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Everything posted by yakuza77

  1. Admissions package? Oh crap, I didn't get one. Wait, was this from your department or the graduate school in general?
  2. I found a place on the internet. The IU graduate students' association has some housing listings and websites. I was able to sign the lease and everything online for a place called "Heritage", so that was pretty easy. One thing that helps when you are looking at places is Google's Street View maps. They allow you to "walk around" the outside of the property and check out the neighborhood. Its pretty cool. I have to move at the beginning of July since that is when my current lease ends. There was not a lot of options available at that time (most are August to August), so I hope the place I picked works out. Does anyone know when we will start getting info on registration, orientation, and the like?
  3. yakuza77

    Bloomington, IN

    Cool. I am really looking forward to not driving. I was hoping for someplace a little bit closer to campus so that I could walk, but taking the bus will probably work out fine. (Even if I were close, I would probably end up bussing it anyway, since I injured my back a while back and carrying books and a laptop gets pretty painful after a while.) Does (or did) anyone else plan on moving to Bloomington with a spouse who had to find work. That is one thing that I am a bit nervous about. We currently live in a large metropolitan area and, even here, jobs are hard to come by. I am just afraid that he will have a hard time in Bloomington simply because it is smaller, so there are less opportunities to go around. He currently works in sales (wireless) and he really likes it, so I feel bad about dragging him away (still, we are both very excited about Bloomington because we both hate Tampa). He also has experience in manufacturing, and his degree is in film/video, and he is pretty uch willing to take any job he can find (he is hoping to go back to school after we get residency). I guess that once he gets a driver's license, he could always look for something in Indianapolis (the commute would probably take less time than his current, two hour commute here). Any ideas? Does IU have anything for "trailing spouses"? I am hoping that he will just be able to transfer at his current company. They are currently hiring, but there is no guarantee that job will still be available when we move in July. We can't live on my little stipend, and the move will deplete our little savings account. Yep, I'm stressing out.
  4. I had to turn down a Ph.D. fellowship at my current school for another offer at my dream school. It was tough, since the grad director (who I work for) and my major professor really pulled out all of the stops to get me that fellowship (it is rarely given to current students). In the end, I did what I had to do. Some of the people in my current department were actually mad at me and couldn't believe that I was passing up so much money (I was guaranteed 22K for five years; the offer that I took was 25k for the first year, but only at 12K assistantship for the remaining time). Needless to say, it was a very uncomfortable and awkward situation and it sucks because I still have to be here through the summer (not graduating until July). I wish that I could just leave now. I think that I feel extra bad because the whole time that my department was going through the fellowship nomination for me, I knew that there was no way that I would attend my current school, no matter how much money they gave me, if my #1 school accepted me with any reasonable offer of funding.
  5. I turned down a lot of money (five year fellowship 22K), for less money (first year fellowship 25K, followed by assistantship ~12K (ouch)) BUT the opportunity to work with an up-and-coming big name for my particular subfield. My current school only has one person who works in my subfield, and it is not his main interest. To be completely honest, much of my decision was based upon where I will be living. The five-year fellowship was at my current university, which is in a city that I absolutely hate. I have been nothing short of miserable for the two years that I have spent here getting my MA. Although my department is fine, the school itself is awful (poor funding, low quality undergrads, very poor facilities) and I hate absolutely everything about the city (traffic, strip malls, too darn hot, too much crime). The school that I picked, on the other hand, is very reputable, better funded, and in an awesome little college town. Also, when I visited, I met a lot of the grad students and I was very impressed with them (I can't say the same about my current school, which I think is not selective enough). I hate to think that I chose the school based upon location, since, as a grad student, I have little time to do anything other than research anyway, but I think that was what it came to in the end. I just couldn't stomach staying here in Florida for another 5, 6, or however many years. Ranking in my discipline doesn't really mean much, it is more "oh, you were so-and-so's student", but now I am paranoid. What if that professor leaves? Then I will just be in an "okay" department in a great school in a cute little town. Still, deep inside I think that I would have regretted NOT leaving here, and wondering what could have been. But that five-year fellowship was hard to pass up, and I am sure that I will be thinking about it when I start that 12K assistantship, but I know that I will happier in the little college town. What good will the extra money do me if I am miserable all of the time anyway? I just hope it all works out in the end.
  6. Indiana University for my criminology Ph.D. I'm moving to Bloomington at the end of June. I can't wait to get out of Florida!
  7. I received FAFSA money (Stafford loans) during my Master's program while I received a TA stipend and a tuition waiver, so it is doable. I used it to pay off my moving costs that I had to place on a credit card and to help pay for my housing (the stipend at my current school is extremely low given the cost of living here). It will depend, of course, on your individual situation and the cost of attendance at your school how much you can borrow. Your financial aid officer should be able to help you with this, just make sure that you fill out your FAFSA as soon as possible so that they can figure out your estimated family contribution. I plan on taking out a loan the first semester of my Ph.D. to again pay for moving costs. Hopefully it will be allowed even though I will be receiving a substantially higher stipend at my new school. Moving is so expensive and I hate to carry a balance on those high interest credit cards. It has been impossible to build up a savings when I make so little and everything costs so much.
  8. yakuza77

