Phi Kappa Sigma

Ruben Peinado ’18 on the challenges, and the enduring power of Phi Kap brotherhood, after graduation

By Ruben “Rubes” Peinado ’18

Graduating almost one year ago from the hallowed halls of Skullhouse has given me a chance to test the waters of adulthood. Working as a mechatronics engineer for Beyond Meat in my new home of Los Angeles, California, although exciting, has proven difficult at points.

As a first-generation student at MIT, I encountered my share of struggles, and it was no different in the new, unfamiliar environment of working in my career field. I found it difficult to adjust to the expectations, responsibilities, and nuances that came with my new position in life. Unaware of how to navigate the landscape of professionalism with a job that had no formal mechanical engineering department, I found myself lost and stressed about how to ask for help and guidance for fear of looking incompetent. A lack of professional guidance, coupled with the fact that I’m one of the very few Hispanics working in a technical role, resulted in me struggling pretty heavily with imposter syndrome. Furthermore, I struggled to find direction as to how I should be using my resources, energy, and newfound ample free time now that I’d accomplished my lifelong goal of graduating college.

Although the transition to post-college life has not been the easiest, the advice, guidance, and support from the brothers in the area have alleviated the transition. Rooming with another Skull, Isaac Garza ’17, has been a great experience as he has been an incredible friend and great source of knowledge for anything adult. The other Phi Kaps in the area—Hugo Zul ‘17, Erik Rodriguez ‘17, Alejandro Garcia ‘17, Alonzo Lopez ‘18, and Derek J. Johnson ’15— have also provided a great support network and assure that I am not alone in the transition in life. It continues to be an amazing experience to live so close to them and see each other frequently amidst our busy schedules and many activities. Seeing them pursue new goals and achievements continues to be a source of inspiration to what I want to strive for in my life and helps orient me toward new directions, experiences, and ambitions.

Our Californian hub of Phi Kaps has been a great meet-up point for other Phi Kaps to come visit. In my one year here, we’ve been graced with the presence of Andres Alvarez ‘17, Rosemond
Dorleans ‘17, Tzerchyuan (Patrick) Wong ‘18, Wesley Runnels ‘18, Paul Kalebu ‘17, Remy Bassett-Audain ‘20, Tony Terrasa ‘21, Felix Chavez ‘21, and John Cloutier ’06. Tony even got to live with us for his internship here in the summer, and it was a great time to have him!

Since I’ve moved to L.A., I feel that I have gotten my roots at my work. I have finished large projects as the lone engineer working on them, I’ve learned how to weld, use a 5-axis CNC, and try mechanisms that I’d never touched before. Over time, I have become more comfortable in the workplace and we’ve developed a stronger mechanical engineering department, although still small! As for now, I am still tweaking my schedule to develop my interests in rock climbing, drawing, skateboarding, and creation of cool projects around the house.

I miss the Institute for its plethora of resources where I could follow or discover my passions, and for having my friends in a very convenient and cozy place at 530 Beacon. However, even though I couldn’t take the Institute with me, Skullhome has followed me to my next chapter of life.

The brotherhood continues strongly outside of the Institute.