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samman1994 last won the day on September 23

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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. ever feel like you're wasting away your youth?

    One last thing. The way I define success is by happiness. If I am happy, then I am successful in life. There is no one path to it either. Success can be slowly working your way up a corporate ladder while raising a family alongside it. Success can be going for a PhD program and getting married and having a family afterwards. Success can be traveling the world broke doing odd jobs here and there. Success can be not getting married at all and just enjoying your life single forever. Success doesn't mean money, or titles, or even family. One of the most successful guys I knew was homeless. This guy loved to read, so much so, that he quit his job, sold his house and all his belongings, bought a tent, and moved to the woods. Every week he would come to the library by my house and check out a bunch of books and just read them all week. When he was done, he would come to the library, return the books, and check out some other books. He was one of the happiest guys I knew, pretty fit too (he loved to take long walks in the woods when he read). He was also pretty smart too i might add (he was the chief electrical engineer for a big company from my understanding).
  2. ever feel like you're wasting away your youth?

    It really depends on your age in this regards. I spent my entire high school just enjoying life (doing drugs and traveling). In college, I had a very limited budget, but still liked to make plans and travel on breaks (spring break go to a national park, winter break go skiing up north). I'm now in a gap year between my undergrad to PhD, and I plan on going on one final big bang trip (Fifa 2018 and backpacking Eastern Europe) from the money I gain working during this time (I'm planning to stupidly start my PhD program broke). Then, when my PhD starts, I probably won't do many travels just due to time and money reasons. I love traveling though, and I miss my high schools days of just free leisure traveling from jumping trains to literally just hitchhiking with strangers up North. However, having that PhD degree will help me to gain enough money to do the travels I truly want to do, without wasting years and years of my life (as I did in high school). It's also to each their own. Yes, adminstration/corporate jobs will always pay more. I have a friend climbing the corporate ladder, and they are already making more than what I will even with my PhD, but I don't enjoy the corporate world. I want to go into pharmaceutical sciences. There are people I know who have families right now, but I don't want a family, I want to enjoy my youth a little more. Honestly, the way I look at it, it comes down to you. When I was in my undergrad, my budget was slim (living monthly). However, I decided to get a big group of buddies together, and drove up to a place called Yosemite for spring break camping. It was an amazing experience and I loved it. The whole trip cost me less than $100 up there (and that included food, gas, and all the alcohol we bought). If you are unhappy with your life and want some change, than make that change. If you realized the field you're in isn't what you want to do, then leave. If you like your field but aren't happy with your personal life, then try to change your personal life. Now of course you can't go on extravagent trips to Europe or anything, but a simple 2 or 3 day trip or even a week road trip can be very cheap, especially if you split it amongst a group. Its not even about traveling either. During my undergrad, I had a really tough semester, and sometimes I would just drive to the beach late at night on the weekend or something for a swim. Really helped me unwind and clear my mind.
  3. Should I apply for a Masters or a PhD in Chemistry?

    Then the statements I made above is what you should focus on. Focus on the research first, than the school.
  4. Should I apply for a Masters or a PhD in Chemistry?

    Then how did you do so well on the Verbal section? If anything that is where the language barrier would hinder you. I also am slow when it comes to the quant section, I think its just a matter of learning what techniques to use for what problems ( I think it is for this exact reason the quant section is garbage). Secondly, again, its all about the research they do. I'd advise when you are looking at various programs, look at the research not the school. Look at all schools, large and small. Then pick them based of research interest not size. If you have a lot of options that interest you, then you can start to narrow based on the school size, but that should never be the priority. The priority is research interest. Also, sounds like you don't even need a PhD if you want to teach. There are a lot of faculty members in school who's majors were regarding teaching chemistry. Their research is also into teaching chemistry. They got Eds (or w.e. the educational phd version is), instead of PhDs. If you don't want to do research, and only want to focus on teaching, I'd say you probably don't even need the PhD for this. Keep in the mind, the majority of people in University who teach, are primarily focused on research, not teaching. For them, teaching is a side activity, not the main focus of their work. There are those however that only focus on teaching, and their research is focused on how to effectively teach the subject. It sounds more like this is the route you would want to go for. I'd focus on finding faculty members who focus on this, and see if you can get into their "labs".
  5. Should I apply for a Masters or a PhD in Chemistry?

