Welcome to the GradCafe

Hello!  Welcome to The GradCafe Forums.You're welcome to look around the forums and view posts.  However, like most online communities you must register before you can create your own posts.  This is a simple, free process that requires minimal information. Benefits of membership:

  • Participate in discussions
  • Subscribe to topics and forums to get automatic updates
  • Search forums
  • Removes some advertisements (including this one!)

fuzzylogician

Senior Moderators
  • Content count

    5,983
  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won

    220

Everything posted by fuzzylogician

  1. One other thing to try is to go on the authors' webpages. Many will have preprints or links to their articles on their publications page. Another thing to do is ask a more senior student for help, if you're having trouble with the search in general and not just finding one or two of the articles. You could consult with a librarian -- they're there to help precisely with questions like this. Or you could simply ask your professor, if you rethink your hesitation and decide there is no real reason for it (I don't know the situation well enough to have an opinion).
  2. This is the kind of question you have advisors for. (Not in Psych so can't help, but I'm sure your professors will know the answer to this one.)
  3. Having a loan shouldn't bar you from traveling outside the US.
  4. Not ideal but possible. You don't need the I-20 when you leave the country, but you'll need it to get back in. Make sure they use a safe delivery option where they have you sign for it instead of leave it randomly on your doorstep or something, the I-20 isn't something you want to lose.
  5. Adding to the above: My website used to be hosted on my university's servers, then I bought my own domain once I graduated so I'd have a stable URL. It's pretty basic, written in Markdown and updated through GitHub. My homepage contains a short blurb about who I am, my contact info, and recent updates (upcoming talks, recent publications), plus my CV. There is also a link to my CV in a separate tab, so you can't miss it. I have an "about me" page with more stuff about myself (academic genealogy, past affiliations, main interests and broad description of my research program, how to pronounce my name and its etymology). I have a teaching page with links to syllabi, course blurbs, and some teaching materials. And I have two research-related pages - a publications page, that's basically just a list of my publications off my CV, and a research page that groups those papers into projects and gives short descriptions of each project and its main findings. It's also a way to describe ongoing work that may not have a publication associated with it yet. It's kind of like a mini-version of a part of my research statement. I use google Analytics and indeed it's a good way to monitor your progress on the job market. More generally as far as the job market goes, the first time you go on the market is mostly just about getting your materials together and getting a very brief exposure and idea of what that is all about. If you get an interview, I think that's a good result. The second year will be much easier, so the work you've already done will definitely pay off down the line.
  6. It depends on the shipping method, I don't think anyone here can tell you anything useful.
  7. 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?
  8. Just responding to the "the TA might go back and raise this issue ... leading to the end of all my hopes and dreams" part. Even in the very VERY unlikely case that the TA goes back and pursues this further, and in the EXTREMELY unlikely case that this is pursued by the university, and in the INCREDIBLY unlikely case that you're found guilty: (a) you will have representation and will be able to show that you talked to the TA and they assured you all was well, so this has to be vindictive (b) you will be able to show that this is unprecedented, one-time, out of character and rare, and also pertains to a case where the fact you discuss is well-known, and one could easily argue that it didn't need to be cited in the first place, or at least it's in the gray area of citations, even if the TA now says that you needed to cite. (c) let's imagine you're found guilty -- most likely you'll be let off with nothing more than a "don't do it again" type warning, because again this is oh so minor. One step up, we're talking some reduction in grade, but it's not likely to be a zero -- again, this is a tiny tiny issue, not something that puts the validity of the content in question. Anything more than that is frankly an extreme over-reaction. Likely, in the very very(!) unlikely case that anything happens, it'll just be a longish and anxiety inducing process, but you'll emerge perfectly fine on the other side. (d) even if there is some finding against you (have I mentioned that this is incredibly unlikely?), that doesn't necessarily entail an official notation in your transcript. Deans tend to have discretion, and this is -- again -- a tiny tiny offense, if it's an offense at all. (e) even in the now exponentially unlikely event that everything goes unbelievably wrong and you actually do end up with some note in your transcript, that too will not be the end of your career. You'll have to disclose it and be honest about it if asked, but you'll deal with it by writing a short and mature explanation of what happened in your SOP, and having a LOR writer intervene and add a short explanation of their own, supporting you and explaining how tiny and out of character this is. (f) a GPA slightly below the requirement is also not the kiss of death, necessarily. First, there are lots of schools out there with lots of different requirements. Second, schools are entirely within their rights to ignore cutoffs if they see something special in an application. Third, even if we imagine that it takes you a bit longer to eventually earn a PhD because this means that you'll need to get an MA to work on your GPA and research experience, MAs will be more lenient so you should again be fine. So, even if all the worst-case scenarios possible actually happen, WHICH IS INCREDIBLY UNLIKELY, all is still not lost. All it will mean is a more roundabout way to the goal, but we encounter obstacles all the time. You'll put on your big-boy pants, and you'll work your way back out of the hole.
