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St Andrews Lynx

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  1. Upvote
    St Andrews Lynx got a reaction from appliedpsych in 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. 
     
  2. Upvote
    St Andrews Lynx got a reaction from brightorangesocks in Potential Laboratory Sabotage   
    I think that you need to talk to your advisor about this, and promptly.
    You do have evidence at this point: the things that you have told us in the post. Experiments don't work when she is around; but do when she isn't. Setting out decoy reagents and the reactions work. Unless you set up CCTV cameras in the lab, you aren't going to get evidence that is much better than this.
    My advice would be to talk to the advisor with your fellow group members. Bring along a written summary of the evidence and concerns. Leave out the aspects of Sarah's personality (micromanager, ridiculing others, etc) and stick to the "sabotage facts". Keep calm: your PI might respond with shock or anger (if they have suspected nothing up until this point), you don't want to derail the discussion. 
    If your PI refuses to admit there's a problem or does nothing, then you might consider talking to a university ombudsman (impartial mediator) to get advice on what to do next. Or resigning from the lab if you don't want to support unethical research. Hopefully the PI will listen to your concerns. 
    In the interim, try to keep your research secured and confidential. That might mean locking up your lab notebooks, setting up decoy reagents/hiding your own reagents. 
    Sabotaging other people's work is an awful thing to do - but it isn't as bad for the PI w. respect to their tenure/funding/publications as if this student was faking positive data (that subsequently got into their grants or papers). I don't think that concern for the PI's wellbeing should stop you from reporting the suspicious behaviour. 
  3. Like
    St Andrews Lynx got a reaction from ProfONE in Venting Thread- Vent about anything.   
    Snow.
     
    F*ckin' snow.
     
    Can't they do anything about all the damned snow?!
     
    Signed, 
    Everybody on the Eastern Seaboard.
  4. Upvote
    St Andrews Lynx got a reaction from TwirlingBlades in Just when you thought HELL couldn't get any worse...   
    The thing about academia (and life in general) is that knowing what you are capable of...means bugger all. You aren't admitted to PhD program based upon the strength of you knowing that you can cope with grad school: you are admitted based upon the actual, physical & tangible things that you have produced. Publications, graduate-level written work, grades on a transcript, LORs that judge your actual output. You don't get tenure because you know that you are capable of being a successful research professor - you have to actually be a successful research professor. 
     
    My strong suspicion is that if you struggled with the MA, you will struggle also with the PhD. It is easy to correct mistakes - read theses before you start your program, take a break between transitions - but the underlying personal characteristics you possess are harder to change. Mental illness is a chronic thing, if it pops up during your MA it will return for your PhD. The characteristic of under-estimating what you're letting yourself in for will most likely show up in some form or other during the PhD.
     
    It is dangerously naive to just assume that your idealised version of yourself will flourish in the PhD program: you need to ask yourself the brutal question of 'Would the version of myself that existed during the MA program, whom my advisor saw...would that version survive a PhD program?" Because although that version of you is the worst-case, nightmare scenario that can't possibly be the real you...that's the version that has a basis in reality. If an outsider read your narrative and examined your physical output, then extrapolated a prediction of future academic success based entirely on those physical/tangible things...what do you think they would predict?
     
    I am by nature a deeply cynical person. I do know that people can change themselves - but it takes years, a lot of determination and willingness to accept complete responsibility for your actions. We can hide but we can't fully erase our weaknesses. 
     
    Personally I think that your advisors refusal to write you LORs for PhD programs might be the biggest gift they've given you. Don't ruin the next decade of your life attempting to do something that will only damage you.
  5. Like
    St Andrews Lynx got a reaction from ProfONE in Venting Thread- Vent about anything.   
    Snow.
     
    F*ckin' snow.
     
    Can't they do anything about all the damned snow?!
     
    Signed, 
    Everybody on the Eastern Seaboard.
  6. Like
    St Andrews Lynx got a reaction from ProfONE in Venting Thread- Vent about anything.   
    Snow.
     
    F*ckin' snow.
     
    Can't they do anything about all the damned snow?!
     
