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  1. Upvote
    caffefreddo reacted to knp in I can never do anything right!   
    Let me break this down for you. People are trying to help! But you are being too vague and brief for us to assist you. For starters, you keep trying to explain in two sentences or less. That's just not enough information! It would help if you tried again under the following criteria. 1) Make sure your description of the situation is at least two hundred words long. Twenty words hasn't been doing it, and we can keep reading twenty-word posts for infinity and it still won't be sufficient. 2) Having trouble writing a longer summary? Try answering the following questions. All of them. Other posters, this is just a start, feel free to add more.
    What sort of program are you enrolled in? A research PhD? A master's degree? A more professionally-oriented program, like something in education or business or public policy? Please give a general idea of your field: I don't need to know that it's economics, but "a PhD in a social science that runs experiments with people" would help. Are you enrolled in courses? Do you also have internships? Will you be required to write a thesis for graduation What's your educational background? Was your undergraduate institution accredited and in-person? Was it in the United States? Was your major the same as the subject you're in graduate school? Have you ever done independent research before? Have you assisted in a lab before? Have you written any papers over 500 words? Have you written any papers over 1500 words? Have you ever had to write a paper where you had to cite a source you found on your own, rather than writing a paper from a pre-set list of sources? What on earth is this paper? You have managed to describe a type of paper that nobody here recognizes. Please try again. Is it a course assignment? Will you be graded on it? Is it a research proposal? If so, what is it a proposal for? What's the deadline? Who supervises and/or evaluates it? What objections have your TWO professors communicated to you about this paper? When you asked why you had to meet with them about potential plagiarism, what did they say? I don't care if you don't think it makes sense, or if you don't think their objections count as evidence. The closer you can reproduce what they said, both at your meeting and in any relevant emails, the better we can help you.
  2. Upvote
    caffefreddo reacted to Sarochan in Best Rejection Reactions - 2015   
    Pretty sure that that was a joke.
  3. Upvote
    caffefreddo reacted to ERR_Alpha in Best Rejection Reactions - 2015   
    Penn State Philosophy, PhD (F15) Rejected via E-mail on 12 Mar 2015 ♦ A 12 Mar 2015
    report spam
    0a/0w/8r (of 10). I got 99 problems, but deciding which program to attend ain't one.

    Always look on the bright side right?
  4. Upvote
    caffefreddo reacted to Marst in Best Rejection Reactions - 2015   
    Maybe because that is usually something you don't find out until you visit and talk to people in person?
  5. Upvote
    caffefreddo reacted to TakeruK in Winter is Coming   
    It was a big change for us too. We grew up in western Canada where it is temperate, usual temperatures between 0C and 20C, and only a week or so of snow each year and weather down to -10C. We learned a lot in the 2 years in Ontario where we regularly had weather down to -20C and snow is constant between November and April! I'm glad to be in sunny California now, and while I didn't like winter when I was there, I am kind of happy now that I did experience what people think of when they think "Canadian winters" (although I'm much happier to be NOT experiencing it now). 
    Also I suggest this song: Mon pays (
    ) if you want to fully embrace the winter mindset. The opening line translates to "my country is not a country, it is winter". In Canada, it's also an anthem-like for Quebecois nationalists but I enjoy how it sounds and personally interpret it as being in harmony/connecting with our environment. If you want to learn more: http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/mon-pays/
  6. Upvote
    caffefreddo reacted to random_grad in Don't want to feel like I'm always bragging   
    As a person in the humanities, the reaction goes two ways: 1) Wow, you're at such prestigious university! 2) Your field is useless.
    At this point, for 2) I have developed a comprehensive attack plan with a list of responses that I deploy one by one to kill any doubt in that person's mind about the necessity of my field. This tends to work well on fellow PhD students from the sciences (who are generally super-skeptical for some reason about what humanities people do) and somewhat less on non-academic people (with whom I use their skepticism as a way of preventing reaction 1) ).
