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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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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