    I made a post a while back regarding small schools versus big schools and their pros and cons. As stated, a PhD is a PhD, however, yes a brand name can help you a bit, but what's really important are the connections you can make at the bigger schools versus the smaller schools. All that being said, go solely off research and nothing else. Join a research program that you are really interested in, whether that be a big school or small school. Each one has its pros and cons, as stated earlier, and each person has their own preferance. I personally like smaller schools, but there are many that like bigger schools. Also I know lots of faculty members that didn't graduate from top 50 schools, so that statement is not entirely true. Now on to your application itself. The GPA is a bit on the lower end, but that isn't too big of an issue (if you have a reason why its low, or have high GRE scores and good experience, etc.). Your verbal GRE scores are good, but your Quant GRE scores are pretty low. The chemistry field really focuses on the Quant GRE score (for top schools, average scores in the 60s). I'd also bring up the AW a bit as well. now to give perspective, I have a 3.0 GPA, and have lower GRE scores than you, however I do have quite a bit of background research experience, and I still plan on applying to PhD programs. However, the reason for my low GPA is i screwed up my first 2 years (really wasn't ready for college), but I was able to bring it up. I plan to retake the GRE and do better, so to help support that statement. I'd say, depending on where you apply, you'd still have a shot at a PhD (if you really wanted). The biggest takeaway should be though, do you want a PhD? You can have a great career with a MS, or even a Bachelors in Chemistry. What is your future career or goal? Once you answer that, then go forward with that ideal in mind, and apply to research programs that interest you. If you really want a PhD in Chemistry, and you found some professors/program at a top tier school that really interests you, then I'd say go ahead and apply.
  6. My chances at a Biochemistry PhD program

    I actually did look them up. I think the majority of their work was primarily solid state, or something like that. I can't remember the details, but I recall looking up their structural biology and program, and didn't really like it that much.
  7. I decided to try what you did as well, to make it easier when I apply, and it didn't work out for me. No one I asked for LOR agreed to write it earlier, they all told me when I decide to apply, just tell them and they'll write it for me then (and this was when I initially decided I was going to apply 2-3+ years later, instead of applying this year which is what I am doing now). Secondly, none of them (the writers) wanted me to see their letters (i.e. waive my right).
  8. 5lb Book

    I've been using it so far, and you're right it doesn't exactly explain shortcuts, but it has really helped me narrow down where I'm slowest in my quant section. The answers section than explains the shortcuts, and I try to apply these shortcuts to the problem to try and solve them faster.
  9. I'm imagine for your major they probably care more about your verbal than quant. I've seen instances where low quant scores have been ignored due to high verbal scores (since that's all they were looking for), and vice versa. However, in your case, I'd say your verbal isn't high enough for that. I'd recommend retaking the test as others have stated above. Bring the math up a little, and bring the verbal up as well. Based off your major, I'd focus more on the verbal than the quant. If you can get your verbal mid 60s, then a quant in the low 50s and high 40s might actually be acceptable (for your major).
  10. 5lb Book

    Oh ok. I'm looking more into free (due to financial reasons), but thank you!
  11. 5lb Book

    Is the empowerGRE program free?
  12. 5lb Book

    Hello everyone, So I have about 2 weeks to prepare for my GRE, and my verbal is already pretty decent, so I'm looking to improve my quant. Has anyone used the 5lb book for quant? And if so, how helpful was it? I suspect due to the time I have, I will only be able to use this book to help improve my GRE quant score (meaning I"ll be banking everything off this). My main problem is just learning quick shortcut techniques to help improve my test taking speed. How effective is the book in doing this? If you only had time for one resource, is this a good resource to invest that time into? Thank you ahead of time!
  13. Starting 30s?

    Well I didn't want to detract from the main topic of the post, but appears it's a bit too late for that. It appears this is all from a womens (or females, I don't know which is appropriate when) perspective, so I guess I'll provide it from a mans perspective (actually, interesting enough, it feels normal writing "mans perspective", but doesn't feel normal using "womens perspective", like I feel like it's usually written as "females perspective", but I guess that is the whole point of this post). I think the main issue lies in the ignorance factor. As an example, I used to know very little about how other women were regarded in the work place. My assumption was always, well we all go through the same thing and are treated the same way. So my experience is no different than a womens. I think a lot of men actually think this way as well. So if a women were to come and discuss how they are treated differently, the men look at it as complaining. "Oh you're just being a baby, we are all treated the same". I worked with a lot of women in my lab, and my PI was a women. Hell most of the department were all women, and they used to discuss their previous work experiences and hiring process experiences as well. Their experiences were definitely different than any mans experience I had heard. The idea of looking at a women the same as a man is definitely a growing idea, but it is definitely not shared by all (whether subconsciously or consciously). The whole concept of equality of man and women is, there is no man and women. They are one and the same. Thus, a persons gender should not influence how they are hired or what job they get. They should be seen equally as a man, and treated no differently, both in the workplace and in language. Which is, I think, the whole point of this post. I.E. writing females perspective, but not writing males perspective. Now I think this is primarily because that is probably how I have always seen it, and thus how I write it, but I think it's important to wonder, well why is it written that way? Why do we address women as "female" in our writing, but men as "men" in our writing (or even speaking). Why are they written/spoken differently? Now I personally don't, and didn't, think much of it. I don't know, I've always seen it that way, so that's why I say it, I don't mean anything from it. But one could argue, it is used to separate or even bring women down. A way of thinking/speaking that has become ingrained in our culture. So when you use it, your use may be innocent, but you are inadvertently contributing to the "women hate". Now I cannot speak for the person who originally made the post, but I have always used women and female interchangeably. Not that I meant anything by it, but because I didn't even know there was anything meant by it. In retrospect, as given by the example earlier, I definitely do think it's weird men and male are not used interchangeably, but female and women are. I also did not know people did use this difference, to bring a women down. So all this being said, I think it's an important consideration to take into account. I think as a man, it's important to acknowledge I really don't know how women are treated (whether good or bad), and when it is stated how they are, it should not just be dismissed as "casual feminist bullshit". Anyways, that's my 2-cents. Edit: One thing I'd like to give some perspective on, at least for me personally, is this fight for women equality is completely different from my cultural and background experience. The fight here is for equal view (this extends to language, pay, work opportunities, etc.), but from where I am from, the fight for womens rights is for them to have the right to even live (comfortably). I'm used to more polarizing arguments fighting to let women walk in the street without being covered head to toe, or being able to even go to school with another man, so I miss a lot of the subtleties of these conversations. Not that I think the conversation is not important, but rather, these topics for womens rights are topics I am not used to and do not completely understand (I.e. since I'm not a women and the cultural difference).
  14. Big schools or smaller schools?