    For reaction 1) I am still struggling to devise a fool-proof defense plan, esp. now that I have been admitted to a prestigious school. I just try to be casual about it, saying that I am very happy ("lucky to be here" is a good way to put part of the responsibility away from my persona) and all, and it seems to work. People switch to being flattered of knowing someone who is from said school and join in the celebration. I proceed to talking about my project in simple terms and transition to telling about a recent travel experience I had in relation to my research or an event in the city that I attended recently in relationship to my field of study. This gets people talking about travels and leisure, about their city, and eventually other things if they have nothing to say about my research interests. However, I find that me asking people what they do for a living is a bad conversation starter because if the person has an office job they are not very proud of or particularly engaged with then when they ask back about what I do, my response may seem like bragging and it may seem that I asked them just to focus on my work in the first place (esp. if I have the stupidity of asking them about what they studied in university). So now I avoid asking the occupational question myself unless I know this is someone who defines themselves by their career. Much better is the "where are you from" question and "have you seen this new movie" or anything about politics and world affairs. I stay informed by reading the journal and watching netflix . "what do you watch on netflix?" is perfect to fill the blank for a good tweny minutes
  7. Upvote
    caffefreddo reacted to TakeruK in Dating in Graduate School   
    For more information, you can also try searching for phrases like "Two Body Problem" to find more on this topic (i.e. the challenge of balancing the priorities of both partners' careers). It's a fairly common issue in academia and a lot have been written about the challenge, how some people have approached it, and how others have made it work, and also stories where it doesn't work out. In addition to whatever you get from replies here, further searching might yield additional information!
    I have not been in this situation myself though (my partner is not an academic). However, I've seen many other people go through the "two body problem", at many different stages (grad school, postdoc, faculty). A lot of people are able to make it work, but often some sort of sacrifice is made as the priorities of each couple is different. But, in no particular order, some solutions are:
    1. Couples applying to areas where there are a lot of nearby schools to increase the chances that both will find a position and be able to live somewhere in between where a commute may be long, but not impossible.
    2. Couples living apart, but still close enough to each other where they can visit every weekend or every other weekend.
    3. Couples living really far apart and make it work long distance. I know of a married couple (both faculty) that live on separate continents.
    4. Couples deciding that one partner's career is worth the investment so they move to the best possible location for that partner, and the second person finds the best possible position in that area. This may be easier via soft money positions.
    5. Couples who do #4 but alternate which partner goes to the "ideal location" and which partner "finds the best possible position".
    6. In some rare cases, partners are able to both be hired/accepted at the same school (or at least in the same city).
    For the faculty position stage, almost all of my colleagues/friends who are in relationships with another academic have been able to find work for both of them at the same university. Every TT hire has been able to negotiate for at least a term position (postdoc or adjunct or non TT professorship) for their partner at the same school, sometimes on the condition that the other partner funds part or all of their salary through external grants. What they usually do is first achieve that (i.e. a job for both of them for the next 2-3 years) and then spend those 2-3 years going back on the market to find additional TT opportunities for both of them. The goal might be that during these 2-3 years, both partners prove themselves valuable to the University/department and perhaps the University/department will be able to offer a permanent (either TT or research staff) position to the other partner.
    Or, as I've seen happen many times in the last few years, if the other partner is unable to find a permanent job at that University, they might both move to another University that will take both of them as TT professors. These moves are usually from a top 10 school where only one partner has a TT position (or maybe even tenure at that point) to a lower ranked school that will take both of them. Following this strategy often means taking option #4 above because these kinds of moves are generally downwards (in ranking/prestige) so you want to start as high as possible!
  8. Downvote
    caffefreddo reacted to victorydance in The Ph.D. Pay Gap   
    I think one of the reasons is diversity of skills. It's similar to the marketplace where if you have more skills at your disposal, and the more technical they are, the higher you are likely to be compensated.
