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About Linelei

  • Rank
    Espresso Shot

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  • Gender
  • Application Season
    2013 Fall
  • Program
    Psych: Social Cognitive Neuroscience

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  1. It may be too late, but practice! Go on a walk and say your whole talk aloud. Practice in front of friends, in front of labmates, etc. I did mine for a local Toastmasters group, who gave some great feedback regarding speaking and presentation skills. By the time I got in the room for the real thing I was comfortable and knew what was coming next on the slides, so could easily get back on track when I was interrupted. I'm not saying memorize it, but be so familiar with it that your tongue may keep moving when your head freezes up. Also, one of the tips from Toastmasters: stand so that, from the audience's perspective, you are to the right of the screen. People read the words on the powerpoint from left to right and then their eyes naturally fall on you. I'd never have thought of that, but it does make sense! Oh, and I don't know your school's culture regarding snacks at defenses, but I decided to provide only bottles of water for my panel. I didn't want to look like I was trying to bribe them, but I also knew we would be in the room for a long time. They seemed very appreciative. Best of luck to you!
  2. Thank you for your reminder to be respectful and nonjudgmental, Pears! Putting aside any debate regarding elitism, I know that I can get frustrated when I have accomplished something big and am very excited about that thing but someone responds with a put-down or something snide. To me, this feeling is less about "Look at me, I'm successful and want you to recognize it," and more about "I'm excited and happy and want to share that feeling but you want to take it away from me." Sure, I know I should just brush it off, but I think most people would admit it doesn't feel good to have someone suck the joy out of your moment, regardless of their or your academic experiences, etc. I've had this happen with people who are educated, and that is actually more upsetting to me. If someone doesn't have experience in my field, I just try to remind myself that field successes aren't always recognized as such by people in other careers. I think we should also be mindful of when we are the ones who have the potential to either celebrate or suck the joy out of others' successes. My sister recently received an A in her first community college course, and called me because she was excited. I made a point of congratulating her and recognizing the hard work she put into it. We don't have to rate successes in terms of academic prestige; instead, just being happy for each other makes everyone feel supported and encouraged.
  3. Linelei

    Los Angeles, CA

    I plan to rent a two-bedroom and find a roommate for the second bedroom, since I have furniture for a whole apartment. Will message y'all with details!
  4. Haha! I know what you mean. When I was there everyone kept apologizing for the cold weather, but it was around 55 degrees. Leaving the snow behind will be great!
  5. Hello everyone! I am so excited to be starting in the social psychology Ph.D. program this fall. As others are saying, I am also nervous about housing. Since I have a whole apartment's worth of furniture, I am hoping to find a two bedroom place and rent out the other bedroom to another grad student. Let me know if you would be interested and are not allergic to cats! Have you all visited yet? It is such a beautiful campus! I'm going back this summer to apartment-hunt before officially moving, and am looking forward to seeing the area when it's warmer (my interview was in January).
  6. I second PsychGirl's advice that your research interests don't have to 100% match those of your POIs. You may not find out until you email them, but those partial-match people may have had an idea bouncing around in their heads about expanding or starting a new line of research with which you might fit well. Professors' research interests often evolve. I also have very specific interests, and when I was emailing professors I briefly described what I wanted to research and then asked if they would be interested in supporting a project like that. Some said no, but some said yes! That helped me add a couple more schools to my list. Also in terms of contacting professors, you are very early, so I'm not surprised they haven't emailed you back yet. I started emailing the summer before application season, and I still needed to re-email several people in September. Don't write them off! This is a crazy time of year. I'd email again during the summer & mention that you had previously emailed, then quickly summarize what you said before. Regarding your interests, it is wonderful that you have specific interests and I wouldn't suggest letting go of those! As other people have said, your grad education may not precisely match those interests, but you can always keep them for after you finish, or as smaller projects, etc. You will probably be able to find ways to incorporate those interests along the way, even if your major projects aren't perfect matches for them. For me, I am sure that 5-6 years of grad school will affect my knowledge, interests and passions in ways I can't yet foresee. I am lucky to have found a PI who is excited about my research ideas, but he also wants me to work on a related project I had never before considered but am now quite excited about. So my advice is to hold on to those interests, but with a loose grip to allow for your own growth during grad school.
  7. I felt Barron and the ETS practice materials were closest to the real deal. Kaplan math was way easier, and I also had the "GRE for Dummies" book, which was pretty much useless for quant preparation. Also just as a tip, what you need to learn is more how to quickly assess a problem and find the quickest way to solve it. In that way, your calculus experience could trip you up. GRE math is mainly algebra, geometry, and some trig and stats. I felt Barron was the best at helping me learn the tricks to solving problems quickly.
  8. Linelei

