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Showing content with the highest reputation since 05/23/2017 in all areas

  1. 388 points
    About your dog: I think that depends entirely on you and your program. I am in a social science program where the majority of my analysis and writing can be done from home, and I prefer to work from home or from a library (as opposed to my cube in the windowless cube farm). When I was taking classes I was generally there from 9-6 or so, but now that my coursework is finished I am rarely at the school itself. I go for meetings, seminars, interesting kinds of things and I do most of my work remotely. My time is verrry flexible, and if my building didn't prohibit it I would get a dog in a heartbeat. Another thing to keep in mind: a dog can be a great comfort when you're all stressed out over graduate school. Advice? Age: -Don't feel like you have nothing to offer just because you are younger. I was 22 when I started graduate school. You got accepted to the program for a reason, and chances are you are just as equipped as any older students are to successfully complete the program, just in a different way. -Your older classmates may be just as terrified as you. Talk to them. You have a lot in common. You are, after all, in the same place. -You will feel like an imposter, like you don't belong, or like you are constantly behind. Or all three. It's normal. It will pass. (Well, sort of.) People of all ages go through this. Adviser related: -If you are lucky enough to get both research interest fit and personality fit perfect, congratulations! But sometimes, personality fit is more important than research interest fit as long as the research isn't too different. A great adviser is interested in your career development, likes you as a person, advocates for you, and wants to hear your ideas. Even if his or her research is quite different from yours, they may give you the autonomy to work on your own projects and just supervise you. A bad personality fit will drive you nuts, even if you love his or her research. Consider that when evaluating your adviser fit. (This will vary by field: research fit may be less important in the humanities, more important in the natural and physical sciences. Social sciences are somewhere in-between.) -Don't be afraid to be straight up blunt with your adviser when it comes to asking about your progress. Ask if you are where you should be both academic program wise and getting-a-job-after-this-mess-wise. -Be proactive. Advisers love when you draw up an agenda for your one-on-one meetings, come with talking points and progress to share, have concrete questions to ask, and have overall shown that you have been thoughtful and taken control of your own program. Of course, this won't immediately come easily to you, but in time you will work up to it. Every semester I type up my semester goals, and at the beginning of the year I type up annual goals. I show them to my adviser and we talk about whether they are too ambitious, or whether I need to revise them, and how I can meet them. -Don't expect your adviser to actually know what courses you have to take to graduate. They will know about comprehensive exams and the dissertation, but a lot of professors don't really keep up with the course requirements, especially if their program is in flux. Get you a student handbook, and find out what you need to take. Map it out in a grid, and check off things when you finish them. Show this to your adviser every semester. You may have to explain how such and such class fills a requirement. -Nobody loves you as much as you, except your mother. Keep this in mind as you take in advice from all sources, including your adviser. Your adviser is there to guide you, but that doesn't mean you have to do everything he says. Studying: -You will have to read more than you ever did before, in less time than you ever have before, and you will be expected to retain more than you ever have before. The way that you studied in undergrad may need some tweaking. Be prepared for this. -Corollary: you may find that your methods change with age or interests or time. I preferred to study alone in college, but in grad school, I prefer to study in groups. It keeps me on task and the socialization keeps me motivated. You may find that you shift from being a more auditory learner to a visual learner or whatever. -You will feel behind at first. This is normal. -At some point you will realize that your professors don't actually expect you to read everything they assign you. This, of course, will vary by program, but there will be at least one class where the reading is actually impossible to do in one week. The point is to read enough that you know the major themes and can talk intelligently about them, and then pick some of the readings to really dig into and think more deeply about. -For most programs, don't worry so much about grades. If you stay on top of your work and do what you're supposed to, you will probably get an A. How much grades matter varies from program to program. In some programs, a B is a signal that you are not up to par, and more than a few Bs will warrant a discussion with your adviser or the DGS. My program isn't like that - A, B, it's all meaningless. My adviser doesn't even know what my grades are. But at almost all programs, a C means you need to retake the course, and two Cs means you have to convince the DGS not to kick you out. Extracurricular activity: What's that? No, seriously: -A lot of your time will be unstructured. You will have coursework, but most grad classes meet once a week for two hours and you may have three classes. You may have meetings with your adviser every so often and some seminars or things to catch (like we have grand rounds and colloquia that are required), but a lot of time will be unstructured. However, since you have so much more work than you had in undergrad, you actually will have less free time than you had in undergrad. This may initially cause you great anxiety. It did for me. Some people love unstructured time, though. (I don't.) -Because of this, you'll have to be planful about your non-grad school related stuff. -TAKE TIME OFF. DO it. It's important for your mental health. However you do it doesn't matter. Some people work it like a 9-5 job. Some people take a day off per week (me) and maybe a few hours spread across the week. Some people work half days 7 days a week. However you do it, there needs to be a time when you say "f this, I'm going to the movies." -Find your happy place, something that keeps you the you you were when you came in. I love working out. It gives me energy and I feel good. I stay healthy. I also love reading fiction, so sometimes I just curl up with a good book, work be damned. You have to give yourself permission to not think about work, at least for a couple of hours a week. You may also discover new hobbies! (I never worked out before I came to graduate school.) -Your work will creep into all aspects of your life, if you let it. This is why I hate unstructured time. You will feel guilty for not doing something, because in graduate school, there is ALWAYS something you can do. ALWAYS. But since there will always be more work, there's no harm in putting it aside for tomorrow, as long as you don't have a deadline. -You may need to reach outside of your cohort for a social life. None of my close friends are in my doctoral cohort. I've met master's students in my program, master's students in other programs, and I know a few non-graduate students I hang out with, too. Go to graduate student mixers. (If your university doesn't have any, organize some, if you like planning parties.) Join a student group that doesn't take up too much time. I had a doctoral acquaintance who kinda laughed at me because I joined some student groups other than the doctoral student one, and I was usually the only doctoral student in those groups, but I met some close friends (and future job contacts) and had a good time. -DO NOT FEEL GUILTY FOR WANTING A LIFE OUTSIDE OF GRADUATE SCHOOL. This is paramount. This is important. You are a well-rounded, complex, multifaceted human being. NEVER feel bad for this. Everybody wants some kind of life outside of work. Yes, you may loooove your field, but that doesn't mean you want to do it all day long. Some other doctoral students, and perhaps professors, may make you feel bad about this. Don't let them. Just smile and nod. Then disappear when you need to. Career: -This is job preparation. Remember that from Day One. Always be looking for ways to enhance your skills. Read job ads and find out what's hot in your field, what's necessary, what's in demand. For example, in my field statistics and methods are a hot commodity, and they're not a passing fad. I happen to really like statistics and methods, so I have pursued that as a concentration of mine. -Don't be afraid to take on volunteer work and part-time gigs that will give you skills that will be useful both inside academia and out, as long as it's not against your contract. Your adviser may be against it, but he doesn't have to know as long as it doesn't interfere with your work. -If you want to work outside of academia - if you are even *considering* the possibility - please please definitely do the above. Even if you aren't considering it, consider the possibility that you won't get a tenure-track job out the box and that you may need to support yourself doing something else for a while. You will have to prove to employers that you have developed usable, useful skills and this is one of the easiest ways to do it. But don't overdo it - get the degree done. -For more academic related ones - always look for opportunities to present and publish. Presentations look good on your CV. Publications look better. When you write seminar papers, wonder if you can publish them with some revision. Write your seminar papers on what you maybe think you may want to do your dissertation on. Even if you look at them three years later and think "these suck," you can at least glean some useful references and pieces from them. Discuss publication with your adviser early and often, and if you have the time and desire, seek out publication options with other professors and researchers. But if you commit to a project, COMMIT. You don't want to leave a bad impression. -If you can afford it, occasionally go to conferences even if you aren't presenting. You can network, and you can hear some interesting talks, and you may think about new directions for your own research. You can also meet people who may tell you about jobs, money, opportunities, etc. -Always try to get someone else to pay for conference travel before you come out of pocket. Including your adviser. Do not be shy about asking if he or she can pay. If he can't, he'll just say no. Usually the department has a travel fund for students, but often it's only if you are presenting. -If you are interested in academia, you should get some teaching experience. There are two traditional ways to do this: TAing a course, and teaching as a sole instructor. If you can help it, I wouldn't recommend doing a sole instructor position until you are finished with coursework. Teaching takes a LOT of time to do right. You should definitely TA at least one course, and probably a few different ones. But don't overdo it, if you can help it, because again, it takes a LOT of time. More than you expect at the outset. If you are in the humanities, I think sole instructor positions are very important for nabbing jobs so when you are in the exam/ABD phase, you may want to try at least one. If your own university has none, look at adjuncting for nearby colleges, including community colleges. (I would wager that the majority of natural science/physical science students, and most social science students, have never sole taught a class before they get an assistant professor job. At least, it's not that common n my field, which straddles the social and natural sciences.) -Always look for money. Money is awesome. If you can fund yourself you can do what you want, within reason. Your university will be thrilled, your adviser will be happy, and you can put it on your CV. It's win-win-win! Don't put yourself out of the running before anyone else has a chance to. Apply even if you think you won't get it or the odds are against you (they always are), as long as you are eligible. Apply often. Apply even if it's only $500. (That's conference travel!) Money begets money. The more awards you get, the more awards you will get. They will get bigger over time. If you are in the sciences and social sciences, you should get practice writing at least one grant. You don't have to write the whole thing, but at least get in on the process so that you can see how it's done. Grant-writing is very valuable both in and outside of graduate school. -Revise your CV every so often. Then look and decide what you want to add to it. Then go get that thing, so you can add it. -The career office at big universities is often not just for undergrads. I was surprised to learn that my career center offers help on CV organization and the academic job search, as well as alternative/non-academic career searches for doctoral students. In fact, there are two people whose sole purpose it is to help PhD students find nonacademic careers, and they both have PhDs. This will vary by university - some universities will have very little for grad students. Find out before you write the office off. -It's never too early to go to seminars/workshops like "the academic job search inside and out", "creating the perfect CV," "getting the job," etc. NEVER. Often the leader will share tips that are more aimed towards early graduate students, or tidbits that are kind of too late for more advanced students to take care of. This will also help you keep a pulse on what's hot in your field. It'll help you know what lines you need to add to your CV. And they're interesting. Other: -Decide ahead of time what you are NOT willing to sacrifice on the altar of academia. Then stick to it. I'm serious. If you decide that you do NOT want to sacrifice your relationship, don't. If it's your geographical mobility, don't. I mean, be realistic, and realize that there will always be trade-offs. But you have to think about what's important to you for your quality of life, and realize that there is always more to you than graduate school. -If you don't want to be a professor, do not feel guilty about this. At all. Zero. However, you will have to do things differently than most doctoral students. Your adviser will probably never have worked outside of the academy (although this may vary depending on the field) so he may or may not be able to help you. But you have a special mission to seek out the kinds of experiences that will help you find a non-academic job. Test the waters with your adviser before you tell him this. My adviser was quite amenable to it, but that's because I told him that my goal was to still do research and policy work in my field just not at a university, AND because it's quite common in my field for doctoral students to do non-academic work. If you're in a field where it's not common (or where your professors refuse to believe it's common, or it's not supposed to be common)…well, you may be a little more on your own. -Every so often, you will need to reflect on the reasons you came to graduate school. Sometimes, just sit and think quietly. Why are you doing this to yourself? Do you love your field? Do you need this degree to do what you want to do? Usually the answer is yes and yes, and usually you'll keep on trucking. But sometimes when the chips are down you will need to reevaluate why you put yourself through this in the first place. -To my great dismay, depression is quite common in doctoral students. Graduate work can be isolating and stressful. Luckily your health insurance usually includes counseling sessions. TAKE THEM if you need them. Do not be ashamed. You may be surprised with who else is getting them. (I found out that everyone in my cohort, including me, was getting mental health counseling at a certain point.) Exercise can help, as can taking that mental health day once a week and just chilling. Don't be surprised if you get the blues… -…but be self-aware and able to recognize when the depression is clouding your ability to function. Doctoral programs have a 50% attrition rate, and this is rarely because that 50% is less intelligent than, less motivated than, less driven than, or less ambitious than the other 50% that stays. Often they realize that they are ridiculously unhappy in the field, or that they don't need the degree anymore, or that they'd rather focus on other things in life, or their interests have changed. All of this is okay! -You will, at some point, be like "eff this, I'm leaving." I think almost every doctoral student has thought about dropping out and just kicking this all to the curb. You need to listen to yourself, and find out whether it is idle thought (nothing to worry about, very normal) or whether you are truly unhappy to the point that you need to leave. Counseling can help you figure this out. -Don't be afraid to take a semester or a year off if you need to. That's what leaves of absence are for. Lastly, and positively… …graduate school is great! Seriously, when else will you ever have the time to study what you want for hours on end, talk to just as interested others about it, and live in an intellectual community of scholars and intellectuals? And occasionally wake up at 11 am and go to the bank at 2 pm? Sometimes you will want to pull out all of your hair but most of the time, you will feel fulfilled and wonderfully encouraged and edified. So enjoy this time!
  2. 25 points

