Letters to the Editor
Editor’s note: This letter from Siegel came in correspondence with the writer who interviewed him. See opposite page for that interview.
K2C2 moves forward to zoning stage
The Central Square Advisory Committee to the Kendall-to-Central Square Planning Process (K2C2) held its final meeting last week on Wednesday, Nov. 28, and presented its work to the Cambridge Planning Board on Tuesday, Dec. 4. Near-final drafts of its work are available at .
Schmill urges students to work through self-doubt
When you’re living on three hours of sleep, your self-esteem is lower than your GPA, and you’re just starting to slog through the p-set for the class that you haven’t been to in a month, it’s easy to feel like you don’t belong.
Peer Ears to support students within dormitories
Need an ear? Next fall, students will be able to try Peer Ears, a peer support service within students’ residences which will act as a safeguard against an environment of overwhelming stress. The support staff will be comprised of students, called “peer ears,” who work with the existing support services in the dorms (such as GRTs, Housemasters) in order to promote mental well-being. Co-founders Emad Taliep ’14 and Divya Srinivasan ’13 have moved the launch of their pilot program from this coming spring to fall of 2013 in order to keep recruiting volunteers. Before launching, they want to ensure that there are enough residences of sufficient diversity in order to make reliable observations about what is the optimal support system for MIT.
Student group attempts to ‘save’ the Institute
Founded in response to the 1997 alcohol-related death of Phi Gamma Delta pledge Scott Krueger, SaveTFP is a fourteen-member MIT student group devoted to reducing stress among students. It was originally closely tied to the MIT administration, and according to current SaveTFP member Lia Bogoev ’14, was meant “to teach people about alcohol safety and show people that you can have fun without alcohol.”
Online support group hopes to connect students
Sometimes, it is easier to discuss personal feelings with someone online than in person. Peer2Peer hopes to use that fact. It will be MIT’s first student support service to be conducted completely online. Cofounders of the program Tzipora R. Wagner ’12 and Isabella S. Lubin ’13 designed Peer2Peer as an anonymous, message-based system in order to make reaching out for help more accessible to stressed-out students. Originally intended to launch this year, the program has hit several roadblocks in its development and will not start until at least next year.
MIT Professors weigh in on what stresses them
Throughout most of my career I gave big lectures every semester, practically — 18.01, 18.02, 18.03. And there, the stress is pretty constant, because it’s like putting on an opera, where the opera goes on for three hours, but there’s an enormous army that has to be supervised. Typically, there would be 10 or 15 TAs for the course, which would have to have instructions given to them, and you have to make up problem sets each week. It was a big operation.
Kendall proposal incorporates K2C2
Executives of MIT and the MIT Investment Management Company executives presented a revised version of MIT’s vision for the future of the east campus to the Cambridge Planning Board on Tuesday night. Their recommendations incorporated many of the zoning changes proposed by the City’s Kendall-to-Central planning study (K2C2) earlier this year.
Letters to President and Provost from some FNL editorial board members, copied to Cambridge Planning Board
We wish to share with you the following letter to MIT’s President and Provost prior to the Cambridge Planning Board meeting tomorrow evening. We welcome any thoughts that you may have.
The faces of student support: the deans in 5-104
Miri Skolnik’s office is filled with a number of comfortable blue chairs, a couple of pictures, and a plain desk. Skolnik, an Assistant Dean at S ^ 3, says she loves MIT students but wishes some aspects of MIT culture would change.
Finding perspective in MIT’s culture of stress
The Tech sat down with Alan Siegel, chief of MIT Mental Health Service, to talk about the stress on students and the “culture of suffering” that Siegel suggested exists among students at MIT.
A chat with the Chancellor
“All things students” is how you’ll often hear Chancellor Eric Grimson, PhD ’80, describe his job. The chancellor is one of the two most senior academic officers at MIT (along with the Provost). He is responsible for graduate and undergraduate education, student life, student services, and other areas that affect the MIT student experience. The Tech sat down with him last Friday to hear his thoughts about the stresses and pressures of MIT.
Student forum planned for IAP
The Tech and the Chancellor’s office will be cosponsoring a forum this IAP to discuss issues surrounding pressure and stress at MIT. Undergraduates and graduates are invited to attend.
Aaron Swartz trial may be delayed
On Monday, attorneys for Aaron H. Swartz asked the federal district court to delay his trial from February to June, and filed responses to the government’s replies to his motions to suppress evidence. Swartz is the Internet activist accused of mass downloading millions of journal articles from JSTOR with a laptop hidden in a basement network closet in MIT’s Building 16.
Wireless access points damaged, students advised to use Ethernet
As a result of the Cambridge-wide power outage on Thursday, Nov. 29, several wireless access points around campus were damaged, according to an email from MIT Information Services & Technology. IS&T is working to replace the devices, but they do not have enough replacement devices in stock to replace all of them at the present time. Most of the access points will not be repaired until new units arrive, though the message did not say when the new units would arrive or when the repairs would be complete. Until then, IS&T recommends connecting to the MIT network via Ethernet connections whenever possible. Students may visit the IS&T office in E17-110 to pick up an Ethernet cable.
