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Featured video: On alien typos and self-care, in conversation with Seth Meyers

Grad student Jonny Sun jokes on late-night TV about his alien persona and the unique challenges of working on a PhD while creating a graphic novel.
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For graduate students, jokes about writing your dissertation are common. This week, however, Jonathan “Jonny” Sun, a PhD candidate in the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning, took dissertation humor to a national level.

Appearing as a guest on NBC’s “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” Sun joked about how hard it has been to work on his thesis while simultaneously authoring his new book, “Everyone’s a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too,” based on his popular Twitter persona, aliebn visitor Jomny Sun. He noted, for instance, how he managed to land himself in the emergency room after a marathon session drawing illustrations for the book. “I told them about the injury and the doctor said, 'Okay, what sport did you hurt yourself playing?' And I said, 'Oh, I was illustrating a book!”

When he's not working on his dissertation, which seeks to understand how social media and online communities shape the way we experience cities and the built environment, Sun tweets self-care reminders via @tinycarebot and takes heart in the community he's fostered with the help of his Jomny Sun persona. Asked about the deliberate typos and misspellings featured in his tweets and throghout his new book, Sun explained to Meyers his desire to communicate that “it's okay to be imperfect. The idea of adding typos and misspellings and making sure you're not perfect is an idea of acceptance, an idea of inclusion, and just being kind to yourself and others.”

Submitted by: School of Architecture and Planning  | Video by: NBC | 6 min, 11 sec

Press Mentions

MIT graduate student Jonny Sun has illustrated a new book by “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda. The book, “Gmorning, Gnight! Little Pep Talks for Me & You,” is a collection of “short, uplifting poems that [Miranda] regularly posts on social media early and late in the day,” writes Kevin Slane for


Gradute student Jonny Sun speaks with Seth Myers on Late Nate with Seth Meyers about his new book, “Everyone's a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too.” The book, which follows an alien who comes to earth and learns to celebrate people’s differences, features intentional typos to emphasize “a common theme throughout the story…that it’s ok to be imperfect,” says Sun.

The New York Times

Jesse Lichtenstein writes for The New York Times about Jonny Sun, a PhD candidate in DUSP, whose humorous Twitter feed, “jomny sun,” has become increasingly popular for offering “comfort, whimsy and an alternative to the rage/panic/schadenfreude/political flame-warring of much online discourse.” “Twitter is often thought of as a shallow, superficial thing,” said Sun, but “there’s a lot of honest pathos and humanity in it.”

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