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About KindaHardWorker

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    Mechanical Engineering

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  1. If anyone wants more background info to help me make a decision: Serious thank-you's to everyone here, all around. This was a big event that happened at a less than ideal time and you've helped settle some of my fears about the situation. I have a one on one meeting with her tomorrow, so I will probably bring a few of these points up.
  2. I'm in engineering at ASU and a first year graduate student. Recently my PI informed us that she accepted a tenured position at UCLA. I'm really happy for her but it's thrown the lab into a bit of disarray. However, she laid out the options for us and told me in our one-on-one meeting that I am one of the students she is hoping will come with to begin the lab there. It's not an option that was extended to everyone and I'm pretty honored that she wants me to go. That said, this is not an easy decision to make and I wanted some input on it. I've only spent a year in graduate school and I'm probably in the best position to make the switch academically. However, there are personal and financial matters to consider as well. Pro Phoenix: I had worked in industry for a few years and was really looking forward to making Phoenix my home after moving a lot since 2011 (Colorado, Indiana, New Jersey, and now Arizona). I've enjoyed living here since August and found roommates who I work well with (no easy task I assure you) and an apartment which is a ridiculously good deal. That sounds unimportant but after all of the moving and issues that come with it I've learned to be grateful. I met my girlfriend here and we've been dating 6 months and have been having a blast. Although ASU is only in the 40's for graduate school rankings I know I can handle the program and I've made friends in this cohort. I'm on financially stable ground here and although I'm only making $1500 a month it is a good life. With credit card bills that I'm still catching up on and my car payment it's a stretch but I've made it work while still having money left over. Con Phoenix: Our group really got screwed with class selection for next semester. They put one of the essential classes out for registration, and then informed us a week later that they were no longer holding the class in the fall. Many of us gave up the ability to register for other classes that fill up quickly, by selecting this one. This us in a predicament, especially me. I have pre-req classes which should had been done last fall that still won't be done by next spring. I'm taking what are essentially two tech electives. It might be possible to sway people but I'll have a lot less pull without an advisor. Speaking of which, I have no prospects. I was in contact with my PI through the application process, went to work in her lab from the beginning, and haven't really thought of doing research with other profs since. There are two in my concentration but one is swamped with students already and the other is at the downtown campus. I might have to drop to a master's without the ability to take the necessary classes in a timely fashion. Additionally, since my research would be scrapped, there's a very low chance (none) of external fellowship with this scenario if I apply. And future funding aside, I have no idea how I'd be funded in the fall. It is likely most of the TA positions have been handed out already, or close to it. So I'm not even sure if there's funding available here. Pro Los Angeles: The only time I was ever there was a month ago for spring break with the girlfriend, ironically enough. I don't have a good feel for the city at all and aren't sure what I'd be getting myself into. However, my PI is amazing. She's one of the reasons I got into ASU and I've never had a better working relationship. She's the best boss I've ever had, and always knows when to push and when to give me a chance to figure things out for myself. I already know I can work with her which is something not to take for granted. I've read horror stories about advisor conflict all the time and consider myself lucky to not have to deal with that. The program has a good amount of prestige and is highly ranked, and well networked. I do know a couple of people from high school and undergrad in the area so I wouldn't be entirely alone. I know the pay at least stays the same and I'd have a small chance at an external fellowship if my research goes well this summer. And also, as a side note, does anyone know of good elementary schools in the UCLA area? My PI has two kids and is trying to figure this out as well. Con Los Angeles: The big one which looms in my mind is being in bad financial straits. It's highly likely since I'll have around $1100/month at my disposal after necessary car/insurance. This isn't counting credit card bills from a long time ago, so likely more like $900 a month for food, rent, phone, and other expenses. I might be able to room with the other student who is going but I'm unsure. I'm also unsure about the project which she has me researching. It's very computer science heavy, and while I'm getting a better foothold in programming and such I'd much rather be doing experiments. I've tried to make progress this entire year but I don't have a whole lot to show for it. I'm not sure what my options are, project-wise. I need to talk to her and see what she has in mind. The first year will likely be chaotic and I'm not sure if I could handle the pace of classes. UCLA works off of a quarter system and I've been told it's fast. Although I'm no stranger to rigorous curriculum (see my icon, the badge of survival) that was undergrad. This is a different beast entirely. There are also moving expenses and trying to find somewhere to live and dealing with a long distance relationship. Other options: I could maybe strive to get a job in the Phoenix area. It's unlikely this would work, and I really don't want to. The entire point of going to graduate school was to get away from the highly industrial/manufacturing jobs and it's probably that those are the only options. Unless I miraculously find a sweet tutoring gig, but again, to what end? Sorry if that was a lot. I'm just trying to get a good read on the situation.
