Both graduate and undergraduate students tell me that there is a stigma associated with asking for help at MIT. After all, this campus celebrates working hard on complex and difficult challenges. We brag that we don’t get any sleep and that we drink from the firehose. If you’re struggling with feelings of stress or isolation, it can sometimes make you feel as if you are alone.
But this is not the true MIT. At MIT, projects and p-sets are assigned for working in teams. Labs organize around the intersection of complementary skills and disciplines. Even the original buildings reflect this idea; the architecture of the main complex deliberately facilitates strolling down the hallway to collaborate with someone in a different field. MIT is an engine whose parts have been designed to solve problems and overcome obstacles by working together.
At its core, the MIT community recognizes the value of working together, not alone. Reaching out for help when you need it is as much a part of MIT as the GIRs. And that’s why if you need support for a personal or academic problem—or during times when these troubles seem to go hand in hand—all you need to remember is one word: together.
This week, MIT is launching a new campaign, MIT Together, to promote what help is available and how to find it. The primary tool is a new website, together.mit.edu, which maps the wide array of MIT support services through an easy-to-navigate structure and a simple, elegant design. If you need help right away, the site tells you where to go. If you are just contemplating making an appointment to talk with a professional, MIT Together will help you find the information you need to be comfortable reaching out for support. You'll see MIT Together posters and other efforts throughout the year to keep you aware. I encourage you to take a look at it now and familiarize yourself with its contents, so that you know where to go when you need it.
If you feel overwhelmed by personal or academic trouble, know that you are not alone in two ways. First, graduate and undergraduate students make thousands of visits each year to the various support services at MIT. You’re not the only one. More importantly, you are not alone in a much broader sense: you are living and learning within a community that is here to help you overcome any challenge, together.
Dean for Student Life
The MIT student life and learning digest presents topics and useful Institute resources with strong student interest. Students receive it monthly throughout the academic year.