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How I became an engineer overnight

How I became an engineer overnight

November 22, 2019

Applying to graduate school is a nerve-wracking process. It’s a blanket of excitement that, when uncovered, reveals a flood of conflicting emotions–from wondering whether you are rushing and have no experience and should work for a few years to questioning your self-worth and doubting if you have any unique qualities.  Frankly, like any admissions process, […]

Realizing running is awesome

Realizing running is awesome

November 22, 2019

This is a story about me transitioning from occasional running to try and get fit, to becoming super into running. Only two years ago, I was struggling with the boredom and difficulty of exercise and could never sustain regular running for more than a month or two. Now, however, running is an integral part of […]

When Your Hobby Is Your YouTube Channel

When Your Hobby Is Your YouTube Channel

November 7, 2019

It was two months before I was set to move to Boston for my PhD, and I had decided that there would never be a better time to create a science YouTube channel. While it might seem like a crazy idea to take on such a huge commitment while doing a PhD, I strongly believe […]

A Home Away from Home

A Home Away from Home

November 7, 2019

Prologue   When I first came to MIT, I planned to work, but not much else. Certainly no time to play Gu-zheng – the Chinese zither. There are simply too many things to learn, to explore. But, from time to time, I was possessed by a lingering anxiety – an integral part of my voice […]

The Paradox of Choice:

The Paradox of Choice:

November 7, 2019

I am a brand-new Ph.D. student and I have already figured out my least favorite part about MIT: the overwhelming number of choices. As I am enrolled as a student in the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology Medical Engineering Ph.D. program, the situation is even more intense. I can take classes at both Harvard Medical […]

Full Send

Full Send

November 4, 2019

What if I told you that the most fun thing that I do regularly since moving to Boston is running up and down a lot of tall steps (technically, seats) a lot of times, twice a week? Would you think that I’m crazy? A masochist? That Guy™ at the party who won’t shut up about […]

Discovering the multiverse at MIT

Discovering the multiverse at MIT

November 4, 2019

I still remember that chill running up my spine seeing the MIT dome for the first time from the Harvard Bridge, a chill that was indicative of the bounty of emotions running through each and every nerve in my body. Awe, excitement, nervousness, and pride were but a few of them. After all, Tony Stark […]

Creating my niche in grad school

Creating my niche in grad school

November 4, 2019

Imagine being in a roller coaster that’s on fire, adrift, going full speed. That was my first year at MIT. Coming straight from an undergraduate institution in Puerto Rico, it was difficult for me to get used to the fast pace in which topics were taught in a different language and to the amount of […]

Eating my way through Cambridge’s cultural heritage

Eating my way through Cambridge’s cultural heritage

October 24, 2019

“What’s for lunch?” is one of the more universal questions of the human experience, though the presence of two large universities in Cambridge affects the range of choices available to a hungry grad student. Many of the food options near MIT and Harvard Square cater to the fast-casual appetites of millennials or the droves of […]

Dynamic equilibrium through Classical dance

Dynamic equilibrium through Classical dance

October 24, 2019

Stepping away from India into the US led me to a stage where I was frantically searching for some semblance of my culture to hold on to. It was at this time that Bharatnatyam — an Indian classical dance form — crept onto me subconsciously.   First and foremost, I am a major klutz; reactions […]

Making the most of Cambridge’s amazing salsa scene

Making the most of Cambridge’s amazing salsa scene

October 24, 2019

Thankfully, life at MIT as a grad student is not ALL about research. For me, one of the greatest breaks from lab is dancing. Growing up, classical ballet was part of my daily routine. Classical ballet requires physical resilience, a focused mind, and musicality, but above all, it requires discipline. I soon learned that I […]

B-list Superpower – Food Edition

B-list Superpower – Food Edition

October 15, 2019

What is “meal prep”? First things first, what does “meal prep” mean? Is it the newest fad in age of fitness and health fanatics? Is it a euphemism for being lazy? Well, maybe. At its core, meal prep is exactly what is sounds like — preparing your meals. The key, however, is that it is […]

The Most Important Change in My Life

The Most Important Change in My Life

October 15, 2019

I was an anxious child, an anxious teenager and an anxious young adult. So much so that the concept of anxiety didn’t make much sense. “You’re telling me it’s possible to not constantly think and worry about everything that has happened to me and that could possibly happen to me? Don’t bullshit me.” I would […]

Starting Graduate School on the Right Foot

Starting Graduate School on the Right Foot

October 15, 2019

On the snowy February morning before my MIT graduate school interview, I rolled out of bed, bundled up and went for a run along the Charles River path. As a former Division One cross country and track athlete, I have been running almost daily for almost a decade. The picturesque scene of a light snow […]

When You’re Up for an Exercise Adventure!

