underscore_frosty

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About underscore_frosty

  • Rank
    Decaf
  • Birthday January 15

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Washington
  • Interests
    Where to start...
  • Application Season
    2017 Fall
  • Program
    Computer Science
  1. Long story short, my application for medical leave for mental health reasons was denied (thankfully I had this semester "forgiven" in a sense). I talked with my dad and after some back and forth he thinks I should drop out, take a year off, focus on work and my health, and then reevaluate my options next fall. Overall meaning delaying grad school by 2 years or so (assuming I don't start reapplying at this moment). Talking with my mother yielded the same result although she thinks I should somehow appeal the decision (not sure on how to do this since I was denied based on a technicality). for leave because this was/is my first semester at the university. There's also a situation with my landlord where I've told him, in writing and with his written confirmation/agreement that I will be terminating the lease at the beginning of the year, so I'm not sure if I can possibly back out of this if I need to. Basically it seems like my only two options are to drop out and reevaluate my situation, or step up and go back to school. I'm leaning towards going back to school with the only issue being the landlord thing mentioned earlier. But, I'm not sure I'm ready to yet considering the circumstances as to why I left for the semester. I know that ultimately it all depends on me and what I want (I am an adult as you know), but what are your opinions? Should I dropout and reevaluate things, or should I pack my bags and head back to school? Many thanks in advance!
  2. I recently completed (or will complete) my first semester as a computer science PhD student. However, I had to withdraw for the semester due to mental health issues (attempted suicide, you get the picture) and am seeking a medical leave of absence for the Spring semester to get my mind back in order (partially moved back home, seeing a psychiatrist and a psychologist, finally have a PCP, yada yada yada). My question is, how is this going to affect me academically? My school's policies aren't too clear on what happens when granting a leave of absence (for whatever reason) other than re-enrollment costs nothing. Can I repeat classes (which I need to do because of my withdrawal) or do I pick up where I left off? Am I still bound to do my QEs in the allotted time period? Basically, what are your guys' experience with medical leave? Secondly, how will this affect my RA? My advisor has said the department will stop paying my stipend when I announce my leave, i.e. when and if it is approved (not a big deal since I have a second job and RAs here are renewed by the semester so I wouldn't get it next semester anyways). Basically, will I be able to come back to my RA after my leave or am I SOL in this regard? Thanks in advance! (I submitted this originally in the wrong forum)
  3. I recently completed (or will complete) my first semester as a computer science PhD student. However, I had to withdraw for the semester due to mental health issues (attempted suicide, you get the picture) and am seeking a medical leave of absence for the Spring semester to get my mind back in order (partially moved back home, seeing a psychiatrist and a psychologist, finally have a PCP, yada yada yada). My question is, how is this going to affect me academically? My school's policies aren't too clear on what happens when granting a leave of absence (for whatever reason) other than re-enrollment costs nothing. Can I repeat classes (which I need to do because of my withdrawal) or do I pick up where I left off? Am I still bound to do my QEs in the allotted time period? Basically, what are your guys' experience with medical leave? Secondly, how will this affect my RA? My advisor has said the department will stop paying my stipend when I announce my leave, i.e. when and if it is approved (not a big deal since I have a second job and RAs here are renewed by the semester so I wouldn't get it next semester anyways). Basically, will I be able to come back to my RA after my leave or am I SOL in this regard? Thanks in advance!
  4. Anyone else starting PhD with chronic illness?