    Decaf, Mocha, Latte, What does it all mean?

    I'm pointlessly posting in this topic for no other reason than to move up to the next "coffee"
  3. 17 points

    Laying Down the truth, sorry, not sorry

    Well thanks for the honesty I suppose. I'm going to be blunt with you, so try to not take offense, but you seem awfully arrogant. Some of your points are valid and I agree with; there are currently too many PhDs being trained. At this rate it's not sustainable, it's simply not. But to say a PhD is not worthwhile unless you stay in academia is silly and myopic, and should someone choose industry over academia that does not make them any less of a scientist. Many PhDs are choosing industry and alternative careers simply because they find academia is not an attractive option. Being on an entirely soft money salary fighting tooth and nail for grants in order to feed your family isn't exactly everyone's idea of a stable career, and if you can't see that then perhaps you should reflect on the current climate of academia a bit more. You know what percentage of PhD graduates end up in tenure track positions? It's low. While academia was once the default path, it's quickly becoming just the opposite and schools are changing to reflect that. You are exactly the the type of person I am looking to avoid for rotations. I hope during the course of your training you take off your blinders, because your narrow mindedness is something that is not a great character trait.
  4. 12 points
    Well, I promised myself if I ever got into grad school I would post on gradcafe to help others out there that are trying to as well. Hopefully this information inspires you to pursue your dream of becoming an SLP. Back story: When I was younger, I was diagnosed with a learning disability (auditory and visual processing). I always had to try harder in school than the average student. I went to community college after high school because I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. I always had a liking working with kids. In the back of my mind, I always knew I wanted to be a teacher, but I hated subjects so I wasn't sure how that was going to work out lol. After researching Speech Pathology, I realized I wanted to be an SLP. I observed a few SLPs before I made the decision to transfer to a University and pursue a Bachelors degree in Speech Pathology. I was only accepted into one school in California because my cumulative GPA was a 2.6 (did I mention I HATE subject courses). After two grueling years pursuing a Bachelors degree in Speech, I managed to graduate with a 3.7 CDS GPA and 3.2 cumulative GPA. During the two year program, I had the WORST faculty. They were not supportive at all and had their favorites. It was terrible and I am so glad I am not going there for grad school. Ok, so this is how I got into grad school: I worked my ass off during my two year undergrad program by volunteering at a school (classroom and SLP), hospital (child life department), NSSLHA events, reading program, and an aphasia support group. I applied to three grad school programs my senior year, scored extremely low on the GRE and didn't get accepted. I even applied to my undergrad summer SLPA program and didn't get accepted. I knew I had to take a gap year and work in a related field. After I graduated, I worked as a behavioral therapist. It has almost been a year now since I started, and honestly, it was the best idea. It reassured me that I was meant to work with kids and become a therapist. I don't necessarily love ABA, since I have long in-home therapy sessions, but I believe this experience helped me get into grad school. I applied to 12 schools this time. I retook the GRE and scored a little higher, but still low. V:140, Q:145, A: 3.5. I researched literally every single program on ASHA edfind with low GPA and GRE scores. Also, I rewrote my letter of intent and had it proof read from sooo many people. I was determined to get in. I ended up being accepted into one school, waitlisted for 3 schools and rejected from the rest. The school that I was accepted to is literally my number 1 choice. I was in shock. I finally did it. So what I am trying to say here is that, YOU CAN DO IT. Don't give up. If you really want it, you will make it happen. If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask me! Grad cafe really helped me research my schools and kept me up to date on the grad school process. I am so thankful for all the support on here.
  5. 11 points
    Old Bill

