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Showing content with the highest reputation on 07/26/2013 in all areas

  1. 2 points
    Pressure and insecurity about the future are not good reasons to apply to graduate school. The main thing I gather from reading your post is that you're really not sure of yourself but grad school just seems like the "logical next step." I think you need to get yourself out of this mode and do some soul searching. A good approach is to try and reverse-engineer this problem: what kind of job/career would you like to have in the future? (are you sure? have you talked to people who have similar positions, read about the position, know that you understand what it's really like?) what kind of qualifications do you need to have in order to obtain such a job? does it require a Masters or PhD, and if so, in what field? That is, think of a graduate degree is a means to an end, not a goal in and of itself. Figure out your goals and then how to obtain them. Don't apply to grad school out of inertia -- it's hard enough even when you're very passionate about what you do, and even more if you're not that excited about it to begin with.
  2. 1 point

    Should I take the GRE again?

    I had similar scores and a lower GPA. I took the GRE twice, but got basically the exact same scores. I feel like I wasted my money - I should have studied a bit harder. I say take it again, but only if you're willing to really work harder next time (I regret asting my money :/). It never hurts to try once more, and you have some time. Not all hope is lost though. Despite my "poor" GRE scores and GPA, I was accepted into a top BME PhD program (I have a BME B.S. as well) thanks to strong letters of rec, strong leadership activities, and a a strong research background. It's not the end of the world. Remember, your application is a package - you can have stellar GRE scores and a perfect GPA, but no one is going to let you in with a sub-par personal statement or resume. Your GRE and GPA will not "doom" you. Yes, some schools "filter" you out initially, based on GRE/GPA alone. Other schools do not. It's truly hard to tell what a school will do - even departments within a school vary differently on how they look through applicants. Some schools "filter", other schools admit you based on whether a professor "likes" you enough, other schools look at everything first, etc etc. It's a real crapshoot. Try again, see what happens, and even if your scores are not what you wanted, don't give up!
  3. 1 point
    1. Lists. Lots of them. I've been using workflowy for a year now and I like it a lot. 1.1. To do lists: I have weekly, monthly, and semester/year lists that contain different goals with different fine-grainedness. 1.2. Meeting notes: I summarize my meetings either during the meetings or right after, that way I have a documentation of everything that happened and down the line I can search my notes for relevant examples or whatever. 1.3. Deadlines: All conferences, abstracts, one-time things go on a list way ahead of time so I don't forget them. 2. A good calendar. I used to have a physical planner (I likes moleskin) but now I just use google calendar with 5-6 regular calendars (classes, meetings, teaching, regular events, irregular events, private). Everything I need to do goes on there, otherwise I won't remember it. 3. Schedule your off time in your calendar or make it a habit to have certain times off, otherwise your private life can easily get consumed by your work. 4. Learn to say no. Not everything out there should make it onto your calendar or to-do lists.
  4. 1 point

    What do you do to get organized?

    Planning is definitely vital, but overplanning (planning, as AboveTheRim said in the above post, naps, and other little things) seems to be counterproductive in my particular case. At the times when I did it, my planning became so abstruse that it started confusing me instead of helping. But then again, it really depends on the person! Other than that I also go for the "big rocks/little rocks" setup. Having a weekly planner where I can visualize tasks helps not to loose track of the things to do. I try to just write down the really important things, for the reasons I mentioned above. When I start annotating "Call friend x", "Buy fruit y" and so forth it just confuses me visually to look at so many unaccomplished tasks and it increases my anxiety. One thing that is useful is to set goals for your study/work instead of periods of time which you plan on spending doing something ("studying for 2 hours" may be crammed with distractions and then those 2 hours aren't productive; but if you set yourself to "study chapter 1" then you'll accomplish it regardless of the time it takes). Also making time for resting is paramount!
  5. 1 point

    What do you do to get organized?

