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samman1994 last won the day on September 23 2017

samman1994 had the most liked content!


About samman1994

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  • Birthday July 2

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    Getting into grad school
  • Application Season
    2018 Fall
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  1. Hard to say, in this case it's more along the lines of what your interests are. I looked at international schools when I was looking to apply; however I didn't want to take out loans so I went straight into a PhD (can only do this in America and I believe some Canadian universities). If you're looking to move back home when you're done, then you'll have to also consider what the job prospects look like at home. I.E. I have many friends from Iran who come here (America) to study, and they all get degrees in either mechanical/electrical/chemical engineering since that's what's hot back in Iran.
  2. Hello everyone, Some grad students at my university are creating an outreach program where they go to low funded schools and try to expose students there to science via workshops and lectures. And from there, bring a select few to the university and spend a few weeks in the lab. They also wanted to create a resource where these students could reach out for help and advice (very much like gradcafe). I had a slightly different idea, I wanted to create a branch of this program that focused more on getting these students jobs in science. The truth is, most undergrads are overqualified for entry level positions in QC and manufacturing. These jobs mostly require following protocol, and the skills they require A) most undergrads lack and B ) are easily acquired working the job. There are a few very crucial skills (i.e. pipetting, GMP/FDA regulations, notebook keeping, dilution factors, analytical chemistry basics), that I think could easily be taught over a summer in a 2 to 3 week workshop. This program would also include resume building and interviewing skills (focus on scientific resumes). I am in the process of trying to reach out to some of the non-profits in the area, and some biotech cluster groups (e.g. like launchbio), organizations that have access to various higher ups in the companies. My goal is to try and get into contact with these individuals and find out A) Would they hire an applicant with a high school diploma only, assuming they have all other prerequisite skills B ) What skills are the most crucial and highly valued for these positions (e.g. this would be used to design the cirricculum). I need to first determine whether or not companies would even hire these students before I go any further with my idea. I have a draft of the email I am looking to send to these organizations; however as I'm sure you can see by the above, I'm not the greatest writer. I also feel like the email might be a bit too long as it stands, but I don't quite know what to cut out. So I'm honestly looking for any type of feedback. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1vkkGtw0stdJywvaIS6yoWD17M6EqBGwnvW4iOPJ6Hcg/edit?usp=sharing As always thank you ahead of time!!
  3. As above, I'd recommend you include it. Something minor like that shouldn't be an issue. I believe this question is more being asked for those that may have been expelled/probation from a prior university for things such as drug use, plagarism, research fraud, low gpa scores etc. Things that would actively apply to the current program you'd be applying to.
  4. I'd strongly recommend getting some type of plastic hard casing to transport it. You don't want to spend half a gran+ on a laptop only to realize you now need to spend a couple hundred bucks on repairs for a monitor or a keyboard. I don't use any antivirus on my computer, I find those things heavily slow down my computer, and I only use my computer for lab work (i.e. reading papers, journals, powerpoints etc.). So there should be no way I get a virus (although I back up all my data on a weekly basis). Treat it gently, and try to minimize transport. I have 2 computers, one at work (an expensive one used exclusively for research), and another at home (a piece of shit used for everything else). I usually just leave my laptop in the lab so I don't have to take it back and forth with me and risk damaging it in the process (it's cheaper to buy 2 laptops and keep them for 5 years than buy a laptop and have to repair or replace it every other year due to damage). Open/close screens slowly. If you bring it home never leave it on the ground (you might step on it), don't grab it and carry it by the screen, avoid food/water near it (again, I use my computer in lab, so no food/water), etc.
  5. In terms of what to do, every university should have a research ethics committee/department, you could go talk to them about your complaint (I believe these are used to report fraudulent research, but they should still be able to lead you into the right direction). However, as Marine said, it could be a department culture, and this plague can go up the chain so that your complaints mean very little and nothing will done about them. It's also difficult because abuse comes in different forms. Many professors can be the nicest of people, but they don't realize the burdens and difficulties of some of their requests. They can potentially keep throwing projects on you, and increase your work load. They could repeatedly push you for results, and consistently pressure you to take on these projects even if you protest that you are overworked already and don't have the time. These can be even harder to report because outside of those that are actively grad students in the program, will be unable to relate and might not take your reports seriously. In other forms, they may constantly ask you to write papers/grants, throw their proposals on you. They might constantly ask you to go to conferences on their behalf and present your work, etc. I would say these are also different forms. These are just difficult to report because they aren't the classical definitions of abuse, nor are they intentional, and these reports may easily be written off. All in all, I'm afraid to say I have yet to see an actual HR type group composed of currently enrolled grad students, for grad students. A student body that can actively take these reports and give them the push to get things moving and get action taken. As for tenure professors....lets just say I've seen and heard stories of abuse that should land some of these people in jail, and most schools just prefer to turn the other cheek until people either stop complaining, or graduate and leave. There is very little in accountability for these professors, most schools would prefer to offer counseling to help grad students endure these issues, rather than resolve the actual issues with the professors themselves.
