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About iwearflowers

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  • Location
    Washington, DC
  • Application Season
    2018 Fall
  • Program
    Sociology, Health Services Research
  1. iwearflowers

    Unpaid adjunct faculty

    My masters' program involved alumni in these types of activities through an alumni mentoring program. We were matched based on interest, and alumni mentors often served on thesis committees, reviewed job hunt materials, and facilitated professional connections. You can formalize these roles without making them faculty appointments. The same masters program had a lot of kids from well-off families. I had assumed everyone was going to be taking out loans and working multiple jobs to afford school. Turned out that a lot of students were paying for school and living expenses through educational trusts. (Until this point, I honestly thought trust funds were the kind of thing you only say in movies and celebrity magazines.) Students with those resources were able to take advantage of opportunities I couldn't. They could work unpaid internships or volunteer as a research assistant. They didn't have to compete for funding to collect thesis data. After school, they didn't have to consider student debt when job hunting and could take fellowships that didn't pay well or had limited benefits. I worked two paid research jobs plus a few shifts a week in a sandwich shop and still came out with six figures of debt. Academia has enough problems with diversity. An unpaid faculty appointment is something that you can only accept if you're already well off making it one more barrier for people from diverse backgrounds.
  2. iwearflowers

    I've finally committed...now what?

    This is how I've survived in a job that often requires 60 hour work weeks. I take one weekend a month to cook 4 full sized meals (4-6 servings each) and freeze them in individual portions. Washi tape and Sharpie make great freezer-proof labels that will come off easily when you're done. I take the frozen meals as my lunches so all I have to do is grab it on my way out the door. Plus, since I ate my "big" meal at lunch, I can just do a sandwich or salad when I get home. I make a big batch of oatmeal or boiled eggs Sunday morning and eat the leftovers for breakfast all week and typically only have to do dishes on the weekend!
  3. iwearflowers

    I've finally committed...now what?

    THIS. Grad school is a marathon, and you have to be in good shape mentally and emotionally to make it through. This is a good time to focus on building healthy habits and thinking about how you can maintain them during school.
  4. iwearflowers

    First time grad student moving states alone

    If you're not super attached to your furniture, Amtrak and Greyhound both ship REALLY cheap. Amtrak is faster, but Greyhound looks cheaper and has fewer restrictions. Even considering the cost of storing things yourself and transfer to and from the station, it's a really great deal. I'm moving cross-country (East coast to West coast), and the trip should take about a week. I'm planning to sell my furniture, seriously winnow down my belongings, and ship via Greyhound. It should cost ~$300. (The Amtrak estimate was pretty similar, but I'd have to pay for storage because my stuff would likely make the trip faster than I did.) I'll take the essentials on my roadtrip and live out of a suitcase for about three weeks while I look for housing and stay in an AirBnB. This option works for me because I'm transitioning from living by myself in a studio to living in a shared apartment, so I would need to get rid of a lot of my stuff anyway. I'll only need to replace my bed and bookshelves, which I can do for well under the ~$1000 I'll save by using this method rather than PODS.
  5. iwearflowers

    "Let's just TALK about it..." Decision Edition

    After I sent in my decisions, I spent three weeks in a funk. I think a lot of it was just adrenaline letdown. In the last week or so, I've been working on setting goals for the summer - things I want to do in my current city before I leave, healthy habits I want to focus on, reading and review I want to complete before the fall semester starts. I always feel better when I have goals to work on and things to plan for, and it's helped me feel a bit more normal.
  6. iwearflowers

    Grad. School Supplies?

    I never studied at a desk in college unless I was at the library. When I started my masters program, I bought a nice dining room table with the thought that I could use it as a combo dining table and desk. The only time it got any use was when I had company. I continued to study on the couch or the floor or on campus as I had when I was in undergrad. I have a small desk now that I mostly use for practicing calligraphy. When I work from home, I do it from the couch. I'd spend the money on a nice chair and think about what kind of filing or storage you need that would normally be part of a desk.
  7. iwearflowers

    Furnishing an Apartment on a Budget?

