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About DogsArePeopleToo

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    Double Shot

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    Pale Blue Dot
  • Application Season
    2017 Fall
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  1. By way of support, you are not alone in the sentiment of "I don't understand how I didn't see the signs earlier." A lot of parents and partners are surprised when they discover their children/spouses go from, say, turning religiously observant to turning up in Syria. That's a simplistic characterization and the radicalization is different to your husband's experience, but that is roughly a pattern that's observed everywhere and across the radicalization spectrum, from high school mass shooters to Taliban recruits. So you're not alone in missing the signs. Sometimes it happens glacially, so slow that it's almost imperceptible, especially with a loved one. Nobody has found a perfect way to deal with a situation like that. But I would suggest you seek support. See if you might talk to someone you are comfortable discussing this issue with -- a parent, a sibling, friend or coworker...someone dependable that can maintain confidentiality and has close rapport with him if it is necessary that they talk to him, though there's so much that a 'talk' can accomplish when it comes to radicalization/extremism. The idea is mostly for you to have support from a trustworthy source. Only someone like that, who knows the nuances of the situation better than us here, can help you talk through ideas and options. I wish you courage.
  2. Congrats! I suspected they wouldn't ask about the spouse visa thing. Enjoy the rest of your summer as you prepare for your PhD studies in the fall!
  3. Hi @skwaat, the struggle is real and we all know it. I did the GRE when I was 28 as well. Except Cliffsnotes, I got all of the other books you mention. I found taht the ETS books are really not that helpful from the standpoint of learning concepts. The quant review in the beginning of the book sometimes made me feel even more stupid because it was written just so...unhelpfully. The ETS Practice Questions books are only helpful for you to get a sense of the difficulty level of the questions, how they are worded, the traps, etc...and to get some practice on the real stuff once you're familiar with the basics. I wouldn't use them very early on in my training. For one, you need to know the basic concepts before you can practice the questions, and two, you will run out of real practice questions if you do them too early. All good prep companies give you a math grounding, starting from the very basic. I used Magoosh and watched all the math videos, some of them two or three times. It was pretty comprehensive and I felt prepared. I wasn't a 160+ student on quant, and Magoosh was very helpful for my prep. (I was a 160+ student on verbal, so the content there seemed OK, if you're wondering.) Magoosh was very, very affordable compared to other prep companies, and its videos are light and can load easily on poor internet connections (I live overseas where the internet is very bad). I also used Manhattan's math and verbal flashcards. The verbal flashcards come in three sets ("essentials" and then two sets of advanced). I found the two latter sets useful...more useful than Kaplan flashcards. The quant flashcards were very useful too...they essentially gave you more quant questions using intermediary concepts (factorization, circle properties, etc. that would be one part of a bigger package in a question), so you get stuff drilled pretty well. There's a lot of time between now and October, so you can rest assured that you can improve somewhere between 5-15 points, maybe more if you put in the hard work. The thing about quant is that you learn by doing...watching concepts and other people solving questions doesn't work. Best of luck!
  4. I'm also going to grad school this fall. I have friends in the city as well, and I wouldn't go out of my way to make new friends. I hope it will happen on its own, which could save me the feeling of being totally "left out" of the grad school social circle for things like commiseration and reinforcement that only comrades-in-arms can offer, lowdown on how to deal with difficult professors, workarounds for the departmental red tape, etc. - the useful stuff you usually get through informal settings. And for the record, I don't do bars very well either...it's too frickin' noisy for any normal human conversation to take place in it. As an international student, I spent many precious years of my life looking for "quiet" bars but then gave up. Quiet bar is an oxymoron.