    At a previous job of mine, they were really into Steven Covey's planners and his ideas about planning. First thing's first, I would definitely get a planner. It doesn't have to be a Steven Covey planner, but you need a visual daily reminder of what's up next. Then, the thing that I learned that helped me out the most was the idea of "Big rocks vs. Little rocks". Basically, each day (or week, depending on your preference), you plan your day (or week) according to the things most important. So, let's say you have a paper due next Friday. One of your "Big rocks" next week would be to do research, determine a thesis, start an introduction... so on and so forth. This is why daily planning is better, because Sunday could be your research and thesis day, Monday your intro day.......... Now, the "Little rocks" are things that need to be done eventually, but aren't pressing issues. Let's say your rent is due on the 1st. Well, today is the 25th, so you want to get the check to your landlord soon, but it doesn't need to be done today (unless you have to mail it). I got so reliant on planning this way, that soon I was planning calls to my parents, lunches, and even naps! Hope this helps somewhat.
  6. 1 point
    Before you even start thinking about a retake, contact your program(s) and ask them point blank. Your verbal and quant scores are really good. I can't say about your program but the weightage given to analytical writing scores varies among different programs, fields, and departments. E.g. In my case, most of the prospective engineering programs I've contacted so far have been clear that AW scores do not matter all that much.
  7. 1 point
    My first post on GC in several months is going to be in the topic about dating? I'm disappointed in myself...Fuck it. Maybe he doesn't want a girlfriend, or maybe he's open to the idea but not actively seeking one and would prefer to acquire one in a more passive fashion. That was always my approach. I let my girlfriend make the moves...and she did. You should never assume that "there's something seriously wrong with him"...that's kinda fucked up.
  8. 1 point
    So did ya ask him out yet?
  9. 1 point
    So so so HAPPY Vt has started this thread! I have missed you guys!!! As somebody said, I am enjoying my last nothing-to-do weeks. It's winter here, I have quit my three jobs (but get paid until the end of July) and now I am visiting my parents farther into the snowy south before flying to the States. I am already packed in two suitcases (just enough what I can carry by plane) and have sold/given away most of my furniture/clothing. So once in the US, it's shopping time! I know the courses I will take and their timetable, although I cannot register until orientation day (I have three orientations!). I have an apartment and two roommates, one of whom has been living there for a year so I don't have to buy kitchen appliances/dinnerware right away. I still cannot believe I am actually doing this. Oh, BTW, I have met one frequent Gradcafe poster who came to do some research. So I am beginning to really "feel" this community as that: a virtual network of colleagues. So excited!
  10. 1 point
    I think a lot of the questions here are just so dependent on your individual programs/departments, that it would not be very helpful for anyone here to try to answer, other than to show you the large range of possibilities you might encounter. Most of the programs I looked at would not even consider you for Spring admission. But there were also one or two schools that I applied to where I knew someone who did get in, fully funded, in the Spring session. In my field, I have never heard of a school accepting a student to a full time PhD program and NOT offer full funding. So, in these fields, getting admitted is dependent on the availability of funding, thus many schools that do not have money to fund Spring starts would not admit students to start in the Spring. In addition, I know many of the programs in my field are small enough that certain core courses are only offered at certain times (e.g. a fall pre-requisite for a spring course) so starting in the middle of the year can mess things up. So, this is one reason why the answer to your question can vary wildly from field to field and even department to department. I would encourage both of you to research your specific departments that you are interested in and talk to them directly about the funding situation for Spring admissions. One good question is to ask how many students have been admitted, how many with funding, and how many admitted without funding but found funding later on. But also keep in mind that if Spring admissions are rare, then be wary of both extrapolating from old data and extrapolating from small numbers / small sample size!
  11. 1 point
    Can anyone recommend me an good GRE test preparation? I am very picky on my selection, just looking for one of the best money can offer. I would appreciate it any feedback. Thank you very much. Sung
  12. 1 point
    I think women tend to over-analyse by several factors when it comes to men & romance. From what I've seen it takes a committee of 3-4 to decide which adjective to use in a 2-line text to a crush, or to settle on what colour of t-shirt to wear when an ex says he wants to "meet up to talk".* (Have you ever seen a guy ask his mates: "Hey, this girl I like has just sent me a text with one kiss at the end instead of the usual two - what on earth does it mean!?") Conversely, men on the other hand are - God love 'em - totally useless. Even when there is clearly a level of mutual attraction they aren't necessarily going to do anything proactive about their interest. * OK, I'm exaggerating...but not by all that much. My advice would be to just go and ask him out. Email or text might be better than face-to-face - that way he won't have to feel like he needs to respond *immediately* and as a shy introvert he won't panic/get embarrassed/run away from you. Something along the lines of "I really enjoy your company and chatting to you - fancy meeting up for drinks one evening?" Good luck!
  13. 1 point