    Signed, 
    Everybody on the Eastern Seaboard.
  7. Like
    St Andrews Lynx got a reaction from poliscibi in 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. Upvote
    St Andrews Lynx got a reaction from sheldina in talking about grades without sounding like an undergrad   
    I'd phrase it more in terms of feedback on your returned papers ("how could I have strengthened this paper?") rather than the dreaded "If I gave this paper to you now...what grade would you give it?" 
    Think about the whole coursework process less about "getting an A", and rather about "writing excellent graduate-level papers". Sure, the outcome of the latter is probably an A, but the grade itself isn't what matters. 
  9. Upvote
    St Andrews Lynx got a reaction from TakeruK in Competing for a spot after rotations   
    Whatever you do, don't treat this person as your enemy! Academia is a small world: your PI may decide to take 2 students after all, you may end up in the same teams for coursework, or you may put off the PI/lab members by being too mean and thus not get accepted. 
    First - come up with a solid back-up plan for alternative rotations. It could be that you don't get on as well in this lab as you thought, or the PI's funding falls through and they end up not taking anyone this year. Treat all rotations seriously and be open-minded.
    Second - do the best you can in the rotation. It's not just about putting in the most hours or getting the most experiments done. You want to come across as a conscientious (future) labmate who tidies up after themselves, follows the rules, matches the group personality, etc. A lot of the decision-making for selecting new grad students is based upon personality, values and perceived fit, which is hard to change if you don't match up to what the PI is after and doesn't necessarily mean you're a bad scientist if they don't accept you.
  10. Upvote
    St Andrews Lynx got a reaction from orange turtle in Strategies for sleeping through nightmares   
    There's a RadioLab episode from 2012 about lucid dreaming - the idea that you can take control of your dreams/nightmares while you're in the middle of them. That may be something to look in to.
    http://www.radiolab.org/story/182747-wake-up-dream/
    It's great that you've sought professional help and I'm sure that over time you'll see the positive effects increase. 
  11. Upvote
    St Andrews Lynx got a reaction from TakeruK in Competing for a spot after rotations   
    Whatever you do, don't treat this person as your enemy! Academia is a small world: your PI may decide to take 2 students after all, you may end up in the same teams for coursework, or you may put off the PI/lab members by being too mean and thus not get accepted. 
    First - come up with a solid back-up plan for alternative rotations. It could be that you don't get on as well in this lab as you thought, or the PI's funding falls through and they end up not taking anyone this year. Treat all rotations seriously and be open-minded.
    Second - do the best you can in the rotation. It's not just about putting in the most hours or getting the most experiments done. You want to come across as a conscientious (future) labmate who tidies up after themselves, follows the rules, matches the group personality, etc. A lot of the decision-making for selecting new grad students is based upon personality, values and perceived fit, which is hard to change if you don't match up to what the PI is after and doesn't necessarily mean you're a bad scientist if they don't accept you.
  12. Upvote
    St Andrews Lynx got a reaction from orange turtle in Strategies for sleeping through nightmares   
    There's a RadioLab episode from 2012 about lucid dreaming - the idea that you can take control of your dreams/nightmares while you're in the middle of them. That may be something to look in to.
    http://www.radiolab.org/story/182747-wake-up-dream/
    It's great that you've sought professional help and I'm sure that over time you'll see the positive effects increase. 
  13. Upvote
    St Andrews Lynx got a reaction from TheScienceHoney in Social/dating catch-up in graduate school   
    Use the internet. Meetup is great for meeting people who share your interests, and the gatherings are already structured (e.g. going out on a hike, having a game night) which makes them easier to navigate. For dating, set up profiles and try OKCupid, Match, etc. You can try looking through the archives of Dan Savage's "Savage Love" - there is advice for everyone everywhere on the dating experience/sexuality spectrum. 
    I'd also encourage you not to look at this as a rigid scientific process. If you say to yourself now "I can only obtain a meaningful relationship with a person who has had 0-2 serious relationships"... (i) you limit your dating pool (ii) you stay in incompatible relationships longer because you think this "should" be working (iii) cutesy-newness is overrated. Same with friendship. If you start saying to yourself that only friendships with "mentally-underdeveloped" undergrads could possibly work out...you're going to struggle to find any friends. Some undergrads are fiercely intelligent and will be able to contribute meaningfully to discussions about your research. Some grad students have plenty of friends who are undergrads. Wouldn't it be more useful to have friendships with sociable and emotionally-mature folk, so you could learn somethings from them? Part of having friends in the first place is to enjoy their company: why deliberately seek out "friends" who are awkward to be around?
