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About meow_schrödinger

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  • Location
    State College, PA
  • Application Season
    2016 Fall
  • Program
  1. I'll be starting a PhD program in biochemistry in a few weeks and I have to meet with the program advisor soon to set up my rotations. I pretty much have my top 6-7 labs picked out, but I'm wondering what's best: do I rotate with my favorite (top choice) lab first or last? Is there an advantage to either? We get to rotate through three labs before deciding, so obviously I will keep my options open out of the three. So, should I rotate with my top choice lab first or last? Thanks in advance!
  2. I recently graduated from college and will be in a biochemistry Ph.D. program beginning in the Fall. I decided to apply to graduate schools at the beginning my junior (3rd) year, because I planned to graduate after my third year (and I did). I had 5 semesters and one summer of research experience at my institution, as well as a research internship last summer at another. I completed my degree (in chemistry) in three years, but I didn't broadcast that in my applications. Obviously, it was on my resume and indicated by my "duration of attendance" at my university, but I didn't want to use it as a selling point, so to speak. Actually, I wasn't sure whether graduate programs would consider my ambition an advantage or a disadvantage, and I didn't want to make it a big deal. On one hand, a grad school could see your accelerated undergrad career as evidence of perseverance and dedication, but on the other, they might ask why you didn't stay longer to complete another major or minor or to do more research. They might wonder what you missed out on by completing your program early. You certainly sound like you'll have the qualifications, but significant research experience and strong letters of recommendation are incredibly important to how your application may fare. Ph.D. programs, in sciences especially, are often accompanied by a stipend, meaning the institution is making an investment in YOU, not the other way around. They'll likely want to know that each of the applicants they admit is completely dedicated to the program and the department. (This is why many prospective med students will take time before going to medical school to pursue a Masters degree or work). In the end, I decided that grad school is the path for me. But everyone is different, and your preference may well change within the next year or so as you begin your college career. You can only benefit from working a bit once you graduate (lab tech, industry, etc.); there's no rush. See what the few semesters bring (a lot can change, believe me), and start thinking about this again next summer. Good luck!
  3. I'm a bit of a planner snob, so I've tried out many of the options available. In my opinion (for my use), you'll want something large enough to handle all of your daily tasks, but also not so large that it will be cumbersome, making you less likely to use it. For my first two years of undergrad, I used the "At-A-Glance" brand (I believe mine came from Staples), because they are about the size of notebooks and have plenty of space for my activities, meetings, lab work, classwork, etc. For my last year of undergrad, I took the plunge and purchased an Erin Condren Life Planner, which, in all its glory, is an excellent planner, but ended up being overkill for me. I enjoyed that it gave me ample space to write down tasks, but there were also so many aspects of it that I felt were unnecessary. To start off my grad school adventure, I'm going to use a bullet journal, which, from my lurking on youtube, seems to be a great way to customize your planner experience and give you exactly what you're looking for. The catch, though, is that it's just a notebook so there will be some work on your end to set one up the way you please, but it can be as simple or as detailed as you'd like. I'm excited to try this method for keeping my tasks in order, but also for accountability for other things like finances and healthy eating.
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