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About zipykido

  • Rank
    Double Shot

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  • Location
    Hanover, NH
  • Application Season
    Already Attending
  • Program
    Biomedical Engineering

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  1. Generally it's a good rule of thumb to not pay more than 40% of your income in rent which for you would be 1k a month. You'll probably have to get closer to 50% of your income a month though living in an urban area. I calculated out once the minimum I could live on a year and it came out to about 14k but that's bare bones (0 entertainment budget but car insurance, cellphone, etc) and I don't have kids so I only pay about $700 in living expenses a month. With two kids that would be much harder considering that your kids will be close to that age where they eat and grow a lot. Since you don't need daycare which is expensive in the states you should be OK. Your kids will be relatively "poor" but you should be able to make ends meet. If I were in your shoes I would take on extra work if you could BEFORE you start your PhD to build up a bit of a nest egg (5k would be ok but anything about 8k would be much better), that way if your kids need new clothes or shoes or other random expenses you'll be covered for a while. Also your kids are near that age where they could put up some extra work for themselves (raking leaves, shoveling driveways, helping neighbors, etc). I did that as a kid I probably brought in a 500-$1000 a year and much more when I entered high school so I could buy things that I wanted.
  2. I have a pretty strong relationship with my referees so I personalized their gifts a bit. It was mostly alcohol related paraphernalia (decent glasses, etc). At minimum I would say a handwritten note is required to thank them for the time they put in. If you're not sure about personal preferences I would say that a gift card is acceptable. Most cards will read: Thank you so and so for the time you put in...etc. Definitely include the school you decide to attend if you got accepted and a phone number or email where they can reach you in the future since you are now a positive example for them and they may want to refer to your experience later.
  3. Just make sure that the masks will properly protect you. Regular face masks don't do a great job of filtering out small particulates, only large dust particles and maybe a virus or two. Don't stress out about the results too much since that can cause idiopathic symptoms, but do keep in mind that you have the option of contacting your university's EHS department if you find something in the blood test.
  4. Are you working with these materials under a properly vented hood? Also are you wearing a lab coat? Personally I don't work with anything too dangerous but my primary concern would be for me own health. Disruptions to your circadian rhythm can occur for many reasons (including stress from fear of exposure), but you should start monitoring your symptoms immediately if you believe there to be an issue. Your student health plan should include visits to your university's doctors as well as some sort of referral program that may not cost you anything. If you have lab meetings I would bring up the issue there, especially to make sure that everybody in your lab is following proper procedure. Aside from that you could also request a proper ventilation mask when working with the chemical. The last thing a lab or PI wants is a national headline that one of their members got hurt from an issue that was not addressed.
  5. Read before bed, it'll help you retain stuff. Also get in the habit of positively reinforcing reading. Isolate yourself from distractions and pour yourself a nice cup of your favorite drink and just do it. Speed and comprehension come from practice while habits are built on repetition.
  6. Does your current job help you in advancing towards an area of research that you would be interested in pursuing? If it doesn't help you at all you should consider a change of job and then apply again in a couple of years when you've gained more experienced and have a stronger application. No point in being miserable or giving up on going to grad school if you absolutely know that's what you want.
  7. I'm kind of doing BME right now for my PhD (protein engineering and vaccine design) but my major was chemical engineering with a two year stint in cancer biology research. Obviously big name schools certainly help getting your foot in the door but I would say that liking what you do is even more important. The only deadstop for me would be whether your school was ABET accredited or not, which is useful if you decided to work a bit before grad school. Look at the BME departments and figure out which ones have labs doing things that you might enjoy doing since BME is such a diverse and interdisciplinary field, ask the schools whether it's common for students (even freshmen) to work in labs and go to the school that has research that is both interesting and you could get involved in. Prepping for engineering graduate research is simply a question of learning how to be a good researcher, and that's half acquired and half innate I would say.
  8. If you can buy a place with one more room than you need then you should do it. I have friends who bought when they first entered grad school and their renters essentially pay for the mortgage and tax on the property. I have another friend who bought a cheap place when he first got to grad school but he bought too far out from the college and he'll probably barely break even when he graduates in terms of renting vs buying. I too was looking to buy a place but my price range wasn't near high enough for some of the nicer places that I wanted so I decided to rent which isn't horrible considering I found a great place, I'll keep saving money for a down payment for wherever I end up next. After closing costs and fees you still only really break even in the 4-5 years that you're in grad school unless you buy with mostly cash and have housemates.
  9. Which is why I said that some fields require more than 5 years. Guaranteeing 5 years of funding simply means that you'll have to find external funding after 5 years or petition your adviser to pay you completely out of their budget.
  10. If you're in graduate school for more than 5 years then you will have to find funding from another source. Graduate school isn't supposed to be a career, if you can't finish in 5 years in most fields (some require more) then you, your adviser, or you project need serious evaluation.
  11. The biomedical engineering lab I'm in collaborates pretty intimately with a computational immunology lab; basically they design proteins and we make them and test them. I'm always impressed with the abilities of the computational people since they can write scripts really quickly. Both PIs are relatively new so no graduate students have finished yet but the postdocs we've had have had no problems finding jobs at all. It depends on what type of life you want to live after you graduate. I think the computational side is more geared towards academia while the biomedical engineering stuff my lab does is better suited for industry.
  12. Committees are hard to plan for since it is really open ended. On the other hand, most professors are told the recruiting schedule long beforehand and that they need to be around for it so they aren't allowed to schedule anything else. I know a lot of people on the MCB recruitment team at my school and they usually spend 10-15 hours a week planning as soon as the school year starts. On topic though, I had the same problem when I was applying for jobs a long time ago, in my experience, the longer you wait the less likely that something will come through. But I've had plenty of exceptions to the rule so I wouldn't worry too much as long as you have a backup plan.
  13. I went to school in upstate NY and have lived in the northeast for most of my life. The two pieces of advice I would give are: wear comfortable shoes, bring sneakers/boots if you have them. Visits usually involve a lot of walking, if you can get away with dressing down a bit you're better off since slipping on ice can ruin your day. The second piece of advice is to dress in layers. If you're going business casual then an undershirt+dress shirt+sweater or vest give you three layers on top already. Hat, glove, and scarf are a good idea too if it's going to be windy.
  14. I had a lunch with a visiting professor once who was an expert on giving lunch talks. Some useful advice would be to take either small bites or store the food under your tongue/in cheek while you talk. Make sure you eat cleanly, and use the napkin to catch food that will stain your shirt/pants. Since you may have more interviews after lunch. Also the most important thing is to be polite to the waitstaff; always thank them for refilling water, do not harass them, etc. Believe it or not there are people out there who mistreat waitstaff during interviews which is an obvious red flag, so be extra polite. Also sometimes they'll bring members of their lab along, you can ask them questions about their experience and research to get a bite in here or there as well.
  15. That other student probably also has interviews the next day also and would therefore be considerate of your brother. Worst case scenario is that the other person sharing the room has a weird schedule or is a snorer. Simply bring an facemask and possibly headphones to make the process of going to sleep easier. If he's just uncomfortable around strangers then it would probably be possible to have him booked in his own room, possibly out of pocket. Definitely coordinate with whoever is in charge of the rooms, there might be issues with room availability.
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