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Tall Chai Latte

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About Tall Chai Latte

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    Macchiato

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    it snows here in winter
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  • Program
    Life sciences

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  1. Your second rotation sounds just like one of my rotations. I also rotated with a PI who had really high expectations, who had really high expectations (e. g. experiments need to work no more than two tries, need to be super energetic) for rotation students. I wasn't meeting her standards of being 'interested' in her lab, and she gave me the lowest grade (and ratings in all five categories on the evaluations) for the rotations. The rotation was short and I worked seven days a week, and still got a horrible review and 'it's up to you whether you want to complete this rotation. I don't think my p
  2. Yep, SNPCracklePop summed it up nicely. I had quite a bit of trouble finding an advisor with funds for me. As a result, I had to compromise with an advisor (my current advisor) who wants to do something she has no expertise over, and yet where my skills could apply. It turned out that the projects were very challenging -- thus making my PhD harder than it needs to be. Although we have made progress, but my overall CV is less impressive than if easier projects were given to me or more support from within or outside of lab. It could be a difficult consequence to swallow.
  3. The decisions you made early on have big impact on your career later. How lonely grad school can get, both emotionally and scientifically. Constantly being judged, and often taking blames for things you have no control over. Most professors have no interest in teaching and training students. No one will go to the bat for you unless there's benefit in doing so.
  4. It wasn't easy for me. As someone who went to college in-state, being far away from home was the biggest challenge. I also lived in dorms (until my school kicked all upper classmen out) and went home once a week. It took me about a year to feel fully settled in to the new city, developing new hobbies... This is key! Also, learn how to cook I went with rooming with somebody during my first year. That way, you could learn things about the city quick. The only real furniture I bought was my desk from ikea, and bought the rest from the local ikea.
  5. Thanks everyone for commenting. guttate, I agree with you--being able to present well sure is a necessary skill to get a job in or outside of academia. The poster presentation competition was based on student voting; the format itself is not entirely fair as students (especially the younger students) tend to vote their friends, regardless of scientific significance. I'm not really saying that my work is the most important in the whole department, but I'm not totally convinced the best posters were fairly selected (similar to best student talk selected on the same day).
  6. It's a personal choice. For me, the benefit of living alone outweighs rooming with someone. I also have two cats, with family visiting from time to time, thus having a place of my own is a much better option. It is more expensive, but my stipend is not that big anyway to make a difference in the amount of money I could save each month.
  7. Before I got too busy/lazy, I used to go run in the gym when the going got tough and looking forward to my next road race. Sometimes I play video games on my iPad, read self-help books/leisure books, or just sit and do nothing like juilletmecredi. Other times I just keep on keeping on when there's no way to remove the external stress stimuli (like the stress won't go away unless I get the experiment working).
  8. My own PhD experience so far says research + classes is easier than research only. What's difficult with year 3 and beyond is that your time becomes less structured and starts to blur together, but if you are still taking classes, there are some deadlines to keep track of. I was pretty lost for a while after passing candidacy- it was like "congratulations! you are now a PhD candidate! go for the degree!" without really a physical road map or guide. It is so easy to put on more workload than you could take and burn out.
  9. I did contact a few people when I applied, but not to my current institution. I think it's good to ask if your POI has a space for grad student, but other than that, I doubt they have much to do with the admission process.
  10. Love your doge taco! This is my fifth year in Ann Arbor. If anyone has any questions feel free to ask.
  11. After waking up early to attend our annual departmental symposium yesterday, I was left feeling exhausted at the end of day. The symposium is entirely run by graduate students in the department, starting from deciding who to invite as speakers, down to the location of the symposium dinner. Overall, it's a great thing to participate. But one thing that really bothers me every year is the award session. Each year, the department gives out awards in best poster presentation and oral presentation to students. Although the awardees are either decided by faculty or student in an anonymous vot
  12. I've reviewed unpublished manuscripts for my PI before because she had too much on her plate. It's common around here, and nice training to see how to read critically of other people's work. As long as you follow ethics (keeping confidential information confidential, etc), it's actually fine.
  13. I'm at the same stage as you in my program, also battling fading interest. I heard/read about various alternative careers over the years, and those opportunities sound much more attractive than the gloomy academia career. I thought about quitting many times throughout the years; I even attempted to leave my program but our program director convinced me to stick around. But true reason I'm still here is that there are plenty of resources at my institution for people who want to step away from the ivory tower: workshops, seminars, and career development groups. I would have no access to the
  14. My mentor is the professor I worked for during undergrad. He was patient and never stingy about sharing his knowledge. This is the reason why I decided to pursue a PhD and potentially research as a lifelong career; the experience has been positive, and I took away a lot of valuable skills with me. Although I do largely different things now as a PhD student, I still use some of the old knowledge! I still stop by his office and say hi if I'm home for the holiday.
  15. Your concern is legitimate. I agree with much of the consensus here that personality between you and your advisor should fit to a certain extend. While that is an important factor to consider, you also should look at how well the advisor's expertise fit your projects. I would try to find a good middle ground between personality and expertise. Some advisors are very ambitious and adventurous; they want to try all kinds of new ideas or break into a new field, but could not find the right person to work on those new projects. Pay attention to what kind of projects they are proposing to you, and w
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