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XVIIA

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  1. I can relate to this... I'm close to 30, married, and in my first year of a PhD program. I've played down my "adult"ness in order to bond better with my cohort. It's probably been easier to initially make friends with the 22 - 24 year olds around me because I tried to avoid mentioning the things that make me seem different, and once I started being more open about sharing parts of my past and present life, people have been cool with it. Although I did start getting invited to bars and stuff less... When I DON'T want my adultness taken away, I've found that I have to be really proactive at announcing my adultness. The most frustrating is when condescending attitudes come down on me from students who are farther in the program than I am or random post-docs I meet, etc. As a less "traditional" student in this program, most of the people assuming that I'm naive and inexperienced are usually younger than me and have much less diverse real world experience/perspective, which makes it extra annoying. Just because I'm a first year does not automatically mean that I am not as grown up, am naive about life or careers, or don't know myself as a researcher.
  2. I applied last year, and I got a lot more rejections than I was expecting. It definitely stung. Even in my first year, though, I've started to realize the ways that the program I'm attending and (from a more limited perspective) the only other one that gave me an offer are more suited to me as a researcher than some of the programs that rejected me. For example, I knew what I wanted to research, but I've started to learn the nuances of that research area enough to see how I probably wouldn't have been as good of a fit for at least half of my rejections. I'm almost grateful to have been rejected, to be honest! A few of my past rejections still sting a bit. One program is seemingly very similar to where I am now but lower ranked/less prestigious, and my pride is still a bit wounded by that rejection. I now find myself rooting against their sports teams on principle. 😜 But overall, my perspective has made me realize that some of my rejections were probably mutually beneficial. Obviously everyone's experience is different. I just wanted to throw my perspective in there in case it helps someone get less discouraged about some rejections in favor of being more excited for the programs that chose them!
  3. I'm a 1st year PhD student (on quarters) in an engineering field, and I am required to TA in my first year. The spring quarter is super heavy for coursework in my program, and since it's my first time TAing, I applied for and accepted TAship in an undergrad class that seemed very appropriate for my background based on the course name and the catalog description. However, the instructor sent us a copy of the syllabus today, and the course is almost entirely about a completely different topic! All the topics that were explicitly listed on the course description are either crammed into a couple of lectures at the beginning of the class or excluded entirely in favor of topics and techniques in the instructor's specialty. Honestly, these aren't even all that related to the main topic of the class... This is a bit shocking to me since this is a required class with what is typically a pretty "standard" set of fundamentals, but I digress... Based on the syllabus, I am honestly not qualified to TA this class at all... I have essentially no prior exposure to the "updated" class topic. Even more, it's not even a topic that's even remotely related to my intended area of research, so I don't think I'm even interested in wasting the time to learn it on the spot during a very busy term. I'm not exactly sure how to proceed though... Do I try to talk to the professor and confess that I'm unqualified because the course description was so inaccurate? Do I speak to the coordinator to see if there's even the potential to switch out? Has anyone else navigated a situation like this?
  4. My classes start again on Monday, and most people STILL haven't heard about TA assignments. Since TA-ing this year is a program requirement, I feel like someone should have an answer by now, but maybe none of us got one... As someone who likes to plan, not knowing what my schedule will be like for this upcoming term is starting to drive me nuts.
  5. On the topic of annoying downstairs neighbors, my downstairs neighbors let their children bounce basketballs all over the apartment, so it sounds like someone is constantly (and poorly) playing a bass drum for hours. It's been fall break for them this past week, and it's really obnoxious. Talking to the parents would accomplish nothing because they refuse to talk to anyone, so I'm contemplating buying myself a basketball and doing some dribbling of my own. ?
  6. I'm doing a research rotation in my first term, and I'm really regretting it. I feel like I'm just floating here. I don't really know what I'm doing, and I'm not "assigned" under anyone for this rotation so it's always a struggle to figure out who to ask for help. When I do ask, I feel like I'm bothering people because most rotational students ARE working with someone directly, so no one really has any time to set aside to help me get started. It's hard to even track anyone down sometimes because it's computational stuff. Plus, I have a desk that I've sort of been assigned, but sometimes I come in and there's stuff on it or the chair is missing, and I can't really find anyone to ask about it so I just end up leaving and going to a library or something to work. I asked the PI about desks, and he assigned me another one that ended up having the same issue.
