Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


shadowclaw last won the day on March 30 2015

shadowclaw had the most liked content!

About shadowclaw

  • Rank
    Latte Macchiato
  • Birthday 04/24/1985

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    Pacific Northwest
  • Application Season
    Already Attending
  • Program

Recent Profile Visitors

6,891 profile views
  1. This is unfortunate but not as uncommon as you would expect. I know quite a few people who came to our university and ended up with a toxic advisor. Some trudged through, some switched advisors early, and some switched pretty late. I also had an advisor who I wouldn't describe as toxic, but I would definitely say that she was not entirely supportive and was a terrible communicator. I was especially frustrated with two things: 1) she frequently backtracked on things she said to me and I was perpetually confused about what I was doing because she kept changing her mind, and 2) her feedback on anything written was extremely generic and would require lots of going back and forth to determine what was the problem. I ended up getting a new advisor at the end of my third year, but thankfully this hasn't affected my research or time to completion trajectory. You are in a somewhat better position in that this person isn't actually your advisor, but instead is an unofficial committee member. There are a number of options for you, some better than others: 1. You can tell them that you have enough members on your committee and won't need them after all and thank them for their time helping you. Since they haven't signed off on anything, it's not like they can do anything to you to hinder your progress, and this can be done by email if you want to. Just be polite and don't place blame. 2. You also have the option of ghosting them. It's rude and would reflect poorly on you, but if you really can't stomach telling them that they're off the committee, it is always an option to just stop communicating with them. 3. You can keep them on the committee and ignore the unhelpful comments. Not all committee members have to contribute equally. Ideally, your advisor should be mentoring you and helping you the most, while the other committee members can vary in what they bring to the table. A good committee will be made of up people who can all contribute to your development as a researcher and advise you on your research, but that's not always the case, particularly if you are in a small department with faculty of a wide diversity of backgrounds. Since your department is small, I imagine it might feel awkward to be around this person after telling them that you don't need them on your committee anymore. However, if you've been polite, there's no reason for hostility, and it may be that this person would actually be happy to be off your committee. The only real negative I can see is that not having someone with research experience in your area on your committee might make it harder to get an academic job, but since you aren't interested in academia, you don't need to worry about that.
  2. I'm not sure that it's true across the board, but it appears that if a school really isn't interested in you, they send out the rejection letters pretty quick. If you don't hear anything from them, you were most likely put onto some kind of waitlist. This happened when I applied to the University of Tennessee (my top choice). I wasn't invited for an interview and my POI didn't know anything. However, I had heard back from my second choice and needed to give them a yes or no, so I emailed the department head to ask about my status. I was apparently at the top of their waitlist and they were still waiting to hear back on some offers. Had some applicants declined their offer, I would have been offered admission. I think the same thing happened with UNC, as I received an very late rejection from them as well.
  3. Both 1 and 3 are good options. If it's been about 2 weeks (or longer) since you sent your first email, then you should politely follow up. Professors are busy. They forget things sometimes. Sometimes they delete things, too. Approaching him at an event would work if it's happening soon and you can actually get access to him. Do be aware that when people give talks, however, they are often inundated with people afterwards asking questions. It could be difficult to pin him down to have a good chat! Of course, the opposite might be true as well.
  4. Way back when, I remember this happening with Drexel University. I logged in to check my status because that's what you do when you're anxiously awaiting decisions, and there it was! I didn't actually get a letter or email from them for maybe two weeks. For my current program, I received an acceptance in like March from the department and the grad school sent me something else maybe 3 weeks later (at my school, the department notifies you of your acceptance first, then the grad school processes everything and makes sure you are eligible for admission and all that afterwards). I don't think I heard about funding until late April, possibly May. It's been a while, though, so I don't quite remember the details exactly!
  5. Hey, another person who maxed out on credits! I did the same, myself. It was actually incredibly annoying, because when I started undergrad, they measured these things by time rather than credits. So you had to complete a 4 year degree in 6 in order to get financial aid. Strictly speaking, I did attend for more than 6, but not at the school I got my degree from and that's all that mattered. So I was in the clear until they changed the policy to be credit-based, which messed up my last year. But I found money. Anyway, to actually answer your question, the whole number of credits thing goes out the window when you go to graduate school. There is of course still a cap on the total amount of direct loans you can borrow, although there is also the PLUS loan, which I don't think has any limits but does require a somewhat decent credit history.
  6. My current school offers amazing health insurance that includes vision and dental for its graduate employees. It's probably the best health insurance I've ever had in my life and I pay a very small amount towards it each month. My union rocks. Where I did my masters, they offered nothing at all, not even the most basic health insurance. So it really depends on the school.