When You’re Up for an Exercise Adventure!

October 7, 2019

Feeling sluggish after indulging in one too many conference happy hours? Your normal gym workout not really doing it for you (or you not really doing the workout)? Try something new with a group exercise class: part workout, part experience. PILATES REFORMER CLASSES You know the torture device in The Princess Bride? A pilates reformer […]

A Techless Path To MIT

A Techless Path To MIT

October 7, 2019

When people hear that I’ll be spending the next half decade at MIT, many seem to think I’ll be spending my days huddled over an intelligent robot plotting for the technological apocalypse. When people hear that I’ll be spending the next half decade — and, hopefully, a lifetime — studying philosophy, many seem to think […]

Diving into The Deep

Diving into The Deep

September 30, 2019

Ever since high school, I have been a maker to my core. I spent almost all my free time in an art room and my evenings were often spent wrenching on old motorcycles. One of the biggest threats to my academic success during undergrad was spending too much time on Instructables (an online source for […]

The Unofficial Guide Book for the Grad School Applicant

The Unofficial Guide Book for the Grad School Applicant

September 30, 2019

I made the decision to apply for graduate school in mid-September of my senior year of college. With application deadlines only weeks away and the GRE looming in the distance, I spent one month scrambling to familiarize myself with the application materials that some of my peers had been refining for months. Sounds stressful, right? […]

On Becoming a Professional Student

On Becoming a Professional Student

September 23, 2019

If you are an academic masochist who constantly enjoys being over-involved and under pressure, then your undergraduate “career” was probably something like mine. My (pre-grad) college years regularly felt like a frenzied, unorganized attempt to accomplish the umpteen items on my mental to-do list. I found myself in constant triage mode when it came to […]

Iḷisavsaaqtuam aakam qaitkaa uqautchiñi kiŋuvaamiñun

Iḷisavsaaqtuam aakam qaitkaa uqautchiñi kiŋuvaamiñun

September 23, 2019

Aullaqisaqtuq – It is the beginning Iḷisaguuruŋa Iñupiatun MIT-mi. I study Iñupiaq at MIT. Iñupiaq is the language of the Alaskan Inuit, whose population numbers 24,500 and whose speakers’ number 2,000. Iñupiaq is considered “moribund,” which means having few or no child speakers because the language is not advancing across generations. Through the MIT Indigenous […]

Ivy League Entitlement

Ivy League Entitlement

September 16, 2019

“No.” I said. “I don’t want to.” I was standing on the street in front of a man in a suit. That man (let’s call him Ryan) was frantically trying to usher me into his apartment building. He held the door wide open, incredulous that I wouldn’t do what he wanted. “It’s not that big […]

An Open Letter to My Future Self

An Open Letter to My Future Self

September 16, 2019

Dear future Ming, The date is August 26, 2019 – today is your/my/our first day at MIT. When you next read this after/if you graduate, it may well be the year 2025. How’s life at 27 treating you? In the year 2025, your younger brothers, currently high school freshmen, will be halfway done with college. […]

Being Strong in Strong Situations

Being Strong in Strong Situations

September 9, 2019

At my undergraduate institution (one of the three big U.S. military academies), every cadet was required to take a class called “The Behavioral Science of Leadership”. In this class we discussed something called strong situations. Strong situations are environments in which a person’s options become limited and there is a lot of external pressure to […]

Unashamed to Be a Nerd

Unashamed to Be a Nerd

September 9, 2019

My friends at school weren’t really into Harry Potter. Many had watched the movies, and a few had read the books, but the magical world did not have the same appeal for them as it did for me. I was enthralled by the story of the Boy Who Lived, captivated by the psychological complexity of […]

