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Everything posted by samman1994

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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,.
  4. 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!
  5. I hate this, breaking in a new mattress thing. So you're telling me I need to have crappy sleep for a month before I "break it in" and get a decent nights sleep?
  6. As someone currently in a Biochem/Biophysics PhD program, your scores currently are actually pretty good. The GRE is one portion of an application, so your LOR, experience, pubs, and GPA are all going to play an equally important part. I'd say if you have good research experience (which it sounds like you're getting), with a decent GPA, good LORs you should be fine. With a score like that, I wouldn't retake it. AW isn't that important when it comes to Biophysics, the main focus is the quant section. However that being said, writing is incredibly important in science. In grad school, you may (depending on your PI) have a big role in writing your own pubs, and you'll be writing your dissertation. So outside of the GRE, I'd say being able to write well is as important as your mathematical capabilities (in biophysics).
  7. In addition to what the above have said, I'd also question, why do you want a PhD? A PhD is a big commitment, and will also drastically change your career options. I'd not only say this 1 year wait is common, I'd strongly advise you to do so. Going through the grad program and research will give you an idea if this is a path you wish to pursue up to it's PhD level, as well as giving you an entire years time to think. Don't forget to think ahead in terms of industry, you don't want to get a degree with little to no career options (even if it sounds cool). Finally, there is no rush or need to rush to get your PhD. In my program, there are ages as young as 23 up to 34 in their 1st year. There are people here just starting their lives, and there are people who have wives and even kids. Just as an example, I didn't know if a PhD was the right choice for me initially, so I did take a 1 year gap. In that time, I learned how the industry works, and my place in it. Not only that, I learned my future potential place in it with a PhD, and decided the life change and sacrifice is something I was willing to make for that future.
  8. Hello everyone, So I'm in the process of writing my 2 Week Notice/Resignation letter, and I'm having a bit of difficulty. I've tried looking online for some simple formats, but they all seem too detailed and too long. I've talked to my co-workers, and I've gotten really mixed results. Some of them have told me to simply say thank you and goodbye (basically in one or 2 sentences), others have informed me to maybe write a bit more detailed thank you discussing the experiences I've had and the skills I've learned thanks to the job (like a paragraph or 2). So I'm having difficulty finding a in between since I have gotten such polarizing responses. I should also add, I've only had this job for 9 months, so haven't been here too long to write anything too in-depth. I had also told my boss and the company around 2 months ago when I would be leaving, so this letter is literally only a formality. Finally, I don't quite know how to give it to my boss. Do I email it to him or should I hand it in? Again co-workers give different answers. Some say it's better to just hand in the letter, others say it's better to email it (especially for record keeping for myself). Any thoughts or ideas? Thanks ahead of time!
  9. Depends on your personality really. It sounds like both Lab 1 and Lab 2 appear to be good viable options for you, although on one hand you seem daunted by Lab 1, but on the other you seem concerned Lab 2 is not as good as a fit for you as lab 1. A PhD is about innovating the field, adding to it, and becoming an independent researcher. To do so you'll have to learn new techniques, push out of your comfort zone, and come up with research and ideas no one else has done before. So the idea of something "new" or knowledge that you don't have, I don't think should ever be a deterrent, I think the main concern should be interest. I'm the type of person who actually gets excited at going into a field I'm not super familiar with, and have no problem going outside my comfort zone. So based off what you've told me, I'd definitely choose Lab 1. But again, it's based on your personality.
  10. Exactly. Idk, personally I find that type of deceit worse than the actual act of cheating. Furthermore, I'd find it almost near insulting, like, what type of girl does he think you are? Idk, these type of guys really irk me.
  11. Yeah, doubt he remembers a dream from a year ago. Sounds more like the guy just wants to cheat on his wife with you, but didn't want to outright say it, and wanted to see if you were cool with it so he made up some "dream" story to make it sound less shitty. I'd say that's probably worse than the actual desire of him to cheat on his wife.
  12. I really thought my team might have a chance this year to progress to the Knockout Stage for the first time ever, sadly, it looks like we aren't going to make it this year either.