    Tips for Applying to English Ph.D. Programs

    · A few weeks ago, I was asked to talk to first-year M.A. students about the Ph.D. application process. I prepared a list of what I figure to be key elements, and I figure it might be useful to many on GC who are preparing to go down this path as well. I'm quite certain that some of these points are purely subjective and open to discussion / debate, but having gone through the process a couple of times now, these items ring true based on my experiences and observations. ---------------- Others have surely told you about the state of the industry, so I’m just going to assume that you already know the “there are no jobs” spiel. · Others have also surely told you about how relatively difficult it is to get into a Ph.D. program—I have yet to hear of a program that admits over 10% of applicants. o Because of this, if you are committed to applying to Ph.D. programs, I strongly recommend considering applying to at least ten. Even though merit is a critical part of determining who gets in, there is a very real element of “luck of the draw” which pure numbers will help to mitigate. · With that in mind, NOW is a good time to get started on your program research · Your first consideration when entering the process should be to determine what era you would like to study, and ideally a general sense of methodologies you want to employ. These elements will be reflected in the two most important components of your application: the Statement of Purpose (or SoP), and your Writing Sample (WS). · Some basics: o The SoP and WS should ideally work together o When thinking about potential areas of study, avoid proposing transatlantic or transhistorical concepts: admissions committees are still very much set up by period, and your application should be easily sorted into a field group (i.e. you’re clearly a Romanticist, or you’re clearly a 20th century Americanist). o GRE scores, GPA, and other elements are important, but remember that the things you can control the most at this stage are the WS and SoP. o Given the importance of these two documents, you will want to get as many eyes on them as possible as soon as possible. § My SoP and WS were read and commented on by at least five professors and several fellow students, and ultimately went through at least six rounds of revision each—several of them top-to-bottom revisions. · There are multiple factors to consider when looking at programs. Some of the most important include: o Are there multiple professors actively working in your chosen field § I personally used a “rule of three”—if a program had three professors with significant research overlap with my interests, I would consider it. § By “active” I mean that you should be able to find publication credits from within the past five years—they need to be in touch with current scholarship. o What level of financial support do they offer—not just the annual funding, but whether they fund in summer, and how many years of funding are guaranteed o What courses have they offered in the past? What courses are they offering in the fall? o What is the teaching load like, and how do they prepare you for that load? o So-called rankings matter to a certain extent, but remember that those rankings are almost completely arbitrary. USNews rankings are helpful as a list of all programs offering Ph.D.s in English…and a very, very general sense of the strong programs vs. the less strong. But FIT with your interests trumps all. § (E.g. the Strode program at U of A is highly regarded, even though U of A itself is somewhat less so) o Location and cost of living. A 20k stipend will get you a lot further in Lincoln, Nebraska than in New York. And elements like small town vs. large city, cold vs. warm climate etc. are all perfectly valid factors when looking at programs. You’ll have to live in this place for 4-6 years, after all! · A few quick and random tips: o It can be helpful to contact professors ahead of time to determine research fit etc., but it can also be quite valuable to contact current grad students to get a sense of the program and the environment. o Remember that an important part of professionalization in a Ph.D. program is publication. More than anything, this means that before you go down the road toward application, give some serious thought to whether or not your writing and research inclinations have that kind of potential. And whether or not that’s something you really want to deal with at all. o Also remember that teaching is a huge part of your job, and always will be. If you don’t enjoy teaching (or the prospect of teaching), you’d better really love the other components of your position, because there’s not going to be any getting away from it for many, many years. o It might go without saying, but be very courteous in all of your communications with professors and other graduate students. And that courtesy should be sincere! o Consider the total cost of applications: application fees average about $75, sending GRE scores is $27 (more if you need the subject test), and if you have multiple transcripts, that can tack on another $10. In other words, each application will likely be upward of $100. Given that I recommend applying to at least ten programs, you’re looking at a commitment of over $1000. There ARE fee waivers you can find, however. o Forums like GradCafe are a good way to socialize with fellow applicants, and commiserate with people in the same situation. Just remember to take all advice you see on those forums with a grain of salt. o Finally, there are NO SAFETY SCHOOLS. Just to reiterate, rankings are arbitrary, and almost every program gets ten times as many applicants as they can admit (let alone fund). As a result, you want to look at the best overall fit for you.
  6. 9 points
    St Andrews Lynx

    Potential Laboratory Sabotage

    I think that you need to talk to your advisor about this, and promptly. You do have evidence at this point: the things that you have told us in the post. Experiments don't work when she is around; but do when she isn't. Setting out decoy reagents and the reactions work. Unless you set up CCTV cameras in the lab, you aren't going to get evidence that is much better than this. My advice would be to talk to the advisor with your fellow group members. Bring along a written summary of the evidence and concerns. Leave out the aspects of Sarah's personality (micromanager, ridiculing others, etc) and stick to the "sabotage facts". Keep calm: your PI might respond with shock or anger (if they have suspected nothing up until this point), you don't want to derail the discussion. If your PI refuses to admit there's a problem or does nothing, then you might consider talking to a university ombudsman (impartial mediator) to get advice on what to do next. Or resigning from the lab if you don't want to support unethical research. Hopefully the PI will listen to your concerns. In the interim, try to keep your research secured and confidential. That might mean locking up your lab notebooks, setting up decoy reagents/hiding your own reagents. Sabotaging other people's work is an awful thing to do - but it isn't as bad for the PI w. respect to their tenure/funding/publications as if this student was faking positive data (that subsequently got into their grants or papers). I don't think that concern for the PI's wellbeing should stop you from reporting the suspicious behaviour.
  7. 9 points
    St Andrews Lynx

    Grad School Bullies

    The problem is with *them* and *their* insecurities. It has nothing to do with you. Grad school is great at bringing up all a person's self-doubt, fears and weaknesses, in part because it is much less structured than undergrad. To combat their own insecurities, people bitch about others for working too hard. Or not working hard enough. Or wearing pink cardigans all the time. Or whatever. You say that you have some friends in the cohort? That's great. Focus your energy on them. It is possible that once your cohort move away from the coursework and get more settled in to their own research that they'll calm down a bit and stop with the nastiness.
  8. 9 points
    Postbib Yeshuist

    Grad. School Supplies?

    Something else that occurs to me is to look into a Dropbox account (www.dropbox.com). It's basically online storage, but rather advanced (and 2Gb for free). It'll keep all your computers synced if you install the software, but I find it indispensable for grad work for two reasons: (1) It keeps versions of papers up to 30 days, which is great for going back to older revisions, and (2) you can access it from any internet-enabled computer. It basically eliminates the need for a flash drive and you can't lose it, etc. 2Gb might seems small, but there are ways to get it up to 5Gb for free pretty easily. I know, maybe not what you were originally thinking, but I figured there's no harm in putting it out there.
  9. 8 points
    St Andrews Lynx

    Potential Laboratory Sabotage

    Yeah, it was probably not a good idea to talk to your everyone else but your PI about the sabotage. Regardless of the validity of the concerns, pumping it through a rumour mill rather than going through professional channels undermines your case and leads to too many hurt feelings. It sounds like the comments you made about Sarah prompted your friends to behave in ways - as you said - out of your control. And now she has the opportunity to play the victim, not necessarily without justification. I get the feeling that the sabotage described is only the tip of a whole f**ked-up iceberg of a dysfunctional lab. If the situation is really worse than this anecdote, I'd consider leaving the lab as diplomatically as possible before (i) you are fired (ii) something even worse (professionally or personally) happens. You don't want your future career tarred with what has been going on around you.
  10. 7 points
    I really resent the implication by a lot of posters in this thread that "younger" grad students are some how less serious about their coursework and research, obsessed with "bar hopping" or clueless as to how the real world works. My department has a cohort of 10-15 each year, and I would say there is usually 1 recent grad, 2 thirty-somethings, while the rest are between 25-30. 25-27 is also really not that young, and it's a bit patronizing to act like people this age have little life experience and are obsessed with drinking. Lots of us in this age cohort are putting our lives on hold to get our PhDs, which is huge sacrifice and makes us highly motivated to get in, and out and move on with our lives. Just because I'm 27 and like to hang out with my cohort at a bar on Friday nights, doesn't mean I don't work my a** off seven days a week. That being said, in my department the social aspect is hugely important, and (with a few exceptions) people in coursework years who don't socialize within the department seem to really struggle. It's important to have people that you can vent to about professors and coursework, share bibliography, get advice on fellowships and generals, introductions to scholars, advice on ins and outs of certain archives, etc...... I guess my point is, if you don't cultivate some type of a support system *within* the department, the next 6+ years are going to be an uphill battle.
  11. 7 points