    Reno, NV

    I live in Reno now, and attend UNR. I actually love it! The campus is beautiful, which is not something I expected, coming from California. There are actually lots of things to do in Reno, especially as the weather gets warmer, as we have tons of street fairs and longer events. The famous Hot August Nights brings all sorts of cool classic cars to town, and Artown is a month-long celebration of art and music, with tons of free or cheap concerts, art shows, workshops, etc. Wingfield Park downtown is often the site of these free concerts - bring a lawn chair and watch the shows, or play in the river. The Reno River Festival is great if you love rafting/kayaking. In Sparks' Victorian Square there is the Ribs Cookoff every year and big farmer's markets on Thursdays. We also have some good cultural events, such as the Greek Festival and the Italian Festival. And of course when it is cold there is skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing, as well as an outdoor ice-skating rink downtown. As for areas to live, the area west of Campus is all right, but don't even think about going east. There are some new, fancy apartment complexes to the northeast of campus along McCarran, which are still in not-great neighborhoods but on the edge. I know some grad students who live there. If you have kids, I would highly recommend looking at the Northwest - McCarran drops you right off north of campus, and the areas along Kings Row and Mae Anne have good mid-range pricing but are much safer. The approximately 10-15 minute commute is totally worth it for the better schools and safer area. Another idea is the Old Southwest, which is full of adorable 50s-60s ranch-style homes, although there are less apartment options in that area and more houses for rent. As for Reno ethos, it really surprised me. There are a lot of Nor Cal transplants like me, and with that comes a bit of hippy ideals (a pp mentioned Pneumatic Diner, there is the River School with organic gardening classes and full moon circles, the Great Basin Food Coop has organic, locally grown produce, etc). There is also the other side of Reno ethos, as evidenced by the casinos and the yearly rodeo. One huge plus about Reno is the music scene - we are a stop for a lot of major bands, as is Tahoe, so you don't have to go far if you love shows. The High Sierra music festival is also close by in the summer. For real "culture," there is the art museum, which is small but nice, and they get some big artists visiting. The Pioneer Center or Nightingale Hall on campus are the places to go for operas, ballets, and philharmonic performances. If you like drinking, downtown bars organize fairly regular themed pub crawls (like the Zombie Crawl for Halloween), and there are wine walks as well. Campus itself is pretty active, with lots of clubs and free events. Every Thursday night there is a free movie, either in the student union or on the lawn in front of the student union in nicer weather. UNR attracts a lot of international students, so there are great cultural events on campus, such as Night of All Nations, which had food and entertainment from over 30 countries last year. Facilities on campus are really nice; a few years ago we got a ton of money pouring into campus (ah, those were the days), so there is a new student union, science building, and state-of-the-art library. The 'Knowledge Center,' as it is called, is my favorite place on campus. The 5th floor has sweeping views of the snow-capped mountains surrounding the city. We also have a new Molecular Medicine building at the north end of campus, with great facilities and equipment. I've heard there are all sorts of cool gadgets for the physics and engineering folks to play with, too, and the Journalism building was just renovated as well. I've had a great experience at UNR and in Reno. It doesn't have a great reputation, but that almost makes it better, because the people aren't uppity. A lot of people here love to hike, bike, kayak, and enjoy the nature surrounding us. Yes, there are casinos, but that also means good restaurants, specials for locals, and some cheap activities (like the Grand Sierra Cinema, where all movie tickets are $3). Reno and UNR may not look shiny from the outside, but I think this is a great place to live. Feel free to PM me if you have specific questions!
  9. That is rough, Ely! Sorry to hear you are going through that. I completely agree with you, though, on the timing. If a relationship is faltering, it's probably much better to end BEFORE moving and starting a rigorous PhD program. Here's to fresh starts!