  5. My fiance and I have been long-distancing for a while, starting with before our engagement. It is not easy, but we feel us pursuing our grad school/career for the time being can give us a solid foundation for a long, fulfilled life that includes professional gratification for both of us. I know 9 p.m. is pretty late, but I have lived in countries where people routinely have dinner at 9 or even later. This is particularly true in the summers when the days are long and people stay out pretty late. In your case, it would be tough maintaining the stamina after a full day's work and grad school to then have a late dinner and be "with it" for your partner. And there might be the commute home after school. But if your husband can pick you up after school every day, you might then commute back together or get dinner nearby. It'll be a very late dinner, but if there's solace in numbers, millions of people around the world do it
  6. As someone who studied on an F-1 visa and later ran a program for students who came to the US on F-1 visas, I would say you should remain optimistic. The two of you are serious, bona fide scholars with competitive scholarships for five years from renowned universities. You probably have publications, etc. You are not using the F1 visa as a shortcut, easy way for immigration to the US because you can't get to the US any other way. You are both going to the US for a serious, legitimate scholarly undertaking. The US is better for attracting highly qualified people like you from around the world. The visa counselor will probably ask if you have any relatives in the US. They may or may not ask if your husband is also going to the US (they usually don't ask that in my experience ). But if they do, answer that truthfully. If they ask why you didn't book a group visa appointment, answer that truthfully as well (some people just don't know that this option exists - I didn't know about it myself for a long time). Visa counselors are trained to apply the law uniformly, but sadly, their determinations can sometimes be wildly divergent...part of how a counselor decides on a visa petition appears to depend on the counselor's personal disposition or how they feel that day. I have seen some legitimate visa applicants denied, while people with no apparent chance in hell were granted visas...all this is to say that the experiences you read online are indicative of how things work for some people but not representative of how they turn out for the broader visa applicant pool (for starters, people who are rejected are more likely to post to online forums). Best of luck and let us know how it goes!
  7. Hi, @Asthashah - I might not be able to speak about employment prospects, but about scholarships at Australian universities, I know a thing or two...unless you come through an Australian government-funded program like Endeavour or Australia Awards, or you find a niche scholarship program, don't expect any financial aid or scholarship in Australia. Universities (or unis, as they call it there) treat international students as cash cows that can pay handsome money to help the universities balance the checkbooks because Australian students pay so little directly to the university. As a result, getting into Australian universities is very easy for international students compared to admission at US universities...this is one reason why it is common to see well-heeled international students, particularly of Chinese origin, at most Aussie campuses. Having said that, if you already are a qualified dentist, you might come to Australia using its skilled immigration system...they publish a list of wanted skills each year, and STEM jobs are always there. If I were you, I'd look into this option.
  8. If you can make a genuine case for being an outcast whose religious or political views put him at risk of persecution, you can apply for asylum once you're in the US. Compared to the EU and Australia, the US asylum regime (narrowly defined) is better for people of your background and so far largely untouched by Trump and Bannon. (But you'll need to have better reasons for your asylum application than "no girls, no relationships, just a boring job" - that's half the world's guys in every country, the US included.) There are downsides to the US asylum regime because you won't have government-provided pro bono legal aid and won't have work authorization until a few weeks to months after your application is in, during which time the government offers you no support...you'd be lucky if you got NGO support for basic subsistence. But if you're at Cornell while you apply, you might convince CIPA to keep you as a student despite your change of status from F-1 or J-1. By the time you finish CIPA, you will have become a permanent resident. Jobs will have become easier then. But I digress. As someone who lives in an Islamic Republic next door to yours - and who lived in your country for over a decade - I would advise you not to overthink the difficulty of your situation. Correct me if I am wrong, but you seem like someone who doesn't have major financial problems, doesn't have 7 sisters to feed and marry off like some young men in Pakistan do, etc. The dust, broken roads and noisy mullahs are irritants but 180 million Pakistanis put up with them. I would imagine you could as well, at least for another year. You're in Lahore, not North Waziristan. Unless you have crippling dust allergies, you can live with it. The various degrees at the Kennedy School require up to 6 or 7 years of work experience. Your GPA can't be changed, but gaining more work experience will definitely help with HKS or any other school, especially if you can improve your scores by a few notches, which you can because you have a whole year ahead of you. Everyone does it with a 9-5 job or a full course-load. That's just the way it is. The biggest life advice someone gave me right out of undergrad was not to rush it. Take your time. Go out in the 'real world.' Spend some time in the sun to fully ripen. Then go back to school. One year out of undergrad, you strike me as someone who is still in his early 20s. If that's the case, I would take a year, maybe two. You're still early in your career. One to two years at a job is ideal at this stage. Change jobs. Gain multiple experiences because this will give you different policy vantage points. It will make you a better applicant and job candidate. I am sorry if this is a bit preachy, but I was in your shoes several years ago when, after six years in the US, I dreaded returning home for the exact reasons you outlined in your post. Five years into the dust and grime of my country and a few close security encounters later, I'm grateful I returned. I will be going back to the US for grad school this fall, and I am secure in the knowledge that I have real-world experience in a tough country -- knowledge that will enrich any conversation in a policy program (I got into CIPA as well, but I will be going to another grad school). I would imagine that the beer I'll drink and the girls I might fraternize with will be all the sweeter. And the air...ahhh, I can finally go out running again. --- ADDENDUM: The challenge of the position you're in is to see beyond your current situation, to incorporate contingencies into your planning. Here's one contingency: If you choose to go to CIPA, chances are that your view of Pakistan might actually change. Two years is a long time - you might miss Pakistan, might develop new perspectives. If you get a job right out of CIPA, that'd be great; if not, you can always return to Pakistan to much improved job prospects with an Ivy League degree in hand...and apply for an H1B the following year. I know more than a few foreigners - Pakistanis included - who returned home after a stint in the US. Many of them are happily working there.
