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Everything posted by samman1994

  1. Hello everyone, I've come across a slight potential dilemma. I've received my GRE scores and uploaded/sent them, finished almost all my SOPs and uploaded them, filled out the applications and uploaded the writing samples as well. I've had 2 out of 3 LORs uploaded for every school I'm applying to. However, there is still one LOR I'm still waiting on before I submit my applications. I have emailed this person twice now regarding this matter (spread across 2 weeks), letting them know what schools they should have received emails from regarding LOR, and that the deadline is Nov 20th (wanted to give myself some time if he didn't). He has not responded to any of my emails as of late. Now I trust this person, and I trust they have seen my emails (I hope). I don't think the lack of a response or failure to upload anything yet is of ill intention; however it is starting to concern me as that deadline gets closer and I still receive no uploads or replies to emails. I don't want to physically get up and go to his office and let him know (we are that close, but I still think it'll look bad), but I also am concerned he may forget, or get so busy he isn't able to upload them. At this point in time, I really don't have anyone else that I'm close with that I would or could ask for a LOR (especially telling them they only have one week to upload it). So I'm starting to come the realization I may only have 2 LOR instead of 3, which is where the question come up. How important is it to have 3 LOR instead of 2? Will it look bad if I had 3 people to upload but only 2 did? Do you think if worst comes to worst, I should get up and go to his office (after the deadline passes)?
  2. How important is it to have 3 LOR?

    So update as to the situation. My writer finally replied and said he couldn't write it without having the program name. So I sent him the names of the programs I was applying to, and he uploaded them 2 days after that.
  3. Love, Academia and Success

    That's how love works I'm afraid. But personally, I'd say it's worth it. Yes, it will break you, crush you, and make you wish you never even had feelings. But as someone who's been to the top, and at the very bottom, I'd say that feeling at the top, is worth every ounce of pain and depression at the bottom.
  4. Thank you

    Hello everyone, So I've submitted 4 out of my 5 applications (still have to write the SOP for the last school), so I'm almost done with my applications towards my PhD, and I wanted to just say thank you to everyone here. I honestly don't think I would've been able to go through this application process so smoothly without you guys. From answering my billion number of questions about the process itself, to helping critique my SOPs and CVs. This site and its community has single handedly helped me go from completely lost, to completely confident. I wish there was a better way for me to show you how grateful I really am outside of just saying thank you a million times, but I can't say it enough. The entire application process is confusing and incredibly stressful, especially when you don't have anyone around with experience to help guide you through it, and this site has been my guiding light through this anxiety ridden and turbulent process. So thank you thank you thank you all for everything!
  5. popular things you hate

    Bacon. I don't get the craze with it, and I don't like it.
  6. How important is it to have 3 LOR?

    I've called and emailed some of the schools, and all of them allow the writer to submit their letter after I send the application, but almost none of them allow the writer to send a letter after the deadline (well one of them told me they theoretically still can, but the committee won't look at). I think I'll wait until a week before the deadline and just drop by and say hi (and follow up on the letter).
  7. Love, Academia and Success

    Interesting, I have the exact opposite viewpoint (although it could be an age thing). I've been in a relationship now for over 2+ years, and as I apply to various PhD programs across the country (none are even remotely close to where I live), the question has crossed my mind of what will happen to my relationship. For me, career and education come before any relationship. If I need to break up with her to continue my education and career, so be it. However, again age could be a big factor. I'm 23 atm, and am not looking for marriage until at least 26 or 27, and definitely no kids until 30s. Now someone who's already 30ish in this situation, they may consider the relationship aspect a lot more important than I do.
  8. Academic CV feedback?

    Thanks for the feedback! I'll use Italics (I don't think quotation marks will make it stand out as much). I think I get what you're saying, I'll state the type of proteins they are instead of their specific names (although, since the protein names are in my thesis title, won't that make it look a little odd)? For that section, I think I may go into a little bit more detail, and rather than say used machine x for y. I'll state something like, observed y using machine x, or measured z using machine x. Instead of focusing on the instrumentation, I'll focus more on what I used it for.
  9. Academic CV feedback?

