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blc073 last won the day on December 17 2016

blc073 had the most liked content!

About blc073

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  • Location
    Cambridge, MA
  • Application Season
    Already Attending
  • Program
    Biological and Biomedical Sciences

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  1. First, I will echo what others have said: you will get out of your PhD what you put into it. The program you choose needs to be right for you. Look for PIs doing work you want to do. Forget courses, forget everything other than the work being done and whether or not it's the type of work that will keep you up at night. If both programs fit your needs, think about SF vs NYC. Rent is ridiculous in SF, but it's also high in NYC. However, I believe Columbia provides subsidized housing in Washington Heights. Does SF provide affordable housing? In general, it seems like there are west coast people and east coast people. If you know which type you are, the choice should be easy. As far as science goes, I was under the impression that Columbia pretty much invented modern genetics. Depending on the type of genetics you like, Columbia could be a great fit. In my mind, as someone reading papers everyday, I see more biochemistry coming out of UCSF. I'll just say, there are some amazing publications coming out of UCSF. There are also outstanding PIs coming out of UCSF. In the end, you're in a really great position and you will be happy either way. Ask yourself, 1) If my top three choices for labs don't work out, will I be happy with my fourth choice?, 2) Do I see myself living in NYC or SF for five or so years? I know this post is unorganized and prattling. I've had way too much coffee today. But I hope the general ideas are conveyed. Feel free to PM me if you would like bounce around ideas. Congratulations, regardless! You're in a very fortunate position.
  2. I am not international, so I am not certain, but I believe taxes for international students depends on your country's tax treaty with the US. I've heard that if your country has a tax treaty, you do not owe any taxes for the first two years. Look at the information on your country's embassy website. For example, look here.
  3. Always do email for a professional correspondence. Even if you are writing a thank you note for a professor or close colleague, type it, then print it and deliver it in an envelope. In short, never hand write anything in a professional setting.
  4. The general rule is to set aside 20% for taxes. In Massachusetts, the actual tax is closer to 14% total. My girlfriend and I came out ahead on taxes this year and planned a trip to Spain! #savemorethanyouneed
  5. The best way to approach this situation is to always have a back up plan. Academia is ruthless, and you do not want to be left empty-handed. My advice is to assume rejection until you are accepted. In the meantime, plan for the future. Look for post-baccalaureate opportunities, MS programs with late admissions, or tech positions. Then, if you are rejected from every program, you will still have something going, and you can start looking forward to the next admissions cycle. In short, do not sit around waiting for rejection letters, hoping for the best. Be proactive. It's the only way to be successful in academia. My girlfriend applied to several programs for neuroscience. By March, she had several rejections and no interviews. She started applying for jobs and MS programs in Boston (where I was going). She had two job interviews and an MS acceptance when she finally got an interview and subsequent acceptance for a PhD program. Keep your head up and be aggressive. Look for exciting ways to spend a gap year so if you do not get into a PhD program, you'll still have something going.
  6. I believe you do know who I am. You are in a great position right now. Relax and know that whatever decision you make will be the right decision.
  7. Where are you in the GSK vs. BBS decision? Also, I would consider Harvard Housing to be subsidized. They guarantee a cheap dorm room next to the medical school and they have apartments and houses in Cambridge that are cheaper than market price.
  8. Well I'm sure you will have your choice of program!
  9. I trust you will make the right decision by staying Boston?
  10. I wore the same thing to every interview: casual dress pants (I have a casual pair of slacks), comfortable dress shoes, a white button up, and a sweater. Remember, you will likely be walking a lot, so you need to be prepared for that. I also interviewed in really cold places (Minnesota, Chicago, Boston, Denver), so I had to wear clothes that would go well with a big coat. A suit is not necessary. My Harvard invitation specifically said to dress for comfort. I would pack nice jeans or pants for nights out, nice pants (slacks or chinos) for the interview, comfortable shoes that look good but can be worn while walking a lot, button ups, and maybe a sweater or two. Finally, know that will not be denied an offer of admissions based on what you wear. Honestly, any school with that philosophy is not worth your time. Dress nice, but be comfortable.
  11. I think that person just changed his/her username.
  12. This forum is specific to biology, but you might have better luck here.
  13. I think you are incredibly rude and arrogant. If you are this abrasive online, I am concerned how you will be in person. I sincerely hope you are able to adjust how you come across to people before you interview - interviewers at every institution will see right through any facade.
  14. I agree that it can be impersonal, but the folks in the BBS office really work to know everyone and to make it an inviting environment. I forgot to mention the BBS retreat. Every year everyone in BBS is invited to a free vacation (food, alcohol, hotel, transportation) in Provincetown in Cape Cod. It's quite the experience.
  15. I love being in BBS. It was my top choice, and the interview weekend confirmed every expectation. We have a cohort of 75, so it is not hard to find a group of friends. The coursework is amazing. We are required to take 32 credits of courses: eight credits are required (BBS 230 and BBS 330), 24 credits are for electives. I can take courses through any science department at Harvard, MIT, Brown, and Tufts. The lecturers are all leaders in their fields: I've had lectures from George Daley, Phil Sharp, Bob Horvitz, David Altshuler, George Church, etc. Contrary to popular belief, the teaching here is amazing. Everyone in BBS is fully funded throughout their PhD. There is no question about funding. Everyone gets the same funding regardless of how long they have been here. In addition, the stipend for Harvard BBS is around $5k higher than the stipend at other Boston universities. The lab work here is outstanding. There are over 800 labs in which BBS students can work. I can work in the Harvard Quad, Beth Israel, MGH, Boston Children's, Brigham, Broad, Wyss, DFCI, Harvard College, etc. The lab work itself is what you make it. I've completed two rotations and I am currently in my third. My first was in yeast genetics. I told the PI that I was interested in autophagy, so I was put on a project looking at selective autophagy. The PI was always available to chat, but he really just left me alone with a grad student and we went to work. I set my schedule and got good work done. My second rotation was in cancer biology. I told the PI I wanted to look at metabolism in cancer, so I got put on my own independent project looking at the role of a specific pathway in breast cancer. Again, the PI could meet whenever, but I was independent with the guidance of a graduate student. My third rotation is at MGH working on the human genetics of neuropsychiatric disorders. My PI does several things, but I told him my interests and now I am on a project doing exactly what I said I wanted to do. In short, research here is incredibly independent with enough guidance to learn what you need to learn. Many PIs want to train graduate students, not use them for free labor. I feel like I am in an environment to learn how to be a scientist. Many BBS graduate students do great things. I know one who is the senior scientific advisor at the White House. Another is in Bob Weinberg's lab. My PI is a Harvard graduate. I'm also on the executive board for the Harvard Biotechnology Club, and many of the speakers we bring in are BBS graduates. There are a lot of student clubs. I am always being invited to free events with free alcohol and food that are put on by other students. Student life here is great. Boston and Cambridge are also amazing cities with a lot of culture. But anyway, it doesn't sound like Harvard BBS is right for you, so good luck at Hopkins!