    I got a memory foam mattress on Amazon that feels much more expensive than it actually was. I've had it around 3 years, and it's held up very well. It's one that comes vacuum packed and rolled up into a relatively small box. It's called the Signature Sleep Memoir 12-Inch Memory Foam Mattress and is currently listed at $219 for a full. You can also get pretty cute sofas online for reasonable that are delivered flat-packed and require simple assembly. Everyone suggests Ikea, but you can also look at Amazon, Wayfair, Overstock, and Walmart. When I furnished my first apartment, I bought the aforementioned mattress, a sofa from Walmart, and a couple of rugs. Everything else (bookshelves, side tables, bed frame, desk and chair) I got from Craigslist. Some of it was free, and the rest was priced pretty cheap. I have bad allergies, so I was concerned about buying anything soft used. (I was also super paranoid about bed bugs.) I also moved in with just a mattress and folding chair and took my time to find the rest of the furnishings, which meant I was able to wait until I found the best deal. Don't feel pressured to have your place in perfect shape within a few days of moving. It's an adventure!
  8. iwearflowers

    Rejecting an offer email

    I used the template below. I didn't offer a reason for declining but did say which school I had accepted instead. Dear [NAME], I am writing to let you know that I have accepted an offer from [SCHOOL A], so I will not be attending [SCHOOL B] this fall. I appreciate all of your time and consideration during the admissions process, especially the opportunity to visit the campus and speak with professors about my goals. I have officially declined my offer in the online portal. Please let me know if I need to do anything further to tie up loose ends in this process. Sincerely,
  9. iwearflowers

    "Let's just TALK about it..." Decision Edition

    I officially submitted all of my decisions today! Most of the emails I got in response to my rejections were very warm, but one professor just wrote "I hope this is a good decision for you." That kind of cemented my feeling that I made the right choice in turning them down. I mean . . . that's a bit passive aggressive, right?
  10. When I moved for my masters program, I did my apartment hunting while I was in town for the visiting students day and then moved in about a week before classes started. In retrospect, I probably didn't get the best location or the best deal, but I had a full time job in the city I was leaving and wanted to work as long as I could to save up some extra money. When I moved for my current job, I got a short term lease (2-3 months) and looked for something more permanent once I got to the city. That gave me a lot more flexibility to learn the city and really get a sense of where I wanted to live and what I should pay for it. Currently, I'm looking at making the opposite move that you are (East Coast to West Coast). My job has a flexible remote work policy, so I'm planning to get something short term (either a sublet or AirBnB) and move out there in early July. I'm putting my stuff in a Pod and road tripping cross-country with my dog. Then I'll have a couple of months to learn the city and find a longer term spot while working remotely. I've also heard that you can sometimes get a summer research position if your PI has funding, so if you don't have anything else going on that might be a way to make an early move.
  11. iwearflowers

    Gift Ideas for Letter Writers?

    I’ve been out of school for a few years, and several of my letter writers were colleagues, so I bought them each a nice business card holder. It was less than $10 per person, and it’s something everyone can use.
  12. iwearflowers

    Deciding without visiting each school

    Bummer about the weather. I’m also doing one of my visits virtually due to time constraints, and talking to students and professors is helpful. Ask professors about their mentoring style, what projects you would be working on, and what professional development opportunities the department offers. Ask students about their mentoring and research experiences, what opportunities they’ve had to publish, and how ready they feel for the job market. I’ve also spoken to some recent grads, which was great. Good luck!
  13. iwearflowers

    Diet coke habit!

    The last time I quit Diet Coke, I used flavored carbonated water as an intermediate step. That way I was still getting the fizz and flavor but in a slightly healthier form. I switched to flavored water cold turkey and then cut those back gradually and replaced it with regular water. Good luck!
  14. iwearflowers

    Grad school and mental illness--how do you cope?

    @Neuromantic - I’m also in the depression/anxiety boat and have found it super helpful to disclose the issue at work since it makes it possible to get the kind of support I need. That being said, I was repeatedly cautioned against disclosing in my applications because departments can see students with mental health issues as a risk. I ended up not mentioning the issue in my SOP but did talk about it during interviews. When I did disclose, I focused on talking about my determination, resilience, and coping skills and how those would translate into a PhD program. I also talked about how I was committed to staying in therapy/on meds during my program since I know it can be stressful and those are important elements in keeping me stable. This approach seemed to work well for me, as I was accepted at 5 of 6 schools I applied to, 4 of which were funded and 3 of which included competitive fellowships.
  15. iwearflowers

    Keep a Word, Drop a Word

    fair play

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