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Lisa_McCoy

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  1. Hi, this conversation is such a pertinent one especially in a climate where both the thesis writer and the guide are attempting to regularly contextualize the work in the larger political and academic milieu. I had the very terrible experience of having to request my committee to change my guide. I was interested in the ethical approaches to information systems and the way it could or could not be mapped on to the networks in social system. I was especially interested in the works of George Reynolds (look at Fundamentals of Information Systems last two chapters to get the dude's drift) but my guide was very adamant about it. Initially, I thought it was because of her concern for me but gradually i realized that she was pushing me in a direction that was more conducive and easier for her. Had I continued with the work that I was proposing, she'd have had to do a lot more of reading and learning and updating herself. So my big point here is that remember that this is your work for your academic life and you should be able to have a say in it. Having said that, do engage with your guide and see why they seem so reluctant to pay heed to your position.
  2. There are few more forums like Postgraduate Forum, The Student Room and College Confidential which graduate students can check out. But by far, GradCafe is the best!
  3. I can't say about all cities, but most US college cities are well connected and have public transport options. Car is a luxury not a necessity.
  4. Try running. It not only keeps you fit but makes your body feel alive. I don't believe in hitting the gym but for past 5 months I have made it a point to run a few miles everyday and I could tell the huge difference it has made on my mindset. Other than running, try reading philosophical or spiritual books. I know they are not everyone's cup of tea but they keep me motivated towards life and keep me away from burn out.
  5. Reading minds would be a great super power...I feel like I am surrounded by too many fake "friends"
  6. Since you are doing PhD, allocating most of the time for research makes more sense than taking a class. However, as advised by everyone, it is better to talk to your advisor about this so that both of you are on the same page.
  7. It depends on how much you are willing to compromise. You need to choose what is more important to you - faculty job or being with family. Can you let go a faculty position at a reputed university in far off city for the sake of being close to family? If your answer is yes, then you can always find some teaching job or the other at colleges that are near your hometown. But if you want to a faculty position at some of the best universities, then you should be willing to make sacrifice of staying away from loved ones.
  8. The fear that your accent is incomprehensible should not stop you from speaking in English and sharing your thoughts. It will be difficult to adjust initially, but you can pick up a different (better) accent with time. But for that to happen, you need to converse in English regularly without being worried about your accent. So many immigrants pick up American accents in matter of few months.
  9. You are not at fault. Such things happen in research. In fact, committing errors is a natural sign of progress as you get to analyze your mistake and understand the data in hand in a better way. As for the summer student, he is bound to feel frustrated and blame his mentors for the mistakes like every other research student on earth. From what I have read, it seems like you genuinely want to help him. So, don't hold back from speaking a few encouraging words to him and make him believe that you can truly help him with his research.
  10. A lunch or dinner should not be turned into question and answer session about the post doc's research and presentation. While it is okay to mention it in the passing, avoid annoying the guest by asking to many subject related questions. Use the time to know about the likes and dislikes of the person, and engage in discussions on lighter topics like books, art etc.
  11. Is this the second time when your gpa has dropped below 3? If yes, then your only option I think is to talk to all the professors and convince one of them to give you a chance to earn extra credit.
  12. Don't worry about the length of the essay before you start writing it. First, plan your essay and answer the questions up to your satisfaction. Once first draft is ready, read, edit, repeat until the essay looks precise and to the point. That's what I follow and I have never faced any flak regarding the length of the essay.
  13. Since your professor had mentioned that it is of 'publishable quality', I think that you should get in touch with her and see if she could help you with reworking of your paper. Don't wait for too long as you would just get caught up with other things in life like grad school, job etc and lose interest.
  14. I had similar communication problems with a professor. While I was frustrated, a fellow TA gave me this great piece of advice - "You are an assistant to this professor. Your job is to aid the professor in his lessons. If the professor is being laid back, you being uptight is not going to help. You have to find the perfect bond which works for both of you." Since that day, I adapted myself to the professor's pace and did my job the way he wanted me to.
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