    The Pet Thread

    Omg, so many cute animals here! I have 4 cats and a dog. They are the loves of my life. IKE Negrito Chuchi Cometin Mango <3
  14. 1 point
    I'm not sure how much I can help, but I'll give you my 2 cents and experience. I'm currently at RPI in the Biomedical Engineering doctorate program. For the GRE I scored 164V/161Q. I had a similar undergrad GPA in mechanical engineering from BYU (lots of core engineering classes and sprinkled in O-Chem as an elective). Widely varied research experience, but nothing very in-depth (and no publications as a result). RPI was the only school to which I was accepted (and to be honest I was the second choice of the professor who invited me to join his group). So in essence I kind of got lucky (at least that's how I feel). That said, here are a few things I learned during the application process that I wish I would have known: 1. Every school (and even department) admits students in a different way. In the biomedical engineering department at RPI, the only way you are going to get accepted is if a professor that has room in their research group wants you there. They sift out the obviously poor applications and then send the rest to the professors to look over. However, in the chemical engineering department, the department accepts the best X number of applicants and then the students and professors kind of choose each other over the course of the first semester. Each school is different and it would be very helpful to place some phone calls and emails to the schools you're interested in to find out how it works there. 2. Research is king. Your GPA, GRE and extracurricular stuff are great, and will generally help keep you out of the pile labeled immediately "Deny Admission" or maybe help break a tie with another applicant; however, a professor that takes you into their group wants to know that you can and will be able to contribute as soon as possible. You need to be able to show the professors: "I want to research X in graduate school. So far I've done Y project and Z research that show I am capable of performing that research at a high level in your lab." Graduate school is much more that just classwork and they want to know you can do it. 3. Your adviser can make/break your experience. You will be spending quite a bit of time with your adviser and it is so much easier if you get along well with him/her. I think a lot of people (me included) apply to schools based on their notoriety, rankings, etc. And to be honest, those things very well may help you get started in a great job/career, but in my mind it wouldn't really be worth 4-5 years of misery. Life is way too short for that. You have to decide what is most important to you. 4. Contact as many people as you can. Maybe you really want to work with professor X at University Y, but the fact of the matter is, if that professor doesn't have funding to take on another student when you apply...they probably can't/ won't unless you're some sort of wunderkind (I wasn't and to put it bluntly, you don't appear to be either). Look for schools that are doing research you are interested and contact the professors doing that research. You don't have to give them your whole resume and life story (in fact, don't), but say you love what they're doing (maybe read some of their publications and comment about them briefly) and are interested in joining their research group next year if there is room. DO NOT send out a mass email just changing the name of the professor (you can tell and it will only hurt your chances). Most professors (not all) will reply in some form and let you know that you should go ahead and apply to the school. They also may say, "Don't waste your time, not taking anyone next year." If you really want to work with them, then it will only help if they've at least seen your name and maybe even have some sort of rapport with you. This is decidedly longer then I planned so I'll end now. Again, this is just my take on the matter, YMMV. Let me know if you have any other questions and I'll do what I can to answer them. Good luck with everything.
  15. 1 point
    Thank you so much!!!! I am excited! I probably shouldn't say it, but I think that this is one of the best, most supportive threads on this forum! All of you are awesome!
  16. 1 point
    Well everyone, good news! I was finally approved to take a class in my program! So excited. The director actually looked at my educational background and recommended a course for me. Which is of course the one I am going to take. She told me that there is an envelope in the office with my name on it which contains my permission letter. So I am going down today to pick it up...and my Ph.D journey begins. Not exactly the way I though it would be, but I am so happy...I can reapply while I take classes. i can also get to know people and get an advisor. My mentor at the college where I teach told me that once they meet me, they will want me. From her mouth to God's ear. So excited! I don't usually do this, but I'm going to give myself my official....Wooooo Hoooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!
  17. 1 point

    Los Angeles, CA

    Yes, we were only talking about our "not qualified" stipend and not about the fellowship money that pays for our tuition, fees, books, travel etc.(because this part of the fellowship is obviously qualified and also labeled as qualified on the tax form, I9...something). Srsly, just ask yourself whether all the money goes to tuitions and fees and you have receipts / account statements / whatever there is to prove that. In this case you don't pay taxes. Don't get hung up on what they call it. Think about, what it is used for. As I said before, as soon as you spend the money on anything else except tuition, fees, books, it will be considered taxable income. No matter what the school calls it. Aaaand I just saw you're from Canada. Are you already receiving this? It might even be that you get taxed before payment. Our international students are. The amount depends on the tax treaty conditions. And yes, it is considered fellowship money and no, it is not considered income but they still pay around 15% on it right away. But hey, I'm collecting degrees in communication and not accounting...
  18. 1 point
    Bobbi: You just need to find your passion. If you could study one thing in school - independently of all practical considerations like money - what would it be? What is the most interesting subject in the world to you? Whatever that is, do that. The rest will fall into place. To the person who mentioned depression, get out of here with that. I think it's completely inaccurate and inappropriate. Everyone would seem "depressed" if they didn't have anything to be passionate about.
  19. 1 point

    GRE Subject

    If you have no background in experimental psychology, you'll need to read a textbook on it at least.
  20. 1 point

