in the life: Food edition
I love to cook. I picked up most of my culinary know-how during my junior year of college, through a combination of YouTube videos and scrappily assembled family recipes. That…
How to cordially interrogate graduate students
This semester, I have had a ton of practice interrogating graduate students. During orientation, I was immediately given the task of rotating in various labs to find my lab home.…
A furry solution to the grad school blues
The summer after finishing undergrad, I thought nervously about spending most of my 20’s as a student. I was starting grad school in a few weeks and wasn’t sure when…
“Deity’s Book Collection” twenty minutes away
Deity’s Book Collection Overseas 「海外嫏嬛」 Façade of the Harvard-Yenching Institute On a bright and crisp morning in late April 2019, when I first set foot into the warm Harvard-Yenching (哈佛燕京)…
Finding UberGirl
I hate Uber. I hate that people love it because it’s convenient. I hate that people think it’s better for the environment than owning a car. I hate that people…
Controlling chaos
“Hey, you ready for the call in five?” The what? With who? Did I have to prep for this? When did we decide to schedule a call? What are we…
Taking engineering too far
This post is part of a special issue: “Mental Health Matters: Asking for Help & Reaching Out”. I can’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t trying to…
Overcoming anxiety
This post is part of a special issue: “Mental Health Matters: Asking for Help & Reaching Out”. Hey there! I’m Jessica, a current 3rd year graduate student and PhD candidate, and…
Surviving grad school for the strong of mind
This post is part of a special issue: “Mental Health Matters: Asking for Help & Reaching Out”. It was New Year’s Day ’17 when I first set foot at MIT…
If something feels wrong, speak up
This post is part of a special issue: “Mental Health Matters: Asking for Help & Reaching Out”. My first year of grad school at MIT was no piece of cake.…
Mental Health Matters
Encountering setbacks while gaining crucial research skills, struggling to keep up in that one class where you have no prior background, fumbling your way around a new campus during a…
The Myth About Inbox(0)
After extolling the logistical heroics of Alexander the Great and his Macedonian Army, my military history instructor turned to the class and declared, “Good generals study tactics; great generals study…
Iñupiuraallaniptigun Uqausiptigun Maŋŋuqaqtugut
Aullaqisaaqta! Let’s begin! Iġñiġa Daał miluguuruq. My son Daał nurses often.  I once read somewhere that Karl Marx had to chain himself to a library desk in order to finish…
Where Computing Meets Brain Research
Three years ago, I first came to the U.S. for an international conference in Boston. As I passed through the MIT campus during a morning jog, I saw the beautiful…
The Craziest Thing I’ve Done during Grad School
Last year, I started to get really into running, in part due to the fact that it’s a great way of relieving some of the stresses of grad school. I’ve…
A Well-Kept Secret for Finding a Job post-PhD
During my PhD, I performed a lot of exit interviews with graduating students and learned that finding a job is often the most stressful part of graduating, and among the…
Biking Diaries of a Graduate Student
“I guess I’ll just power through the weekend and get this P-set done,” I said to myself. This was a common refrain during the first year of my PhD program…
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 Vicious Cycle of Boston Leases
Raise your hand if you hate moving!  The Greater Boston Area, especially lovely places such as Allston, Cambridge, and Somerville, can be quite a painful place August 31st when most…
A Nature Lover’s Journey in Cambridge
Are you a nature lover? I sure am, and I only realized how important it was to me when I moved to Cambridge after being admitted to the PhD program…
Learning to Sail
As mentioned in one of my previous blogs, the trio-factors of inability to swim, belonging to a country where sailing is not common, and the presence of the Charles River,…
The Dizzying Cost of Life Science Research
Where were you when you bought the most expensive thing you’ve ever purchased? I was definitely in lab. In life science, you can spend a staggering amount of the lab’s…