  9. It's not entirely clear from your post, so you you clarify -- are you an undergraduate who is hoping to go to grad school (MA? PhD?)? Or an MA student? Answers might differ if you're an undergrad vs grad student. In general: some schools don't like to admit their own undergrads to their graduate programs. You can check whether that's the case at the relevant school/department by looking at the pages of current students and trying to figure out if/how many got their UG degree at the same institution. As for other schools, it's fairly standard to transfer to a better school with better opportunities. Assuming that the better school actually has more to offer, it should be pretty easy to write something in your SOP discussing all the new opportunities you got once you transferred. If you take advantage of them and keep your grades up, I don't think anyone would be concerned about this issue.
  10. 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.
  11. Before you cold-email anyone, I think it would be advisable to run the name past the people who are already on your committee to get their general okay to run with it. You don't want to have personality clashes on your committee, so make sure the person you add is someone your current committee members are happy with. Once you get their approval, either ask them to put you in touch with the person, or send a short email to ask for a meeting. The email can say something like "I work on X and Prof Y suggested that I reach out to you, as someone who [has expertise in blah]." I would only ask her to join your committee in person and not in an email. You then provide whatever information she asks for -- the proposal, your CV, old papers, etc.
  12. Alright, so you're in a shitty place, and I'm sorry about that. And yes, there's always a risk that you'll get more training and still have a hard time finding a job. As a general rule, it'll suck more to work in something you don't like, and your grades seem to reflect that, too. One can only hope that if you study something you enjoy, that will reflect in your grades too, and that will make it easier for you to find a job later. I suppose it's hard to see what other options you have right now. Your grades are pretty low so it won't be easy to find a job as a programmer, though you could also try to do that. Connections might be key here, and if you made some during school that might help, given that your grades might cause a problem getting you past initial cutoffs. If not that, then you need to ask yourself what job you want to have. If you want to become an electrician, there's a certain training and certification you have to go through. If it's nursing, the same applies. There are risks in every choice, and that's unavoidable. One way to go is to try and figure out what jobs have demand that you find more appealing. Again, ignoring what other people want for you (you're an adult and you get to make your own choices!), when a person is happy s/he is usually also more successful.
  13. Any chance you could enroll in a professional program to become an electrician? What's stopping you from doing that now?
  14. Well, what would be your goal in attending a PhD program? Inertia should not be it. Do you need a PhD for your chosen career path -- do you want to become an academic, or want to pursue another job where a PhD is required? Is there a particular question or set of questions you want to research, that's really burning in your veins? You have some experience doing research, since you've published some papers -- is this something you enjoy doing and want to do more of? A PhD is a time-consuming 5-year commitment, where you earn a low salary and spend your time immersed in research; if you don't go down that path, you could have a job and presumably make a lot more money, so there is also a potential loss in earnings to consider. So, bottom line, what do you want to do? My opinion about you as a PhD applicant depends first and foremost on your answer to that question.
  15. Thirding the above opinions. Your mental and physical health are the most important. If you have come to realize that your current program is no longer where you want to be, then the decision to leave is the right one to make. It's commendable of you to worry about who will take the position you have been offered and the training you've received, but it's not your problem to solve. You need to take care of yourself, and your department will have to take care of itself. The best you can do is try to leave on the best possible terms: have a conversation with the DGS, your advisor, and anyone else close to you, explaining your situation just as you did here; express your gratitude for the support and education you've received, and let them know you've decided to withdraw at this time because that is the best decision you can make for yourself right now. (Alternatives to consider, depending on your status in the program and your interests, are staying for the MA, and/or taking a leave of absence to take care of your health, if you think that that might help you in the long run, and you may want to come back once you are feeling better. Your post didn't make these sound like options you'd want to take, but it's worth knowing about them so you can make an informed decision.) If this is possible, you could offer to start training someone new now, before you leave, but only if you'll be around anyway and not otherwise. If you need to leave, they will just have to figure it out, and while I'm sure it won't be ideal, they most definitely will.