    Fulbright 2017-2018

    the website states under different sections that tuition will be fully covered and that "Critical Language Enhancement Award recipients receive the same monthly maintenance stipends as for other Fulbright grants in the host country." That is all the info that was provided prior to a week ago and I took it to be true. Maybe I should have asked more questions, but still, it is frustrating and misleading... So, I just looked at the CLEA information and I do agree that it sends mixed messages. It does say that grantees "receive the same monthly maintenance stipends as for other Fulbright grants in the host country." It also says that funds are not available for transit, test fees, and a few other things. I agree that we should be able to trust Fulbright and, while I don't think they are being deceitful, I do think they need to be more transparent and note that while the amount awarded is technically the same, you aren't being paid a lump sum amount equal to your regular Fulbright amount (which honestly, makes sense consideirng they are paying tuition and for rent, so it should be less than the lump sum monthly amount). They should state you're being paid X amount minus expenses for A, B, C, totaling Y. Do I think they need to list that on the website? No. But I do think it should be included in grantee paperwork or in acceptance emails. As for what @hobakie said, I agree with some of it, but I do think the tone was way out of line. Fulbright is very clear that the stipend is modest and that, in some cases, it may not be enough to live off of. I'm thinking of those placed in München who can expect to spend almost their entire grant stipend on housing. You certainly should not be expecting to pay down credit card debt or student loans using your Fulbright stipend. We apply knowing the financial limitations of Fulbright and if someone didn't know this beforehand, then I'm led to believe they didn't do their due diligence before applying for the grant. You can find this information by contacting previous Fulbrighters and looking at Fulbright focused blogs. Additionally, I've seen a few people mention that Fulbright benefits those with wealthy parents or SOs or that Fulbright thinks its prestige and honor is a form of payment. I disagree with these statements. Of all the fellowships out there, Fulbright is the least restrictive on what they want IMO. They don't care that much about GPA, income level, etc. They want people who crave this opportunity and they especially want people who wouldn't be able to have this opportunity without a a funded grant. Sure, some people with have other financial resources if something happens (parents, SOs, etc.) but many of us will not. I know living off of $20,000 in the second most expensive city in the US that the financial struggle is real. I have student loans to pay. I have grocery bills, rent, and utilities to pay. I've learned to be frugal and yet still live life. Perhaps this is a skill set some of us will gain on Fulbright. That said, if someone wants to donate a billion dollars so we all can get paid more, not gonna complain Agree or disagree with me, but I do hope that future conversations can be less vicious and more helpful and productive.
  12. 7 points

    Fulbright 2017-2018

  13. 6 points

    Anyone Can Be a Data Scientist

    Why not? Turns out that anyone can be the President, so what's a data scientist in comparison?
  14. 6 points

    Venting Thread- Vent about anything.

    You are not wrong. There is less and less sharing of information with each application season. This season's thread in the history forum only took off after offers of admission started going out to applicants. Also, there's ever less "paying it forward" by graduate students used the grad cafe as a resource during recent application seasons. For those who say that no one here owes anyone anything, if you end up in a position that you need support, will you feel the same way?
  15. 6 points

    Erasing my past and restarting grad school?

    1. Because you seem genuinely confused when anyone brings up these other posters. When I referenced them an hour ago you seemed to have no idea what I was talking about. Just a few minutes ago you said, "I'm not surprised if other people went to NYU. It's quite a large school. On top of that, there could be a possibility that other members here on this forum disliked the school." That doesn't read to me like you've been in touch with Young Charlie (who is apparently female, btw). 2. Because any lawyer worth his or her salt would not allow you to post on a public message board. It would jeopardize your lawsuit. 3. I don't know and I don't think anyone really cares. But the inconsistencies here in the last half hour alone certainly are damning.
  16. 6 points

    Getting a Pet in Grad School

    Okay, first of all, you don't always have to pay more in rent. Some places charge a pet rent, but there are many that don't. Also, some charge a pet fee but others don't. My current place charges a one-time $150 fee, which I just viewed as part of the security deposit, but which you could also view as a ~$10/month rent increase. I've also lived in places (rented through individual owners) that didn't charge anything for having a pet. But, depending on the dog you get/want, you may need to pay more to have a place with a fenced in yard, for example. As for the rest, well... there's the finances to consider (vet bills, dog food/toys, replacing anything the dog destroys [and there's pretty much guaranteed to be something], paying/finding someone to watch the dog when you're out of town) and the time factor. Do you have an hour or two throughout the day to spend walking, training, and playing with a dog? Are you able to commit to socializing your dog (dog park, playdates, etc.)? Here's two things I would suggest. First, work with/through a rescue group, rather than just going to the animal shelter. This is especially important if you don't have much experience as a dog owner because they can help you understand what will and will not work given your personality and schedule and the dog's personality and needs. Also, you're more likely to get a dog that already has some training (and have people to consult with about continuing that training), which can be very helpful if you don't have that experience yourself. Second, before adopting a dog, consider fostering. That gives you 99% of the experience but without much of the costs. You get the experience of taking in a dog whose background you know little or nothing about, training and working with that dog, and that sort of thing but typically the rescue group is a 501c3 and covers all of the vet bills (and sometimes also food) on your behalf. Fostering is an incredible experience and I've fostered dogs for years, including for about 2.5 years in grad school. One of the downsides though is that you are likely to be responsible for taking the dog to weekly or monthly adoption events, talking to potential adopters, etc. Again, this is a time commitment but one that I personally find to be worth it. In thinking about your question though, I was struck my thinking that the first few months of a big life transition are *not* a great time to get a dog as dogs can be very demanding on your time. Someone else asked me about this recently and this is part of the email I sent in response. ------ Every group I've fostered with has required that I or someone from my household drop off and pick up the pet from weekly adoption events. Also, when I fostered in [one state], the group had a home visit and trial period as well, which meant I had to go to the prospective adopter's house for the home visit with the dog, drop the dog off if the visit went well, and, in one case, pick the dog back up when the person backed out of the adoption. Since you can't really take dogs on public transit, you'll need a personal vehicle to do all of these things. As for traveling with the dog, that is really dog-dependent. Some dogs get sick every time they're in the car. It's something you can work on but that takes time. One of my foster dogs, Daisy, peed in the car basically every time she was in the car for the first 4.5 months I had her. If you have a dog like that, then you can't easily travel with him/her. At any rate, I wouldn't make any decisions until you get settled in your position and get a sense of what your days will be like. If you're expected to have a lot of face time on campus or in the lab, then having a dog is more complicated unless you have a roommate that can let the dog out when you're unavailable. In general, fostering isn't for everyone. You have to be willing to love and treat a dog as if it's your own then let it go to someone else without getting bitter or sad. It also means taking in a dog that probably has some sort of problem that needs to be resolved (physical, behavioral, or whatever). It probably means housebreaking, crate/kennel training, and leash training. A lot of those training things can be avoided if you adopt from a local rescue group that keeps their dogs in a foster home and has the foster parents do that training for you. Adoptions cost more in those cases but they can also save a lot of work, which is a good thing if you're unfamiliar. The upside to fostering is that you won't have to pay vet bills (and really, don't foster with any group that makes you pay the vet bills out of pocket). Oh yea, it's difficult to foster if you can't show that you have experience living with and working with dogs (I'm not sure if you do). If you don't, they typically make you volunteer first so they can get a sense of your comfort with dogs before they send one to live with you, which totally makes sense to me. And if you foster, you basically have to commit to keeping the dog until it finds its forever home. For me, that's been as short as 3 weeks and as long as 5.5 months... Hope that helps. I'm happy to chat more about this if you want. ------------- Again, this is just my experience and opinion. A cat, imo, is much easier to adopt because you don't have to worry about how long ze can hold its bladder while you're in class or the lab or wherever.
  17. 5 points