    Well, I'm not chronically physically ill, but I am suffering from chronic mental illness and I'll be starting my PhD in computer science this fall. My mental health journey has been...an interesting experience to say the least. It started about 2 or so years ago when I was about half-way through my 3rd year of undergrad (this is my 5th and final year). As of right now my diagnoses are schizoaffective disorder (depressive type, mood disorder dominant), panic disorder, HPPD, PTSD, and Aspberger's/HFA. It's been difficult and there were times when it severely affected all aspects of my life, college and family included. There were times when literally everyone who knew about my condition was urging me to dropout and consider long term hospitalization (this came after, we'll just say, a credible threat to my safety). There were more times than I care to mention when I seriously considered giving up for good. But I pushed through and now here I am 2 years later about to graduate with a BS in computer science and well on my way to starting a PhD. I know doing a PhD is order of magnitude more stressful and difficult than undergrad, but I feel that now that I have matured some and learned to cope with my conditions I should be able to get through this.
  5. It depends on the school. Some allow students who have little or no CS experience to complete fundamental courses before they can start on their masters coursework. Generally though, for students who don't have an undergraduate degree in CS, the requirements are that you have completed the requisite core coursework and have demonstrated proficiency in CS. For core coursework, this is usually an introductory programming course or two, a data structures course, an algorithms course, a systems programming/operating systems course, a software engineering course, a year of calculus, an introductory statistics/probability theory course, and a discrete mathematics course. That said, I know that at some universities they allow students who are deficient any of the core coursework to take those classes before being granted full status as a masters student. For LORs, it doesn't necessarily matter what field the letter writer works in so long as they can speak to your academic and research ability within the context of CS. However, it would be much better for your letters to come from CS professors provided they're familiar with you beyond the classroom. If you can't find those types of writers, it is much better to have someone who knows you well write you a LOR than someone who only knew you within the context of the classroom (those types of LORs are called DWICs, Did Well In Class and don't really say much as to who the student really is as a computer scientist). Research experience is not that crucial for a masters program, but it does help a lot to have some experience. Doesn't necessarily have to be CS research just so long as you're familiar with how academic research is conducted. Again, that said, much better to have CS related research experience. Here's my advice if you really want to pursue a MS in CS degree. I would take a few semesters to knock out the core coursework and if able to, get on a faculty member's current research project whether this is simply running the experiments and gathering data versus writing the experiments yourself, paid versus volunteer work doesn't matter. If your goal is to become a software engineer or information security analyst, there is really no need to take anymore classes than you need to and you don't need an undergraduate degree in CS. You can teach yourself the things required to be a successful software engineer or information security analyst. Teaching yourself the basic concepts and principles of information security is actually not a very hard task. The issue is demonstrating you have the requisite knowledge and this comes from either having various security related certifications or a degree in a related field like IT, MIS, or CS. The easiest route to take is to get the certifications. I would look at the CompTIA Security+, (ISC)2 SSCP, ECIH, and GCIH certifications. Study material for each is readily available. Hope this helps.
  6. Employment vs. grad school

    Well, working in information security is already stressful enough as it is, I can only imagine how stressful it is being the sole security engineer AND manager of of the security operations center as well. He's generally a nice guy, just very, very particular with how things are done or should be done. And when he gets angry, it's more of the 'disappointed father' type of anger than violently angry. Regardless, I'm confident I made the right decision.
  7. Employment vs. grad school

    Well, I've decided grad school, but I haven't told my employer yet. I'm trying to figure out a way to gently break the news to my direct supervisor, but I don't know if I would even be able to as he's a very serious and intimidating person. It's not that he's a terrifying boss, just that he has a very low threshold for things that annoy or anger him and I really want to avoid him becoming infuriated.
  8. Fall 2017 Applicant Profile and Admission Results