  7. I use ResearchGate for three things: 1) to find full-text articles that I do not have access to digitally (usually 1990s and earlier are only available in physical form for me, with some exceptions, although I rarely need access to these), 2) to make my work more visible and accessible to others, 3) to ask questions that I can't find the answer to elsewhere (e.g., request info on a certain topic, troubleshoot software, etc.). It's also been suggested on here in the past that having a good web presence is helpful for admissions because your advisor and the admissions committee look you up. I recall one thread in particular where someone said that they were in an office and spotted a list of applicant names with a note or title that said something along the lines of "couldn't find them on the Internet." So having an account on one of these platforms might help you look more professional or something. I don't know. I also think there's value in having your own website. If you intend to work in academia, you will need one eventually anyway. The website is helpful for some of the same reasons as ResearchGate and Academia.edu - you can post full-text articles and make your work accessible and visible. However, it's also a good spot to show off your research in a way that's more friendly to a broader audience. You can write up lay summaries, add photos and videos, and otherwise be way more engaging on a personal website. Having a place with your contact info is also super handy, too. I've had people contact me through my website about a variety of different things. I occasionally look at my website stats and I get several visitors each week, so people are looking at it for some reason! Oh, and it's also potentially useful during job searches - I'm sure it's handy to be able to point towards your website.
  8. I have my research project set up except for actually planting my seeds. I have 120 20-gallon nursery pots filled with soil inside two greenhouses that I built. It took over a week of hard physical work to get all that done, and mostly by myself. My committee approved my methods, which were detailed in my proposal and also discussed in several email threads, and authorized me to use my startup funds to buy the supplies and get things set up. Yesterday, all but one basically said they had no idea that I was using the type of soil I had purchased. Two suggested that I dump the pots and buy different soil. Another suggested that we just add another set of replicates with the different soil and expand the research to consider different soil types. Finally, my advisor suggested we test the soil first to see if it's actually a problem and then go from there. I'm going to be really, really aggravated if I have to dump all of that soil. It was hard enough when it was dry, but now it's wet.
  9. I don't care for Macs, but that's a personal preference. So my suggestions will be PC-based. I just upgraded to an Acer Aspire E15 (specifically this configuration). It was a little under $600, which was more than I wanted to spend, but it was actually the least expensive laptop that had all of the features I wanted. This includes a solid state drive, 8 GB of memory, a speedy multi-core processor, a DVD drive, a card reader, and an HD display. The battery life is also pretty good - it's advertised as up to 15 hours. I haven't really been keeping track to find out how accurate that is, though! It has has a light up keyboard, which I thought was silly when I bought it, but turned out to be quite nice for those late nights typing in the dark. I've had it about a month and I'm really happy with it. My previous laptop was an ASUS. I did like it, but it only had 4 GB of memory and struggled with Photoshop and some other programs. However, it had a fast start up time and many of the other features I wanted (DVD drive, card reader, speedy processor, HD display). A colleague has a more expensive ASUS (with more memory) that runs like a dream for games and other memory-demanding programs. However, my ASUS started having issues after 2.5 years and they became really annoying recently, which is why I bought a new one. My very first laptop was a Dell and it lasted like 10 years. Really the only reason I had to stop using it was because the charger port snapped off of the motherboard. I could have paid someone to fix it, but it was quite outdated at that point! However, they do last a long time. Why didn't I return to Dell? Mainly the price tag. Ultimately, I think the brand is less important than the hardware. Go for at least 8 GB of memory and get at least a dual-core processor (although you should be able to get quad-core for the same price these days). Solid state drives are also much faster than mechanical hard drives, although they are more expensive.
  10. My PhD journey has been fraught with self-doubt, several hiccups, an advisor change, and often feelings of dread and poor self-worth. However, things have really been coming together! My current advisor makes me feel like an intelligent and worthwhile person. I love my new(ish) GTA position (although I loved my old one, too). I completed and passed my oral prelims yesterday and was informed that several committee members voted that I exceeded their expectations. I also found out today that my grant proposal for my research is being funded. It's not a mega amount of money, but enough to do a lot of cool things. I was told that the grant committee was really excited about my proposal, too! I am also officially a co-PI on the project, which means I have co-ownership of the project and get to put that on my CV. I don't know how these things work in other fields, but in the sciences, grad students often write the proposals (or big chunks of the proposals) and their advisors submit them in their own name, providing no recognition to the student. It's great to be acknowledged on this and the fact that I was able to secure my own funding as a grad student will look really good when I apply to jobs when I graduate!
