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lemma

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lemma last won the day on December 12 2017

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About lemma

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    PhD

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  1. Summer is a few months long, right? Take a week or two off at first without any work. Sleep as much as you want. Go on walks everyday. Go swimming. Bake something. Visit a new part of town. Whatever you feel like, do it. If you feel like nothing, do nothing. I'm not sure what works for you, but I like to chunk time and have routines. I'm also a bit of a morning person. Something that has worked for me previously in similar situations is to get up, have breakfast or a cup of tea, and do two hours of work each morning. That way I know I've been productive before I do the fun stuff, and I also know that I'm consistently chipping away at what I need to do. Once it gets built into my schedule, it doesn't feel like a chore.
  2. lemma

    Being shy about talking about your accomplishments

    I think it also depends on what type of social media you use. On LinkedIn it is definitely acceptable to talk about all of your accomplishments, and as another poster said blogs are a great place for that too. I think Facebook can feel a little different - it's more personal than other mediums, and some people might feel like you're intruding into their personal space. That said, I know plenty of people who post everything on Facebook and while it doesn't bother me at all, I can see how it could rub some people the wrong way.
  3. lemma

    Leaving One for Another?

    Can you defer (or reject) the American offer, find work as a research assistant in Egypt and then wait for the outcome in Australia? Presumably if you don't get admitted (the easy part) and receive a scholarship (the harder part) you can reapply in the American system a year later. One year probably isn't the biggest deal especially if you can find relevant work in the interim to boost your CV. I'm not going to ask why you prefer the Australian program, because I assume you've done your research and this is something you really want. Australian and American PhD programs are very different structurally, and Australia and the US are also very different places to live in among developed nations, so I can see why you might have a strong preference even before research is concerned.
  4. I think it really depends. I looked at three apartments before moving into my current one, but the current one was so much better than the others so I jumped on it. I think usually it would take longer. I think you need to move over somewhat early. Once we decided to apply for the apartment, we had to fill out a long application which took some time (maybe a week) because we needed professional and personal references and had to make sure they were OK to take the call. Once we signed, we had to wait 2-3 weeks to move in. Another major thing to think of is furniture! If you're buying new stuff it can take forever to arrive. We spent weeks without a bed and had to sleep on a mattress on the floor, but we actually arranged for the mattress to come as early as possible, otherwise we would have had nothing. We didn't have a microwave for the first few weeks, nor any cupboards... if you want to start out your PhD with a functioning home, I would try to arrive a couple of months early just so that the furniture can be delivered once you find a place.
  5. lemma

    What piece(s) of advice would you give to new TAs?

    I'm still fairly new to TA life, so here are some lessons I've learned so far: Be firm and consistent. When you start making allowances for one student, you start making them for every student, and this will blow up in your face if you're teaching a large class. If you're firm and consistent from the beginning, the students will do what they need to do to get their work in on time or to get feedback they need. Separate your impression of a student's attitude from your impression of their work. For students who have a good attitude and are engaged, spend the time giving them feedback so they can improve and properly earn a high grade. Our natural human instinct is to help out people we like, but especially for classes graded on a curve, if we bump a student up unfairly, another student is pulled down unfairly. Give feedback as soon as you can so that students have the time to learn. Save all of your materials down so that you can reuse them for future semesters. You might end up teaching content you never learned when you took the class yourself, especially if you're teaching at a new university. See if you can get materials from a previous semester to get ahead, and don't feel ashamed to reach out to the other TAs if necessary.
  6. lemma

    The Positivity Thread

    I got engaged yesterday!
  7. lemma

    I've finally committed...now what?

    Get physically fit and learn how to cook healthy and cheap food quickly (or in bulk). Your biggest challenge in graduate school will likely be staying in the best headapace you can, and eating well and exercise do help.
  8. lemma

    How are TA positions typically filled?

    Get in early if you can! At my university, for regulatory reasons, TA positions have to be filled months before semester. This has meant that PhD students in my cohort missed out on being able to teach in their first semester. I would flag your interest in teaching to your supervisor or the PhD coordinator and go from there. I flagged it to my supervisor who it turned out was looking for TAs for his class - I got lucky.
  9. lemma

    Furnishing an Apartment on a Budget?

    Is there an Ikea near you? We got a lot of our stuff there (even random stuff like a teapot), and got the remainder for a discount furniture chain. We wanted to buy second hand stuff, but the problem was that the demand for stuff posted on craigslist and so on was too high... and we would send so many messages but not actually get anything. We were seriously running out of time. If you buy from chain stores like Ikea, be aware that they take weeks to deliver sometimes, so you have to plan ahead. You can survive without a bedframe for a few weeks if you have a mattress. I would also get a fridge and a microwave ASAP so you don't spend money eating out when you first move in.
  10. lemma

    Buying a house as a PhD student

    I'm on the market to buy a house at the moment but we haven't gone to the banks yet to get a letter of credit. We will probably do that shortly, so I can loop back with my experience. We're not US based though, my partner is on a salary and we do have money saved up for a deposit. Maybe I'll pick up some tricks though along the way.
  11. lemma

    What are your thoughts on working at the weekend?

    I spend time working on the weekend. It would be really hard for me to get through my work without that. I do, however, make a big effort to spend time not working on the weekend. I visit my parents for dinner once a week. Every night, my partner and I have dinner together, even if we watch a TV show together while we eat. We try to play badminton in the morning on weekends. Once a fortnight or so, we'll go out for a meal together at a cheap eatery. Sometimes we carve out time where we do no work whatsoever, even if it means planning for it weeks in advance. We spent the last long weekend in a cheap airbnb in the countryside and didn't touch anything academic or professional for three whole days.
  12. lemma

    Gender Discrimination

    I've literally been told all of this BS to my face from people in academia, so even if this guy is a troll, there are a lot of people who legitimately believe this. (And yeah, it really hurts to be on the other end of this when you've worked so hard. It can feel degrading. I have an honors ivy quant degree, a perfect GRE, a first-author paper submitted to Science, olympiad background, years of research and industry experience... but apparently that's not enough and all the smart men don't get into programs because of the dumb women like me taking their place.)
  13. lemma

    trying to get a small, cheap smart phone

    I like my Oppo. Apparently the camera is amazing for selifes, but about a month after I got it I broke the screen right where the camera is, so I wouldn't know.
  14. lemma

    How do you process it

    Maybe not the answer you were looking for, but I dealt with it by not going straight into a PhD program out of undergrad. I was terrified by the sacrifices an academic career contained and knew that I would be always thinking about what if I had gone straight to industry. Now that I've spent a few years in industry and am a few months into my PhD, I know what's out there and I know that even though a PhD program requires compromise, this is something I am willing to make. Something that might help: tons of people change careers in their 20s and 30s, so coming out of school aged 30 won't actually be unusual compared to peers who got jobs straight away. You can usually find other ways to earn money on the side, especially tutoring or proofreading essays (as long as it doesn't impede your PhD). You're not guaranteed employment with a PhD, but you're also not guaranteed employment in five years time in any job - you can be fired at any moment. You're getting the chance to get paid to learn about something you love, which isn't necessarily something you can always ensure in a professional job.
  15. lemma

    When did it hit you?

    This class is a mathematical statistics class for those of us in mathematical finance, econometrics and actuarial science. It was a brutal awakening when the professor handed out the first assignment that day. I had been in the workforce for a few years, and had also completed my undergraduate in a different (though related) major). I hadn't rearranged an equation in a long while, let alone do pure math proofs....
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