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  1. Upvote
    haselnuss got a reaction from bolide in UNC Chapel Hill 2017   
    I'm moving in from out of state, and I will not be able to visit to tour any apartments or anything. The area is really nice overall compared to where I live, so I'm not too concerned about safety or cleanliness, and I've already lived in some apartments with crappy landlords, dealing with maintenance, etc. You can also have bad neighbors no matter where you go. My plan is to find a nice-seeming place that is conveniently located and sign a year lease. If I don't like the apartment I can spend a lot of time on campus and move to a new apartment next summer.
    To find a place, I've looked at google maps and typed the name of the building where I'll have my classes, then "apartments." Carrboro area is where a lot of grad students live. Durham is good for grad students too because it's inexpensive due to a bad reputation in the past, but over the last decade or two things have gotten really nice over there. This is information I got from students and professors. 
    You can also search on apartments.com or rent.com, but once you find a place you would want to go to the apartment's website rather than dealing with apartments.com or rent.com. I'd always rather deal with the apartment management than a third party website. 
    One thing I've noticed that I have never seen before is that rent goes up and up and up every day/week/month closer we get to August. They know students will need to find a place ad take advantage of the desperation we have for housing and jack up the prices. It's a good idea to try to secure a place ASAP rather than wait. 
  2. Upvote
    haselnuss reacted to Eigen in Getting off to a good start   
    Honestly? Because a PhD is the time to set yourself up for the rest of your career. 
    Post-doctoral work and TT positions just get busier, not easier, and the stakes are higher. Learning how to balance your work and life while you're in grad school, and the stakes aren't as high, is how you become a productive academic long term. 
    I know a PhD program is hard work and difficult, as does Fuzzy- we're both almost done with our programs. 
    You can, and should, expect to have a work-life balance in graduate school. 
  3. Downvote
    haselnuss reacted in Getting off to a good start   
    I am not saying I will be only studying the whole time but I can't have major distractions like some people do, they would take up too much time and to me it is nothing more than an additional burden weighing me down. I just want to approach my studies these four years very seriously, a PhD program is a lot more work and more difficult plus you are being graded, so you cannot expect to have work life balance. Plus it is not like you are not going to have plenty of time to enjoy your pets, hobbies ,relationships,  once you are done so why not them put them aside temporarily so you can be the most productive in your studies and research.
  4. Upvote
    haselnuss reacted to Eigen in Getting off to a good start   
    See, personally, I feel that working on one task (school) for more than a certain amount per week (usually around 50 hours or so, depending) has severely diminishing returns. 
    Keeping other interests in life, relationships and leisure activities gives your brain time to work on different tasks, or have downtime, and you usually end up better for it- your research and studies as well, in my opinion. 
    That's not to say that there aren't crunch times where you have to work more, but my anecdotal experience is that people working more than 50 or 60 hours a week are usually less efficient than those working less, and tend to spend more time on tasks that could be finished in less. Most European researchers, I've found, are very dedicated at working a short, highly productive week. They get in, take the job seriously, work 8 hours, and then clock out and do something else. It makes their working time more productive, and limits burnout. 
    You may think that you're the kind of person that avoids burnout, but I have not yet met someone who isn't susceptible to it in some way- you may just be less productive, you may miss connections that you'd otherwise see in your work, or you may just not have as good of a perspective of how your work fits in the broader scheme of things. 
    There are a lot of discussions on the inter webs about work-life balance, and I have yet to see any convincing data that focussing on your work to the exclusion of all else in your life is ever beneficial, and there are lots of suggestions that it's actually detrimental, both to the quality of your life and the quality of your work. 
  5. Upvote
    haselnuss reacted to GradHooting in Getting off to a good start   
    Based on personal experience (which I'm sure you'll find in other threads here), I offer advice similar to the above posters: Keep in tune with your emotional well-being.  You will be very motivated going directly into graduate school and you might feel compelled to jump into your studies full force, wanting to, perhaps, stay ahead, to understand the topics early on.  Be careful with this method.  As the above poster said: take baby steps, pace yourself.  Keep any budding obsession with classes and grades in check.  You want to do well in classes, but they are absolutely secondary in graduate school.  Meet colleagues, get to know them, find ways you can help them with their own studies.  You'll help yourself through helping them.  Also, they will find you to be a helpful person and will exchange their own time and assistance if they're decent people.
  6. Upvote
    haselnuss reacted to Tall Chai Latte in Getting off to a good start   
    Eigen has good pointers. I want to add that things will be much harder in grad school, especially during your first year. Be prepared! Your wellbeing is the top priority. You can't work 24/7! That said, schedule in down times to unwind. Seek supports from your cohort and be friends with them, or find a hobby that you can do when you are not studying/doing research. This will make your transition a lot smoother and prevent burnouts.
    It is especially important to stay optimistic. Being pessimistic will really erode your motivation slowly, to a point of causing you to drop out. This is most prevalent when you are in the middle of your PhD. I have bouts of existential crisis and doubts of my own ability from time to time, the advice I got is "never fear, push forward!". Take baby steps when it seems too much. 
  7. Upvote
    haselnuss reacted to Eigen in Getting off to a good start   
    What I've noticed that tends to give a bad impression in past first year students in our program. Some of these, hopefully most of these, should be really obvious. 
    Don't focus too much on classes, and not enough on everything else. Courses should be a minor part of what defines you as a graduate student/researcher. When your life revolves around courses, and you spend hours not in the lab because you're "studying" for courses we all know don't need that much study time, it makes you seem like you don't really get what grad school is about. 
    While it's obvious, act like an adult. Be professional in your interactions with people, own mistakes you've made and move on without too many excuses. Don't be the guy that can't get over the fact that he now knows people who are married/have kids/are in their 30s. 
    That said, treat your work like a job. You're getting paid to take school seriously and do research. If you show up at 10, go to a class, hit the gym for 2 hours and leave at 3, you likely won't make good impressions. That said, you don't need to make school and your work the entirety of your life. 
    Along with that, lean how to be at least a little bit social. You don't want to be the new department party animal (well, you might, but that's on you), but you also don't want to be that first year who never does anything social with the department, and leaves all the department functions early/doesn't come. 
    Don't be too cocky. Sure, you'll hear some of the 4/th/5th/6th year students talk critically about a seminar speaker in their area, or a faculty member deconstruct a colleagues research. That doesn't mean you should always do the same. Don't be the first year who talks about how some of the faculty are deadweight/have bad research/aren't as smart as they are. 
  8. Upvote
    haselnuss reacted to ATMIT in How to decline an offer politely?   
    If you had just asked about the program, you don't have email the professors. But if you had contacted them about their research work and projects, It would be courteous to email them that you had found a project in university A, which closely matches your interests.
    You don't have to inform the graduate office of admission. If there is an online portal please decline the offer of admission there. If a reason is asked, mention that you received an offer from another program which closely matches your interests.
  9. Upvote
    haselnuss got a reaction from pepperlatte in French MA/PhD program responses   
    Not yet! Most of my applications were due last week or during winter break, so I don't expect to hear anything for a little while still. Doesn't make waiting any easier though. 
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