    Bloomington, IN

    Oh, for those who have lived in Bloomington: How is the public transportation? I know when we were there, we saw a lot of buses. My husband does not drive (although, hopefully, he will get a license soon) and relies on public transportation to get to work (his current commute in Tampa is 2 hours for what would be a 20 min. drive).
  9. I will likely take some courses through the political science department. My research interests include state crime and crimes of power. I also plan on taking a Ph.D. minor (required for my program) in statistics.
  10. yakuza77

    Bloomington, IN

    Well, I got an apartment. It is Heritage and it is in the Bryan Park area. I would have liked to have had more options, but I have to move to Bloomington in July, and, of course, most leases run August to August. But the price was nice ($200 less than Tampa! Yay!) and they allowed pets, so I am hoping for the best. I did my undergrad at the University of Pittsburgh and lived in some really shady apartments while I was there, and my current place next to the University of South Florida had a dead body in the parking lot one morning--so anything better than that is fine for now My husband and I are hoping to rent one of those cute houses on the west end our second year there, maybe even buy something if his job works out okay. Does anyone have any opinions on Heritage Apartments or Regency Management in general? They also own Steeplechase and Meadow Park, the latter of which I visited during my recruitment visit. Several students in my department live at Meadow Park and they like it, I just wanted something that was a little closer to school and "downtown" because I would really like to not have to drive as much as I do in Florida (literally everywhere). Heritage in also on the bus route for when it is too cold to bike or walk. I can't wait to move out of Tampa! Also, for anyone looking at places online, Google Street View is really cool. You can check out the perimeter of your property and even "walk" around town. Sadly, I wasted a lot of time doing this when I should be finishing my thesis
  11. Hi I'll be attending IUB for Criminal Justice Ph.D. (not econ., but I thought I'd bump the thread ) I can't wait to move. 2 1/2 months and counting until I get out of Florida forever.
  12. I was waiting on a fellowship that USF nominated me for. I ended up getting it, and it was actually a pretty sweet deal (22K for 5 years with no duties), but I am still going with Indiana U. I just really liked it when I visited, was impressed with the university, the faculty, and the graduate students--plus Bloomington just seems like a great place to do my Ph.D. (I am so sick of cities...well, urban sprawl, actually...and traffic, crime, strip malls, etc.). I also like how there program is structured, especially its interdisciplinary nature. My gut just tells me that's where I should be, and I think that I would regret any other decision. I am working on my acceptance letter now (and therefore, my letters declining my two other offers). I kind of feel bad about writing the one to my current program (USF) since they went all out to get me this fellowship (and have been pressuring me to continue there), plus my current assistantship is with the graduate director who I will have to write the letter to (awkward!). Still, I really have to get it over with so that someone can come off the waitlist for funding. I would be interested to hear what other people are writing. To: InquiringMind, I have heard the same thing about UMD from people (I didn't apply there because no one really shared my interests, so I don't know very much about the program other than generalities), and I haven't actually met anyone from there, but, yeah, that word seems to have gotten around. My advisor (who I do trust and who is a SUNY alum.) urged me to apply to both UMD and SUNY, but, in the end, neither program really fit for me. If you visited there and had good feelings about those places, I wouldn't be concerned with rumors. Did you get that impression from the graduate students at either place? I know that when we have visitors, I am very honest about the program, and I found that at ASC most graduate students from the programs that I talked to while I was shopping around for a Ph.D. seemed to do the same. I personally don't think that you could go wrong either way. Good luck on your decision So, who is going to be joining me at IU?
  13. yakuza77