    That I'd say is definitely up the PI and not necessarily defined by the size of the school. You can have big schools with the PI hovering over your neck (you need to go through them for everything you do), and you can have small schools where the PI does their own thing and you do your own. Personally, I went to a smaller school, with the entire graduate program (for my department) consisting of around 15 people (to give you perspective). My PI threw me onto my project when I was an undergrad and basically told me to have fun. I was completely independent on my project (and the only person on it), to the point I wasted a whole year doing very little because I didn't even know wtf I was doing. At an interview I was getting at Caltech, I talked extensively with the lab students there, and all of them said their PI was always involved in their work (hovering, constantly telling them what to do, couldn't do anything without getting his approval first, etc.). So again, I'd say that is really up to your PI. Now that being said, there is definitely a resource problem. At bigger schools (speculating), they may have more resources available so you may have a more options to do what you want (experiment wise). Luckily my project early on had quite a bit of funding, so my PI was able to buy the instrumentation we didn't have, but I still had to go to her and tell her to buy it (and do to budgeting reasons this took quite a while). Despite this, I was constantly met with, oh we don't have this instrument, we don't have this machine, so I can't run this experiment, etc. So that is definitely a big difference.
  15. Big schools or smaller schools?

    Hello everyone, I was having this discussion with one of my colleagues the other day, and thought it was interesting enough to discuss it here as well. We were discussing the difference between big schools (e.g. ivy leagues, UCs, etc.) versus smaller schools (state schools, private schools, or just lesser known schools overall) to apply to for PhDs. Each has its pros and cons, and overall different culture/social atmosphere. Just some very basic academic differences: Big Schools: Pros: Overall a bigger program, more resources, potentially bigger name faculty members, along with a big brand name can help your application for after your PhD/Undergrad program, as well as having more opportunities for interesting research with the potential for more publications. Cons: All of this comes at the expense of less interactions/access to your PI/Professor (I know this is true in regards to classes, but I don't know if it applies to research as well). Furthermore, there is much more competition at bigger schools, meaning you will stand out less than at a smaller school. Smaller Schools: A smaller program meaning less research opportunities (you can have great faculty members here as well). This however comes at the benefit of being much more intimate with the faculty and staff at the school. Allowing for potentially less networking opportunities than at a bigger school, but enabling stronger networking connections than at a bigger school. Overall though, from my experience, it comes down to culture and social atmosphere of the school. I personally prefer smaller schools much more. I find they care a lot more about individual students than bigger schools (at every level). A perfect example of this can be when I emailed say a small state university vs. Harvard regarding enrollment and programs. Harvard simply linked their site (literally and said all the information will be there (not very helpful at all), whereas the small state university wrote me a long thing thanking me for my interest and providing in depth details regarding the various programs they have. Now of course this is probably because Harvard probably gets thousands of emails every application season that is identical to mine, whereas the smaller school may receive only a few hundred. So one side is overloaded and can't really go into detail with every email (it would take forever), whereas the other can go in depth and get personal with every single email (since there aren't that many). This goes for the faculty as well. Smaller schools have faculty that are much more excited and interested to take you on (before you even get accepted). At smaller schools I have been able to have intimate relationships with most faculty in my department, as well as the staff members in administration, all the way up to the dean of the school himself. In regards to the grad students, there is also a much smaller class, meaning the entire departments grad students are all very close/friends with one another and sometimes even have big group hangouts with other grad student departments (e.g. Chemistry and Biochemistry going out for bowling or something). Regardless, it's all really a matter of preference at the end day. It's like saying do you like huge urban cities like New York, or smaller rural areas like... I don't know farms or mid america. They each have their pros/cons and it's up to each individual and what they like. And this all comes from my personal experience (which isn't much compared to others on this forumn), so your experiences may vary So what is your personal preference and why? I just touched upon the very basics, but there is a lot more involved and different between big and small schools.