    Acceptance Thread

    Accepted off the waitlist at Rutgers!!!!
  18. 5 points
    From being on this forum for a couple of seasons, I'm getting the distinct impression that every single MA student at NYU was bullied to the point of hospitalization, cannot get rec letters, and became an English teacher.
  19. 5 points
    So I'm going to put this on here before this thread before the new cycle of people get here... THIS IS TOTALLY 100% TRUE. You, before you apply and even begin to look at programs, need to sit down with yourself and decide what are your priorities. Do you want a med school attached? Do you want a highly independent program where you are left to your own devices? Do you want a program with mostly famous PIs? What type of location do you want? What is your personal life like and how will this affect where you live, work expectations, etc? How do you want to handle your finances? Do you want to commute or live next to campus? Once you get done with priorities, you need to decide where you'll be competitive. I think either people have no idea (and therefore apply to like 12-15 schools) or overshoot and apply to too many top programs for their profile. Your most important aspect of your profile is your research experience. Was it long-term? Did you get results? Did you do conferences/papers/poster sessions/presentations? NO COURSEWORK WILL BE APPLICABLE HERE. I've sometimes seen people try to pass a class-based project off but it doesn't count, unfortunately. Not unless you wrote a grant or paper or something that then got accepted by the NSF/NIH or a journal. Now, we've talked before about if GPA is important. Simply put, it is, but it isn't the end-all, be-all. If you're going for Harvard/MIT/UCSF/Caltech/Rockefeller, you're going to need a great GPA. Although adcoms do know that personal situations, course difficulty, and other things can affect it. Generally speaking *FOR TOP PROGRAMS*, over a 3.5 is good, 3.75 and up is great, and 3.9+ is fantastic. However, if your science/major GPA is higher than your overall, make sure you point that out on your CV. Mine was, and significantly. (3.76 cGPA/3.86 science GPA) GPA matters, but if you have a low one, get great recommendations! It'll go a long way. Actually, just have great recommendations in general. 3 from your supervising research mentors would actually be ideal. Grad school is much less about classwork than research and your GPA can demonstrate your academic success. It's really important to be honest with yourself about where you're competitive. If you're not, you could end up with a disappointing cycle. But the most crucial part is to combine your priorities with institutions where you'll be competitive. Myself, I applied to 7 places and I actually should not have applied to UCSF and Stanford based on my priorities... I wanted to live with relatively low financial debt during this time with a relatively high quality of life in an interesting area. Based on my knowledge of the Bay Area, that would have been difficult to do with the cost of living there. But all in all, I think that I chose schools at which I was relatively competitive and was fairly successful. If you narrow it down like this, you will have an easier time deciding on where you want to go. I have had a really clear vision of how I want to live for the next five years. I want to have a supportive environment with a PI that is around to help mentor me through this. I want to be able to live near a city center to be close to the excitement of city life. I don't mind having to have a car. I want to be able to afford to live where I live without huge credit card bills. I want an institution with a good name/reputation so I can go to a good post-doc. I also want an institution with a high degree of collaboration and dynamic research in molecular signaling in disease. It actually hasn't been a difficult decision thus far and I only have the final interview which is in NYC (and I'm like 90% sure I'm not a NYC girl :P). And I would NOT want to do more than the 4 interviews I have so far. Good luck, young padawans. (Oh and feel free to PM me if you want. I'm just going to be relaxing all summer anyway)
  20. 4 points

    How to Deal Problem Students as a TA

    The one trick I've learned (mostly through analyzing why I respect some professors despite being subject to their scathing criticism) is to be honest and confident and deal with the behavior like a boss, but to never judge or make assumptions about the student's personality, motivation, or abilities. Instructors who get the best results: Might tell the student that his/her behavior comes off as [insert negative thing here], but will never say that the student is A or B or that they think the student is A or B. Might say why they took points off and where the problems are in a certain paper or assignment, but will never generalize the performance on that single assignment to make negative assumptions about the student's performance overall or question the student's effort or abilities. Keep personal feelings out of it. Treat each situation as something separate - once a conversation is over, let it be over. Don't let your attitude cloud your other interactions with said student or with other students. If they don't bring up the topic of a past unpleasant interaction with you, you don't bring it up first. You smile and treat it as if nothing happened after the fact. Also, it's okay to clue in the instructor of record if it gets too absurd. As a TA, one of the worst interactions I've had with a student involved that student being aggravated by a not-so-great grade on her essay and was trying to get points that I couldn't give her. She yelled at me during office hours, refusing to believe that her answers weren't correct and telling me that she didn't think I understood how much money and effort she put into her education, that I didn't care because I wasn't paying nearly as much as her, and that I wasn't qualified to teach and probably didn't even read the textbook. I ignored any attacks on me. I told her first of all that I didn't question her ability or effort - there were specific things we were looking for and she didn't have it; it didn't mean she was a bad student or that I graded on a whim. I also explained the answers to the questions and the reasons her answers didn't express them adequately. I then told her that she was welcome to go to the instructor for a second opinion (which she was going to do anyway). After she left, I followed up with an email recapping what I'd said, BCC'ing the instructor, and I met with the instructor later that day to talk more about the incident. When the student sent in the essay for that second opinion, the instructor and I went through it together, and the fact that the instructor was on my side about the grading helped the student come to terms with her grade, and she ended up apologizing for her attitude. Honestly, I have to really thank this student. She gave me a killer answer to a really common and hard-to-answer interview question!
  21. 4 points

    research scams

    Ok so just as I was about to call the organization to report that a scammer was posing as one of their recruiters, I find out that it was my brother playing a practical joke on me by creating a fake email address. So the good news is my research topic has not been compromised, but...I told him he is dead to me.
  22. 4 points
    Where did I say anything about "going out to bars"? Oh, that's right. I didn't. My concern is more that someone who is singlemindedly focused on coursework and research misses out on some of the key learning that's necessary to succeed in academia. As much as I loathe drama and politics, academia is full of them and being able to navigate these successfully is crucial when you're junior faculty. Even outside of academia, every workplace has its drama and it pays to pay attention, even if only so you can avoid getting caught up in it. You don't have to take my advice but, maybe someone else on this thread will find it of value. @SarahBethSortino, I did plenty of socializing (both with my cohort and with others) in grad school that didn't involve going to the bars. We would go out for coffee, have work sessions in local coffee shops, work out together at the gym, watched sports together (live or on tv) etc. A lot of what I did with people was driven by our shared interests. I know that others would go biking, hiking, or rock climbing together, for example. Looking back at my PhD, I had two good friends in my cohort (one MA/PhD student and one PhD student) plus two good friends (one each from the two cohorts ahead of mine*). As others have said, those are the people who have reviewed my grant, fellowship, and job application materials (yes, even when we were applying for the same thing!), given me feedback on drafts of journal articles, etc. In my case, we all have similar-ish research interests, which makes some of those things easier. I've never actually published with any of them, though I also wouldn't rule it out as something that might happen in the future. Those in the cohorts ahead of me were useful for thinking about exams, committees, coursework strategies, navigating weird institutional policies, etc. Here's what I've noticed about those who were from the city where I did my PhD and had a network outside of campus. They didn't make close friends with anyone but then would all of a sudden become very friendly when they needed something. This meant that they were a lot nicer to others when they wanted a copy of your successful fellowship application, for you to share a syllabus and set of assignments you developed, or wanted your feedback on their fellowship/grant materials. I... dislike when people do that. It's one thing to share with your friends and another to share with someone who is basically a stranger that you've seen in the hall sometimes. So, regardless of whether you make lifelong friendships, I'd encourage everyone to cultivate collegial relationships with others in the program so you gain these informal benefits. *BTW, when I say "cohort", I'm referring to when we started our degrees. For any number of reasons, several of us finished around the same time, despite not starting in the same year.
  23. 4 points

    2017 Applicants Here!

  24. 4 points

    Phd without funding?

    If you go without funding, you should be fully prepared to not be able to secure more funding next year. If they had funding for you, the time when they are the most likely to give it to you is when they're trying to recruit you; once you're there, there is less of an incentive to do things for you. Either way, you can't count on it, and it's better to plan for the worse outcome. Suppose you don't get more funding, then what happens? You spend the not insignificant amount of money for your first year, you spend most of that time worrying about debt, applying for grants and fellowships, and also applying to other graduate programs, and you do the work of a first-year. Then you're in debt and have to start over, possibly even redoing your first-year work, since many programs won't accept transfer credits (and even less so from someone who dropped out of their previous program). I personally wouldn't take that risk, but if you do, be aware that that's a very real possible outcome.
  25. 4 points

    Laying Down the truth, sorry, not sorry

    This post is appalling for many reasons, but it bothers me that you think that you don't need a PhD to go into many of these fields. Are you telling me you don't need a solid understanding of how to interpret data in a rigorous scientific context when you're a science journalist conveying to the public whether a study is legitimate or not, or whether its findings are correlative? Well that explains why we have so many popular science posts claiming that "scientists have proved that intelligence comes from the mother" or whatever crap is in the media nowadays. Are you telling me you don't need a rigorous foundation in scientific analysis for science policy, when Trump has now stated that the future of the EPA is dependent on whether politicians (who likely have zero experience with rigorous analysis of scientific data, or any data at all) are able to find the EPA's data conclusive? Sorry not sorry, but we need scientists (WITH PhDs) in these fields more than ever.
  26. 4 points

    Erasing my past and restarting grad school?

