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About AbaNader

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  1. This is the first time I'm hearing this and I've been an international student for many many years. Your I-20 is separate from your passport. The embassy probably stapled it for their own convenience. Generally, nothing NEEDS to be stapled into your passport but its a good idea to keep the I-94 departure record (this is a form you will get at arrival) stapled into your passport. Infact, the I-94 (at least the part that you get to keep) has a "staple here" place. Just make sure you know the real strict rules and don't sweat the small stuff. Its not a big deal.
  2. Dal PhDer: your adviser sounds like a complete J A C K A S S. Sorry, but it had to be said.
  3. An idea: Ask him "out of professional curiosity": how much more work is normally expected from someone to assume first authorship? I want to become the first author on a paper, for my career, and I really want to know what it takes to get that. If you ask him like that, you aren't brushing up against him or directly challenging his decision to relegate you to the last author but rather just asking for his advice. When he does explain what it normally takes to get first authorship, ask inquisitively about what he thinks of the level of your work in the current paper, i.e., how much more would warrant first authorship in his opinion. You can ask him questions like, is authorship based more on brute work or idea input or critical analysis, etc. Of course, I am just speaking roughly since you'll have to word it carefully so he doesn't misconstrue what you're saying. If after all that 10-15 minute discussion he still doesn't offer to change authorship or defer your first authorship to a future paper or some other accomodation, IMHO you should just ignore it. He has already made a mental note of your thinking/objectives and its not worth butting heads with him on noncritical issues early on in your PhD career. Good luck!
  4. I've been in your same position (similar GPA, profile, etc.) except I had the benefits of some publications. I cannot stress how important letters of recommendations (LORs) are. When you ask for a LOR, don't ask IF they can write you one, ask if they can write you a STRONG one. If they don't explicitly say their LOR will be strong (i.e. specific with examples showing why you are a great candidate) then don't ask them to write you one. Ideally the LOR should be from someone who knows you intimately (not just, she got an A in my class intimate) and is well known in their field and/or has connections at places you will be applying to. If you can't find the perfect LOR writer (and probably won't) try to mix and match so you have a good combination of writers. Since you have an year till you finish, use this time to "prep" your LOR writers. Going to them just before you want a LOR won't get you a good one. Give them a chance to know you, talk to you, ask questions about courses, pitch research ideas (don't worry about how wacky they sound - they are great conversation starters and shows you are thinking out of the box), just relax around the professors and they'll write you a good LOR. Everyone has their personality types and professors tend to be very rigid, especially with what they expect from their students. Some relax and open up when a student shows confidence, assertiveness and maturity. Some others become tense and threatened when this happens so they like students to well just act like minions. You just have to read their responses and adjust your behavior with them to put them at ease so they can get to know you better. Remember, you are just an undergraduate at the start of the day, but with a little work and a little persistence, you can become much more than that. That is what you need for an LOR. I noticed professors love to talk about themselves and about their work. They love it even more when you come to them for their expert advice (it is usually good IMHO). This is more true of junior professors than the senior ones who have been jaded by years of brown nosing by both undergraduate as well as graduates, and of course the mandatory awards that come with faculty promotion. You can take advantage of this by asking their advice about whether to attend graduate school; what their personal opinion is about it. This will give them a chance to get to know you and you can open up to them since they can't really answer that question for you without knowing you. At another stage you can inquire about what schools to apply to. Give them ownership of the situation, make them feel invested in your success. They will always be on "your side" if you do that. The other important part of the application is the statement of purpose. You can review these with faculty members as well. Show it to them and ask "would you accept as a graduate student based on this SOP?". The SOP is really important. You need to show determination, focus and maturity. You need to talk as if you know exactly what you are going to do and why you are going to do it. Leave the generalities for the beginning and the end. But the main parts of the SOP should show determination, focus and maturity. Its tough to do it, but I found envisioning success to be the easiest way to get beyond the SOP. First envision your SOP being this amazing thing that your professors and all the grad schools will be awed by, then believe with conviction that you WILL write it like that. It takes a while to get this and is really a paradigm shift for most people but it helps tremendously to get over yourself and frees your mind to write like a beast. Otherwise, you'll be second guessing yourself, looking for some measure of unknown perfection, copying others, etc. Just free your mind and I'm sure you'll write a stellar SOP that really shows who you are and what you want. I've gone through two application cycles, attended school at 3-4 different institutions - some ranked in the top 10 in their field, worked under 4 different professors, so I think I can say I've "been there and done that".
  5. Just my name (first, last) in my personal email. My name, title, work address, website, phone number on my professional emails. It makes it easier for people to identify you and contact you in other ways if they need to (has happened before). I don't put in any personal details/emails, etc.
  6. Yeah I screwed up the battery by draining it to 0% a couple of times. I forgot these new Lithium ion batteries get worse if you drain them unlike the older Nickel metal hydride ones that required cycling.
  7. Word. That's my only beef with my thinkpad...the battery power.
  8. Since I own both: a personal Thinkpad T420 I bought last November and a top-of-the-line Macbook Pro provided by my work recently (I don't know the specs but they have a habit of going for the best thing available), I think I can make an informed judgment. I almost never use my MBPro if I don't have to. It is just too big and seems much to fragile compared to my thinkpad. The thinkpad is versatile, I dropped it a couple of times on stone floor and it doesn't complain, the keyboard feels waaay better, the little trackpoint is handy, and it just feels good. The MBPro is more of a fancy personal computer. I use it to run some of my optimization code or when I need to video chat with someone (the camera is much better than on the thinkpad); the sound on it is also much better. Maybe its because everyone else at work has one but for me it doesn't even have that "status appeal" that some people crave for anymore (not me but I realize some people want to look like they're hip...). Also I think this is unorthodox but I never grew accustomed to MacOSX despite this being my third Mac (I owned two when I was an undergraduate). I never liked the lack of a taskbar and it always irritated me to have to switch windows. I also feel like the design and build quality on the older macs (circa 2005-07) was better than the newer ones (for e.g. I don't know why they changed the first magnetic charger plug style they had -- the new one is more aesthetically appealing but functionally much worse).
  9. I was in your same position the last time I applied. I am now holding an offer from one of my top schools. What did I do? Well after I got over my anger, blame, depression, etc., I sat down calmly and did some pretty thorough research on students who got accepted to the schools I wanted to go to. Where did they do their undergrad? What was their GPA? What was their GRE score? How many/what type of publications did they have? Who probably wrote their recommendation letters? After doing that, I then researched what professors typically look for (they is a surprisingly large amount of information on this online - written by professors). I then looked at my own profile, and circled all my weakness. I then gave myself 2 years to overcome all those difficulties. I don't want to talk about specifics about how approached the problems in my application but I'd be happy to share my experiences over PM. Bottom line: you can do it if you want but you need a ton of patience and a ton of determination.
  10. I've so far worked for 4 different professors at different schools and I strongly identify with your experiences; I guess that is why I started this thread.Does anyone have any advice about how to choose a mentor and how to approach "the chosen one" about it?
  11. Thanks for the calm, contemplative comments.
  12. I didn't read ghanda's reply but it deserves a thumbs up for length, if nothing else. :-)
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