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Everything posted by Lantern

  1. Thank you all for your kind words and support. I would also like to extend my sympathy to all who have lost someone. BassAZ, I found most of your post to be kind, but saying the death of someone who meant more to me than anyone else in the world is a "blip" in my life is callous, and insulting to the memory of my mother. If I lived to be 1000 years old, and the time I spent with my mother was a fraction of my life instead of a significant proportion of it, losing her and the grief that comes with that loss would still be much more than a "blip".
  2. Thanks for all of your replies so far. My advisor was the first person I told, and while he definitely expects me to get my work done, he has been supportive without asking questions. As far as support from my family and friends, it's a little tougher. I have one friend here at school who was initially supportive, but that has faded somewhat. The vast majority of my friends here never mention it. I don't fault them for it - I really think they have no idea what a grieving person could need, and I really don't ask for support because I feel it's a burden to for them to have to deal with
  3. My mom passed away unexpectedly two months ago, two weeks after I had officially finished my first year of grad school. I returned to school two weeks after her death to take a class. I made it through the class, but I find it is a continual struggle. I have lost all focus and motivation. I don't care about my project or my degree, and some days it is a challenge just to get up and go to my office. My mom and I were extremely close, and I know she would want me to continue on. It is one thing to know this, and an entirely different thing to be able to do so. While I am not thinking of d
  4. I did, and was successful, although there were professors with whom I wanted to work, who were not accepting any students due to lack of funding. In the end, I ended up not choosing UW, but I'm glad I made the effort, because at the time I really hadn't made my decision. Honestly, after all I went through to get the applications all set, contacting the professors and interviewing over the phone was the simple part. My suggestion: if you know you'll be accepted at other places that you would prefer, then it's probably not worth the effort. However, if you're not sure you'll be accepted a
  5. When I was applying last year, I got some comments that really made me angry. Then I began to make a mental collection, and turned it around so that they amused me. My favorites came from two co-workers. One told me flat out, "you're too old to go to grad school", and the other told me, "You're going to hate it, because all of your professors are going to be younger than you are". These were people that I knew well and spent a lot of time with. Even now that I'm in school, I get rude comments from people I meet all the time. I think the comments just come from ignorance.
  6. Sounds like you're already resolved your issue in the proper manner, but just wanted to add my experience from last year. There were a few professors that I didn't hear back from after I sent the first email. When I sent a follow-up email, some replied promptly with apologies for not getting back to me sooner, and some never did reply. It can't hurt to politely try a second time. Good luck!
  7. I remember several similar discussions when I was applying last year. It's clearly a touchy subject. I didn't contact professors after I submitted applications, with one exception, (UW), where you get "accepted" to the University, and are then encouraged to contact/contact again anyone with whom you are interested in working in order to see if they will agree to fund you. Professors from the other schools actually contacted me to see if I was still interested in their research/school. In my experience (and by that I mean I'm speaking specifically of my field) it's very uncommon to accept s
  8. Yep, I agree with the other posters. As long as you're above the minimum required (3.0 or 3.25 seem to be the common ones) it doesn't matter what you get. The academic dean at my school said that herself during our orientation. I also got overwhelmed this semester. I had 4 science/math courses after being out of school for over 10 years. Let's hope we all did well enough!
  9. Deciding where to go and preparing to apply were definitely the most difficult, but for very different reasons. Deciding where to go was agonizing, and for the months between when I decided and when I started I was terrified I had made the wrong decision. Now I know I didn't. Preparing the applications just took so long, and the SOP had to be adapted for each school. Waiting for replies was not so bad - I didn't expect to get in anywhere, so when I started hearing back from schools with acceptances early, it got even easier. The rest was easy. I had moved several times a year for o
  10. I just had to post when I saw so many of you who shared the application process with me! I have largely been absent from this forum due to lack of time in my first semester, but I remember how reliant I was on these forums when I was applying, and have a fondness for those of you who spent lots of time here last year! My first semester went great as far as enjoying where I am, who I work with, and the friends I've made. Overall I feel incredibly fortunate to be here and be funded, and whenever I think I don't want to be here, I think of how badly I wanted to get in last fall when I was w
  11. I was in a similar situation last fall, as I had been out of school slightly longer than you. I used all three references from jobs, and it worked out just fine for me. I think the key is to make sure they are strong references from people who know you well, not academic references from people who barely remember you.
  12. I am not in library science either, but just some general advice: change what you can, and accept the rest. I know this is not easy, but as general advice I think it can get you past obstacles that seem quite difficult. Maybe you could ask professors for additional reading on your topic on a more challenging level, or seek it out yourself. Since I'm so far from your field, I can't help much with this topic. But I would suggest talking to your advisor. If this is a well-respected school, I would trust them to have policies in place to switch advisors, or maybe even have a 2nd co-advisor
  13. I can't emphasize enough how important I think visiting can be in science fields (assuming you can make a good impression in person!). From what I can tell, it is more important in the sciences than in other concentrations - mainly because you are going to be spending A LOT of time with your advisor in the field or in the lab. I'm guessing this is not as important for other types of degrees that are less "hands-on". I visited 3 of the 4 schools I applied to last year, and I have no doubt that it helped, especially for the one I am now attending. I didn't think I had a chance of being
  14. Lantern