  3. That's the scenario. Since I only completed one year under ASU I'd transfer up to 3 classes and my degree would be UCLA. Assuming that their pay scale is different, would it be likely that she changes it? She hasn't said it's definitely not changing, but she is paying me under a grant.
  4. Go with the lab/research that you want. If you haven't decided, which school has more options? Also, as a default, not Case Western.
  5. As someone who hasn't dealt with this scenario or known anyone who did... what exactly can the first school do? Can they legally prevent you from going to another school?
  6. Heck yeah! First of all, congrats. Secondly, yes, you should start moving on these things as quickly as possible. Take a breather after all those applications and enjoy life for a few days. Then start contacting profs to let them know of your interests and why their research is something you'd want to do. Make sure they know you're already accepted. Look for apartments. Look on here for other people going to the same school and learn what advice they have for campus.
  7. No. The opportunity is not going to be possible again; the relationship might be. Who knows where you two will be after? A year ago I ended up talking to the first girl I ever dated; I hadn't seen her in a decade. We struck up a brief fling that didn't last but the point is that it's a connected world now. If you two are so statistically compatable that you can find no other person that matches during this time, you'll find each other again.
  8. So just a bit of background: I got into graduate school last year and have enjoyed my time there so far. I like the campus, I like working with my PI, I like my lab. In short, everything was too perfect. I should have known that meant something was around the corner. I go to ASU and I love Phoenix/Tempe. My advisor got offered a tenured position at UCLA, which she is taking because it fits perfectly with her long-term plan. This throws a lot of labmates into interesting scenarios and I'm in a better spot than most, but it's still very strange. I don't think anyone harbors ill will about it though; there's almost no way she could have turned it down. She has offered to take me and one other student with her when she moves, to continue advising us as UCLA students. After speaking with her a couple of times and lightly touching the issue, I get the impression that there will not be a change in pay. I get around $1500 a month after taxes, give or take, as a first year graduate student. There would likely be a raise at the end of the next school year but that's still a ways off. LA is way more expensive to live in than Phoenix. This also doesn't take into account moving expenses and such. I wanted to ask if $1500 a month is livable in LA, and also if its normal to not adjust pay based on cost of living. I have no way to gauge what my expectations should be. I don't want to be greedy but I also don't want to be wondering if I can eat and have other psychological stresses while I'm taking on what I'm told is a rigorous courseload. I have a car payment so it's more like $1200 a month not counting that. I'm grateful that she wants me to go but I don't want to shoot myself in the foot. What are your thoughts? Is it normal not to change the stipend? Is this a livable wage in that area?
  9. Keep the door open during meetings
  10. You don't want to have a part time job while you're doing a master's in engineering, especially the first year. Avoid at all costs. I'd say concentrate more on reducing expenses than increasing income. If you absolutely have to (I know that sometimes circumstances are rough) try to find tutoring jobs. Either print flyers and put them up around campus or apply to tutoring services. It will look decent on your CV to show that you can teach and key in getting a TA position if you want one. And on that note, I'm in a bit of a connundrum. My PI got offered a tenured position at UCLA and is leaving. She offered to take a few students with them, and I am one of them. However, she indicated that my RA pay is likely not to go up from where I'm at right now. I'm at roughly $1500 a month, after taxes. Really it's $1200/month after my car payment (I have a 2013 from when I was in industry). I want some input as to how much I should budget for housing and food. I'd prefer to live within 5-6 miles of campus and bike there since I have a roadbike which has worked so far. My general feeling from what I've heard about commuting is that the money I'd save by living far away and driving (as opposed to living closer and paying more rent) will be lost to gas prices and the cost of a UCLA parking pass. Any advice?
  11. Grad schools care about one primary thing and one thing only: are you a research asset? This school has possibly not had a graduating class yet. But if you engage in research during your time there, publish papers as an undergraduate, make connections with professors that can write you good letters of recommendation and show you're a dedicated student with a high GPA, I don't see why you shouldn't have a shot. BioMed Engineering is a relatively new field.
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