    Simplified way of looking at it: someone who is able to do literature reviews and analysis (English) is less skilled than someone who is able to do the same things + statistical/quantitative analysis (political science) is less skilled than someone who is able to do the same thing + design experiments and be a lab technician (hard science). 
    Another reason is the demand of the discipline. Using English vs. political science as an example...political science as a field is more in demand as a field, which means that political science departments get better funding from universities, hire more professors, bring in more research grants, and often bring in more tuition because of more students wanting to study it. It then goes without saying that these departments are going to have a lot more fluidity to pay graduate students more because of their resources than say an English department. Even further, natural science departments often have large labs that bring in a lot of money, making it easier for those departments to pay grad students more in order to get more competitive students to enter the program. 
    Most top political science programs pay their students ~$25K in base stipends. Whereas chemistry students of the same universities often bring in $30K+. I don't have a problem with this personally because I understand the greater learning curve and time that goes into learning the skills required to work in a lab and conduct experiments. 
    Now, that doesn't mean any political science or natural science major can come in and do an English person's work easily. But I do recognize that there is a whole slew of technical skill sets that the former two have to learn to be successful in their field while the English major doesn't. 
  9. Upvote
    caffefreddo reacted to random_grad in The Ph.D. Pay Gap   
    Potential abuses:
    - people claim dependents who really could fend for themselves
    - people start having more kids than intended
    - people choose to have kids earlier than ready
    - spouse choses to stay at home bc of stipend increase while otherwise could work and/or use daycare
  10. Upvote
    caffefreddo reacted to Crafter in Should I tell him how I feel?   
    This topic should be in "the Lobby", not here.
    Anyways, for what I read here are my conclusions (not that you seem to care for all the advise you've got here, though):
    1- This has been going on for about a YEAR. Things have not changed a bit since your first post last year. What makes you think things will change now?
    2- You seem to be in love with this guy, therefore, you are over-analyzing his every move, his every word. People can be nice, can spend a lot of time with you and have fun, can share the same interests of yours, some even go as far as having sex with you and that does NOT mean a thing, romantically speaking.
    3- You seem to be entertaining thoughts of hope for this "relationship". However, he has been really honest and clear to you, as far as the story you presented here, he has no interest in more than what he is getting from you now.
    4- Not sharing the same romantic interest with you doesn't make him a douche-bag. Asking you to drop off food for him and go away when you had a date does.
    5- It sucks that your first sexual experience is like this, but don't worry, you are not alone, most first sexual encounters are rather clumsy, painful and/or boring. And, without any scientific data, I dare to assume that most of those "first ones" are not even that relevant later on in your life. Chronological "first" is not what matters, it is that first time when you go to bed (or table or floor or couch or backseat) with someone who cares about you and loves you and you love. Once you got that (and you will, for sure) you will not think about that other "first".
    My advice would be:
    a- move on (the advice you've been getting from anyone, which is the healthiest one).
    b- keep things the way they are now (because I don't think they will go any further) and be realistic about what to expect from the said guy. Be honest to him and to yourself, that will keep you from a broken heart.
  11. Upvote
    caffefreddo reacted to TakeruK in "Stripping a Professor of Tenure Over a Blog Post"   
    Maybe it is because my field does not usually cover topics of ethics but I actually do not think the TA did anything wrong. I would agree that perhaps the TA could have handled the situation differently, but I don't find any fault with her actions. The TA asked for an example of Rawls' principle and a student provided one such example. The TA then agreed that the example is accurate and asked if anyone disagreed. It seemed like no one did, but I know that as a TA myself, sometimes students are uncomfortable bringing up an argument against the TA/instructor in a large group. Therefore, I think the TA made the right action by adding that students who do not think the example was "correct" could talk to the TA privately during office hours. 
