St Andrews Lynx

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St Andrews Lynx last won the day on August 10 2016

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About St Andrews Lynx

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    The Eastern Seaboard, USA
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    Travelling. Running. Reading. Writing. Dancing. Double espressos. Science. Thinking.
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    Chemistry PhD

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  1. The only thing I'd like to add beyond what has been said (excellently) above is with Point 3. It could have been that your advisor forgot he promised you meetings, or that they realised upon discussion that it'd be in violation of departmental policy/spirit-of-policy to meet with you. Or they have a busy semester with teaching/grant deadlines/conference travel so think it's unlikely they could fit in time anyway. I wouldn't think of it as "a refusal to meet with you", since that implies more negativity than what I suspect was intended. It is what it is.
  2. Professor wants me to lie?

    If I was in that situation I'd take the free registration, introduce myself confidently as a postdoc and then feign TOTAL IGNORANCE if called out. "Oh, my boss Prof X handled my registration." (Honestly, given how cheap most academics are they'll probably be impressed with your ability to get something for free) If it only costs $20 to register as a non-student or something like that then just tell your PI you'll pay for the registration yourself. If it costs something like $200 and the PI would otherwise be paying for your registration...then either swallow the lie or don't go.
  3. Chemistry Supervisor in Biology PhD program?

    Have you applied or been formally admitted to the program yet? I can't quite tell from your post. I've you've not applied yet, the PI might be assuming you are going to apply to the Chem PhD program and then carry out biophysics-esque research in their lab. If you're applying/accepted to the Biology PhD program then as others have said you need to check if the faculty has a dual appointment, etc. There should be a graduate handbook and course listings online for both the Chem & Biology programs (you can also look on the Chem Dept website to see if your prospective PI is listed as affiliated faculty there). I suspect if your background is in Bio then the course requirements for a Chem degree could be challenging (or an unnecessary time sink), but there are often options to take classes in other departments that could count towards your degree (this is something you'd need to talk about with a graduate advisor/administrator).
  4. If you say that "multiple professors" have told you not to worry about the accusations, it suggests that more faculty have your back than you perhaps realise (and the chair could already be aware of the problem). When talking to the chair stick the objective facts as much as possible, try avoid bringing your emotions/feelings into the discussion. That will go a long way towards making you come across as professional and serious. "Awkwardness" and "unwilling to be flexible" aren't the worst things to be attached to your name. Is "awkwardness" really a less attractive option than being "miserable"? (That's a rhetorical question: it isn't)
  5. Will our relationship survive a chemistry PhD?

    I think pre-emptively calling off a relationship before they even start grad school is too extreme (and does sound like "an excuse to leave him"!). I've seen people break up shortly after starting their Chem PhD...but not at a higher rate than after starting other major life events (e.g. breaking up after you start college/your first professional jobs). If you want to stay with this guy...stay with him. Maybe you'll break up with him partway through grad school...but maybe you won't (and wouldn't that be better than breaking up with now?). Maybe you'll break up with him after he gets his PhD. Who knows unless you try to make it work?
  6. I want to quit (rant-ish)

    As you're a chemist you may have already seen this, but I figure it's useful for other scientists out there too: the compilation of "I Quit Grad School In Chemistry" stories from the Chemjobber blog ( quit grad school in chemistry). Just to assure you that you're not alone. Surviving another year in this lab may mean (i) accepting your Masters thesis is going to be imperfect, but that there are more important things (such as taking care of your health) (ii) putting your mental energy into researching possible careers and applying for jobs (iii) devoting small chunks of time to "nice things" even though you could be in the lab running reactions.
  7. I want to quit (rant-ish)

    I have sympathy. Sounds like a stereotypical "Assistant Professor in Science". A lot of PIs struggle to learn emotional intelligence when they're on the tenure track if they don't already have an instinct for it; and unless you hit some kind of research jackpot within the next few months the pressure to generate results for papers/grants is only going to continue. Try not to take the PI's behavior personally (it's about their stress, not you as a bad scientist). As @rising_star says - getting clarity on what you need for a Masters thesis should be your main goal. Accepting that you can't please your PI 100% may also make your life easier. Is it possible to transfer into another research group in your Dept? Y'know, one where the PI is less...intense? Of course it depends on what your career goals are (you don't need a PhD for everything), but a more established PI might be better for you.
  8. Very random question - I need suggestions!