    Well, accepted to the PhD program at WSU. Talk about a nail biter though. Unofficial notification on the 14th, official notification on the 17th, needed to make a decision by 5pm on the 19th. Put me in quite the predicament as I had already accepted the offer from BSU since I wasn't expecting to hear back from WSU. I understand there are no legal ramifications of declining an offer after accepting it, but I really didn't feel that great about rescinding my acceptance and I really didn't like the idea of potentially burning bridges so early. But as I understand it now, while this isn't a common occurrence, it does happen and while it might make some people upset, they probably won't hold a grudge.
  9. Well, Friday is fast approaching and I still haven't decided what I want to do. I'm stuck between choosing either employment or pursuing a graduate degree (where doesn't really matter at this point) When I was applying back in the fall, I wasn't really expecting to get in anywhere, let alone get in with funding. So, realizing that I'm graduating soon and need to have a plan, I start looking for work. I find out by word of mouth that a company I've been interested in working for is hiring. So, naturally, I sent in my resume, but again, I wasn't really expecting anything to come out of it. Well, a couple weeks later I get the job and have been working there for the last few months. Now I've got a job and some acceptance letters and can't decide on which I want to pursue. On the one hand a job offers stability and relieves a lot of stress about what comes after graduation. Not only that, but I have a lot of loyalty for the company I work for and they're pretty invested in me staying long term (why else would they pay for a certification and give me, an intern, a raise). Also, I've built friendships at this company and I feel like leaving so soon would burn a lot of bridges really fast. On the other hand, grad school is what I've been working towards for most of my adult life. To give up on it so soon is just crappy and I really don't like that my employer doesn't want me going to grad school. Again, I also feel like not choosing grad school would also burn bridges because I have connections at these schools that go back a few years and I feel like I would let these people down. Basically, they've also invested a lot in me. Yeah, I understand that I can always go to grad school later, and that's something I might take into consideration, but you know, how much longer would I have to wait to pursue my dreams? Also, I really like working for this company and would like to continue doing so, but they've made it clear I would have to either choose grad school or working for them, there would be no compromise. Of course, I could always come back after I finish my degree, but would they even want me back? Would they even be able to offer me a position in 4 or 5 years? There are just too many unknowns for me to make a definite decision right now and I'm going to have to do a lot of meditating on this. I've talked to coworkers and supervisors, half say to stay at the company, the other half say to pursue what I want and I'm not sure which side is more correct. I just really don't know what to do.
  10. Fall 2017 Applicant Profile and Admission Results

    UPDATE: WSU (PhD): Meeting with POI either in person tomorrow morning (he'll be in my neck of the woods tomorrow for a conference), or a chat over the phone on Friday. Getting a little excited about this. This is the same POI I talked with last year when I applied (but had to withdraw my application since my graduation was delayed by A YEAR ). It seemed like I made a good impression last year because he asked me, if they were able to secure some sort of funding for an REU type experience, whether I would be interested in such a position over the summer. To hear back from him again this year is a very good sign.
  11. Fall 2017 Applicant Profile and Admission Results

    UPDATE: BSU (MS in CS, thesis option): Accepted as of 4 hours ago with funding. Email direct from the Director of Graduate Studies who is also the Professor I want to work with. Area of interest here is formal methods in SE. WSU (PhD): Still waiting... EWU (MS in CS, thesis option): Still waiting...
  12. Anyone else feeling hopeless?

    @ThousandsHardships Oh, I know it's a numbers game, but I just couldn't afford to apply to as many schools as I could. There were 6 or 7 I was going to apply to, but I had to narrow that down to 3 for financial reasons. Not only that, but the CS department at my university is very small in comparison to the number of people taking CS classes or in the CS program, so my letter writers didn't necessarily have the time to submit quite a few letters (I figure there are at least a few more CS undergrads lat my university looking towards grad school). I think my game plan is going to shift next year and instead of shooting for all PhD programs like I did last year, I'll just aim for MS programs instead. I remember last year when I actually had an interview at one of the universities I applied to the interviewer said it was pretty ambitious to go straight into a PhD from a BS. But anyways, here's to hoping.
  13. Anyone heard from WSU or BSU?

    I mean, last year when I applied to WSU I had a phone interview with a POI in mid-February. I had to withdraw my application though since my graduation was going to be delayed by a year because I had to retake a few core classes. Perhaps they've received more applications than usual and it is taking awhile to review them. Still, 3 months without hearing anything other than, "We've received your application," is a little frustrating.
  14. Anyone heard from WSU or BSU?

    So, I applied to the PhD in CS program at WSU (Washington State University) and BSU (Boise State) about 3 or so months ago, but I have yet to hear anything from either. Looking at the results database I'm seeing that at least a few people have received admits from WSU for the same program. I know these aren't particularly high ranking or top choice schools, but I'm just wondering if anyone else who uses this forum has applied at these schools and if they have heard back yet, positive or negative. Thanks.
  15. Fall 2017 Applicant Profile and Admission Results

    Still waiting... Kind of frustrating and anxiety inducing when you are seeing more and more people receiving decisions from the schools you applied to, but you have yet to hear anything.