  13. Yeah I calculated it out and checked out the reviews. Through Greyhound it's $111 for 6 boxes 3x3x3 (which is probably all I'll need), including 1k insurance. However, there are a lot of complaints and reviews that Greyhound is basically only good if you don't have any fragile items. It appears they are very rough with your items, and your items will probably get wet or potentially slightly squished in the move. Also, they have a habit of "losing" peoples items, to only have them show up weeks later. Through Amtrak it's $105 for 100lbs, unlimited 3x3x3 boxes (I don't have more than 100lbs of stuff), but they don't have stations where I"m going. I'll need to drive 2 hours to pick my items up (I can just pick them up with my own car). However, Amtrak seems to be pretty good in regards to transporting things undamaged. While I understand things can get damaged in a movie, it seems the "nightmares" are primarily from Greyhound. While sure, getting 1k insurance is nice, I'd just prefer getting my items safe and sound, even if I could buy it all new. I'm probably going to go with Amtrak if I can't find a better option.
  14. No, I'd be driving there not flying. I'd trust sending them via UPS or something, so I don't think they should encounter any type of damage there. Although, if the other methods are that risky, I'll probably just ship them via UPS or something. I definitely don't want my books damaged, nor any of my other items (or have clothes get wet).
  15. Yeah, I was thinking along the same lines. Thanks for the feedback!
  16. Harvard will look at your graduate program grades (i.e. your masters program), so no need to worry about your undergrad. What they really will care about is your publications and the work you have done, in addition to your GRE and GPA from your masters program (both of which are good). What I would say is more concerning is limiting yourself to one professor. There is no problem having an interest in a particular faculty member at a school, but I would not apply solely due to that single faculty member. If there are multiple professors you'd be interesting in working under, then I think you should definitely apply and have a good chance of getting in.
  17. Hello everyone, This is my first actual move, so I am curious as to what items are fine to buy used, and what items should be bought new. I do plan on buying a brand new bed, new couch, and new pots and pans (cooking appliances). However, I feel as if buying chairs, dining room tables, kitchen appliances like a microwave, coffee tables, nightstands, vacuums, tvs, tv stands, dressers, etc. (Basically everything else) are fine being bought 2nd hand/used. Anyone have any tips or thoughts on things that should not be bought used? I plan only to ship clothing and books, so I am going to buy all my furniture in the new place I move into.
  18. Hello everyone, I have finally picked out a place to move into and have decided that the cheapest and easiest way for me to move my stuff will be to actually ship them. I have never used Greyhound, Amtrack, or any other method to ship my items, and I was curious how your experiences were using these services to ship your items. From what I've found, Amtrack is the cheapest way to move items ($100 for 100lbs), followed by Greyhound ($200 for 100lbs), and finally shipping via USPS (a lot more pricey). Items being shipped are all pretty lightweight (clothes, miscellanious items, cooking items like pots and pans, heaviest items being books), and can be put into small boxes. Everything combined is definitely less than 100lbs. Time is not an issue for me, so I don't care how long either method takes to ship my items. Are there any other cheap methods of moving items cross-country? For those that may have used the above services, how did you like it? How was your experience?
  19. While the credit card or loan idea may seem enticing, it is one I try to stay as far away from as possible. I don't know about your program, but you probably won't have an additional income outside of it, and at least as far as I'm concerned, the budget/plan I've laid out is already cutting it close in regards to how much I'll actually be saving at the end of year. Point being, there is a high probability I won't be able to pay off that credit card/loan after my move (when my income is entirely my stipend). I took a year off just to work, and now have a nice savings cushion that I'll personally be using for my move and first months rent; however, the other grad students that are moving with me, many are going as cheap as possible (e.g. there are a lot just crashing couches for a little while till their stipend kicks in). My recommendation wouldn't be to take out money, but try and budget your move to be as cheap as possible (i.e. see if you can just crash a couch till your stipend kicks in, potentially carpool so don't have to pay for that, so your main focus would just be physically getting to the place your going to and food). Maybe only take the bare essentials like clothing for now, and move the rest of your stuff later once your stipend does kick in. Depending on where you move, you could potentially bus it if you don't want to burden the persons couch your crashing for a ride or something. If you have basically taken the cheapest route possible, tried all other options, and you still don't have enough money, then take out a loan or use a credit card. But again, I would only use that as a last resort option.
  20. While each case is different, and I don't know much about the field of Sociology, in general, a high GRE can counter-act a poor gpa. However, what's more important is which portion of the GRE you score well on. For Sociology, I would assume scoring strongly on the Verbal and AW is more important than scoring well on the Quant section.
  21. No problem and Good luck! In terms of the instrumental, that description doesn't mean much. You guys could be covering just NMR and IR, or could be covering a wider range (i.e. mass spec, maybe column chromatography, TLC, etc.). Regardless, any type of instrumental analytical technique you learn will be beneficial.