Giving Back to Society

Giving Back to Society

August 19, 2019

The ultimate aim of all the jobs the world has to offer in today’s time, whether in the field of entertainment, business or research, is to ultimately serve the human civilization. While none can claim to be better than others, some have a more direct and faster impact. These include service activities aiming towards helping […]

Biologists Need More Angle Grinders

Biologists Need More Angle Grinders

August 19, 2019

I was very surprised one day to realize that I had developed a single callous on the pad of my right thumb. I can’t remember the last time I got a callous: I don’t rock climb, play an instrument, or do extreme sports. I don’t even take classes anymore, so I rarely write with a […]

Fated Friends

Fated Friends

August 12, 2019

Walking into my MIT dorm for the first time, I itched to meet my peers. Although MIT students are known for being nerdy, I figured grad students (myself included) already went through a social awakening in undergrad. Making friends would be a piece of cake. I rounded the corner on the way to finding the […]

Dildo.io, Where Did You Go?

Dildo.io, Where Did You Go?

August 12, 2019

Cambridge and the online dating landscape  When I first arrived in Boston, I was teeming with curiosity and excitement. My thirst for scientific discovery and research was paralleled only by one thing: my eagerness to explore the multitude of online dating platforms. Up until that point, I had never dabbled in this domain but had […]

How to Craft a Personal Statement

How to Craft a Personal Statement

August 5, 2019

There’s one part of any application that can always make you freeze: the dreaded personal statement. Writing about yourself is an exercise in embarrassment, anxiety, and existential doubt. Don’t worry; I’m here to help! Let’s get one thing out of the way first. The point of a personal statement is to bring your application package […]

Are qualifying exams a waste of time?

Are qualifying exams a waste of time?

August 5, 2019

How many times have you heard grad students express concern over qualifying exams or declare that they “survived” it? Qualifying exams (“quals”) can be a grueling process spanning anywhere between 1 to 2 years involving multiple examinations. The effectiveness of such exams depends on specific examination structure and methodology but I believe this post should […]

I didn’t spend any money for 1 month and this is what happened

I didn’t spend any money for 1 month and this is what happened

July 15, 2019

I share my office with a pugnacious Australian graduate student, who delights in competition and regularly poses challenges to me. One afternoon, he provoked me with a contest to determine who could function longer without spending money. He claimed that he had grown tired of the trivial grievances of our contemporaries and wanted to show […]

Have something to say or share? Then blog about it!

Have something to say or share? Then blog about it!

July 10, 2019

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 26th and August 29th, 10am-12pm. Write two blog pieces Earn $200 upon completion of posts Continue writing for the blog and earn $100 per piece Your work will be eligible […]

MIT Time

MIT Time

July 8, 2019

I am perpetually late. No matter how much I look forward to an event, it seems physically impossible for me to arrive on time. This quality is something I have always tried to overcome, but with limited success. I’ve set aside extra time to get ready, but I somehow find other tasks that need to […]

Dance Fitness in Boston

Dance Fitness in Boston

July 8, 2019

I entered graduate school as an awkward, uncoordinated person. I will leave it as a prima ballerina. Just kidding. But jokes aside, Boston has quite a few fun, unique dance fitness opportunities, and I have them to thank for making me a more coordinated, flexible, happy person. Dance fitness classes usually work like this: you […]

Learning to Teach, Teaching to Learn

Learning to Teach, Teaching to Learn

July 1, 2019

I love helping people learn. I first got a taste of this at the military academy where I completed my undergraduate degree. I taught new cadets and new Airmen about marching and other aspects of being in the military. Later, I worked an obstacle course where I had to teach safety and proper obstacle completion […]

Comedy Lab

Comedy Lab

July 1, 2019

One year ago, my advisor, Prof. Charles Leiserson in CSAIL, arranged for our research group to take a stand-up comedy class with Dana Jay Bein, a local comedian with Improv Boston. Charles sold it to us as an opportunity to work on our communication skills while participating in a fun activity as a group. Nobody […]