    I think that all good things involve plenty of trial and error to get to. You need to go on lots of dates with a variety of people to figure out who you're attracted to and what is important for you in a relationship. You need to take the initiative when it comes to making friends and be prepared for cool people to blow you off/forget to invite you to their parties. Don't assume that you are too different or inexperienced to form friendships/relationships the way that "normal people" do. Don't expect everything to be perfect the first time you attempt it. 
  14. Upvote
    St Andrews Lynx reacted to TakeruK in OPT or PhD dilemma after MS   
    Repeating the above that you should consult with your school's International Students Office for definite advice.
    Some additional notes:
    - Your current status is for your PhD program. This means you can only use OPT during the times where your program is not in session or after you complete your degree program (i.e. PhD). Since most PhD programs run year-long, I don't think you can use OPT until you finish your PhD. You also need to be in your current program for at least 1 year to be eligible for pre-completion OPT.
    - However, while on a F-1 PhD program, there is something called CPT (Curricular Practical Training) which you could use to take a break from studies in order to do work relevant to your field of study and if it is part of your degree program (e.g. if your program allows you to go on internships, co-op, etc.). Most grad programs don't allow this, but just mentioning it in case. Talk to your international student office about this if you think you might qualify.
    - You can change programs though. I think (again, check with experts) if you want to stop at the Masters degree, you should first change your program and your F-1 status to be on a Masters program. Then you can finish your Masters and graduate, allowing you to be eligible for post-degree OPT. This means that you need to reapply and get into a PhD program later, if you want to do that, which will put you on a new F-1 status for PhD program.
    I think these are the main ways you can do some OPT before finishing your PhD. Again, talk to your international students office. Hope this info helps you to have some info before going in the meeting though!
  15. Upvote
    St Andrews Lynx reacted to fuzzylogician in OPT or PhD dilemma after MS   
    You need to talk to your school's International Students Office. You absolutely should not rely on internet sources of any kind when it comes to issues like immigration. That said, my understanding is that you can't work on a student visa, and it's not obvious to me that you can activate your MS-related OPT if you've moved to another program (but you should check that). In case you can, there's some processing time associated with the OPT and you can't start work until that's settled. So it seems to me that if you want a job, you need to be on OPT and do some serious job-hunting; and if you want the PhD, then continue with that plan. Staying in a PhD program until you find a job sounds like it could lead to several kinds of trouble.  -- And again, a disclaimer: I am not an immigration expert. Talk to your school. 
  16. Upvote
    St Andrews Lynx got a reaction from rheya19 in Undergraduate events/student groups   
    I think that while the undergraduate experience can be thought of as "academic" and "life experience", it's really just "academic/professional" at grad school level. In the sciences, obtaining PhD can be thought of as "your first full-time job". There isn't a lifestyle associated with it to the same extent. 
    One big challenge of trying to make undergraduates your main friendship circles (in addition to what has been said on this & another threads) is the question of logistics/schedule alignment. Undergrads typically bond with people who are in their dorms or classes - which is where they do a lot of their "social interacting". The studious ones socialise during hours in the library or in informal study groups. The non-studious ones go to parties. Their schedules are built around classes, internships & work, which means their free time comes at odd intervals. A lot of them will head home on the weekends to stay with their parents. 
    As a grad student it isn't easy to fit yourself in to this. You aren't living with them, and you aren't taking the same classes as them. Your schedule isn't going to fit very well over theirs. The socially-inexperienced undergrads are less likely to head out to student groups anyway - they'll spend the evenings in their dorms. The students who get a kick out of meeting new people (i.e. the more socially-adept ones) will be at the student groups interested in talking to new faces. At this point you may as well as try and make friends with fellow graduate students. 
    I understand that the idea of tackling "easy" interactions with undergrads is comforting. However, if you want to become an academic you will have to learn how to interact with academics. And I don't think "training" yourself on undergrads alone can adequately prepare you for dealing with 60 year-old distinguished professors or fellow assistant profs. The sooner you can fake being socially-adept (which is what most of us do anyway) with more "advanced" individuals, the easier your academic career will become.  
     