  7. This is the pettiest complaint ever, but I can't help myself. There are two people in my group who will be taking over my work, and it seems like the person I don't like is getting all of my cool projects. She's one of those competitive people that like to try to take credit for your work if you let her. I've spent so much time keeping her from sharing my ideas as her own and taking credit for my hard work that I don't want her to benefit from the foundations I've set up for these projects. I'd much rather give them to the other person in my group, who has been considerate and collaborative. I know I'm leaving and the mature thing to do would be to focus on the general success of my group and let the rest of it go. It's just hard to switch mindsets from "stop taking credit for my work" to "here, here's all my work, take all the credit for all future successes based off of my work". Although since my company seems to be having major financial issues, who knows how much future success is even on the table...
  8. I'm living in campus housing in the fall, and I need to set up my electricity account with the provider before I can move in. Apparently this MUST be done over the phone, and the automated message warned me that the wait to speak to someone will be more than an hour! ?
  9. I ended up saying no to submitting my letter. The conversation went something like this: Me: "I'm not comfortable resigning right now. I would prefer to wait until I am positive I will actually be leaving and I have all the information" VP: "If you think you're going to leave anyway, what does it matter if you get additional information?" Me: "Well... Even if the news isn't relevant to me, it's not going to hurt me to get as much information as possible before I make an official decision. It seems pretty obviously in my best interests to just wait, unless you can give me some information to convince me otherwise?" VP: "Well, you've expressed verbal intent to leave, so we wouldn't lay you off anyway knowing that you're leaving" Me: "Wait, I never expressed intent to leave to anyone. I have never spoken to anyone at this company about this, and I'm not even positive I'm leaving. I know you heard that from [someone else outside the company]." VP: "Yes, and I know that really sucks. But that's how it goes." God, I am SO OVER THIS JOB. All the stress from doing things like arguing with VPs is getting to me. I'm a low-level employee in a reasonably large company, it's weird to even have to meet with VPs to discuss my employment, let alone argue with them over my resignation. I am counting down the days until I can be free of these people. ?
  10. Whelp, to confirm my suspicions, I found out that one of my recommendation providers (the former director of my group) had been dropping people I still work with/for info about my plans to go back to school this fall. So even though I never officially announced it to anyone I work with, the director of my group called me into his office to request my letter of resignation. There have been rumors of layoffs, etc approaching, so I guess that I'm trading my potential severance package for a resignation because word spread too soon behind my back. ?
  11. Ugh. I had to get a second chicken pox vaccine because my program requires two (when I got my first one as a child, the recommendation was still only one shot, then they updated it to the two shot series). Now I have this giant, itchy, painful welt, a sore arm, and absolutely no energy to do any of my huge to do list. I have a cross country move in like a month and I need to be sorting through things, planning, packing, etc. I don't have time to waste a valuable Saturday sleeping on my couch.
  12. I'm so sorry! That's really stressful. I hope things work out! This almost happened to me actually, but I came out on the lucky side of it... I had a really hard choice between two programs, and a couple of days after I made my decision, I got an email from the professor I would have worked with at the school I declined saying that he was moving to another university. It's really unfortunate that this type of news seems to come out AFTER we make our decisions and our plans. ?
  13. Someone in my family got a PhD in their mid-50s and is preparing to go up for tenure this year! My opinion is that it's never too late.
  14. I had some business travel proposed for early last spring, and I was trying to research which of my programs had interview weekends and to get a good guess as to when those interview weekends usually are. One of the programs I searched for had mentions of interviews on their GradCafe results page, so I checked the rest of my programs and clicked around a bit.
  15. Yikes. I just had another extremely awkward discussion with the director of my group. We all have these one-on-one meetings with him, where we're supposed to go through our career development goals, etc. Plans for future education comes up from time to time, and I did a terrible job talking around my decision to leave. This time I was so awkward that he has to know something is up. I really wanted to just tell him. I even started to say it and then in the middle of the sentence (literally right before I said the decision) the meeting got interrupted for a second. I took it as a sign that I should wait until early July like I had planned. Ha. I'd do it earlier, but there's a chance that there will be major group changes in the next few weeks and I really need to keep my leverage until I see how things will unfold. Ughhhhhhhhhhhhh. ?
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