    Some good advice

    I agree about applying to your dream school, but not necessarily with the idea of doing your postdoc there, more with the idea that maybe you will get in the first time. I went through the application process last year and applied to a school I didn't think I had a chance at. I'm currently in my second week of classes at that school. Maybe I underestimated myself, maybe I got lucky. All I know is that I almost didn't apply here, and it has already been an absolutely amazing experience. So, I have two pieces of advice that may or may not apply to you: if it's not unheard of in your parti
  15. If you haven't already read this thread, check it out: Maybe you wouldn't call your feelings "acceptance depression", but you might find this thread slightly comforting. It seems that many people don't exactly have the estatic feeling they imagined they would have after accepting at their choice school. At the time I posted there, I was trying to decide. For me, the biggest issue was fear of regret. Now that I have decided, there are days when I am thrilled to be going where I'm going, and days when I think of what I'll miss out on by not going somewhere else. I think the only way to
  16. Sounds like you've already decided, but just another thought: if, for whatever reason, you don't get in next year either, you will have "wasted" two years. If you're perfectly content doing whatever you're doing now, it's not a big loss. If you're not, there's no time like the present to start!
  17. Do you have a connection with any professors at the school (either from a visit or an earlier e-mail contact)? To me it seems like they're just blowing you off in a very general manner. Kind of like, "when we know, we'll let you know, now stop bothering us". Obviously this is just my interpretation, but it seems like having a personal contact with a specific professor might be the only way to get a helpful answer. I can't imagine how frustrating that must be at this late date. Good luck!
  18. I agree. As long as it's not obvious, which it doesn't seem to be given your stats, it can't hurt to ask - although I admit, I haven't done it either. It seems similar to asking a potential employer why you didn't get a job after an interview (assuming things went well in the interview). I can only speak for myself, but if I were on the adcom I would be happy to shed some light on weaknesses for students if I thought it might help them out in the future. Good luck!
  19. Yep, Riotbeard was right. I can only speak for the life sciences since that is all I know. There may be other majors/degrees that work in a similar fashion, but I'm not sure. Basically, in my field, you look for a professor who is doing research that is EXACTLY what you want to do. This is why in my field the ranking of the school is not always of utmost importance. It's much more important to find a professor who can get you on a project that you want to work on. It's important to contact professors before you even apply to see if they will be taking any students and to find out what
  20. Yes, I have notified this school that I will not be attending. That's what I meant when I said I "fixed the situation", sorry I wasn't more clear. Despite the jerk that this post has made me look like to some, I would never intentionally keep another potential student from an admission or funding offer. I thanked them for considering me, and wished them the best with their funding situation and future students. In hindsight, I guess I was so bothered by the whole thing because I felt that I had spent so much time and energy on my application (as we all did on all of our applications). F
  21. Ok, now I officially feel like a jerk for posting this, and would remove it if I could. Just to be clear on my situation, fuzzylogician, I was contacted by a professor at this University over a month ago with a specific project that was not even remotely related to what I want to do. I very politely but very clearly told him that I was not interested in his project, and thanked him for considering me. After that, I assumed (incorrectly on my part) that since I was not interested in his project, I would not be accepted. I assumed this because I do understand how little funding is availa
  22. No, walt526, I DIDN'T commit to this school! I can't believe my post was interpreted that way. I committed to a different school over a month ago. I would NEVER commit to a school without knowing what my project will be, who my advisor will be, or how much funding I will receive!!! Who would? You'd have to be crazy, to do that! That's like moving far from where you live for a job, without knowing what you will do, who your supervisor will be, or how mucy they will pay!
  23. I try not to vent or complain on this forum, but I just had to share this. I got an email on April 15 saying I had been accepted to this school. The acceptance email stated how impressed they were with my application, and were excited to invite me to join their program. Today I got an email from the department chair that said, "If you don't mind, let me get through some accumulated work this week, will get back to you on projects sometime in the next couple of weeks. We are still waiting to hear on assistantships anyway, so I will have more info on funding then." (That is a direct quote.
  24. I think you're right, that you have already decided. Plus Virginia is close to North Carolina, so there's a good chance you could end up there afterward through connections you make at school. I don't see anything major that you're overlooking. I think when you have several great options, you really need to go with your gut. I only applied to 4 schools, so I didn't have quite as many to decide between, but nonetheless, it was agonizing. In the end I chose a slightly less prestigious school is a place that didn't really appeal to me because of the advisor and the thesis project (it's my ab
  25. I had really great luck using one of those boxed sets with pre-made cards, but I know you're looking for something else. I think just reading anything on a higher level is going to help. I just happened to read The Island of the Day Before by Umberto Eco toward the end of my studying. I was amazed at how many "GRE words" are in there! In all honesty, I didn't like the book very much, but everytime I came across a word that I had recently learned, it was like I got a little thrill. But I would say choose something you enjoy reading that is written on a higher level than your average ne
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