    Bloomington, IN

    Bumping for apartment help also. I have decided on IU and am looking for the same sort of environment (reasonably quiet, mostly grad students). Does anyone have an opinion of the Bryan Park area? I am looking at a couple of apartments there and also by the mall (my building is close to the music school). Oh, and FWIW, I was told to avoid the stadium area.
  14. Cost of living is less at school #2, making the 22K and 18K fellowships about equal. What I am most worried about is the 3 year vs. 5 year guarantee, and the drop in pay in school #2 after year one. I think that it is just the budget problems at my current school (and this state in general) that have me so nervous. After doing some research, I found that dissertation grants in my discipline are not that rare, so that is definitely an possibility after I am a candidate. Also, the person that I would be working for at school #2 has a very active research agenda and is known to get grants. At my current school, no one wants to collaborate with me, because no one really has similar enough research interests (That's an exaggeration, actually one prof has me doing data analysis on a project (for credit, not funding), but he is also currently serving as an assistant dean, which has all but tabled our project,and another wanted me to work on a project (with funding) but on a topic that I have absolutely no interest in). I'm thinking, "Hey, I am going to be poor either way. I've been poor and happy and poor and miserable, and I prefer the former". Also, and I may be wrong, but I think that the degree from school #2 is going to hold more prestige (its a top-tier,"Public Ivy") compared to school #1, which has a good program, but in a downright lousy school (not to badmouth, but it is 3rd tier and really doesn't have the infrastructure for research (library, computing, funding). I did my undergrad at a top-tier and went into a bit of culture shock when I got to my current school; i could definitely see the difference in quality/resources. In the end I am almost 99% sure that I will be at school #2 (although, like some posters said, I will get some more info from school #3 and hear them out, if only so that I have complete information). Also, I am pretty good at living on the cheap. I don't have cable and I am dumping the cell phone in June when my contract ends, I shop at Big Lots, and I bought my car with cash, so I probably shouldn't worry about finances too much. In any case, any one of these offers is better than the 9K that I have been living off for the past two years. Also, my husband does sales for a major wireless provider who already have promised him a position if one is open when we get there. If not, he could always work for a competitor, another industry, or fall back on his manufacturing/restaurant/retail experience (He's done it all). The small-town aspect worried me a bit, but he is very flexible, compared to someone who may have a more specialized skill set. Yeah, I'm going with gut instinct. Thanks all.
  15. Throwing in my 2 cents to agree with the above posters. In my Master's program, only one incoming student is funded, so waiting another year would probably not raise anyone's chances of getting that one coveted slot. I was fortunate. I was the one applicant who got the funding, but, at 9K, it was not nearly enough to cover living expenses in this particular city. I ended up taking out loans anyway, first of all to pay off my high-interest credit cards that I had to use to finance my move and second, because my monthly stipend only paid my rent and electric--forget about food, internet, clothes, automotive expenses (pretty much mandatory in this particular city as there were no other options for transportation), fees, books...well you get the picture. I would take out the loans (only as much as you need) and then look for other opportunities: part-time work, work-study positions (some at my school pay $10 an hour; maybe you can get a position in the writing center?), RA/TA in another discipline, tutoring. Another option, if you are up to it, would be a resident assistant if that is available at your school. Here graduate RA's work in the graduate housing (i.e. not babysitting undergrads) and get room and board plus a small stipend. What I am saying is that there are options other than department funding and I would hate for you to wait another year to be possibly in the same situation next year. I know that everyone else in my cohort has been able to survive, be it waiting tables, working in another department, or living off loans (not the wisest of the choices, but if you have to, you have to). Also, if you are not in-state, see if it is possible to get residency. That will drop the tuition bill significantly (here it is the difference between 18K a year for out-of-state and 2K for in-state). Good luck.