    Hello everyone, I was just hoping you guys could give some feedback on my academic cv. Whether its missing anything, or anything should be changed. The formatting is a little weird because it didn't transfer properly from word over to google docs properly, but the information on there is the same. Thank you ahead of time!
  10. Word/page count guidelines - SOP, Writing Sample

    None of the programs I'm applying to have stated an explicit limit (although one of them did have a section with 500 word limit, but you could upload any word count you'd like), so from other peoples statement, I've basically gone for under 1K. However, I'd state quality over quantity. If your 1k isn't important, don't put it. For me, I cut it down to, previous experience and techniques learned, mental experience gained (troubleshooting and whatnot), the school and faculty itself (who I want join and why I want to go to the school), and an intro and conclusion. 5 paragraphs, combined under 2 pages and under 1 thousand words.
  11. Hello everyone, So I started filling out my applications, and I came across the test section. I put in my GRE scores and percentiles, but then there was a section informing me to upload my scores. I went on the ets site and found an option to download a pdf report but this includes my previous tests as well. When I emailed the school, they said it could literally just be a scan of my unofficial report. Is there any way I can upload a report that doesn't include my previous test scores (they aren't very good, and I am not sending them)? Thank you ahead of time!
  12. Academic CV feedback?

    Thanks for the feedback! 1) Thank you, I have made the change. 2) Some of them are protein names acronyms (they can get very long if spelled out), and some of them are general instrumentation any Chemist or Biochemist should at least know (e.g. HPLC, NMR, SPR etc.), although some of them are a little lesser known (MFI, DLS) so I think I may write them out 3) I changed all of them to past tense (used X for Y, or utilized A and B for C) 4) So how should I indicate titles, say for my undergrad thesis or poster titles? 5) Running in that sense means I physically was the one who set up the instrumentation and conducted the experiments. Analyzed means I took the data from the instrument and intepreted it. Often times many people either only conduct the experiment, and have someone else look at the data from it, or vice versa (especially for more advanced instrumentation). The specific names of the proteins aren't as important, but I felt like it would be very bland without it. I.E. Conducted binding experiments and mutagensis studies. That statement I feel like doesn't mean much, but saying "Conducted binding experiments between X and Y and mutagenesis studies on X and Z" I feel like sounds a lot better. 6) Made the change I could email you the actual word document so you can see it in its proper format (e.g. what's actually bold, what texts are centered and which ones aren't, etc.), but regardless, thank you for taking a look at it!
  13. Hello everyone, So this post isn't as much how to make an academic cv/resume, but more along the lines of I don't have much to include. There are maybe one or 2 interesting classes I could include, and 2 jobs that would be relevant to what I'm applying for. I've only presented at 3 conferences (won awards in them though), and have no published publications, manuals, manuscripts, etc. Outside of restating my transcript, a very brief work experience history (2 entries), and my 3 poster presentations and their awards, I don't have much to say. At the moment, my academic CV/Resume is a little over a page and a half (and that's just because things are nicely spaced out). Is this expected since I'm going from an undergrad to PhD program? Is this acceptable? Is there anything I'm not including that I should include to help fill it up a little? Thank you ahead of time!
  14. Love, Academia and Success

    From the stories I've heard, most of the people I know with PhDs met their significant other in grad school and or got married during grad school. Also, I would not worry too much about changing yourself or your activities to find a man. You want a partner in your life, someone who believes, endorses, and will stand by your side throughout your activities and trials. Yes, doing such activities may limit the pool of men that will be interested, but there are plenty of men out there. I also wouldn't put a date on marriage, or even kids to that extent. You want to get married at 30? That's fine. You want to get married at 40? That's perfectly acceptable too. You want kids at 35? That's fine. I wouldn't put a time-frame mentality on it (oh no, all my friends at my age are married and have kids, what am I doing with my life). You do you. Hell my philosophy is, I don't even want to get married until my late 20s. I want to enjoy my 20s (and by enjoy I mean stress over exams, now applications, and eventually dissertations).
  15. Share Your Story