    Calm down. People here are just trying to help you. You don't make yourself appear more credible by resorting to personal insults. I stand by my advice. If these things happened to you at NYU, then you need to contact this Young Charlie person, whose story about NYU is almost identical to yours, down to doors being slammed in faces and being laughed at and bullied by other students. Whether or not I "believe" you is beside the point. If a terrible injustice was done, then it needs to be addressed. If you are making this up or otherwise exaggerating, then you should stop because making false accusations about a specific program on a public discussion board is unethical.
  27. 4 points

    Erasing my past and restarting grad school?

    Honestly I think this thread should be locked. I feel bad for OP, but I agree that something doesn't add up, and I don't think that this thread is going anywhere useful.
  28. 4 points

    Things to Do While You Wait for Decisions

    Most programs pay for most if not all expenses related to the visit, including the cost of transportation and hotel. My dept., for example, reimbursed me for the gas I used driving up to Northern California and put me up in a hotel near campus. From talking to the other admits, I know that my dept also comped across-country flights, too. Be aware, though, that public universities in particular may not have the funds to cover all expenses. I don't think you need to buy any books in advance. You're going to have enough to pay for in terms of moving expenses, campus fees (esp. if you're attending a program at a public university), and coursework texts. Besides, once you're paired up with your adviser, you'll get an idea of what texts are important to your field and in what timeframe your adviser expects you to read those texts. My advice would be to avoid trying to anticipate your program's expectations -- just wait till you're there; you'll save a lot of time and energy*. Just think: you're probably going to be there for 7+ years. You'll have plenty of time to do research. Enjoy the time between application submission and your first semester/quarter. I read a bunch of shitty sci-fi and short stories and spent a week backpacking up in the mountains before moving up north to start my program. *I will make one book suggestion, though. Get a copy of Eric Hayot's Elements of Academic Style: Writing for the Humanities published a couple years ago. My DGS used it in our Intro to Grad Studies course, and I found it extremely useful and honest about the professional forms of writing we are expected to master as scholars. Among other things, it also covers techniques on how to develop productive work, writing, and reading habits.
  29. 3 points

    2017-2018 Application Cycle

    There are plenty of applicants (and students and scholars!) that straddle the line between IR and CP. It's not a big deal to be slightly ambiguous in respect to those two subfields IF there is a obvious reason for it and you have a clear and concise proposed project in your SOP. You may also want to be strategic with respect to competitiveness. From past cycles, the comparative subfields were thought by many to be more competitive than IR in regards to available spots vs. applicants. I believe this fluctuates from year to year though. Might be something to think about when declaring your 'first' subfield.
  30. 3 points

    I'm finally going for it :)

    Hello! So, here's my story. I graduated high school in Florida. They have a generous scholarship program where if you get a certain SAT score and GPA, you get a full-tuition scholarship to any public FL college. I stayed local and attended a public FL college with a direction in its name. It wasn't until the end of my junior year that I learned I probably should've gone to a "better name" school. That's when I learned from professors and other students that it would be highly unlikely for any of us to get into a top graduate humanities program from my undergrad due to our lack of prestige. I should've persevered and gone that route anyway, since my heart was fully in my majors: English and philosophy. Fear of not getting into a good grad school and then not getting a job at the end of my PhD won out though. I gave up on that dream, despite it being the best fit for me. At that same time, I'd heard that law schools didn't care about undergrad prestige much, since they so strongly weighed the LSAT. So I took that, scored in the 99th percentile, and decided to go that route even though I had my suspicions from the start that it was the wrong fit. That was confirmed once I got there! I loathed it and became depressed. I did ok though, gpa in the middle of the class and all As in my legal writing course. This was at a top ten law school. Near the end of my second semester, I requested a leave of absence. My school was wonderful and granted it, said I could come back at any time. Not long after that, my mom was diagnosed with ALS. I was her primary caregiver for a few years until she passed away. At that point, I decided life was too short to do something I disliked. So I decided not to return to law school. I instead got my master's in English Education, since some of my strongest interests are learning and instruction. (I discovered this during years as a tutor and professional trainer.) I now have the guts though to go all the way and get my PhD in English so that I can teach at the college level. That's what my heart most desires and always has. Teaching and publishing my own work. I was scared for so long that it wouldn't work out, but I want to at least try! I come here for advice on where you think I should apply. I only want to apply to schools where I'd have a shot at full funding. I'd appreciate a heads up on the best schools you think I'd have a shot at. By "best," I mean the schools I'm competitive for that give me the greatest chance at landing a professor job when I'm done. -- My undergrad GPA was 3.65. I was also named "The Outstanding Philosophy Graduate" for my class. -- My grad GPA is 3.96. I graduate this month. -- I haven't taken the GRE yet. I took a practice test for the English part and scored in the high 160s. I haven't even attempted the math part yet because I've forgotten everything beyond fractions, it seems. I'll definitely need to study up for that big time! -- I have work experience in tutoring (writing, LSAT) and also in business (training, management). I currently live in Buffalo, NY and will be applying to University at Buffalo's program, but I wanted to check with you guys on where else I should include. I'll be applying this fall for admission in Fall 2018. Thank you for reading!
  31. 3 points

    Hunting for a Program, I'm STUCK. help please.

    Honestly, I think that you should start by seeking guidance from your former professors. GradCafe is very helpful regarding certain aspects of the application process (GRE studying tips, SOP advice, Interview advice, etc), but not so much when it comes to something as major as choosing a field of study. Sure, we can list all of the best places to study political psychology, but we can't really tell you whether you should be studying political psychology or not. You should contact a professor who knows you and knows your work and have a conversation with them regarding your research interests and how to best pursue them.
  32. 3 points

    2018 Applicants

    Hi y'all! I'm applying for PhD programs as an 18th-centuryist, so shout out to others in that oft-ignored period! I'm also halfway through a 2-year MA program (there are so many of us here!) This summer is drafting my PS and editing my WS - and beginning work on my thesis of course.
  33. 3 points

    Starting personal statements

    I would focus on writing from the heart instead of what would make you sound like an ideal candidate. I feel like committees see right through that. When you write from your heart i think it is easier for the thoughts to flow. When you are done go back and make it sound more professional and make sure you hit the key points the other poster said in some form of fashion. Its all about making sure your passion has a rationale instead of saying "i want to work with/im good at working with/i love...". Speak from the heart and filter out the bs. It may be a process, but you can do it!
  34. 3 points
    None of that is going to happen. There are procedures for dealing with plagiarism and none of them would ever lead to the loss of a degree over one sentence in one paper, let alone three degrees. Not to mention the fact that it's entirely unclear how anyone would ever find this paper and want to pursue anything malicious because of it, and what university official would ever agree to entertain such a low-level complaint long after the degree has been granted. If it helps you, though, cases of very low-level plagiarism I've seen have involved nothing more than a reduction in grade in the relevant class for a first offense. Since you've actually gone to your TA, you also have a very good defense for having tried to rectify the situation in time and in good faith. Again, none of this is ever going to happen! You have done your best to deal with a mistake, and you've been told by the TA not to worry. Take them at their work -- don't worry! I understand that this is causing you anxiety, but you really need to put it behind you. You are causing yourself more harm with all this anxiety than an actual academic honesty procedure would. Technically any use of a source without proper attribution is plagiarism. That said, discussing commonly known facts is often done without citation and that's perfectly fine. Even if you did leave off a citation you should have had, this is such a tiny offense, and your TA has exercised their discretion and have decided to let it go, since it's a one-time incident and very minor. This decision sounds entirely reasonable to me, I would have done the same. As they told you, just don't do it again.
  35. 3 points

