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Jazlynne's Achievements


Decaf (2/10)



  1. Thanks for all of the replies. I think I've just been extremely stressed since the start of the semester and becoming particularly sensitive to potential threats or risks that could come up. You don't really hear anyone saying, "I'm having a great semester!" so it starts to feel like a long road and you question if it's worth it. I'll definitely stay alert but try to relax a bit until I experience more for myself.
  2. I completely agree with the above statement, and I'm generally very good at sensing how to treat people and not step on toes so as to position myself favorably. I'm not looking for an apolitical environment, but a reasonably respectable one. That being said: I do think the above behaviors ARE significantly unethical. So I guess my question is, how often do students or professors face these situations? I'm a very professional and modest person, so I'm not concerned if these horror situations are typically the result of immaturity or lack of social skills (or arrogance) on the part of the "victim" of these outcomes, but that's what I'm uncertain of. Is being a good person and responding professionally enough to shield oneself from the darker side of politics? Or does it make one an easy target for less ethical colleagues to manipulate in the game? I worked in industry for several years, so politics are not new to me. However, I knew that certain positions were more prone to unethical "rules" and I could avoid those situations. But if one wants to become a professor, I guess I'm curious whether it's possible to keep a clean nose and stay uninvolved in such dealings, without sacrificing a career - assuming that one is professional and not an arrogant jerk. I've known a few people who left grad school because they found themselves in situations where they had to choose between their integrity and their PhD. I don't think my program is one of those cases, but I'm starting to sense that the best path to a reasonably ethical lifestyle is a balanced or teaching school rather than working at a research university. Of course, there are administrative politics professors must play anywhere, and I'm fine with that. I'm more concerned with, "I emptied my 401(k) and left a successful career, dedicated 6+ years to pursuing my PhD, and now I can't graduate because my advisor needs me to finish a project for them," or, "my advisor won't write a recommendation because they don't like the school I'm applying to, or someone at that school, and are therefore interfering with my family and desired lifestyle," or something similarly petty. I guess it's just something for me to keep my eyes open for and to think about. Politics are certainly a part of life, but some people darken the lives of those around them, and I've learned to simply stay away rather than walk on eggshells for the sake of my own happiness and wellbeing.
  3. I'm a PhD student in the social sciences, and although my passion is research and I can't imagine myself doing anything else, I'm also learning a lot about politics in the field. I'm concerned that the "game" one must play to get hired, published, tenure, etc. might present far more ethical challenges than I really want to deal with. For example, I hear about peers or professors stealing ideas, booting authors off or further down the list for a publication for ridiculous reasons, adding authors to help a friend out even if they didn't contribute much or at all, having to stroke the egos of the editors, ending your career if you bruise the wrong ego, etc. (some of these are stories I've read on this site, some come directly from faculty and other students I've spoken with). It seems to me that there is a great deal of risk - you might put 6 years into working toward a PhD, and then for political reasons you may have a hard time getting your dissertation accepted, or not get letters of recommendation because the faculty doesn't like where you're applying for jobs, or not getting published in a certain journal because you challenged an editor's paper (even if professionally) in another journal, etc. I guess what I'm asking is, how big of an impact do these concerns have on the quality of life as a professor? Does this depend heavily on the school where you work (top tier and under a lot of pressure versus a more balanced school)? To be a successful PhD student, does "learning to play by the rules" mean as much, if not more, than your motivation and skills? (And by rules, I mean jumping through hoops even if it may sacrifice the integrity of your work, or bump you down the author's list unjustifiably, etc.). I am not talking about being unprofessional as part of the rule - of course I would always approach my work, my critiques of others' work, and any conversations I have as professionally and respectfully as possible. But I've seen professors try to embarrass colleagues or act rudely during seminars and everyone seems to think it's the norm, whereas I feel like withdrawing from such unprofessional discussions and behaviors. Perhaps I'm just having one of those "do I really want to put myself through this?" moments... But I really don't want the (potentially unethical) politics to ruin my passion and quality of life, given the opportunity costs of pursuing this goal for the next several years.
  4. I'm curious about the other end of things... Let's say you apply to those programs and are able to get a LOR from your professor. What if you don't get in? Will you be staying in your current program? What kind of tension might exist between you and the faculty at your current institution? Or even if you do get in, once your current department knows you've applied elsewhere there is the possibility for tension leading up to your acceptance/departure. Of course you can't possibly have answers to these questions just yet, but take them into consideration as you get to the know the faculty and be strategic in your decisions. That being said, I think if you're not happy where you are and it is a poor fit with poor placements, then it might be a good idea to apply elsewhere now. But I'd suggest applying widely to ensure you do get an offer to another department with a better fit. Include the 2 programs you want, but also include programs where there are faculty members doing research on topics pertaining to your interests; they need not offer concentrations or dual degrees. Others have provided some advice for your GREs; make time to study and try again, or apply to programs that are realistic for your qualifications. Keep in mind that some schools do not view transfers/current PhD applicants favorably, which is why applying widely to several programs is important - you need to find a program that is 1) okay with transfers, 2) satisfied with your GRE scores, 3) impressed by your research experience or goals, and 4) believe your overall package is a great match for the department. People interpret things differently. That's why some people say PhD admissions are (at least partially) based on luck. One more thing - If the dual degree programs are placing well, it isn't necessarily because of the dual degree. You said they're both highly ranked, which probably means they have excellent resources and networks to place students well. But plenty of other programs do, too. Look for or ask about placements if you do decide to apply elsewhere. Only apply to schools you'd be happy attending if they're the only one that accepts you. Find programs with a strong research fit, good placements that align with your goals, and productive (and happy) students. Good luck!
  5. I think your profile is strong enough for a decent masters program. Your GPA and GRE scores will get you past the initial rounds of cuts in the admissions process. I wouldn't worry about getting into a "top" or pricey masters program. As long as the program is solid and has sent some students to PhD programs at the tier you're hoping to achieve, it should be fine. Keep in mind that not everyone in a masters program is aiming for a PhD, so they might not have a lot of students going, but you get the idea; even 1 or 2 in the last few years would be a positive sign. Research experience might help, but I think it's less common for a masters program. You can gain research experience during the program and build relationships so that you have stronger letters for a PhD application. So, the letters...if you have enough letter writers that can write positively about your academic work and character (even if they're not speaking about any research skills), you should still be able to get into a masters program. Give your writers as much information as possible; transcripts, a copy of your personal statement, perhaps a paper you did for their class, etc. Meet with them face-to-face if possible, or by phone, and chat a bit about your goals. This all will help them to remember you and speak well of you in a letter. You don't have to come from a top undergrad or even a top masters program to get into a good PhD program. It can help (if you have connections with top researchers in the field), but there are ways of compensating for that. Ultimately your skills, ideas, experiences, and fit will matter much more at the PhD level than the name brand of your school. I think aiming for a top 100 PhD program is very doable for you if you put the work in.
  6. Any advice for what to do (and what not to do) the first few weeks/months of a program to build good relationships with your faculty advisors (for RA/TA/GA assignments)? How soon did you reach out to schedule a meeting to discuss expectations? Particularly for those of us who are not blessed with strong social skills and are generally on the quiet/reserved side... What about building relationships with faculty you want to work with, but who are not your advisors and you won't have a class with them (or any other formal introduction opportunity)? I get the impression my program is pretty formal, so it's not the environment where faculty and students get together outside of school (I've read about students going out for drinks with faculty, hiking together, etc.). My struggle is with finding a balance between talking strictly work, and still getting to know them beyond research (the likability factor). Thanks in advance for any and all input!
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