    Hello everyone! A couple days ago I decided to visit my old research lab, drop by and say hi and meet the new students. While I was there I overhead a discussion between a guy discussing how he was in honors and top of his class back in high school, to another lab member. The other lab member, a bit annoyed, replied that it was nothing special and everyone at the school was top of their class and was honors when they were younger. This bothered me a little bit, because there is an ideal that if you're in a top STEM field, you must be very smart and always have been successful or a genius etc. I of course didn't say anything there, didn't really want to expose my past to everyone, but I think it's important to know their statements are not true at all. First and foremost, I never really had difficulty with school when I was younger, in regards to understanding subjects, I was just lazy. Never put in the effort, never had good grades (both elementary, and middle school). High school is when I was introduced to drugs, women, and well all the beauties of life so to speak. I got heavily involved with weed, then as time progressed, acid, ecstasy, even some amphetamines. I never really liked the high of anything other than psychodelics however, so I primarily stuck with hallucinogens, but I did try basically everything I could get my hands on (curiosity killed the cat). My focus shifted away from school to drugs and women, to the extent I ditched almost my entire sophmore year, with the exception of the first few weeks and test days (I wanted to make sure I was still borderline passing high school). Also got into a lot of law problems due to dumb criminal activities (e.g. one day stealing meds from a pharmacy, another day grafitti, etc.). This went on until, for a compilation of reasons, my high school my junior year decided to expel me from the entire district (the decision went very high up, and they didn't want me in that entire region). So, no school for me! This of course only gave me wayyy more freedom to do the stupid shit I was already doing. The main crowd I hung around with were kids who were expelled from school or recently graduated homeless kids, so now I had even more time to hang out with them. Anyways, senior year I decided to enroll into another school (rather my parents did), As usual, I showed up for the first few weeks, and that's when I met a girl, and not gonna go into detail, but she pulled me out of that crowd. I dropped all the drugs except for weed, started showing up to school (because she was there), and started actually planning for my future (we ended up dating for 3+ years). I decided I wanted to go to college and get a degree in Chemistry. At the time, my GPA was a 2.2, so without an SAT I had absolutely no chance anywhere. I ended up enrolling for the SAT, barely got the minimum score I needed with my GPA to apply, and applied to one university only (stupid i know, but it was the only one I wanted to go to). I got in! Needless to say, old habits and techniques die hard, and my first 2 years didn't go really well. I broke up with my girl, got back into the old crowd again, and shit went down hill. This time however, I decided to pull myself out, I couldn't hang with the old crowd. My mentality had completely changed, and to me, their life no longer seemed pleasent or even tolerable, but a waste of time. I pulled myself out, and by my 4th year I ended up making myself one of the top students in my classes during the semester, and graduated with a BS in Chemistry. I am currently applying to PhD programs across the board to get into my desired programs (which I think I'll get into at least one of the schools). My point in this post is, there is an ideal that I saw throughout society and even among my peers, that people in good STEM programs (e.g. Ivy league schools, or the UC system, etc.), have always been the super smart and talented genius kid. While that is somewhat true from the people I met, I think it's important to note, it is not always true. People from all backgrounds, good and bad, go to these programs and institutions, and just because you made some bad decisions in high school doesn't mean you're future is effectively fucked (as people used to tell me). A few people in my old crowd are actually in the same boat, and are now in the process of getting their bachelors in their desired programs as well. Anyways, their conversation bothered me on a more personal deep down level because I thought to myself, well I didn't go to honors, and was never top of my class. Does that make me an idiot then? Everytime my peers discuss their past, it was always something along the lines of how great and successful their life has been, and I've never really shared mine because I didn't want them to think, wait we have a druggie loser kid who get kicked out of high school here? It might not change how my boss or others view me, but I want them to have the image that I've always been this great smart guy and on their level (especially now that i'm asking for LOR and maybe some connections from my PI). But it's semi-anonymous here, no one knows you, so I thought I'd share my story, and see if anyone wanted to share theres.
  16. Share Your Story

    No of course, don't get me wrong, I'm not implying she meant that. That's why I didn't confront her or them about it. I was simply stating the ideal is there, and her statement is a reminder to that ideal. I have an issue with the Ideal itself, rather than her statement.
  17. Don't have much to say in my academic CV/Resume

    I did private tutoring on the side, but outside of that, nothing really academic. At least not in regards to leadership roles (e.g. I was part of a feminism club at our school, but not in any type of position). So if I don't include courses, GPA, or GRE scores. Is it just a list of publications, presentations/conferences, and related work experience (e.g. tutoring or my undergrad lab and current job)?
  18. Dropping out on first year?