    I also think the student is completely out of line to tell his TA something like "And I would stress for you in your professional career going forward, you're going to be teaching for many more years, that you watch how you approach those issues because when you set a precedent like that because you are the authority figure in the classroom, people truly do listen to you.". Students do not give unsolicited advice to their instructors on how they teach and certainly not in such a condescending manner. If a student ever said that to me, I would tell them to get out of my office immediately and to take their concerns with my teaching ability to my supervisors. 
    I am also confused at the entire exchange between student and TA past this comment. I do not feel that the TA ever said that Rawls' principles are absolutely correct and therefore gay marriage must be accepted by everyone. The way I understood the TA's lecture was that it is acceptable to apply Rawls' principle to argue why gay marriage should be legal. That is, use of Rawls' principle in this way demonstrates appropriate understanding of Rawls' principle. I did not get the impression that the TA says that it is therefore wrong for anyone to think gay marriage should be illegal. The TA does not even say that you cannot use Rawls' principle to argue against gay marriage. Am I missing something here? 
    As for the professor, I definitely think the University made the right decision in terminating his tenure. Tenure and academic freedom protects you from negative personal consequences from the result of your academic work for the University. It does not mean that a tenured professor can say or do anything they want without consequence. As to where to draw the line, I think it is a little nebulous but not completely fuzzy. I think that a tenured professor should only be protected if what they write/say are a result of academic work. For example, if a researcher finds that drug X has harmful effects, publishes it, and the manufacturer of drug X is unhappy and threatens (or actually does) pulls funding to the University, the researcher should be protected from this. However, whenever the researcher writes or communicates anything that is not academic work (i.e. their own opinions or interpretations), then they should not be protected by academic freedom or tenure.
    In the excerpts of McAdams' blog post shared by the author of the Atlantic article, it does not appear to me that McAdams is making an academic argument. Instead, it is clear that McAdams is simply writing his own personal opinions of how the TA of the class handled the situation and how the Department handled the situation. Such opinions should not be protected by academic freedom and tenure. In addition, it is grossly inappropriate for a professor to criticize a TA in such a manner. At many institutions I've been to, there are contracts that govern how a department initiates and carry out investigations of TA performance. These investigations are almost entirely internal and confidential and any discipline or corrective measures are taken discreetly so that the TA is able to learn from their past mistakes, instead of being publicly shamed. Employee evaluations should never be public.
    So therefore, while the TA could have handled the situation differently (there's always more than one possible path), I do not think the TA did anything wrong. I think the student was wrong in recording his conversation with the TA, but the student is otherwise justified in reporting the situation to the administration if the student felt the TA did something wrong as an instructor. And I think the professor was very wrong to write his blog post that is basically aa personal opinion / evaluation of the TA's actions. Such opinions should not be made public and I agree with the University's decision to terminate the professor's tenure because of the harm he had caused.
  12. Upvote
    caffefreddo reacted to Old Bill in Dating non-graduate students   
    Just chiming in with a slightly different perspective...
    I'm older and married, and will be starting a M.A. program in the fall, after completing my B.A. in May. I recognize that I am uncommonly old to just be finishing an undergraduate degree, but so it goes. In any event, my wife is a fairly successful professional in the non-profit arts sector, and we have a great relationship etc., but she doesn't talk much about her work, nor does she ask me about my studies. I'll often start to talk about a paper I've been writing, or a particularly enjoyable course etc., but the specifics don't really interest her too much beyond the fact that she knows that I am enjoying what I am doing. More importantly, however, she is 100% supportive of my future goals, just as I have been of hers...and that's really the key. It doesn't bother me much that she doesn't take an active interest in my studies, because I definitively know that she encourages me, supports me, and "has my back," so to speak. In other words, in all the ways that truly matter, she's there for me.