    Compensating for academic inbreeding

    LMAO. "A bunch of schmoozers"? I must say, I hadn't heard the term until you used it. Anyway, to the question... I wouldn't make such a snap judgment. I would consider the full context of your credentials. If you have done solid work, then perhaps this so-called "academic inbreeding" can be overlooked.
  21. 1 point
    Not to diminish what you're feeling, because of course you have a right to feel it. But you're "ALREADY" 25? Oh honey. I didn't have my master's until I was 27, and that was 10 years ago. I'll start work on my PhD this fall, at age 37. You're not old, you've got time, and maybe what you need to do is step back for a few years and just focus on a few things at a time. Life experience can give you a huge edge, on a number of levels.
  22. 1 point
    Hi all, I see that there are a lot of people on this forum posting about how they hate their graduate program, but I don't want to hijack anyone else's thread, so I'm starting my own in search of advice. I created this gradcafe account specifically to get some feedback about this question, as my family and friends don't really understand the way another graduate student would. So this is my first year (going into my second semester) in a PhD program at a very reputable school, in a fabulous program for my interests (which, loosely defined, are somewhere between cognitive neuroscience and language acquisition in children). For obvious reasons, I won't mention the name of the university or the specific program name, which is unique enough to identify. I commute about an hour each way to school (sometimes more), but I don't really mind the drive at all. I am very interested in the research going on in my lab, and my advisor isn't so bad (she's very smart, but a little weird). I chose this school over one that is closer (and with a "better name") because I really wanted to work specifically in this lab, with someone as well established in the field as she is. I liked my classes last semester, and I find my own research to be coming along nicely and it interests me. But I seriously can't stand any of the people in my lab/classes. Okay-- maybe that's overstating it. But let me put it this way: none of the time I spend with other PhD/graduate students is enjoyable. I haven't clicked with anyone, and this is unusual for me... I did not have this problem in my undergraduate studies nor in the 2 years working doing research for a nonprofit organization after I graduated (I talk more to my former coworkers than I do to my new fellow students!) It's not as if I haven't tried, or given them a chance......... I'm just not happy when I'm there. Now, that being said, I am getting a nice stipend to live on and they are waiving tuition in full, so I really should not complain. But I was so happy as an undergrad (and no, not because I was a party animal or anything... it just felt like a better fit for me in terms of the program and people), and to say "oh well, just 5 more years to suffer through, right?" and hearing my parents say "you're not there to make friends, you're there to get your PhD" etc etc make me feel like a spoiled brat. But is anyone else out there as unhappy as I am in their PhD program, and thinking of leaving? I know transfer is not really an option. And I know being a commuter means not experiencing the academic life in the same way (I live with my boyfriend who I met as an undergraduate and we've been dating 4 years. So I don't want to move). But I just feel trapped and unhappy. Sorry for the long post. Any feedback is welcome. And thanks if you actually read this far.
  23. 1 point
    I support it. I've been a Zeitgeist movement supporter for years, too. As Peter Joseph likes to say, we're not the 99%, we're the 100%, and everyone is to blame for this fucked-up social structure. The rich-elites are not "evil" and probably believe their lifestyle is healthy. They are victims of culture. "Socialism vs. capitalism" is a false dichotomy, and I wish people would stop referencing either of those nearly meaningless terms. Most economic systems are fundamentally the same in the sense that they are based on monetary, interest-based accrual of debt. The observation that activists are "spoiled white kids" is inaccurate and fallacious. The movement is now global, so it follows that activists are from a range of socioeconomic statuses and ethnic groups. Remember that this is truly a global, not a national issue. In the end, there are no "national" issues or "white" issues or "female" issues or "gay" issues. There are only human issues. Yes, we know life is generally better now than it was in the 60s, but that is a red herring. No one is equating the current movement with counterculture movements of the past. This is arguably bigger. Simpy stating that life is better than it was in X time does not suggest that everything is fine now. Whatever problems existed in the world back then are still alive today, just in a different form. Perhaps that form was latent for a while, but now it is beginning to rear its ugly head, and people are waking up to that sad truth. "The true terrorists of our world do not meet at the docks at midnight or scream 'Allah Akbar' before some violent action. The true terrorists of our world wear 5000 dollar suits and work in the highest positions of finance, government and business." (Zeitgeist Addendum)
  24. 1 point
    S.O. is military, which adds a whole other level of stress to this game. (Luckily he's stationed 80 miles south of me...for now)
  25. 1 point

    Significant Others and Grad School

    I only applied within commuting distance, but I'm not sure my husband is ready. He kind of had to go through this before -- a decade ago -- when I was in med school/residency. I quit that time, since it was not possible to give the kids the attention they needed, so I'm really not prepared to give up my goals again. He'll have to adapt.


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