  16. Here is my dilemma. I have three offers on the table. 1. 22K fellowship for five years plus tuition and fee remission, and paid health insurance. 2. 18K fellowship (year one) with 12K TAship for two years guaranteed. Funding is "traditionally" given for however long it takes you to complete your Ph.D. (within reason), but is competitive after the guaranteed three years. Includes tuition scholarship and paid healthcare + dental. 3. 13K TA, no word on renewal, tuition scholarship. Here is the thing. I really, really love school #2. I visited and met with my prospective advisor whose interests mesh perfect with mine, an "up-and-coming" name in my subfield (who contacts me often to "keep in touch", tell me about research opportunities, and who is not leaving this school), as well as several other that faculty who (although it is not their exact area) are very supportive and interested in my research interests. The town and university as a whole are amazing and my gut tells me that this is the place for me. The department's interdisciplinary nature is perfect for my particular sub-field (which draws heavily from political science and economics--both VERY strong at this university). This particular department is "newer" in my discipline and growing in very positive directions. School #1 is where I did my Masters and has done everything in their power to keep me, including securing this extremely generous fellowship (for my discipline anyway). There are three professors there that I have been working with; although none have my exact interests, they have been very supportive and helpful. Problem is the university itself has a lot of serious problems, major budget cuts, and I absolutely hate living here, as does my husband. The cost of living here is much higher than in school #2 (a quintessential college town), BUT remember my funding package at school #2 is significantly smaller after year one and I pick up departmental TA duties. At school #1, I don't have any duties for 5 years, but, then again, how am I going to get teaching experience that I will need on the job market (I'm sure that I can adjunct, but with the budget problems, who knows? Graduate assistants at this university have been actually getting "laid off", can you imagine?!). School #3 is pretty much out of the picture I think. They have never contacted me past the initial "Hi you're in and here's what we are offering phone call" (I was supposed to get a follow-up email and long phone call from my potential advisor--but it has been two weeks). If they are forgetting about me already... But this particular advisor is probably top in his field and the department itself is in the top 5 (again, what is that worth if they are too busy for graduate students? Also, I have heard from several sources that you have little time for your own research endeavors/interests), but the school is tier four and suburban, which means a long commute. But the cost of living here is dirt cheap, so 13K goes a long way. My gut has always told me that school #2 is where I want to be, but, after growing up broke and racking up a huge amount of undergrad and Master's level loans, it is hard to pass up the money at school #1, even though, with all of the offers that I received, I shouldn't have to take out any additional loans at any of my options. Again, staying where I am incurs no additional moving costs. So do I go for financially comfortable but absolutely, positively miserable or not so comfortable and not guaranteed continued funding past year three, but very, very happy? Has anyone else given up the "big money" deal and, if so, do you ever regret it? In my previously life, I left a job for another with a $5000 pay cut and went from a sworn federal law enforcement officer to a mere security guard...and I was never happier. Maybe money isn't everything?
  17. yakuza77