    Need Help Understanding

    I can say with absolute certainty that the MSW students in my area do not get enough training that is science based nor are they prepared for the myriad of consequential job responsibilities. Working with local state organizations (e.g., Child Welfare Services, Department of Human Service, etc.), I've seen many Social Workers make assessments, recommendations, or suggest interventions based on past/personal experiences. When asked how decisions were made and if they had a set of procedures (specific to situations or populations), I learned that decisions were commonly based on other cases or personal beliefs and no such procedure existed. Which worries me deeply - how do we know Social Workers are not influenced by biases in making their decisions? I've also witnessed Social Workers who categorize individuals into a immutable mold: "Oh, they've experienced sexual trauma? Well, then you can expect to see [X, Y, and Z] from them. They will not like [X, Y, and Z], so be sure not to do any of those things. Only [X, Y, and Z] will help in this situation." Perhaps, this is only my experience. To improve practice and service, attention needs to be focused on the ways that Social Workers form judgements and make decisions with an aim to have the most efficacious outcome. And, that's where research comes in, how do we train competent Social Workers - who are expected to make crucial assessments or provide counseling - when they simply do not know/implement the science? To be absolutely clear, I am not saying a MSW is lesser than a PhD. I am saying that a MSW should not be tasked with responsibilities nor make crucial, lasting decisions that are above their training level.
  36. 3 points

    research scams

    I think you will be fine, but it might be a good idea to talk to your advisor about this just to get more perspective. It is a little embarrassing, but trust me, many grad students (including me) have admitted more embarrassing mistakes before! Normally these scammers are in the business of stealing your money, not your research ideas. I am guessing that if you answered the next set of questions, they will probably ask for payment for the application or for the program itself. So I wouldn't worry too much. In the worst case scenario, they might use your text to either scam other people (list your abstract as a fake attendee to their future fake events) or sell it to unscrupulous people looking for academic text. But this is pretty unlikely as this implies they are able to distinguish good vs. bad academic text and if they could, it's unlikely they would be running this sort of scam. So I wouldn't really worry about it. Also a good idea to talk to your advisor in the future before submitting things like this. Even if it is a legitimate thing, I generally would want to discuss how much uncompleted work to reveal in an abstract with my advisor!
  37. 3 points

    Preparing to start program

    To combine both sacklunch's and theophany's advice a little bit: How one responds to the first year of a PhD program is absolutely dependent upon both the program and your own constitution as an academic. sacklunch rightly points out that some people are totally fine to keep plugging along at the same pace and, importantly, that things change once you're in a PhD program. So, to echo theophany a bit, one shouldn't feel bad for not being the kind of person who can keep up that same pace--primarily because it really doesn't matter. I began my first year thinking I had to attend as many on campus talks/lectures as I could, join as many reading groups as I could, read as much secondary material, read everything in German, etc., etc. But I was also newly married--just 4 week--before moving 2,000 miles across the country to a brand new city, no family around, just me and my wife, to begin my program. So doing all of those things was not sustainable, and I realized that very quickly. But I also worried a lot about possibly sacrificing things that were going to be helpful to me (a worthy sacrifice, no doubt, but one not everyone in academia understands unfortunately.) Now at the end of my fifth year, I can say with great confidence that those things didn't matter in the long run. They didn't necessarily help me get the grades I got in my seminars (also mostly meaningless IMO) and have contributed only in the most indirect way to my dissertation. The papers I've given at AAR and other national conferences and opportunities I've had to publish are what have opened professional doors for me, and those opened without sustaining the insane schedule I made for myself in my first quarter. That's not to say the same schedule would be insane for everyone--some people would probably thrive with it. But what a feeling of freedom I had the day that I looked around at the work habits of everyone else and said "Nope, that's not how I do it, and I'm not going to feel bad about it." What Fear N' Trembling has suggested is great if you're in a M* program because you really are hustling to get noticed, get letters, etc. You can definitely relax a bit once you're in a PhD program because the important things are not the same as they were as a M* student.
  38. 3 points

    Preparing to start program

    My biggest advice for preparing to start a PhD program is enjoy your summer—you won't have too many years left that you don't have to be doing something. This is a chance to refresh a bit, especially if you're coming immediately off an M*. Get back to speed with reading, sure—return to books you already know to help get sea legs back, if you need it. Do some experiments in writing to limber up, including creative writing exercises. But remember that a PhD is a marathon, not a sprint. If you over-prep, you're going to hit December and be burnt out already. Be kind to yourself.
  39. 3 points
    I think it's important to also consider the context/reason why these grad school websites suggest making an effort to make friends with your cohort. In my opinion, the reason is that you do not want to be isolated in your program. Grad school can be a tough time and having a strong social support network is important. So, building good friendships in grad school is one (maybe the most common) way of getting this support. However, for you, @SarahBethSortino, since it sounds like you are already going to be in a good place in your new city, with friendships already established, then this might not be as relevant to you. If you find your own support elsewhere, that's great. I would say that friendships in grad school can serve other roles too though. Briefly, here are some reasons to try to make friends with your cohort and/or other students in your program (in different years): 1. They can provide support specific to your department/school and look out for you. For example, when I was starting out, if I have a weird interaction with a prof, I can go to my older friends to see what it might mean. Or, now that I am almost done, I help my younger friends navigate things like picking a committee, preparing for quals, etc. My friends and I, of all years, also can share school-specific resources or help each other out because if one of us needs to know about X, another one might know someone who knows a lot about X. 2. If there's something difficult going on in your life at some point, your grad school friends can help you out. Maybe they can take notes for you in class. They can make sure you're not falling too far behind. They might be able to submit homework/paperwork on your behalf or do random things that you might not be able to be physically present for. And of course, they can still do all of the other stuff that friends do for each other, this is mostly a list of reasons why friends in your department can be helpful that non grad school friends might not be able to do. 3. Friends in grad school (whether it's your department or another school) can relate to your grad school experiences more directly and sometimes it's easier to talk to other students about difficult situations involving grad school. Friends outside of grad school are also great though, as they help put things in perspective. 4. Finally, if you want to continue in academia, your cohort and other grad students will eventually be your future colleagues. At least in my field, they will be the ones reviewing your papers, your grants, deciding who gets invited to conferences etc. They will also be your future collaborators, potentially. A lot of people think about networking only in the context of going to conferences and meeting people, but you can build some of the strongest networks within your own department because you have way more time/chances to create a strong relationship. And your colleagues are also going to go on and do great things and meet more people and they can be the link to someone you need later on in your academic life. This is more related to the second reason why I think these websites suggest you make friends to succeed in grad school (and beyond). That said, I also don't really think it's necessary to go bar hopping and to do all of the partying stuff in order to make friends in grad school. Sure, depending on your department's culture, it might be a really good way to do it, but it's not the only way to do it. Friendships take time to build and I actually spend most of the time building friendships during the work day and on campus. You don't have to be uncomfortable in a bar if you don't like it, and you'll find people that share your feeling too, in grad school. It's not like everyone thinks that going to bars is the only way to socialize. Some of my best friends in grad school don't drink at all, or very rarely. I do think that spending time with your friends outside of work, i.e. when you both choose to invest your personal time into the relationship, is an important part of creating stronger connections though. For me, I do go to an occasional party, play on intramural teams with my friends, participate or plan in fun outings once in awhile on the weekends (e.g. Disneyland one year). There's lots to do that doesn't revolve around drinking, bars, partying etc. I personally take the strategy of saying yes to everything at first, meeting everyone, and then being a little more selective and choosing to spend more of my personal time with people I click with better. And also as @AP pointed out, you don't necessarily have to make friends with only your cohort. You might click/have more chemistry with some of the older students, or the more mature younger students!
  40. 3 points
    I second the suggestions about seeking some professional help. I speak as someone who developed a language problem as an adult (neurological, acquired) and basically went from being an award-winning orator to struggling with speaking. Most days you won't be able to tell I have a problem, but some days, I struggle with finding simple words like "bird." I might come into the room and name everything that flies except "bird" (flies, geese, aeroplane, bats). But like everyone says, this is academia. If you accept the "job" of being an academic, even if temporarily as a graduate student with no intention of being going further beyond your PhD, then you accept the mores of academia. So, temporarily, you accept this. Even for students with disabilities (like me!), standards are not lowered. We have to show we can meet the essential requirement that everybody else meets, with accommodation. What this means is sometimes, if I say, bat instead of bird, and I tell my professor that is not what I mean and ask for a second to find the word I want, they understand. But for them to understand, a conversation needs to take place (preferably with the disability office helping). I'm sorry this is an ordeal for you. It is an ordeal for me, too. But I gotta do it anyway. Unfortunately, so do you. You can do this. I know you can.
  41. 3 points

