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ERR_Alpha

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ERR_Alpha last won the day on January 16 2014

ERR_Alpha had the most liked content!

About ERR_Alpha

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    Macchiato

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  • Gender
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  • Location
    Pennsylvania
  • Application Season
    Already Attending
  • Program
    Biochemistry

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  1. Between setting up a new lab, classes, teaching, and my impending Candidacy exam (Oct 30th! :blink:) I've barely had time to GradCafe. Oh, how I miss the days where I had hours to aimlessly wander the internet.

  2. ERR_Alpha

    Venting Thread- Vent about anything.

    Congratulations!!! This may be me towards the end of my PhD if I can get over my mental blocks about marriage. Have fun wedding planning!
  3. ERR_Alpha

    NSF GRFP 2016

    Thanks Cookie and Eigen! I kind of lucked out (if that's the right word). I worked in a lab for six months, but then my advisor moved, so now I'm in a new lab. So I'll definitely have two solid grad school recommendations. I'm planning on asking both my undergraduate advisor and my REU advisor for letters and then deciding which I would rather have. My REU advisor worked with me in a more typical research setting, but my undergraduate advisor would write an amazing letter. Also I'm viewing this more as a learning experience. I don't have my hopes up for getting funded, but going through applying for a grant is a useful experience.
  4. It's so weird having a last day in a lab you thought you'd be in for 5-7 years. 

    1. Show previous comments  1 more
    2. ERR_Alpha

      ERR_Alpha

      My advisor is moving across the country- I start in my new lab on Monday! :) I'm excited, but it's a strange feeling.

    3. iphi

      iphi

      Oh good! Good luck!

    4. mandarin.orange
  5. ERR_Alpha

    NSF GRFP 2016

    Does anyone else have experience doing the mixed primary field? My research is pretty interdisciplinary and I'm having a hard time committing to one. Also- is it better to have 3 LORs from graduate school profs, or should I include one of my old research advisors? I've heard conflicting ideas on the situation.
  6. ERR_Alpha

    Schools Dropping Health Insurance?

    This seems so bizarre to me. Penn State uses Aetna also- it must be some lingo about our plans not counting as individual but as group plans. I think it's because Aetna comes up with a package just for Penn State Graduate Students- it's not some other plan we simply buy in to. I don't understand how some schools are having this issue and others aren't, I really think it's just a lack of foresight on the institution's part. Best of luck. Edit: Did your school give you actual money for you to buy the plan yourself? Ours 'subsidizes' it, but we never actually see the money. We opt in to the health plan, and we pay our portion monthly (I believe its 20%).
  7. Last week in my current lab before I make the switch... feels so bizarre

  8. ERR_Alpha

    Second Year Students Fall 2015 How's It Going

    I'm in the process of switching labs (joy). Classes start up in two weeks and so does teaching... Trying my best to mentally prepare. Also starting to mentally prepare for grant writing.
  9. ERR_Alpha

    Did you/will you buy a class ring?

    I think my parents bought me my high school ring, I actually have no idea where it is (oops). Everyone at my high school seemed to get one. I knew of a few people who got them for undergrad. I don't really wear jewelry so it wouldn't make sense for me to get one.
  10. ERR_Alpha

    Difference between a slump and calling it quits

    To me. it's all about time and overall quality of life. I struggled A LOT my first semester adjusting- I questioned a lot if I was cut out for it, etc. My second semester got better, but then my advisor told me he was leaving and my health took a turn for the worse again. I had a few really rough weeks, but eventually I remembered why I started and got my motivation back. If these feelings had lasted months and it was negatively affecting my life as a whole (family, friends, boyfriend, hobbies, etc) then I would seriously consider quitting. If I went a whole semester dreading going into work and feeling horrible about myself, I wouldn't call that a slump. I guess fulfillment comes into play too. Are you proud that you made it through the slump and you're still in school? Or do you still have lingering thoughts about how its only going to happen again and how its not worth it? That would draw the line for me also.
  11. Going through my old posts and realizing I gave myself up reputation... embarrassing! And when you realize one person is giving you a lot of down reputation (I'm horrible at realizing when I piss people off, oops!)

  12. ERR_Alpha

    Insomnia

    It's been quite an adjustment for me. In undergrad I would sleep 6-8 hours, and then take an afternoon "nap" (or just lay in bed for a bit) to relax and prepare for my busy nights. That kind of schedule isn't feasible for graduate school. For the first semester I would come home from lab around 6pm and been completely exhausted. This compounded with health issues and pre-existing parasomnias and I'm still struggling with my sleep Things I can suggest: - As Cheshire_Cat stated, exercise is great. For me, I can work out right before bed, but others need 2-3 hours of buffer between exercise and bed time. - Go to bed and wake up at the same time every weekday. It's better to do this every day, but I like to sleep in on weekends. I find taking melatonin on Sunday night works fine for me. I'm always in bed 11pm-7:30am (sleeping or on my phone, oops!) - Know what relaxes you. I always took showers right before bed- but I found they actually woke me up instead of relaxing me. I try to take my showers in the earlier evening now or in the morning. Also if all else fails, go see a sleep specialist. (I'm seeing one in two weeks, will report back on how that goes) They may be able to help your particular situation.
  13. ERR_Alpha

    Insomnia

    Is your lack of sleep affecting you negatively or can you function fine? Some (lucky) people can get 4-5 hours and be just fine.
  14. ERR_Alpha

    I am paying for online chemistry tutor

    Google "online tutoring services"- there are definitely options.
  15. ERR_Alpha

    University Wide Orientation

    Seconding everyone, our university wide orientation was a massive waste of time. The only useful thing was they talked about health insurance, but of course they put that last so we didn't want to leave. I wouldn't stress about missing it.
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