  22. Hmm, what does the instrumental analysis include? Honestly by the sounds of it, for a PhD, I'd definitely say your application is weaker than the general chem student. However, a few things to keep in mind: 1) Your GRE scores will show quite a bit, and in this case, I might even recommend a subjects test. If you do well on it, that should show you know the material and don't need the classes. 2) The schools you apply to will matter as well. Some schools have lower barriers for entry (e.g. some don't require the GRE), and other schools give weight to different things (maybe all the committee will care about is your grades in ochem+synthetic chem). So maybe all the above missing classes and research experience won't matter, as much as your GPA and GRE scores. 3) Your networking and basically SOP/LOR. The rest of the pieces of your application are sometimes as important as your GPA and GRE (in conjunction with #2). If you have good networking, either via professors or even personal, then the missing classes shouldn't mean much since you have someone that can vouch for you. The overall theme here is, you are missing some supplemental knowledge for organic/synthetic chemistry (mainly pchem for the instrumentation, and analytical for the chromatography). The main point is we want to show that you are still a good asset for the school and research despite that lack of knowledge (this can be done via the GRE, or through your SOP/LOR or networking, etc.). However, depending on the lab you want to join, the priorities each school/committee has, etc. etc. etc. you may not even need to worry about any of these. My personal advice would be to first find out what type of research you even want to do. Maybe these classes are really unimportant for that type of research, or they may be crucial for that type of research. Then determine what type of program (MS or PhD) you'd like to join (all the above is basically for a PhD, so if you go for a MS, you really won't have to worry that much about the above). Once you have determined those 2 things, then I would worry about everything I stated above. Your research interests might even change once you start looking at different schools and labs seeing what each one is doing. Edit: One final thing I forgot to mention, while I understand you are trying to gauge the competition, and see where your weaknesses are so you can improve them. I'd say be cautious comparing yourself to the competition. Don't let your competition psyche you out or direct the path you choose to pursue, and compare yourself only to yourself. When I first joined a biochem lab as an undergrad, I didn't even know what a protein was (when my PI asked me what do you know about proteins I responded "They're colorful squiggly lines that you eat to build muscle...I think"), whereas my competition were biochem majors already in their 3rd and 4th year. Yet, my PI took me on because I was interested in actually learning and doing research (whereas a lot of the other students wanted a quick LOR or fast research research experience). Now at the time, I was completely oblivious as to my competition, and if I had known how severely below the competition I was, I may never even have pursued research in that lab (at least not until I had taken some biochem classes or something). And yet that same research experience is what helped me determine what I want to do for my PhD, and helped me actually get into a PhD program. My point is, use the competition to help you strengthen your weaknesses and stay informed, but do not let it hinder you, and becareful you don't psyche yourself out.
  23. I basically second this. I had similar concerns since my GPA was a 3.0 and my GRE scores were basically average, and yet I was looking at above average programs for a PhD in a field that was outside my undergrad major. Lot of similar stories on that thread. At the end of the day, it comes down to you. Forget your GPA and all your scores, those don't matter in applying. It doesn't matter if you qualify and to where. What matters mroe is why you're applying.
  24. Do you guys have no analytical chemistry classes? Depends on what you're going for as well, PhD vs. Masters. While Calculus is important for the analytical and physical aspects of chemistry, it is not something your average synthetic chemist will usually use (unless they are a PhD attempting to understand how an instrument works). As a Masters, the physical chemistry (and thus the math classes) probably won't really matter to them. However, as a PhD, those things might be of more importance to them. Outside of that, the next important thing is what researched are you focusing on. For some fields of Chemistry, thermo/quant might be important than synthetic chemistry (especially inorganic chemistry). For other fields like synthetic, it's not as important. Secondly, it's also important how much research you have. All the shortcomings above can be circumvented by research experience. I.E. I got a chemistry degree, but am now in a Biochem PhD even though I've never taken a bio class in my life. My research however helped me understand more Biochem than most actual Biochem majors, so it helped outweigh the lack of "classroom knowledge" on my application. If you're looking into synthetic chemistry, and you have a bunch of synthetic chemistry experience, then all the above mentioned probably won't matter that much to any committee. Again, my bigger concern is analytical chemistry/chromatography. That is incredibly important for finding a job in the field, and for the field of chemistry. I find that class to be far more important than any physical chemistry+math classes you would/could take.
  25. I had thought about the Arches, but this trip is already going to be 2-3 weeks long, and Moab and the arches will be a decent day or 3 day detour. So sadly I'll have to skip out on those. I do plan to stay at least 2+ days in yellowstone in the slough campground if possible and hike around.
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