  17. Upvote
    St Andrews Lynx reacted to GreenEyedTrombonist in What's better: living alone or finding a random roommate?   
    This really depends on what you value more. If you don't want the potential of a bad living situation (due to who you live with) or really need a space that is completely your own, your own place might be the way to go. However, if you feel the need to save a bit more of your stipend and don't want a bad living situation (due to only being able to afford a not great place), go with a roommate. 

    If you do go with a roommate, I would do things to try to mitigate issues. If you are someone who needs a clean place, communicate that with your roommate. Open communication and working together can make your living situation a lot better than it (potentially) would be otherwise. 
    I know for myself, I have a small loan that I'm paying off and don't want a car (places close to school tend to cost more) so I'll probably need a flatmate. 
  18. Upvote
    St Andrews Lynx reacted to telkanuru in Need advice- thinking of leaving graduate school   
    You're not good enough to be in graduate school.
    No one is good enough to be in graduate school. There is no great platonic abstract of "good enough" which, if obtained, opens the path to tenure with a choir of angels. Everyone's a failure. Everyone is faking it. No one knows what they're doing. Usually, we call this "adulthood". 
    Others have given pretty good advice already, and mine is fairly simple: being shit at something is a necessary first step towards being good at something. "Talent" and "natural ability" are bullshit terms that mask the absurd amounts of hard work and/or social conditioning of people assumed to have them. 
    Failing isn't an indelible stain on your character. It's a starting point.
  19. Upvote
    St Andrews Lynx reacted to fuzzylogician in How do you calm down quickly post submission?   
    If you've been tense for a year and a half and experiencing severe symptoms, you can't expect it all to magically go away in one day or even one week, especially if you're still in the same triggering environment. The best advice I can offer you is to keep doing what you're doing: stick to a routine, and allow yourself some down-time. A holiday, some shopping, that all sounds good. Regular exercise, cooking at home, doing some leisure activity -- whatever works for you -- are other useful things to do. Whenever I accomplish something big I give myself permission to take at least the rest of the day off, more if I can afford it, to do absolutely nothing related to work. It's also nice to celebrate, to have an official recognition of your achievement among friends. I hope you have someone who you can go to happy hour with to mark the occasion. And then, you find something else to focus your energy on. If you're waiting on anything (referee reports? starting a job?) but you can't do anything about it, it's usually helpful to divert the nervous waiting-energy to something else. Work or not, find something to do to keep yourself occupied; that will also help keep you from getting over-emotional. 
    And congrats! It was a long road, I'm glad you made it. 
  20. Upvote
    St Andrews Lynx reacted to maxhgns in Intolerant student in feminist class   
    Maybe. But, look: if you give the student a bad grade and tell them off for their misogyny (or whatever), you open yourself up to a lot of unpleasantness that's well above your pay grade (complaints to the dean, to media outlets, a lawsuit [with near-zero chance of success, but still], etc.). Even if you just grade it as I suggested above, you can still be almost certain that the grade will be disputed. And that means an angry student coming to your office hours and being unpleasant (perhaps even aggressive, especially if he's a man and you're a woman), and then going to the instructor to demand a re-grade. At that point, if the instructor doesn't want to deal with it then they will give the paper a better grade and move on. But if that happens, then what little authority you have as a TA has just been significantly undermined. And that news will get around to the other students in the class, and make it into your reviews at the end of the year (especially if you're a woman): you'll get a bunch of comments about how you're a biased grader and don't know what you're talking about. So there isn't really any pitfall here: that could happen regardless of what you do, but if you let the instructor deal with it then you're safe from any potential negative consequences.
    It's far better and safer for you, as a TA, to short-circuit that chain of events. If you get an egregiously offensive paper, send it up the pipeline. The instructor will then deal with it as they see fit, and you won't have exposed yourself to any backlash or erosion of your authority. My experience has always been that the instructor is on their TA's side in almost any dispute (for one thing, it's way easier for them to stand by their TAs). I'm sure there are exceptions but they're rare, they're not the norm. Besides, if you're teaching feminist theory or some other feminist class, the odds are really, really good that the instructor will have the exact same problems with the paper as you did.
    Remember, you're a TA. You're paid to grade and to lead discussion sections (or whatever else is in your contract), not to change students' minds or ensure that justice prevails in the world. I know that doesn't sound glorious or especially attractive, but it's true. You're a university employee, and you have to cover your own ass. It's not worth the potential fallout to handle it yourself unless the instructor tells you to do so. 
  21. Upvote
    St Andrews Lynx got a reaction from Bumblebea in Intolerant student in feminist class   
    The best way to put out a fire is to starve it of oxygen. If there's a student trolling for attention (which it certainly sounds like this one is)...minimise the attention you give them. It sounds like the only reason this student has joined the Feminist class is to be edgy and controversial - not because they need the course/grades or want to learn about the subject. 