    My advice is to examine whether or not your partner can fulfill that same role. Before I went down the path I'm on, I had a few menial (but decent-paying) jobs that I had ZERO desire to talk about with anyone, let alone my wife. Likewise, some people just see work as a necessary part of life, and no more worthy of comment than the eight hours spent sleeping. (I, for one, could care less about hearing about a dream someone had...) Ultimately, even though a large part of your life may be tied up in your academic work, remember that your partner is likely with you for broader reasons, and so long as he reciprocates in the "support and encouragement" aspect of things, you might be just fine.
  13. Upvote
    caffefreddo reacted to Pauli in Never TA'd before... think I am going to puke   
    Feel very annoyed about TAing, and it will alleviate your fears about TAing.

    Side Effect: You will feel annoyed about TAing.
  14. Upvote
    caffefreddo reacted to Amayan in Budding romance with student - FML   
    I obviously don't know what your conversations with this student have been like, but is it possible she isn't flirting with you?  I only ask because I've often struggled to make friends with men who didn't catch my drift of "let's be friends."  If I want to spend my personal time with someone, man or woman, I'll start with the obvious suggestion of inviting them to dinner or drinks.  "Have you seen this movie yet?"  "We should hang out when finals are done with."  It can get pretty frustrating.  One guy even told me he thought it was a date just because I wore a skirt.
  15. Downvote
    caffefreddo reacted to Askel in Budding romance with student - FML   
    7 replies and nobody has bothered to ask for the relevant data in this situation?  
    Pictures, man. We need to see pictures of this girl before we advise on the correct course of action.
  16. Upvote
    caffefreddo reacted to turbidite in Budding romance with student - FML   
    Uh, no. The comment was inappropriate and misogynistic. Joke or not, this is not a place for these kind of comments. And this is coming from a guy...
  17. Upvote
    caffefreddo reacted to obrera in Sh*t people say when you are applying to grad school   
    Now THAT is a fair question. Sometimes the things people say make me feel a bit better about applications.
  18. Upvote
    caffefreddo reacted to Cheshire_Cat in When I am on an admissions committee, I will....   
    It is a tough issue, and something I've had to think about recently.  Most people who apply to my field are Asian with very high quant scores, whereas mine are mediocre, but good enough to do well in the field, just not amazing. And I come from a small state school. Plus my only B in undergrad was in math.  So, I would like a chance to explain why to adcoms instead of being passed over because those stats aren't wonderful like other's. OTOH, I think adcoms should choose the best candidate...

    But, I think we do sometimes rely on stats too much instead of taking individuals into consideration.  It's like a man going to the doctor for a broken leg, and being treated for lung cancer because he's smoked a pack a day for 20 years and so he is statistically more likely to have a lung cancer than a broken leg...
    Or, instead of the short person vs. tall person example given earlier, I would say it is more between a person who can't walk, and a person with a mental disorder.  We can see one disability, but we can't see the other.  It is easier to help the person who can't walk, we see that disability and make changes for it, as we should, but we think the person with the mental disorder should be fine because they look just like everyone else, so we don't help them, even if they actually need it more.

    Also, with races that are at a disadvantage, the problem is, we think we can fix it up here, when we need to be fixing it down there.  If a student can survive the police who are statistically more likely to pull them over, and being labeled a bad child, an all the other crap that is thrown their way, then they can apply and maybe get some help to get into grad school.  But what about the other children who can't survive?  We aren't fixing the inequality, just changing it at different levels.
  19. Upvote
    caffefreddo reacted to myohmichael in Sh*t people say when you are applying to grad school   
    My favorite so far?

    "Don't worry about it. It's your destiny."

    ....and they weren't kidding. And they didn't say it just once.... it's the latest comment on all grad school related facebook posts.

    Well. Let's hope "destiny" works in my favor?
  20. Upvote
    caffefreddo reacted to tdcp in When I am on an admissions committee, I will....   
    Send a ton of emails with subjects like:
    "We are pleased to announce...our fall seminar series on xyz"
    "Congratulations! ... you're on our mailing list!"