  10. I decided to end a long-distance relationship during application season. I know grad school is going to be a ton of work, but I imagine the right kind of relationship would help to re-energize and motivate a grad student. That was not the case with my relationship, as the stresses that seem to go hand-in-hand with grad school were precisely the stresses my SO was already having trouble with. Like demanding more and more of my time (like, 2-3 hours on the phone as well as 1-2 hours on skype, per day), and then saying it was not enough. I think many relationships can last through grad school, if they have a good foundation. When I really looked at my situation, I saw that we lacked that foundation, and that our time together felt like a burden because it was demanded. I hope my ex will be able to find someone who can give all their time, but that isn't me. My education is precious to me, not to the exclusion of love, but that kind of totally melded love just won't work for me. I hope I will find someone who is equally passionate about and dedicated to something, anything! Because then they will probably understand me and won't need so much of my time and energy to feel all right.
  11. I didn't have quite that large a jump, but I was able to raise my quant score to one I could be reasonably satisfied with (went from 152 before serious studying to 160). A friend of mine had a Kaplan disc with practice sets (it came with a book), which I found to be easier than the actual test but helped me work on time-management during the test. This was really important for me, because I had a tendency to spend too long on certain problems and run out of time. The timed, computerized practice tests helped me stay aware of that timer without it freaking me out and distracting me. I also got a CliffsNotes book called "Math Review for Standardized Tests" and worked my way through the sections that relate to the GRE. I think it was helpful because it starts with arithmetic rules, which gave me a better foundation for the rest of the math. At first I felt silly going over concepts I was taught in 6th grade, but I think it really helped me, because we tend to just memorize those concepts when we're younger without really understanding them. I also studied for 6-12 hours each day the two weeks before the test... I was crunched on time, and wouldn't recommend this strategy! If I had had an extra few weeks I think I could have raised my score another 3-5 points. If you take free practice tests through Kaplan (often offered online) you can see which types of problems are giving you trouble and then target them. Or you can just analyze your practice tests. I had just started targeting the week or so before my test; with a little more time I think I could have gotten the hang of those problems to the point I could solve them quickly and move on, instead of taking forever to get the right answer.
  12. Thanks, Lewin! Yes, that's pretty much the type of work I was thinking of. Westen's quote that people "twirl the cognitive kaleidoscope until they get the conclusions they want" when they have a "vested interest" could apply to rankings: people in high OR low ranked programs might stress different aspects of the rankings process. I'm pondering this due to introspection, by the way. I noticed in myself a (dangerous) desire to overlook methodological weakness once I saw my future school near the top.
  13. It would be interesting to correlate students' and professors' attitudes about rankings with the rankings of their particular program. Perhaps we place more relevance on rankings if ours is high. Or maybe people in middle-to-moderately-high rankings value these rankings more, while the top programs don't need rankings to get the word out that they are prestigious. Or there could be no correlation at all! Does anyone know if this has been done? I feel like Lewin might know the answer.
  14. I wish I had stuck to my guns and spent last summer studying for the GRE and working on grad school apps, instead of giving in to a needy ex. I would have felt more confident going into the GRE and wouldn't have gone quite as crazy in my fall semester, what with studying and taking the GRE, applying to grad schools, completing coursework, working at several jobs, volunteering, AND working on my undergrad thesis. It all worked out fine, though, as I got into a great program! I guess I learned to procrastinate less and prioritize better, and to protect my dreams and goals like they're the One Ring. My precioussssss PhD dreams....
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