    What it really sounds like is OP did not research the field or the program he was applying to very well. The school does not make any program any higher prestige or more difficult, it simply provides more funding for the POI. Did you just apply to the school because of brand name? Because that's a terrible decision. Regradless, what's done is done. If you realize the degree is not something you want, or if you've realized public policy is not what you thought it was and want to change your program, then I think the best option here is to either try and integrate in the same school but different program (don't know how happy your POI will be to have you leave so early, but they may be chill about it), or leave the school and go through the application process itself (but no one likes a flaker). The biggest issue here is though, it doesn't sound like you know what you want entirely. I'd highly recommend researching every alternative you're looking at (including the field you are currently in), and seeing which interests you the most and pursuing that. Classes are honestly a very tiny portion of the PhD program, the majority being the research (even though I made a topic earlier making a big issue about classes), so don't judge anything of off that. Look at the research currently being done, and how that will apply to your future career goals (including the degree you're getting). Maybe you don't need a PhD for your degree, maybe a MBA will be perfectly fine. Again, it sounds like you don't know what you want to do, and thus, don't know what direction you want to take. I would think long and hard about what your future career goals are, and then base everything off of that (I made a post regarding this not too long ago). Also no need to be an asshole. It appears relatively clear where OP went wrong here, and the solution is not to just insult the person for it, but rather help them move past it.
  19. Unpublished Abstracts acceptable writing samples?

    The paper is about 90% my work, 10% work of the people before me. All conclusions on the paper are of my own, and I wrote the entire thing. In regards to editing, I have just been given feedback by others, all the editing and rewriting is of my own doing.
  20. Hello everyone, I've started my application, and have come across the writing samples section, and had a few questions. All of my scientific writing from classes is relatively subpar (not much editing, low quality, etc.); however I have a lot of different abstracts from poster/conference presentations from my undergraduate research lab, including a paper I wrote regarding the entire project (I would only be submitting its abstract and not the whole paper since its over 20 pages). However, all this material is unpublished. Some of these abstracts contain specific project details though (site-specific residues responsible for dimerization for example), but others are relatively generic and don't say too much (e.g. for the paper, I simply state we solved the structure of this protein, found its dynamics, elucidated a mechanism, etc.). Regarding the paper, I could also submit just the introduction (again some sections are non-descriptive indicating structure and dynamics were solved, others are more detailed discussing structural changes observed in mutants at a site specific level). Are these acceptable writing samples? I'm planning on emailing my PI to ask permission anyways (since this is her research, and it is unpublished), but wanted to first make sure these are accepted writing samples in the first place. Secondly, should I submit the less descriptive or more descriptive samples (assuming my PI doesn't care)? The detailed ones aren't as specific as indicating entire mechanisms or specific data points, but do summerize a lot of our findings and observations. The generic ones do the same, but they are less descriptive. E.G. 1)The protein X mutant displayed structural change around the entire mutation site, but no dynamic change except at the mutation itself and residue Y. 2) Through Experiment A we investigate how the structural and dynamic differences of these proteins affects their binding via two protein X variants As you can see, #1 indicates exactly what protein we are working with, what changes were and were not observed at a site-specific level. #2 indicates an overview of what experiment we ran and why, but nothing really discussing our data. #1 is an excerpt from my introduction, whereas #2 is from the abstract of that paper. Again, assuming my PI doesn't care, what is a better indication of my scientific writing level? Which would be a better writing sample? Thanks ahead of time as always!
  21. Very low GRE scores

    Not in poli sci, but this practice is common in every subject. One thing to keep in mind, many departments are looking less and less seriously at GRE scores with some departments removing them entirely (I think at Minnessota the astronomy department doesn't even accept it anymore). Research and work experience (in your field) is looked upon much more highly than the GRE. So it comes down to the value of each object in an application. Work experience in the field, LOR, GRE, and GPA are not all on the same level. Storytime: I knew a guy who barely got by with his undergrad at my local university. He started his own business, and started making quite a bit of money and had a very successful business. He wanted to go back to school though (his business basically become self-sufficient), and wanted to go to Harvard. His undergrad GPA was a 2.1, and from my knowledge he never even took the GRE (he probably didn't do well though if he did, he wasn't fond of studying, hated anything math that wasn't stats, and wasn't amazing in english). He got into Harvard, Yale, Columbia, and Duke. From what he told me (now that he's there), if you have a successful high grossing business, then GPA, GRE, LOR, none of that matters to them. You just contact the right people there, they look at your business and Linkden, and you're in. Now I'm not saying the story above is common, but just trying to demonstrate every application is different, and thus, the weight of each portion of the application is different. For some applications, the GRE may be a deal breaker, for others, the GRE doesn't mean anything.
  22. Miscommunication in the lab