    Bloomington, IN

    So, I am about 99 percent sure that I will be at IU in the fall. I was also very impressed during my visit, and I think that Bloomington would be a great place to do my Ph.D. I talked to a lot of people, and not one person had anything bad to say about IU or Bloomington--that's rare. I was also thinking "hey, when am I ever going to get to live by/study in such a a great school in the 'quintessential college town' again; this is the end of the road". Once I am on the job market, the market will dictate where I go.
  18. To everyone who applied at UMSl, have you heard anything past the initial "Hey you're in and here's what we can give you"? I was supposed to hear back from the director, who said that he would email and then phone, but its been almost two weeks and...nothing. I am wondering if I would want to go somewhere where they forgot about me already. Eh, I'm now about 99.9% sure that I am going to IU. I am just waiting for the official letter so that I can accept I think I may have already picked out where I am going to live. I just wish that letter would show up so that I have the amounts and everything on paper. Patience is hard :cry:
  19. In at all three schools that I applied (Ph.D.; Criminology/Criminal Justice): University of South Florida w/funding (nominated for (university-wide) Presidential Fellowship (would be 22K), if that fails, 12K assistantship with tuition remission and (1/2) health insurance) University of Missouri-St Louis w/13K assistantship plus tuition remission. Not sure about benefits. Indiana University-Bloomington in with first-year Fellowship that I think is 18K (haven't received the "official" letter with dollar amounts), followed by assisant instructorship, not sure what that pays. Full tuition scholarship and (I think) full benefits. (Going there tomorrow for paid recruitment visit; we'll see what they say). Such a tough choice, they all sound good, but I am leaning heavily toward IU. Something in my head just says that's the place for me
  20. Just from my experiences, YMMV: Pittsburgh was fine without a car. I did my undergrad there and did not have a car the entire time--and didn't miss it. Buses run everywhere and are pretty frequent also. The only pain was they closed the grocery near Univ. of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon, so you had to take a bus (which was a pain if you bought a lot of stuff) or a taxi (or jitney, which are private cars for hire that usually hang out around stores). We just made one grocery trip a month and then got snacks and drinks at convenience stores. Duquesne University is downtown, and I think that everyone that goes there lives out by Pitt and CMU, several busses run that route on a very regular basis. Buses are free for university students (Pitt and CMU definitely, not sure about Duquesne). Columbus Ohio was walkable/bikable around OSU, and their bus system was okay, but it stopped pretty early. I was only there for 6 months though, and did not attend OSU, so I don't really know. New Orleans is fine without a car, but I heard that since the hurricane, the buses are pretty unreliable. It has also gotten very dangerous in the neighborhood where I lived. Still I would have loved to go back there, but Tulane is not accepting new grad. students in my area, so that decision was made for me. Tampa is impossible without a car. Buses are free, but useless (I took one once to a doctor's appointment and ended up walking another mile to his office along the side of a highway), taxis never show up and if they do they are so expensive, even when you can walk somewhere it is so hot and flat that it just seems really far. I could walk to school (University of South Florida) in about 15-20 minutes but would be soaked with sweat by the time I got there. Very gross. Biking around the university is taking your own life in your hands. I did this for a while and just got sick of it. I am so embarrassed that I usually drive to the school even though I live, essentially, right across the street (but their street are like other town's highways). USF is essentially a commuter school north of the city in a bland area of strip malls, sprawl, apartment complexes, and heavy traffic. Parking can be tough at the university, but the annual parking pass is pretty reasonable (~140.00), compared to other schools that I have seen. Cheap car lots surround the campus, so you could probably pick up a clunker to get you around.
  21. I have a somewhat similar situation. One of my schools straight out accepted me and told me the funding (assistantship), the amount, and that it includes tuition remissions, the other offered me a fellowship for the first year, followed by an instructorship, but no word on the dollar amounts (I got the word from a faculty member that I want to work with and not the "official" word from the department, although I was told that I could contact the director with any questions, but the subject of money seems touchy to me for some reason). I am visiting the second school (the one that I am really leaning toward) next week. How and when can I bring up the subject of money if they don't broach it? I still haven't received my official letter, but since I work for the graduate advisor in my current program, I know that these things take time, committees must meet, budgets much be figured, etc... I am assuming that the fellowship, which they told me was their top award, would be more than the standard award, and of course, it includes no duties, but I just need to know the amount...I mean what if it is too small to live off? I am probably panicking here, but... Once I know the second school's amount, I can start to seriously make my decision. Wow, I would suck in business, I hate to talk about money. This is frustrating. :x
  22. I would like to hear more about this also. I am torn between two schools, literally going back and forth between each every day (or even a couple of times a day). This obsessing is getting out of control. I am torn between the #5 school for my discipline, with a top advisor in my field, in an urban location, with an assistantship OR the #19 school, with the young, up and coming professor who is awesome and has interests similar to mine (not exact like school A), in a department with a very interdisciplinary focus (important to me) in a quintessential college town, with a fellowship. They weigh out almost the same in my mind and I think that I would be really happy at either. I almost wish one of them would have rejected me
  23. Congrats on everyone's acceptances! I just heard from UMSL today--funding and tuition. So now I am torn between them and Indiana, both have faculty members that I really want to work with. I am really drawn to the atmosphere at IU, and will be visiting there next week and I hope to be invited to UMSL so that I can compare. This is a really tough decision. To gotteib99: USF is okay, but not really for my research interests which are state crime/corruption, macro-theories, and quantitative analysis. The faculty and the department are great, but the school (well, Florida schools in general) has a lot of financial problems due to budget cuts from the state (which does not seem to prioritize education. Its a shame because we have great crim. faculty at USF and FSU). The graduate union is trying to improve the situation though. I also just really, really do not like Tampa. YMMV, of course.
  24. yakuza77

    Bloomington, IN

    Thanks for the great info. I am going up next week and the grad. secretary is going to drive me around and show me the neighborhoods. I have a car, but I really like thee idea of not having to drive absolutely everywhere. I can't wait. I really think I am leaning toward Bloomington :mrgreen:
  25. yakuza77

    St. Louis, MO

    Good information. I have an application out to UMSL, which seems like it is way out in the suburbs, where I definitely do not want to be. I was thinking, if I end up going there, that I would live closer to the other universities and use public transportation (I have a car, but hate to drive/park). Is this doable? I was also looking at Soulard and a couple of neighborhoods surrounding it (I am originally from Pittsburgh, and this area really reminded me of some of the Pittsburgh neighborhoods). Any opinion? I'm fine with "a little rough", I'm not so fine with downright frightening or dangerous. The "most dangerous city" thing has me a little worried. Thanks.
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