lemma

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lemma last won the day on December 12 2017

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About lemma

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    Double Shot

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    PhD

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  1. First year PhD student and really enjoying it so far, but I've been surprised by how busy its been. I had a high workload for my undergrad, and I also spent the first part of my career in a job which required 80-120 hours a week, so I think I can manage my workload on a day-to-day basis. However, I was wondering if anyone had advice about nurturing a long-term relationship whilst juggling research and teaching duties? This is something I was warned about by academics before starting, but I guess it's become more real now that I'm enrolled. My partner and I live together and are considered legally married, and he did see me through the crazy hours early in my career, but I'm worried about giving him the attention and care that he should get. I'm really conscious that the PhD is my decision, and I don't want it to infringe on his wellbeing, even though he is 100% supportive. My supervisor has had students get divorced and I would hate for us to be in that statistic. Does anyone have any tips about managing the work/home boundary, and what to do when you have to take work home regularly? Or even any things you can do to make someone feel valued when you're short on both money and time?
  2. Should I tell my advisor I’m depressed

    Are you registered with the disabilities office? If so, they might be able to help you have the conversation, either by also talking to your supervisor or by helping you figure out how to broach the subject. It also creates a paper trail should anything go wrong. Depression and anxiety are really common, so you are almost certainly not the first student your advisor has supervised or taught with these issues who has needed some kind of accommodation or flexibility. I would also keep in mind that there is a low probability that your supervisor won't know how to react. I had this when I disclosed a mental health diagnosis to my undergraduate thesis advisor. I don't regret it though, because it was completely disruptive to my life and my work at the time, and something needed to be said. Just keep in mind that sometimes people don't know what to do if they can't directly empathize. My other friends who disclosed mental health conditions had no issues though, so the odds are that disclosure will be as smooth as can be.
  3. How to be a Real Adult?

    Keep everything. in. writing. If you have a phone call with the landlord or the plumber, follow up with an email. Cc all of your housemates in these emails too, so that they have a copy for their own purposes, and also for having a stronger paper trail. Have attention to detail. Think ahead. Will you need somewhere to store stuff over the summer? Is the rent per month, or is the monthly figure calculated as four weeks? Get someone else to read important emails so that you have the right tone (the right tone is generally making no accusations but still making your point). Buy in bulk, and pay attention to your banking. This is only really valid if you have a small pool of savings to begin with. When stuff we buy a lot is on special, we buy as much as we can carry (partner just bought 10L of soymilk because it was half price, and we also bought 30 cans of tuna half price... should last us a few months). It is very much worth looking into combinations of checking and high interest accounts. Interest rates are so low at the moment, but it might be more important if they increase. The bank I used to be at (the largest in the country) had half the interest rate that my current account has, with the same risk profile. Some people also get credit cards which have points and get free things this way. We always use loyalty cards at the supermarket and every now and then get good savings.
  4. The Positivity Thread

    I've just finished shopping for Valentine's day's dinner, and I'm proud of myself for putting together the menu! It ended up being expensive ($16 a head) but still cheaper than if we'd gone out somewhere with a romantic vibe (most of our dinners out tend to be really cheap hole-in-the-wall places). I don't have the disposable income that my partner has, so it feels good to be able to put effort into making something rather than buying a present. The menu is the following: Appetizer: French bread with brie (his favorite cheese) Main: Seared Italian steak with pesto, parmesan and rocket (we never eat steak) Side dish: Baked garlic mushrooms with cherry tomatoes Dessert: Plum tarte tatin (he's never had tarte tatin before), with Bailey's icecream (icecream is his favorite food and Bailey's is the only alcohol he drinks!)
  5. Would you turn down an Ivy?

    No worries, I hope it wasn't overly negative. I appreciated my undergrad for the most part, but going back to a similar institutional culture and geography (I live a long way outside the US) without my partner for a long time would not have been good for me, and I wouldn't have thrived there. For any program, I would also try and probe into what specific factors may influence your wellbeing, especially if the program is the social, as well as academic, focus. There were some very specific cultural characteristics that weren't great for my wellbeing as an undergrad. I've outlined some here, and they may or may not be relevant to your program (especially as it's a graduate program, not college), but they give some insight into cultural aspects that I found problematic. Even if they're irrelevant, maybe they provide food for thought for your own questions. I struggled with the idea that you needed to be extremely busy to appear successful, as this wasn't conducive to my productivity or mental health. I felt there was a lot of pressure to seem like a high achiever and on top of everything to other people. Being in an environment where heavily drinking was normalized was extremely bad for me, as was being in an environment where it was normal to sleep at 3am everyday. There was a lot of implicit pressure that came from everyone around achieving amazing things, and consequently any setback made you feel like you were getting behind. If you were in a class with regular assignments, you never got a break. I also found that the friendships I had were a bit superficial (apparently a common sentiment among international students), and there was a period where I really needed support, and my friends didn't rise to the occasion. There were many wonderful things about my undergraduate program too. So many wonderful things. I probably have to be more careful than the average person mental health wise, which influenced my application decisions. I would definitely be interested in returning for a postdoc one day, if I'm lucky enough to be invited back!
  6. Would you turn down an Ivy?