    Oh ok, thank you! My project leader seems like a nice guy, and he's answered everything very detailed so far (nothing like that's how we always do it). I'm almost positive he didn't even mean to come across the way he did when he responded he's not changing the procedure. I just came to the realization from that, that I may be overstepping my boundaries, or coming across as annoying, etc.. There is clearly a different dynamic here than academia, and I just wanted some help understanding the dynamic, so thanks to everyone who gave feedback!
  23. Miscommunication in the lab

    Hello everyone, So I've recently started my new job, and I've already come across.... a potential misunderstanding. It's a research position, and I work in a group of 3, the PhD project leader, and me and another research associate. From my understanding, the project leader comes up with a way to direct our project, and our job is to basically follow that procedure. However, this being a research position, and me being new, I've been trying to provide alternatives e.g. "Why don't we do this instead" or "Why aren't we doing this"? Now these questions are simply me trying to understand what we're doing in the lab, and why we're doing it. I don't want to just blindly say, yeah I can do this, I want to understand why we're doing it, and why we aren't doing an alternative (usually my alternatives don't work or are impractical, but that's exactly what I'm trying to find out). The problem is, he printed out a "project design", which is basically a sheet telling us what the next step in the project is, and it states we are going to take our samples and run them on a reverse-phase column to try and find separate the precipitate from our protein, then run SDS-Page gels to find out whether the precipitate is our protein (basically one approach to our problem). I pointed out, why can't we simply filter out the precipitate, then resolubilize it and run it on SDS-Page (what I thought to be an alternative to would save us time and money). His response was literally: "listen buddy, I'm not going to rewrite the design, this is what we're going with ok". Now I wasn't asking to rewrite the entire design, but rather I was trying to understand why we're going with this technique in particular (versus what I was stating). After I told him this, he told me because filtration was a poor method of trying to separate the precipitate from soluble protein, and reverse phase was the best (basically my method doesn't work, his does). Which is fine, that is exactly what I was looking for. However, his response came across as if he sounded annoyed, or I don't know, thought I was just trying to one up him or say my idea is better. In reality, I don't entirely know what we're doing, but I also want to contribute, and these questions are a way for me to do both. I don't want to come across as trying to tell him what to do, or take his place and be the project leader, or think I'm smarter than him etc. I just see myself as a researcher who works under him, but also alongside him, and don't just want to be a drone who says yes master and does w.e. he says. This got me thinking, maybe there has simply been a misunderstanding. I could just email him, apologizing if my question annoyed him or something, and state my intention in my questions are only to understand what we're doing and why, and that I have no desire to rewrite or overwrite the current project design. If he likes my idea, great than we can rewrite the design, if my idea doesn't work, great he can explain to me why my idea sucks, but my intent is not to tell him what to do. But, I could simply be misunderstanding the dynamic. Maybe my role is to simply comply, and every once in a while state an objection or a thought. Maybe you don't tell your project leader your thoughts and ideas for alternatives, I don't know. This is my first job in an industry setting in the research lab, so my understanding of the dynamic is just coming from academia. Frankly, I don't know any people in industry, all from academia, so I really don't have anyone else to ask. So before I went forward and sent an email, I thought I'd get some feedback first. I want to have a friendly enjoyable dynamic within my group and project leader. I don't want to come across as a smartass, or annoying, and whatnot, especially not my first week!. Should I email him? Let him know where I'm coming from and continue asking questions and providing alternatives? Should I shut up? Like stop reading these articles, stop asking me questions, just follow the protocol that I've designed. Or should I lay low? Just follow along for a couple weeks/months, get myself really situated, then start getting involved like this. Or is that not how it works at all? Is my job as a research associate only to assist and follow the project leader and nothing else? Thanks ahead for the feedback ahead of time!
  24. Miscommunication in the lab

    Thanks for the feedback guys! Well now I'm glad I didn't email him. I'll just lay low for a while, try to get myself properly situated, and then discuss potential alternatives when I really get in the flow of things. I really like the -1,0,+1 idea, and I'll try to follow that format as I progress. Although one final thing, once I do get situated and in the flow of things, is it best to email your suggestions and advice? So they can look at it and answer it in their own time. Or could you just discuss it as your discussing the project direction, or in the middle of just running an experiment, etc.
  25. SOPs Word or PDF?

    Hello everyone, Is it better to upload your SOP as a PDF or a text document (e.g. word)? I'm assuming PDF just because it's more professional, but just wanted to make sure. Thank you!