  9. Thank you! I just sent you a private message.
  10. This for all of you who have done or are doing your MPP, especially if your school is Georgetown: What level of math/stats skills is recommended/needed to do well in the program? I took intermediate economics courses in college, but I am not sure how different the quant level is for intermediate econ courses in grad school, if at all. I did calculus 13/14 years ago and remember nothing of it. Is that bad? I am trying be ready for fall. Separately, I am looking at the MPP and MIDP course sequences from Georgetown. Two questions: 1. For MPP: What quant concepts are used in Microeconomics II and Advanced Regression? Do the courses expect students to be quant gurus? 2. MPP vs MIDP: Some of the courses seem to be the same but with slightly different titles (and maybe content), e.g., Intermediate Microconomics for MPP vs Intermediate Microeconomics for Development for MIDP. Are they interchangeable? I am asking because I am an MIDP student but I want to do a joint JD degree, which is only available with MPP. Thanks for any insights.
  11. Thank you! I am glad it helped someone!
  12. Thank you for the thoughtful feedback. I wanted to follow up on this bit quoted above...would you mind elaborating how, as a CIPA student, you have access to the entire Ivy League network? I have heard a lot of good things about the flexibility of the CIPA curriculum. I think it is a credit to CIPA.
  13. In addition to what others have posted, my two cents: I shopped at Safeway when I lived in the Waterfront area. Shopped at Giant and/or Target when I lived in the Columbia Heights area, and used Trader Joe's when in Alexandria. It all depended on which was close enough to where I lived. I never saw a Wal-Mart in DC. Don't believe there is one. One of the most important criteria in deciding to get a particular apartment is whether groceries are walking distance, since most grad students and young professionals don't have cars (cars are for people with families!). Some apartments say "walking distances from restaurants and bars." That sounds wonderful, but my personal preferences is that you gotta be close to the Metro (or bus station) and close enough to a grocery store. Bars are secondary.
  14. You should visit the Washington, DC page on City Guides. It contains some helpful information. I moved to DC in 2011 and lived about two years. I've been back to DC on short work trips, which is not the same thing as living there. But off the top of my head, these things seem helpful in retrospect: Familiarizing myself with the Metro and bus system was very helpful because it gave me mobility. Creating some friendships outside of work and study kept me sane (a lot of people in DC are for work, grad school of an internship, so the population is always in flux. Everyone wants to "network," so genuine human bonds can be alarmingly rare). A lot of (new) people go to great lengths to live within the geographic limits of DC, paying exorbitant rent. Some Northern Virginia suburbs and parts of Maryland are easily commutable, so see if you can find something good there (though these areas have also become quite expensive). Speaking of the Metro, get one of those plastic metro cards instead of the paper ones. They're more durable and more economical in the long run. Teach yourself not to be an escalefter, especially during the peak tourist season in the summer. DC is full of harried people in suits who can be a bit aggressive as they hurry from one appointment to the next. Hit the National Mall for all the free museums (and the monuments nearby) so you can familiarize yourself with them for when you have out-of-town visitors. Related to this, keep the cherry blossom season in the back of your mind. The Tidal Basin and the monuments become very beautiful for the short duration when the trees bloom (early April). Sign up for email services like DC Link Tank to receive updates about all the cool think tank or cultural events happening in the city. Like @virionoftomorrow said, familiarize yourself with the safe and unsafe neighborhoods which, unsurprisingly, correspond with high- and low-rent areas. More later when I can think of them. But happy to answer any questions... EDIT: Oh, and sign up for Alert DC.
  15. Oops, I answered a thread that's, um, eight years old. Shoulda read the dates. *Blush*