  6. Highly depends. A MS will have a dissertation, and potentially publications (your defense is considered a publication), so you automatically have a step up and evidence of your work compared to undergrad applicants. A MS will also have experience in the graduate process (writing, reading papers, doing research, etc.), this again will give you a step up. A MS will also have at least a LOR from their PI, a person who has gotten to know them (hopefully) for sometime and has followed their work and should have a good idea of their personality (these are substantially stronger than professors you've taken a course or 2 with), again another step up. All the above gives your application more weight, and thus, the GRE less weight. That being said, you might not have any publications, your PI might be very hands off and doesn'tknow you very well, your dissertation may be poorly written, etc. And vice versa, you might have an undergrad who did do research and did have publications, and collaborations (so great LOR), etc. In general, because of the above, a MS GRE will have less weight than an undergrads GRE; however as I have stated, you could have exceptions, and as others have also stated, the school is important as well (how much weight they put into each of the above criteria varies school to school/program to program). Edit: Just wanted to say, if you did get a low GRE score. PhD programs are competitive, and the GRE is still an important factor. If you got a low score and have the ability to take it again, I would strongly recommend you do so. You want every edge you can get.
  7. There are multiple things people look for in a letter of rec. Some of those may include your knowledge or skill in the particular field you're applying for, but others will be about your character and personality. I'd say it's always better to get a letter from someone who knows you well outside your field of focus, than someone in your field that doesn't know you very well. They could write about how well you work with others, how hard working you are, how good of a writer your are, etc. ( all of these things are incredibly important in grad school). I would say ask your professor.
  8. Thought I'd give in an update from my previous answers since now I've been in grad school for over a year....and wow has my perspective changed. 1) My perspective was from a person living in LA. A city with lots of activities (bars, clubs, basically an active nightlife), so many opportunities to go out and meet people. 2) I wasn't in grad school quite yet. That being said, as someone who's now living in a smaller city in CT, and been in grad school over a year. It's definitely doable, but it's not easy. I've remained in my relationship, so I haven't actively been looking, but I do have a number of friends who are single so I can somewhat understand the situation a little better. 1) It's just harder to meet people. There isn't as much to do out here, and online dating here doesn't work as well as back in LA 2) There really isn't enough time. Dating and relationships take quite a bit of time to develop, both physically (going on dates, hanging out), and verbally (texting and talking to someone throughout the day). In grad school you will sometimes have days where you just won't have the time or energy to do these things. And trying to date someone outside of grad school, they might not understand why you won't even have time to talk to them for a couple of days. 3) The priorities are different. A lot of my single friends would love a relationship, but at this point in their lives, their entire focus is on grad school. They have prelims coming up, looking to publish papers, their lab work is picking up. This ties into the 2nd point a bit as well. They might start something off for a little while with someone, but then it just drops off because they focus more on their lab school work than dating. These combined just makes it difficult to meet someone outside of grad school. And I'm in a smaller program, where most people are currently in relationships or married, making the pool of possible matches smaller. At some level, I wouldn't say you lose hope, but I've seen many here with the attitude of "if it happens it happens, but I'm not wasting my time on it". Not to mention grad school is emotional, and as someone in a long distance relationship, some days when my experiments aren't working, I have a bunch of papers to read/write, I'd just love to come home and cuddle and be loved and forget all my troubles/worries. In addition, many move away from their friends and family going to grad school, so that feeling of isolation is made 10x worse. Which then makes getting emotionally invested in someone for a potential relationship even more difficult.
  9. Some programs have certain specifications for who they'd like your letters to be from (i.e. they don't want letters from family or work). So when they say academia, it usually implies a letter from a faculty member (e.g. this could be a professor you took a class in, your PI, a collaborator, etc.).
  10. Can you please help me out? I recently saw your post while searching for "low GRE acceptances". I am in the same boat, need guidance 