    Deal with them the way you'd deal with a student who is dominating the discussions. "Thank you for your contribution, is there anybody else who would like a chance to speak?" As a TA don't get side-tracked into arguing with this student, and don't let the other students get side-tracked into arguing with them to the point where the class is derailed. Don't act like you're shocked or upset by what they say - thank them politely for offering their opinions and move on. It's possible this student doesn't believe what they are saying anyway...but if they are, you aren't going to "save" them through force of argument. 
    Follow what others have said about grading their papers or dealing with hate speech. But understand what they're really after...and don't give it to them.
  22. Upvote
    St Andrews Lynx got a reaction from Bumblebea in Intolerant student in feminist class   
    The best way to put out a fire is to starve it of oxygen. If there's a student trolling for attention (which it certainly sounds like this one is)...minimise the attention you give them. It sounds like the only reason this student has joined the Feminist class is to be edgy and controversial - not because they need the course/grades or want to learn about the subject. 
    Deal with them the way you'd deal with a student who is dominating the discussions. "Thank you for your contribution, is there anybody else who would like a chance to speak?" As a TA don't get side-tracked into arguing with this student, and don't let the other students get side-tracked into arguing with them to the point where the class is derailed. Don't act like you're shocked or upset by what they say - thank them politely for offering their opinions and move on. It's possible this student doesn't believe what they are saying anyway...but if they are, you aren't going to "save" them through force of argument. 
    Follow what others have said about grading their papers or dealing with hate speech. But understand what they're really after...and don't give it to them.
  23. Upvote
    St Andrews Lynx got a reaction from Bumblebea in Intolerant student in feminist class   
    The best way to put out a fire is to starve it of oxygen. If there's a student trolling for attention (which it certainly sounds like this one is)...minimise the attention you give them. It sounds like the only reason this student has joined the Feminist class is to be edgy and controversial - not because they need the course/grades or want to learn about the subject. 
    Deal with them the way you'd deal with a student who is dominating the discussions. "Thank you for your contribution, is there anybody else who would like a chance to speak?" As a TA don't get side-tracked into arguing with this student, and don't let the other students get side-tracked into arguing with them to the point where the class is derailed. Don't act like you're shocked or upset by what they say - thank them politely for offering their opinions and move on. It's possible this student doesn't believe what they are saying anyway...but if they are, you aren't going to "save" them through force of argument. 
    Follow what others have said about grading their papers or dealing with hate speech. But understand what they're really after...and don't give it to them.
  24. Upvote
    St Andrews Lynx got a reaction from Bumblebea in Intolerant student in feminist class   
    The best way to put out a fire is to starve it of oxygen. If there's a student trolling for attention (which it certainly sounds like this one is)...minimise the attention you give them. It sounds like the only reason this student has joined the Feminist class is to be edgy and controversial - not because they need the course/grades or want to learn about the subject. 
    Deal with them the way you'd deal with a student who is dominating the discussions. "Thank you for your contribution, is there anybody else who would like a chance to speak?" As a TA don't get side-tracked into arguing with this student, and don't let the other students get side-tracked into arguing with them to the point where the class is derailed. Don't act like you're shocked or upset by what they say - thank them politely for offering their opinions and move on. It's possible this student doesn't believe what they are saying anyway...but if they are, you aren't going to "save" them through force of argument. 
    Follow what others have said about grading their papers or dealing with hate speech. But understand what they're really after...and don't give it to them.
  25. Upvote
    St Andrews Lynx reacted to GreenEyedTrombonist in Intolerant student in feminist class   
    Teachers can report hate speech in papers. I would deal with this by grading strictly based on the req's I've laid out in the paper, reporting if necessary, and keeping a thorough record of each correspondence with the student in question. Normally, hate speech isn't backed up through credible sources, making it very easy to grade down. Back up your notes and keep everything (honestly, even the students that don't cause issues in class might still raise a ruckus about grades later). As for trying to preemptively stop this problem, include something in the green sheet explicitly stating that hate speech will not be tolerated and students need to be respectful in their discussions inside your class. You don't need to agree with each other, but you should support your disagreements with fact and never devolve into attacking the other person. That gives the professor recourse to discipline the student if necessary (discipline here could mean reminding them of the rules and making them back off to kicking them out of the class for that period if necessary). Differences of opinion can be great for a class if the discussion of those differences is respectful, but it's part of a teacher's job (imo) to keep order in the class (and keep it relatively safe for those present).
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