In their own voices: MIT students talk pressure
At the end of the survey, respondents were asked to share any stories or thoughts they had about pressure at MIT. A few of the 500+ comments we received are published below. Thank you to everyone for sharing stories of your darkest moments, your pain, fears, and anxieties. Many of the stories were extremely personal and truly touching, and it was very difficult to select the excerpts you see here. We chose the ones that exemplified the diversity of voices on this issue.
Meltdown — The original admissions blog post
This next week and a half promises to be electrifying. We’re on the brink of an epic hurricane, a Presidential election, and either the most disappointing or the spookiest Halloween ever. But right now I’m going to talk about me, about MIT, and about why I haven’t talked to you in a month.
House calls from your neighborhood MedLink
One in four interactions with Medlinks is related to wellness and mental health, as opposed to physical ailments, according to Medlinks president Frances K. Chen ’13.
An interview with admissions blogger Lydia K.
Admissions blogger Lydia A. Krasilnikova ’14 is no stranger to life as a hosed MIT student. Her Oct. 29 admissions blog post “Meltdown” quickly went viral, with over 4000 likes on Facebook and coverage by WBUR (Boston’s NPR branch). The Tech sat down with Lydia to ask her what she thought about stress and her additional reflections after writing the piece.
Students weigh in on pressure at the Institute
Stress. It’s a known constant in the equation of life at MIT, whether it’s due to time-intensive extracurriculars, challenging classes, typical college social drama, problems from outside campus, or a combination of all these things. For The Tech’s pressure issue, our reporters searched campus to find out more about stress and pressure from a student perspective.
MIT Medical’s 24/7 emergency hotline
What do you do when you have an urgent problem and MIT Medical is closed? Since MIT Medical’s Urgent Care closed to walk-ins from midnight to 7 a.m. two years ago, a 24-hour helpline service was put into place in December 2010. People with urgent medical or emotional problems can reach the helpline at 617-253-4481. However, the type of response differs based on the time that the person calls.
The Institute is a tough place. The classes are hard, the homework is hard, and the tests are hard. It’s difficult to step back and get any perspective, and when things are going bad, competition between peers makes things worse. If you dare lament the amount of work you have, chances are that your neighbor will challenge you and say that he has even more.
Take advantage of MIT’s strong mental health services
It is no secret that the Institute provides a wide variety of resources for students seeking emotional or mental health support. To name just a few, MIT offers Student Support Services (S ^ 3), Mental Health Counseling, and Community Wellness. These programs contribute to an extensive support network that has helped many students solve serious problems in their lives.
MIT is stressful, but students need to be more self-reliant
While the series of student suicides at MIT and other colleges in the Boston area is not the focus of this piece, it has inspired my reflection on how to cope in difficult times at the Institute. These events have prompted me to stretch my search for solutions to perhaps controversial lengths. In any case, I wish to express my condolences to these students’ families and loved ones.
You Are Not a Doctor; Don’t Pretend to Be
One scene from A Beautiful Mind, a movie which follows mathematician John Nash’s descent into schizophrenia, does a fine job of demonstrating why individuals cannot handle mental illness on their own. Nash is talking with his psychiatrist, contending that he does not need help because he can “reason his way” out of his illness. His psychiatrist points out that this is impossible, because “your mind is where the problem is in the first place.”
The premed stereotype
“Why medicine? Why do you want to be a doctor?”
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Editors Note: We received the following letters in response to our advertisements calling for submissions, and in response to our survey.
Recap: Letters to the Editor
MIT is one community
Editor's picks playlist
Stressed over too many p-sets? Three exams and a few papers in a week? We’ve all been there. The Tech ran a quick poll to see what students listen to when they’re feeling overwhelmed. Here’s the list of MIT’s most popular de-stressing songs.
UPCOMING HOME EVENTS
Saturday, December 8
National Football League Predictions: Week 14
Baltimore Ravens @ Washington Redskins
How do MIT student-athletes deal with stress?
Resolute dedication, judicious time management, and hardy discipline are just a few of the qualities important to MIT student-athletes as they strive to get the most out of both academics and sports. The academic rigor of a school like MIT poses a significant challenge for athletes here as they strive to succeed while keeping stress levels low and maintaining optimal physical and mental health. They invest a considerable amount of time on school coursework and team practices alone. On top of these commitments, many student-athletes do even more, engaging in clubs and extracurricular activities. There is no question that this lifestyle is susceptible to conflicts and requires prioritization and prudent decision-making.
MIT is a stressful place, as we all know and our survey shows. However, despite all the the p-sets, tests, essays, and weather, 85 percent of students still manage to graduate in four years. In order to keep your stress levels in check, try these tips:
Surviving the Institute
Since I first arrived at MIT, I have acted as a counselor for my friends and peers as a MedLink (I now live off campus and am no longer an official MedLink), listening to them share their most stressful experiences. From these conversations, the following are the three biggest pieces of information that I wish MIT students understood about seeking help.