    Start reading the book. During the semester simply read for 10-30 min each night in bed before you go to sleep. You'll get it finished.
  9. My husband has turned into something horrible

    There's usually underlying reasons why people become "extremist" or "radicalised" like this. What starts out as loneliness or dealing the aftermath of a traumatic life experience mutates into a fixating hatred of...something. So I don't think your husband necessarily "just decided" to be this way, and he may well have gotten more extreme in his views over time. It's not your fault. So it might be possible to address and treat the underlying issues in your husband, and find that the racism dissipates as a side-effect. But (i) your husband has to want to be helped (ii) it could take a lot of time & money. I also agree with everything Fuzzy's post.
  10. Maybe an informal practice oral exam would help? Get some of your lab mates/friendly postdocs to ask you softball bio questions in the style of the oral exam. Maybe your advisor would be willing to play, too? It's clear that the oral exams are existing as a Big Thing in your mind, so breaking it down into a culmination of smaller & easier tasks might take the edge off it. Plus it allows you to gently get used to the oral exam set-up and what it feels like to be confronted by questions you weren't expecting.
  11. How do you make a research seminar rock?

    You can't force "hotness"! Think about what the goals of the seminar is. Who is the target audience (presumably non-experts in the field, but how much would they already know)? It might be better to err on the side of less material rather than rushing through a lot of different talking points.
  12. Though to clarify - the area around College Ave campus is almost 100% fine during the day time; but I'd advise against walking around by yourself after 11pm. However, I figure this is true of most urban areas (especially with a large student population). The Piscataway/Highland Park areas are safe. That's where most of the grad students live in any case.
  13. On entering a lab

    There are some labs where PI will place new grad students on a project that guarantees a quick publication (something that has already been partially-developed by a previous student, etc). Other times you'll work with a senior student in the beginning. This is something to clarify before you join the lab. You'll also need to see what is typical in your new lab - do most people get a publication before the end of their 2nd year, or do most people graduate before they can publish anything? You might have to tone down your goals (or find a new program) if your expectations don't match up to what ~80% current of grads in your program/lab actually achieve. The most obvious suggestion if you're stuck with a senior hard and don't complain. Show you can do what is asked of you in a polite, timely manner. Make an effort to deploy your best experimental technique and show that you can work up to "publication standard" (in synthetic chemistry this would mean being able to isolate good yields of clean products and getting pretty NMRs for the paper's SI). Be engaged, mature and show you can handle responsibility.
  14. 2017 Applicant Profiles and Admissions Results

    Who told you this? There are very few people who apply to Chem PhD programs with a "perfect" application. There's always a weakness (e.g. poor GPA) or something "non-traditional". The fact you got a paper out of your current lab is great (I'd argue that most undergrads applying to Chemistry PhD programs don't have any papers) and your currently advisor will clearly be putting in a strong letter about all the great work you've done in such a short time. In an ideal world yes, perhaps ad comms would prefer to see a couple of years research experience in one lab...but your CV clearly shows that changing labs isn't a problem with you. Going through different labs has helped you develop different research skills, and now you're better able to screen for toxic labs (trust me, you need this skill going in to grad school). If there was one crusty old white guy on one ad comm somewhere complaining about your CV...screw 'em.
  15. Computational to synthesis in grad school

    Although I don't think it should be too difficult to get accepted in to a grad program with that kind of background I think it can be quite hard to go to organic synthesis from computational. A lot of people who apply to do organic synthesis at grad school (and who will be your peers) have several years of research experience already from undergrad. Learning synthetic techniques takes time (it took several years for me to become consistently good at running column chromatography, for example), and some people are never going to be good at it! I've seen a few cases of people trying to move in to organic synthesis from other fields - they've been quite frustrated and sometimes have fallen behind their lab mates when it comes to research progress. The sooner you can try out organic synthesis the better (is there any way you can try an organic project at your current university?). Make sure there are several POIs you could see yourself working for at the school you choose, ideally with a mix of synthesis/computational research.