  11. I'm currently in my first semester as a grad student, and I applied straight as an undergrad. Overall, MS students don't have many differences with undergrads. They may have more experience in the field (although you could do research in your undergrad) and their thesis is considered a publication (you could also have a publication in your undergrad). The biggest differences is MS students have gone through the same process that a PhD student has gone through (thesis defense, lit presentations, etc.), so the assumption is if they are going to continue to a PhD, they know what they're getting themselves into (the idea is it's a safer bet for the school). All that being said, there is a loooot to an application, more than just pubs or research experience. Looking around on this site will give you a really good idea as to all the various factors schools take into account when considering applications. That being said, you'll be fine. There will definitely be a lot of catching up to do, and it'll be hard work, but you have plenty of time in grad school. You take one or two classes, and the classes or a lot more laidback and less work than undergrad classes. So you have plenty of time to read read read.
  12. Hello everyone, My first semester of grad school is coming to a close, and there is a feeling that has been slowly growing in the back of my mind. I wouldn't call it imposter syndrome, because I have no problem with the program I'm in, or feeling like I don't belong. This environment is exactly what I wanted, quick paced, cutthroat, and the difference in my knowledge between now and 4 months ago is staggering...which I love. However, in this atmosphere and environment, I'm coming to realize how slow I am relatively. I wouldn't say I'm dumb, but some of the people in this program are extremely smart. And I'm not discussing the difference between someone who's been here for 3 years and are an expert in their field and has more experience, I'm talking about people at my same level. I sit in class, meetings, discussion with these individuals, and feel like I'm left in the dust. They're quicker than me, in understanding, retaining, and using the knowledge they just learned. What takes me hours, takes them minutes. While I do try and keep up, put in the time and effort, they are always just ahead. It's similar to when you realize, Micheal Phelps just has broader shoulders, Usain Bolt just has longer legs. Like the swimmer/sprinter that always comes 3rd, but only because their competition was built with a physical advantage. It's not that they are bad swimmers/sprinters, or they don't put in the effort, simply that they don't have that innate advantage. I feel very similar in those regards. I don't find myself a bad scientist, or slow. Rather, these individuals are smarter than me. Simple as that. No matter what I do, I won't be able to catch up. This is of course how life works, some people are better at some things than others. And while I say I understand that this does not discredit me, or say anything about my knowledge (rather is only a compliment to the skills of the others), it still does upset me. It still does make me feel like crap, or wish I could compete at their level....it does make me feel useless at times. However, this post isn't me realizing this, I realized this fact weeks ago, and have come to terms that there are just people out there who are better at...well everything (science, math, physics, critical thinking in general), then I am or ever will be. What I have realized though, is that, that does not make me...useless? Having discussions with these individuals, I realize I can still come up with ideas they haven't, perspectives they have not. I find that they may be quicker and smarter, but I can still offer a different viewpoint. This post is to say, just because someone is smarter or better, does not make you useless in your field. Everyone has a unique perspective, and that unique perspective is what really matters. I have been able to solve problems these other smarter individuals haven't been able to solve, but only because I approached the problem in a different way. Finally, on a side note, I think it's important to not allow these insecurities to come in the way of the program and what you are doing. Yes, on a mental level, they make grad school a lot harder, maybe even unenjoyable at times for me. There have been times where I've thought to myself, what am I doing here? Compared to these guys, I'm nothing. Or times I just thought it would be so much easier if I didn't continue, if I just went back to my old life. Making good money, back with friends and family, relaxed....but I'm just having too much fun. I forget how while I may have been relaxed, I was also bored. I find it similar to dumping a guy you love and are in a great relationship with, just because you think you're not good enough for him (e.g. not attractive enough, not smart enough, etc.). Grad school can be a great experience, and a lot of fun, and having these insecurities get in the way of that, or worse make you break up something good, would definitely be a waste. Thought this might help anyone else feeling this way.
  13. Yeah my PI is funding me, I don't know if it's from the grant money for this specific project I'm working on. My plan was to do this for the first year, maybe see how much I can really get out of my first year. I was just curious if it was even possible,.
  14. Hello everyone, I've started a project my current PI has given me, but after working on it now for a couple weeks, I have some concerns. First and foremost, this isn't his project, it's someone else's that they gave to him (his names apparently on the grant), but he knows very little about the project and system itself. Secondly, I have my doubts about whether or not we're really going to be able to accomplish what the project outlines and sets out to do. I feel like this project 2-3 years from now is going to hit a dead end, and probably end up in a....eh publication or 2. My PI has informed me however, he was hoping I would pick this project up as my own. All that being said, is it possible to start your own project? If I'm going to be on my own, I'd like to pick at least a system I'm invested in that I think might go somewhere. I also don't know how PIs take a student picking their own project, and dismissing the PIs project. As always, thank you ahead of time!
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