Institute for Data, Systems, and Society

Interviewing for grad school is a two-way street
One of the most intimidating parts of the PhD application process is choosing a research group to join. It’s a daunting commitment–this group will be your home of sorts for…
Asking for help is not weakness
I don’t know if I can do this, I thought. Did I make a mistake? I was in just the second week of the chemical engineering PhD program and my…
A nanotechnologist and a social scientist walk into MIT MechE….
“What’s your name?” “Where are you from?” “What’s your research area?” These are, without fail, the first three questions exchanged between MIT Mechanical Engineering grad students who are meeting for…
Paid positions available in the Grad Blog community!
Dear grad students, We’re excited to announce that the MIT Grad Blog is searching for several new editors!  As you all know, the Grad Blog serves as an avenue for…
A Thoreau-ly nice day trip
The idea of a day trip always makes me feel nostalgic of my childhood. I picture a car ride, a picnic, and a day spent in parks or museums. Now,…
Measure twice, cut once, then force it to fit
It was during last year’s Independent Activities Period, also popularly known as IAP, when I came across the woodworking class taught by Lee Zamir. I was browsing through classes that…
The art of balance: A myth or reality?
As a graduate student at MIT, the concept of balance is often discussed as something we should strive for. But is it truly achievable? Can we truly balance our academic…
Adventures on Amtrak
Powered by three hours of sleep and some reheated potstickers (in hindsight, this was truly an omen for how the rest of the day would go), I sprung into action…
Quality of life: The heart of the matter
Most of the children showed off a favorite toy. Some brought items that were meaningful to their family or culture. When I got to the front of my kindergarten class,…
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Iftar and Dates
My stomach grumbled loudly. I had 1 hour and 33 minutes left until I could eat, and yes I was counting down the seconds. Though this was day 5 out…
From a wish on a wall to a dream come true!
“Well, this sounds like music to my ears, because this is exactly why we created edX,” said President Reif when I told him how the edX courses I took back…
The unstructured symphony of grad school
My first solo Over the past 4 years at MIT, I have often had my comfort zone pushed. To name a few things, I’ve presented to NASA leadership, received my…
Following your fascinations for a fulfilling future!
From the moment I realized the significance of the sequence of events I am about to narrate, I wanted to save this story for my thesis defense speech. As I…
How to train your robot
It’s late on a Monday night, and as usual, I’m standing in the middle of a large playroom filled with a bunch of pretend tools. There are toy hammers, plastic…
Letters to a young engineer
Well, you finally made it. A well-paying job at a world-renowned company, a 9-5 (ish) lifestyle, actually having weekends — weekends! — to spend on life rather than homework, all…
An (MIT) Room with a View
I did not pick the lab I joined based on the view. But my desk, and everyone else’s in the lab, which is situated on the 2nd floor of building…
Positive Procrastination
I think procrastination gets a bad rep.  It’s something you’re meant to grow out of and certainly, as a busy graduate student, there’s no time to procrastinate. Well, I think…
How to make an apartment a home
So you’ve just survived the Boston housing process and signed a lease on a cozy new apartment. Now what? While moving can feel like a daunting task at first, it…
Have something to say or share? Then blog about it!
Hi MIT Grads! The MIT Graduate Admissions Blog is excited to announce its upcoming IAP workshop on blog writing. In brief, Attend a 2-day blogging workshop: January 17th and 19th, 11am-1pm.…
Hungry for knowledge (and bananas)
I have officially been a student at MIT for a month, and in that time, I have juggled the role of an environmental researcher, new Boston tourist, and campus explorer,…
A friendly neighborhood elder’s guide to enjoying your program
The second week of classes, I was hanging out with some people in my cohort in the student lounge, when the topic of siblings came up. “Do you have a…
The architecture of serendipity
I have been in the Netherlands for the last 8 years. Starting at MIT did not require me to move immediately since all of my classes are still online. However,…
A kind of person, or kind-of a person?
I close my eyes and imagine a world where I am only this: a violinist on a stage, where the music becomes my everything. I often play this way, temporarily…
How I turned into a college journalist and met John David Washington
One of the first things that comes to my mind when I think of entertainment is, without a second thought, movies. As a child, I pestered my parents to take…
Ode to Cambridgeport
I have lived in Cambridgeport for only a short two years, but as my time here draws to a close, it only feels right to eulogize this wonderful neighborhood.  For…
A phoenix rising from the ashes
It was 11 am on a crisp fall morning and I was standing in the North End of Boston carrying six bags full of pastries and struggling to walk to…
Your future is unwritten
I’m a big dreamer. Thinking about the future and imagining different possibilities brings me a lot of joy. Fellowship applications are a fantastic opportunity to dream big and believe in…
Join the Grad Blog editorial team!
Dear MIT grad students, We’re excited to announce that the MIT Grad Blog is searching for several new editors!  As you all know, the Grad Blog serves as an avenue…
Escape the lab: Summer fun!
In Cambridge, summer is a season you just can’t beat. The sunshine is fierce, radiant, and clarifying. The heat is a welcome break from the chill, damp months of spring…
Why I left the tech industry for grad school
“Why are you leaving your job?” “Don’t you make enough money?” “Why would you leave a big tech company?” “Are you going for a bigger paycheck? You must be stuck…
MIT’s sustainable cycle: How to recycle the right way
Have you ever looked down inside the blue recycling bins around campus wondering if what we had thrown away is truly recyclable? From a piece of paper that you scribble…
Alternate stable states
I am an adventurer at heart. I have never embraced routine or normalcy and I consider that a piece of my identity, so when I started getting tired of my…
In defense of quitting
If a hacker were to break into my phone at the beginning of September and read through my notes, this is the first one they would find: I think MIT…
My adventures with MIT Sailing!
I was always drawn to bodies of water like rivers and seas. I had visions of sailing on boats and riding on ferries, but I never imagined that I would…
MIT is the Hollywood of academia
I always dreamed of doing great things and having a positive impact on the world. In my naivety, I believed that only celebrities have this kind of world-reaching influence. With…
Learning from the magic bean
It all started when COVID hit. I had all this newfound time while attending classes on Zoom and found an outlet – specialty coffee. Before I knew it, I had…