  16. @seung Things to find out: What's the teaching load? (How many hours in class? How many students typically take the class? How many assignments to grade, and how long for a typical assignment?) Are there materials you can inherit from others, or are you expected to prepare your own? Is this a high-enrollment service course (typically undesirable, high workload) or more advanced undergrad/grad seminar (typically desirable, not that much work)? Then it's up to you: starting grad school comes with its own adjustment period, longer for some than others. If you're moving to a new city/state/country, you've been out of school for a while, you're behind on some of the material and expect to have to do extra work to catch up, English is not your first language, you have some disability or other time-consuming problem -- all of those will compete for your time and require some time for figure out. If, in addition, you've never taught before or you're TAing for a time-consuming class, that's an extra burden, both in terms of learning to fit it in with your other work, and in terms of the content and performance aspects of teaching. It's easier if you have experience and can be quite a lot if you're inexperienced. In addition there are aspects of just figuring out the school's norms with regard to expectations from teachers and students that are at least somewhat more straightforward once you've started attending an institution than before you've set foot in it (this matters more for intro level undergrad courses, less so for advanced courses). It's up to you to assess if you can handle it. The advice above is, I think, safe advice to give as a general rule: you want to ease into things one at a time, if you can. There's enough to figure out with coursework and research, without also having to worry about teaching.
  17. This is one of those questions that no one here can answer. How can we possibly know what an admissions committee is going to do, and how can we make you any promises? If the school publishes the stats of admitted students, your best bet is to be somewhere close to the average or above that. If not, you could try asking them, though I doubt you'll get a straight answer. Other than that, you can either take your chances with your current score or you can retake the exam if you're concerned. Part of the decision may also come down to the rest of your application -- does the rest of it shine or does it need a boost from a strong score because other parts may be weaker? If you do retake, you could learn from this about listening to your body and not doing things that affect your existing health issues (well, generally, that seems like a good lesson here). This is really the best anyone here can tell you, and it's not anything you didn't already know.
  18. This is will improve with time and practice. The more you do it, the easier it will get. For what it's worth that sounds like an unhealthy work environment and it's too bad that your advisor encourages it, but at the end of the day this kind of behavior is usually a front for insecurities on the part of the one-uppers. It's an immature way of dealing with the fear of being found out, or in other words, the result of impostor syndrome. Best not to engage, if possible. As for the advisor's part in this, I'd try not to assume anything about his smirking; give him the benefit of the doubt that he isn't trying to intimidate you, and do your best to answer the question. You'll do better with time.
  19. Obviously you should actually explore the advising options at school B before you make a decision. Well, you'd get your home department's approval and usually they will continue to fund you for the semester or year that you are away. You'll also get permission from the host department. The host department will usually commit to providing you with work space and access to faculty and resources, but they will not pay your salary. The details of the arrangement will depend on the situation. Likely you'll want to sit down with your advisor and identify a person who might be an external member of your committee and who could contribute some extra strength to your advising team that no one at your own school can provide, or whose location/institution will allow you access to resources you wouldn't otherwise have. You'll reach out to your potential host to get their consent to sponsor you while you visit. There might be a formal application process at the host school. At my PhD department, there was a formal process with two deadlines a year, one for spring semester and one for fall (each about 6 months prior to the semester), and applicants had to submit a statement of purpose, CV, writing sample(s), and LORs. Visitors usually came at a stage when they were done with coursework and were working on their dissertation, though they would also often sit in on seminars and other classes. That's about it.
