What I learnt my first year in grad school

So my first year of grad school has come and gone! In many ways it was completely different than I had ever expected ( literally no one could have predicted anything about 2020) and while I do feel I got off to a rough start, I feel I managed to turn it around and end on a high note! I am super excited for the next two years but first wanted to recap what I learned ( from my many trials and errors) for those heading to grad school this fall!

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Second Semester Recap

Needless to say my second semester of grad school did not go down the way I thought at all. I think the transition to online school and work has been a difficult adjustment for the entire world but I do feel pretty confident that I have the hang of it now. While not being on campus did take away some of the experience I am so happy to say I am officially done year one of my program!!! And to celebrate being done one year of grad school I decided to sign up for one more by switching to a double degree program…lol. I am now pursuing both an MST in Transportation and also an MCP, or Masters of City Planning. As I talked about a bit in my first semester recap the STEM nature of my MST degree was a little outside my comfort zone and while I am so happy I pursued and would change absolutely nothing, ultimately I decided doing another year of school to get more policy/industry knowledge would play to my strengths the best. This means that while I did finish all the coursework for my MST requirements, I will spend next year fulfilling the courses for MCP and then my third year will be spent writing a joint thesis.

While this semester definitely had its up and downs I feel way more academically confident and am super excited for what is ahead!

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Semester in Review: First Grad Semester Done!

So this year I started grad school at MIT. Going to grad school had been a dream for the past years and once I decided Transportation/City Planning was what I wanted to study MIT was the ultimate dream goal. To be honest I really never thought I would actually get in, it was one of those “reach” goals you have to push yourself. To this day I still sometimes look around campus and need to pinch myself to prove it’s not a dream.

One issue sometimes with dreams is that you never really think what life will be like when they come true. There is this old adage that grad school is like climbing a mountain: you spend so much time preparing, stressing and working towards the goal that once you get in(reach the top) you’re not really sure what to do next. I would agree, but also add that once you reach the top you are in wind storm, and its icy, and the last 100m of climbing are 11000x times harder that the previous kms.

Needless to say my first semester was a whirlwind and the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. Not sure what I expected but I definitely underestimated how hard it would be to go back to school, switch fields of study, acclimatize to a STEM environment,  and learn how to be a substantially better researcher. I thought I would recap my ups and downs and maybe a little bit of what I learnt this past semester.

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Consulting 101: What do you actually do?

Ah the life of a consultant…one of those professions that everyone knows about but few actually understand what we do. Two years in I still have friends and family constantly ask me “what do you actually do?”. This was also a question I asked on repeat when I going through the interview process for my current job. Now that I am two years in I think I have pretty good handle on how to explain the industry, hope this helps!

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