Article

Grad Life: An Unexpected Journey

“So, what do you study?” Uber drivers, doctors, airplane seat-mates—they all want to know. I often envy my husband, a PhD student in Course X, who can cleanly respond with “chemical engineering.” The interrogator for him often nods politely, acknowledging that these words make sense together.

Me—well, I’m not so easy to explain. As a first-year graduate student at the MIT Media Lab, I live in a constant state of identity crisis. I study computer science but I also study people. The stack of papers on my desk cover topics from game theory to morality to film theory. Like my desk, my studies are messy–they don’t fall into tidy, disciplinarian boxes. And I’m learning to feel comfortable with this.

Related Content
"},{"image":{"url":"https://dam-prod.media.mit.edu/x/2019/01/22/justification.jpeg"},"title":"Student Justification","caption":"

Students' justification for the goal of their redesigned YouTube recommendation algorithm. 

"},{"image":{"url":"https://dam-prod.media.mit.edu/x/2019/01/22/example1.jpeg"},"title":"Example Paper Prototype","caption":"

An example of a team's paper prototype. Students wanted to emphasize the age appropriateness of content with visible flags for each channel and recommended video.

"},{"image":{"url":"https://dam-prod.media.mit.edu/x/2019/01/22/example2.jpeg"},"title":"Example Paper Prototype","caption":"

Another paper prototype focused on developing a recommendation algorithm with the goal of providing age appropriate content. 

"}]' data-gallery-title='YouTube Redesign Activity' data-gallery-tags='[{"title": "design", "url_path": "/research/?filter=everything&tag=design"},{"title": "artificial intelligence", "url_path": "/research/?filter=everything&tag=artificial-intelligence"},{"title": "learning", "url_path": "/research/?filter=everything&tag=learning"},{"title": "ethics", "url_path": "/research/?filter=everything&tag=ethics"}]' data-hero-image='https://dam-prod.media.mit.edu/thumb/2019/01/22/Screen Shot 2019-01-22 at 11.30.53 AM_E6tOqMR.png.1400x1400.png' data-gallery-pk='370053'>