    I only applied to one PhD school, which is a non-ivy. However, I came from an ivy undergraduate degree, and had reasonably high grades - classmates with lower GPAs, GREs and less research experience were admitted to ivies and top tech schools. I think it is perfectly fine to decline an ivy league school because you don't think it's for you. I didn't apply to any because I thought I would be healthier, happier and more productive in a program close to the people I love, with a shorter candidature period and in a more down-to-earth culture. Having spent four years at an ivy, I disagree strongly with the idea that if you're accepted you're cut out for it emotionally. Many people are, but many people aren't. Not everyone survives: a friend of mine is no longer alive to say this himself. Many others are counseled to leave, or have their enrollment withdrawn against their consent. I think you should decide whether the program ACTUALLY is something that you want. There might be a bit of impostor syndrome going on because of the program's reputation. I would encourage you to find out as much as you can about student life, and then make a decision, as it is a great opportunity. You may love it there.
  7. Yeah, I was posting here to reduce clutter given it was pretty similar. 70% here is the cutoff for second class honors, so the same theoretically as a 3.0 in the US. I don't regard it as the same, having an American undergraduate degree, but in the eyes of my university that's what it signifies.
  8. Breaking Up in Grad School

    Not grad school, but I went through a bad breakup a month into undergrad. It destroyed my academics and social life that semester, which is why I wanted to share. Looking back, I would recommend having a strict limit on how many nights you go out drinking or late each week. It can be easy to get sucked into a lot of that to fill the hole of loneliness. I would also look into techniques that help your concentration (exercise, taking breaks, study timetable... whatever may help). I struggled to stay focused on my work, and often even get to my work at all.
  9. Venting Thread- Vent about anything.

    Still a week and a half until I've officially started my program (aka when I start getting paid), but I feel like this whole grad school thing has been screwing with how I see myself and my self esteem. I've started comparing myself to others again, which I haven't done for a while, and it feels like nothing is ever good enough. I feel like I don't deserve any of the stuff I accomplished even 10-15 years ago. I've also been beating myself up that I didn't go to a university with the branding of my undergrad, which is stupid because I didn't even apply for those for good reasons. I thought I was long done with this way of thinking.
  10. Having a baby in grad school?

    @afternooncoffee, thank you for asking this question - I'm slightly younger than you but am also hoping to have kids towards the end of my program or just after (just after may be easier). I can say that at my university, you can definitely take maternity leave, and I know there are playgroups organized for graduate students and their young children. It's hard to know about each advisor without being in the situation, as their attitude is probably also a function of their relationship with you, their workflow and their grants; all of which evolve. One thing to consider is whether you have any relatives in the city where you are based who could help supervise from time to time.
  11. To follow up, I did register and although I was anxious the officer taking my interview was nothing but warm and supportive. It was useful not only to get the accommodations, but he ran me through the contingency plans if I couldn't take exams or attend class for extended periods. I'm glad I registered.
  12. The Positivity Thread

    Last day of full-time work is on Monday. I'm sad to leave, but I've come to see that as a good thing - I am lucky to have had the colleagues and professional experiences that I have had. I will definitely be dropping by from time to time once my PhD gets underway.
  13. Only Woman in my cohort?

    This is absolutely not crazy. You need to choose the place where you will be most productive and enjoy life. As a woman in an applied statistical field, I was encouraged by the fact that female professors in my department were doing cutting edge theoretical and empirical work. It can be hard being a minority, and people who haven't been in that position don't grasp all of the subtle bias that happens. My best friends in my undergraduate were all guys, but there was still discrimination and harassment in some groups I worked in.
  14. The Positivity Thread

    I found out today that I passed a really daunting professional exam (~40% pass rate) on my first attempt, and somehow scored in the top band It might seem weird to be taking a professional exam, given that I'm hoping to pursue an academic career. I registered for this exam before I started my PhD applications, as my current firm implicitly requires people to do it. If I decide to be an industry-based researcher eventually, it will probably be useful for that. I'm so relieved - I was supposed to study for four months but because of my PhD application process, that got cut to six weeks, so I ended up being under an uncomfortable amount of stress. The other person in the office also passed, and had been shattered to fail it six months ago, so I'm over the moon for us both.
  15. Undergraduate events/student groups

    There's a world of difference between being open to dating girls in that age range, and actively (and exclusively?) seeking out women who are childlike (or maybe even underage).