    Anxious to start Graduate School

    Honestly, the only way to succeed in grad school is to be yourself. If you are "on" all the time, you will be exhausted and your performance will suffer. If you let grad school consume your life, it can. So don't let it! Seriously. Schedule in downtime, "me" time, etc. As a grad student, I made time to go to happy hour, watch TV with my roommate, and travel to see friends and family. During my PhD coursework phase, I took up a martial art, joined a trivia team with friends, and started lifting weights at the gym, all of which I scheduled and engaged in regularly. I even went to multiple martial arts classes during the 10 days of my comprehensive exams because you can't just read and write all day. If you don't take time for yourself, you won't be successful (which means being burned out, not graduating, not doing well in courses/internships, etc.). Don't listen to anyone that tells you otherwise.
  42. 3 points

    Anxious to start Graduate School

    For what it's worth: You don't know if your chosen field/program is right for you until you try. Lots of people come in thinking they want thing A but learn that actually maybe thing B is better suited for them. Happens all the time, but you still have to take the chance, otherwise you'll never know. What you describe sounds pretty common, and not at all an indication that you've made the wrong decision. Academia has a ridiculous number of awkward, shy, and introverted people. Academics are most definitely not "on" all the time. Maybe SLPs are different, but I bet that just like any other profession, there are all kinds of people. Everyone has bad days. And while it's generally best to treat your academic program like a workplace and not snap at people in ways you wouldn't treat a work colleague, it's also entirely understandable if some days you're not as outgoing or happy as others. If you make genuine friends in your program, you'll find ways to vent during the days, and if not, I'm sure you'll find your friends and vent in the evenings. This is no different than any other job you'll have.
  43. 3 points
    I took 8 years off between my undergrad and my master's. I started at 32, and now that I'm 37, I'm happily enjoying life as a PhD candidate. My take-away on having been in school for a while: (note, I'm also in a different field like @mdivgirl above) Perspective - I didn't quit my good job in another field, sell my house, and move across the country just for kicks. This is a degree that I wanted with a solid end-goal in mind. I took some classes and read a lot about my current field while not officially in school. This essentially gave me several homework-free classes. I didn't really get any negativity with age - from my observations, age discrimination doesn't really start in the academy until you're older, like 50+ (some of my colleagues had a hard time relating to professors significantly younger than them & the reverse is also true). I also found that, as the oldest person in my cohort, I was able to learn a ton from the younger students - like educational technologies I didn't have in undergrad, books and authors I've never heard of, new music, and cultural perspectives; they also had a good ear to critique me when I wasn't being "relevant." I also had the opportunity to serve as a bit of a cultural resource too, since unlike others in my cohort, I've lived and worked abroad, I'm married and have children, I used to own my house, etc. What I'm saying is that you'll be fine. Go for it and best wishes on your endeavors.
  44. 3 points


    My grad school journey started when I graduated with a BA in 2013. I didn't know if I wanted to apply to grad school right away or wait a year and just "live my life". I was still young and wanted to experience life. I ended up applying for an Honors English study abroad opportunity. I left it up to fate to determine if I apply to grad school OR go study abroad. I ended up getting accepted into the study abroad program. There were over 300 apps and I was chosen. Couldn't believe it and obviously, I took it as a sign. I studied abroad for 6 months and applied for my SLPA license (along with 4 of my friends). Again, didn't know if I was even meant to be in the field of SLP or not. I ended up being the only one accepted out of my group of friends, again... another sign. I've been working as a SLPA in CA for the past 3 years. I applied to grad school my first year to a couple programs that were SO unobtainable. I reached out to an academic advisor and she said with my grades, I'll never get into a speech grad program. What my academic advisors didn't know what my background and why I received poor grades. In a semester of undergrad, I had a family emergency. I basically put my family first and stopped attending classes. I just went for tests and some how skated by with getting C+ (4 of them). That semester killed me.. dropped my overall down to a 3.3. This last year, I retook those 4 classes and received an A in all of them. Depending how you count it, I either have a 4.0 in all CSD course, or a 3.6 if you average those GPAs out. Regardless, I totally pushed through it. Being a SLPA really changed my life. I love my job and I am truly passionate about this field. The struggles I went through just made me a stronger person. It's a shame grad schools don't look at the overall applicant or story behind them (in some instances) but I found schools that have this year. I've been waitlisted and accepted! I am so excited to start my journey. Moral of the story.. everything happens for a reason. If I would've gone to grad school out of my undergrad, I wouldn't have met my soon to be husband and I wouldn't be the woman I am today. I can say, I will truly appreciate grad school more since all this has happened to me!
  45. 2 points
    Wow. No, that won't happen. First, your TA won't even be at your university 4-5 years from now. TAs are graduate students and they graduate at some point and leave. TAs also don't tend to remember their students that well years after they're done teaching them; I guarantee you that they've already forgotten about your question, and there is exactly zero percent chance that it'll suddenly pop into their head 5 years from now. Second, something would have to be seriously wrong with the university for it to entertain a complaint about a minor infraction do to with a student who's graduated a long time ago, and even more seriously wrong if they go through a process to find you guilty and impose a sanction. The Dean is a busy person, trust me when I promise you that the last thing they want to do with their time is try to work their way through an old complaint that doesn't make any sense from a former TA who's apparently lost their mind after a car accident. Third, even in the now impossible scenario that your grade changes, once you're in a PhD program, you're in. No one is going to care if your grade changed slightly. When you apply, you'll report your grades as they are, and that's what the university will use to make its decision. That will be what matters, not retroactive changes (and in fact it's entirely unclear how your PhD institution would ever even learn of a proceeding at another institution; such a matter wouldn't normally be reported to other institutions, you have a right to privacy). And once you have your PhD, you're done. Seriously, no one is going to know or care about this one grade from your BA. Revoking a person's PhD is so incredibly rare; it happens when a person makes up their entire dissertation data or commits some other serious fraud, and even then it'll only happen after lengthy proceedings. It will NOT happen because of such a minuscule issue with one undergraduate class. I seriously feel like I'm missing something. Are you planning to kidnap this TA's dog or ding their car five years from now? Why are you imagining these oh so unlikely revenge plots?
  46. 2 points

    Fulbright 2017-2018

    If you want to be done, simply don't respond.
  47. 2 points
    Are you planning on continuing in academia? Because, if so, you may find that there are things to do besides go to class and do your work if you want to be successful...
  48. 2 points

    2017-18 Job Market Support Thread

    So this is something I've started doing in recent years around this time of year, but kind of independently of the job market: I create a sort of end-of-year report for myself detailing what I did over the school year, because I always end the year feeling like I didn't do a lot (I feel like I get most of my research done over the summer). I list all my research activities (papers in press, papers submitted, conference proceedings; conference talks, invited talks, ongoing projects) and related travel; advising (dissertations, qualifying papers, senior theses, other projects); service (committee work, journal reviewing, conference reviewing, event organization); and teaching, and I pull my teaching evaluations for the year. I also create a plan for summer work, which I usually announce somewhere public to make a commitment (I try to be part of a writing group). I find this very helpful in actually seeing all the invisible things that happen over the course of the year. You get kudos on published papers, but on more or less none of the other things. I don't do this specifically for jobs, but it does make life easier if there's an attractive job I want to apply for. These days I feel like if you told me right now that there's a job with a deadline tomorrow that I should apply for, I'd have no problem getting my materials together in time...
  49. 2 points
    Black Beauty

    Phd without funding?

    @aeroHans I am very sorry that UCLA or University of Washington (Seattle) did not provide you with funding. I am in agreement with @fuzzylogician statements that you should be prepared to not have funding the second and future years. I applied to UW (Seattle) because one of my undergraduate professors was very impressed with the university's programs and suggested I applied. Like all the other schools I intended to apply to, I did my research and thought I was very thorough in eliminating schools where FULL funding was not available for the duration of their programs. I was thrilled when I got the invitation to interview and tour UW facilities. But with all the research I did, was surprised when I heard that funding could be a problem after the first year, unless you won an outside fellowship/ scholarship. Upon returning home, I sent an email to UW stating that I no longer wished to be considered for admission because FUNDING was one of my TOP criteria when applying to schools. I would not enroll at a school that did not provide funding and take the chance that I MIGHT be able to secure funding in the following years. This move is very risky.
  50. 2 points

    Has your advisor ever hugged you?

    Any particular reason you feel the need to analyze this?