    "WELCOME...to spring! Here are the top 5 ways to enjoy YOUR spring equinox"
    "ADMISSIONS DECISIONs for undergraduate programs came at a slower pace in 2015 than previous years...more analysis inside"
  21. Upvote
    caffefreddo reacted to TXInstrument11 in When I am on an admissions committee, I will....   
    Maybe unusual - but my main goals would be automation and transparency - making the selection more fair, speeding the process up, and saving uncompetitive applicants time & money. 
    Integrate some kind of survey-esque/Qualtrics-like software that can quickly and neatly divide applicants based on the most relevant stats, such as GPA, GRE, and years of research experience [if most schools have this, they really have no excuse for their slowness]. If sub 3.5 GPAs don't cut the mustard and/or the university has strict GRE score requirements, auto-email all applicants fitting those criteria w/in a week of their submission with a short message explaining just why they were rejected so that they don't reapply next year.  (related to the above) Have such spoken and "unspoken" stats published on the admissions website. (related to the above) Release stats for the previous five years of admits.  If interviews are required, reject all applicants who are not invited to interview IMMEDIATELY. List whether or not faculty are seeking students on their webpages, preferably 2 month in advance of the application deadline. Indicate in instructions whether students should contact faculty or not; make it clear when individual faculty are responsible for accepting students [uT-Austin is, admittedly, very explicit on this front]. If I were a faculty member, have guidelines for exactly what I would want for a prospective to email me (CV + 1 page research statement, etc.) (related to above) Maintain a separate lab email for this purpose Expunge identifying information like name, race, gender, and undergrad/master's university from adcomm's first read-through materials. Add back in uni information and names only after top 5-10% are chosen based on CVs and SOPs. Publish this exact process as well as any other relevant procedures on the website.
  22. Upvote
    caffefreddo reacted to Tez92 in Another week of...nothing.   
    It's Monday everyone. My new favorite day of the week.
  23. Upvote
    caffefreddo reacted to juilletmercredi in Undergrad wanting to date a grad student   
    I don't see how any of this is directly relevant to what the OP asked.  The grad student may be interested in her - it's definitely not unheard of for older people to be interested in, date, and marry younger people.  A 9-year age gap isn't even the largest I've ever seen.  What averages are and whether women typically ask out men or vice versa is sort of unrelated...because we are talking about a very particular man, whose preferences we cannot divine from statistics.
    That said, I think, OP, that our interest in others can cause us to over-interpret the signals they send to us.  It's possible he was interested in you, and possible that you are just that cute girl he saw at the gym and interacted with on a regular basis.  He may have not asked you for your number because he was nervous even though he liked you - or maybe he's just nice, but not interested.
    Anyway, the only way to know is to ask him directly.  He hasn't made a move, even though you left the opening for him, so if you really want to see what's  up with this guy, take a risk and ask him out.  Since you want to go hiking, be bold and just ask "Hey, I found this cool hiking trail.  Wanna come try it with me X day?"  The coy hinting and waiting for him to ask you doesn't work, so go for what you want.  If he says no, you're none the worse - just in the same place you are now.
    As for the Psych Today article graphs on page 2 - as a social scientist myself I can't resist pointing out that this is a pretty unreliable survey to draw conclusions from.  I'm not unwilling to believe that men ask women out more often than women ask men out.  But the survey was done with just 31 men and 55 women, the majority of whom were college students and thus probably aged 18-22 (and also the other demographics that go along with college students - probably mostly white; decidedly all heterosexual; probably mostly middle or upper-middle-class, etc.)  We can't really generalize from 87 heterosexual teenagers, basically, what adult dating patterns are like.  I would imagine that the gender balance of preference and action becomes more equal as people get older.
  24. Upvote
  25. Upvote
    caffefreddo reacted to Eigen in Undergrad wanting to date a grad student   
    You do tend to judge a lot. 
    I have friends who are happily dating 19/20 year old girls, so I wouldn't say there's anything off about it. Some have even stayed together for quite some time. 
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