  20. What are your post-PhD plans, and what is the track record of each school in placing students in those kinds of jobs? Overall, the school's name is less important than your advisor's reputation and the department's name in the field, if you're going for an academic career. Brand names matter more if you're going into industry. That said, I personally think that fit with the advisor is the single most important factor in choosing a school. A good supportive advisor will get you through the tough times and use her/his connections to help you get a job afterward. They'll be your cheerleader long after you graduate. A bad advisor will make you miserable, and your work will suffer. As for the school B situation, I don't think you can learn much about how professors work at large schools from your N=1 experience. You need to find out details about the particular advisors you've been assigned to. Talk to them, talk to their students, ask how often they meet with students and get a sense for their advising style. These things depend entirely on the people involved. As for funding, it seems pretty clear that school A is offering a better deal. A fellowship looks better on your CV, if it's competitive (and moreso even if it's external). That aside, the COL comparison just straightforwardly means your money will go farther in location A than B. As for location, it sounds like school B is in a better location, but do you have a sense of whether you can actually afford to live in a good part of town, or far away (or with lots of roommates, etc)? As for doing work remotely after coursework is done, that might be possible but it's usually not a good idea. It's good to have a place to go to every day, the ongoing support, the access to one-on-one meetings, the talks and other events, etc. Students who leave to work off-campus have a much higher dropout rate; you will also need to talk to people at school A to find out if that's something they would consider allowing you to do (ask the DGS or similar if it's possible, and talk to students about whether it's actually done). Even if it's possible, I would think that leaving after just two years would be a bad idea for the reasons I mentioned above, but maybe doing part of one year away is okay. Keep in mind, if you're interested in an academic career, that you'll need to get letters of recommendation from at least three professors. It'd be hard to get strong, detailed letters if you're gone for 3 of the 5 years of the degree, and if their impression of you on-campus is as a young second-year student. So bottom line, if you're at school A, I would take it to mean that you're there most of the time, even if you occasionally go away. If there are resources you need that you don't have access to on-site, that would be the time to start thinking about being a visitor for some time at a place that has the relevant resources.
  21. For what it's worth, I don't think anyone ever wanted to see my expired I-20 after I finished my degree, including when I got my new visa (of a different category, in case it matters). I had my actual visa in an old passport, and that too hasn't been something anyone has wanted to see. That said, it's best if you can contact your international students office and ask them if you need a new copy of the document. I personally think it's always best to have a copy for your records. If you've lost your passport/visa, on the other hand, report it (and also inform your ISO): https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/general/lost-or-stolen-travel-documents.html
  22. Generally speaking, faculty will have more experience training students than postdocs do. Therefore, they will have a broader view of their field and a better ability to compare students and to discuss their potential to succeed in grad school. They may also be better known to the readers, and therefore their opinion may count for more. That said, it's generally better to get strong letters than letters from more famous people (as long as they at least have a PhD and can discuss someone's potential to succeed in a PhD program with at least some authority). One option you might consider is having the postdoc co-write the letter with the PI, assuming that you were in different labs with different PIs. That way you both get the details and personal touch that the postdoc can provide and the authority that the PI has.
  23. ^This. I also came to school with a PC, and my advisor and other collaborators had Macs. That caused all kinds of compatibility issues with Word and PowerPoint documents and a lot of wasted time fixing problems that didn't need to be there in the first place. Eventually I got a Macbook Air, and that has been immensely helpful. Mine is about 4 years old now and still running as good as new.
  24. You want to discuss how your study connects to published literature. This would include both literature that supports your conclusions and any literature that doesn't -- you don't get to just ignore published work that doesn't fit with your story. How do your conclusions expand/support/challenge the literature? If it contradicts prior findings, do you have thoughts about how to reconcile your findings with the published ones? If you're supporting existing findings, what is new in your approach? Why is it interesting enough to be published, if we already know what you are saying (i.e., how are you innovating and adding to the existing body of knowledge)? Any thoughts on next steps, limitations, open questions? As for the abstract, that is always the most difficult part to write. Leave it until the end, when you know what your paper argues for precisely. Then you want to briefly explain the main finding, the methodology or how you got to the finding, and the implications or importance of your findings. 200 words means 2-3 sentences per topic I just mentioned. Think of it as the advertisement for your paper; some readers may decide whether or not your paper is relevant to them and they should read further just based on this short blurb, so consider what your potential audience needs to know in order to realize the paper is indeed something they should read.
  25. Edited to add a trigger warning. And for the suicidal thoughts, I hope you have someone available who you talk to if it ever goes beyond just the thought stage! Nothing about these kinds of thoughts is rational, and it's really important to have someone to remind you of that, because it's so easy to forget in those moments.