  11. Neogenesis has covered the basics, but to elaborate: Some conferences offer grants/scholarships to cover fees - check out the conference's website to see if they offer it! If it's far away and you need to fly, that gets dicier, as it's very unlikely that the conference can foot the bill for that. Getting a part-time job may or may not be a possibility. If you currently have an assistantship, sometimes your contract forbids you from obtaining additional employment. Sometimes it doesn't. You'd need to look into that if you don't know, although if you can earn enough money before the conference at a summer job after you've graduated, this may not be important. It can be hard to find a job for just a few months - most places are looking for long-term employees, although you might be able to find something through a temp agency or something that is summer-only. You can also often find odd jobs and other short-term gigs on Craigslist. I have a friend who started picking up some gigs on Rover... if you like dogs, you might be able to earn some extra cash walking dogs, letting them out to pee during the day, etc. If you don't mind needles, you can also sell your plasma. I know a lot of people who sold plasma to make ends meet. It's kind of a last resort thing and there's always the possibility that you won't be eligible because your veins are too small. You can also sells things on eBay or to a pawn shop. Not ideal, but if you're like me and hoard random stuff that you haven't used in ages, you might have something that someone might pay good money for that you really won't miss. And of course you can ask your family and friends. Do a GoFundMe if you need to. My ex-boyfriend funded his move from Pennsylvania to San Francisco with a GoFundMe. I even pitched in. If one of my friends needed money for a conference, I'd donate 20 bucks. Maybe your friends would, too.
  12. If I'm reading between the lines correctly, I sense that you are worried that your advisor is unhappy with you for unknown reasons and is sticking you with this assistantship that you don't want. I doubt this is the case, but it's always a possibility. When they told you the initial decision was political, that was probably true. Maybe this other student knows somebody and had a favor done for them, maybe somebody in the department just liked something on their CV and wanted them, who knows. Maybe it was actually completely random, but they didn't want to tell you that they flipped a coin to decide your fate. As for the decision to renew your contract for this administrative assistantship, I don't think you should read too much into it. For one thing, your job probably required some training and it's easier to have you continue the position instead of hiring and training someone new. If you did the job particularly well, they may have also asked for you again. Second, I assume that this external assistantship could be given to any student at the university, not just those in your department. So it makes sense that your advisor would want to keep you on that assistantship if there's no guarantee that his or any other students in the department will get this assistantship if you don't continue it. It frees up funding for additional students in his lab. I also wouldn't describe your contract as having a hole. Administrative positions are what they are - it's not very useful to have a TA who takes off for winter break when there's work to be done. Is it fair? Maybe not. I am also on an administrative-type assistantship that works the same way. My previous assistantship's hours ran with the student calendar, so once finals were over and grades were submitted, I could chill out for a few weeks until the next term started. With this assistantship, I'm working all year except for official holidays, although per our union's bargaining agreement, I am entitled to 21 days away from work. However, I haven't actually had any issues with taking time off to visit family or go on vacation and my hours are super flexible. My supervisor is extremely cool. As for your advisor, I'm not sure I follow that he doesn't have enough funding to go around. From what you've described, everyone in your lab is funded. Just because he's taking advantage of external assistantships doesn't mean there's not enough funding to go around. However, if he really is taking on students without a funding plan, that's a bit irresponsible. Although many departments won't allow admission of new students if they don't have a plan in place for funding, so there may be more going on behind the scenes than you know.
  13. I made many horrible mistakes as an undergrad. My biology GPA was 3.8ish, but my overall was sub 3.0. Although it was a weird situation where I had a 3.59 at the college I graduated from, but when you added in the other three schools I attended, it was baaaaaaaad. My GRE scores also weren't bad, but not amazing either (something like 84th percentile V, 63rd percentile Q). On my first go, I was rejected from all of the PhD programs I applied to and accepted to all of the master's programs. I was even offered funding. At the school I chose, the program director had a chat with me one day and told me that the admissions committee really wasn't sure about admitting me. However, my LORs were so amazing that they decided to take the risk. When it came time to apply again for a PhD program, I had one publication submitted but not yet accepted, and I was in the process of writing my thesis. I had two of the same LOR writers again, plus my master's advisor. My graduate GPA was like a 3.85. I felt really good about that application season, although I ultimately got rejected by all but one school (although I was waitlisted at my top choice for a while). But here I am! Based on my own experiences, I would say that your GPA isn't really going to hold you back. A 3.6 is quite good, and while your bio gpa might be lower than you'd like, it also depends on where the low grades are. If you bombed your intro courses but aced your upper level courses, no one is going to bat an eye. And to be honest, working as a research assistant and getting those publications are going to make you look really good to the admissions committee.
  14. I actually do put a late assignment blurbs in my syllabus. For this class, it wasn't exceptionally detailed, but did require students to contact me before the deadline if an assignment would be late. Which is why it's so frustrating.
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.