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About iwearflowers

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

    Re: BU, I just talked to one of the faculty, and HSR is still planning to send out their decisions by early March.
  2. Fashion for a Visit

    I think something on the casual end of business casual is always a safe choice. Maybe add a blazer to jeans and a nice top? When all else fails, email the admissions coordinator and ask what is most appropriate. (This can be a good idea, regardless since you may find out they intend to take you on a three mile hike around campus, in which case you will want to wear comfortable shoes! I left my masters program visit day with awful blisters . . .)
  3. Fall 2018 Acceptances/Interviews/Rejections Thread

    It’s a bit unorthodox, but one thing that really helped me boost my GRE score was working as an ACT/SAT tutor part time. A lot of the skills are similar (especially on the math section), and it gives you a better sense of how test makers think overall. It’s also a great way to earn extra money in grad school. I work through a test prep company that handles all the recruitment and provides training and materials, and I started at $20/hr. It’s also a great student gig because you set your own schedule with your students, so you can increase your availability during summer break or blackout the weeks around finals. ALSO, @pinoysoc, my masters degree is an MPH, and I applied to a mix of public health and sociology programs. I basically chose my schools by doing a lit review on the kind of work I want to do for my dissertation to see who is active in the field. Thinking through why I was applying to such seemingly diverse programs really helped me articulate my goals and research interests in my SOPs. If you have questions or want to chat about public health options, feel free to PM me!
  4. "Let's just TALK about it..." Decision Edition

    One of my schools is on the opposite coast, and I don’t have the time or money to visit. (The dog sitting bills are killing me, and the school doesn’t have a formal visit day.) Instead, I’ve asked the program head to put me in touch with 2-3 current students and reached out to some recent graduates on my own. Between that and the chats I’ve had with the faculty, I’m confident I can make a decision.
  5. Visitations and Impostor Syndrome

    I'm a bit late to this party, but I'll add my two cents anyway. One of my letter writers took me aside when I first told her I was applying and told me that the entire PhD process - application through dissertation - is basically designed to wear down your self esteem. She encouraged me to start actively fighting this now, so I've really upped my meditations and mantras. I also keep reminding myself that these people are experts with tons of experience selecting students. If they think I belong here - that I'm capable of success here - then I do.
  6. "Let's just TALK about it..." Decision Edition

    I was not struggling with this until yesterday. My potential advisor from one of my not-top-ranked schools called to tell me that I've been selected for a competitive university-wide fellowship, and she was SO NICE. She seemed genuinely happy to be speaking to me and wanted to make sure I had all the information I needed in advance of my campus visit next week. This is . . . not my top-choice program, and I'm dreading having to tell this lovely woman that I don't want to come to her school. I also spoke to the department head at my top-choice school yesterday, and they're ALSO nominating me for a competitive university-wide fellowship. I almost cried on the phone. I was so intimidated by this process and worried that I wouldn't get in anywhere. It's unreal to have all of these schools competing for my attention.
  7. Should I tell my advisor I’m depressed

    Definitely go talk to your advisor! I dealt with something similar in my Masters program (quit therapy and meds because I thought I was fine - which I was at the time because of the therapy and meds), and I feel like I damaged a lot of my faculty relationships by not being more up front about what was going on. It's something I've worked on being more open about while I've been out in the working world. I don't think you have to tell them the whole story. You can just say something like, "I know I'm a bit behind on my personal project. I have a history of anxiety and depression, and I've been struggling a bit with my mental health over the last couple of months. I'm working with my doctor to make some adjustments to my medication and generally trying to take better care of myself, but it usually takes me a few weeks to start feeling like myself again after one of these episodes. Can we talk about making some adjustments to the timeline for this project so I can really do my best work?" You could also consider asking for extra support during this period. I find that more frequent check-ins are helpful when I'm trying to get back on track, though obviously YMMV. It's so easy to just stop taking your meds when you're feeling well - or when you're not feeling well and getting them filled seems too stressful. I've done it, and most of my friends with these types of struggles have done it. I hope your medical team is giving you the support you need, and I encourage you to start seeing a therapist again if it's not something you're currently doing. I've found it really helpful to have an established relationship with a therapist even during periods when I don't "feel" like I need one - partially because it keeps me working through deeper issues and partially because she helps me stay mindful about my overall condition. It's easier to see a relapse coming when you're checking in with someone regularly. Best of luck with this. It's frustrating to feel like your brain is actively trying to sabotage your success.
  8. Fall 2018 Acceptances/Interviews/Rejections Thread

    I never thought I'd be glad to be single at 30, but it makes this process a lot easier. When I told my boss where I was applying (6 schools in 6 states in . . . 5 regions?) she laughed and teased, "Are you sure you're not limiting yourself too much geographically?" I didn't even apply to Pitt and this response makes me anxious! They somehow made it sound as though decisions are being made imminently and also the committee hasn't even started reviewing applications.
  9. "Let's just TALK about it..." Decision Edition

    I'm also planning to make my decisions as soon as possible. I've already eliminated one program, so I'm going to send them an email this week so they can offer my spot to another student. Plus, the longer I stew over this the longer I'm stressed out and not sleeping well. I'm ready to be focused on other things.
  10. How much (total) did you pay for applications?

    I'm going through an insomnia cycle, so I went back and totaled up my costs so far. I applied to six schools - a mix of public health and sociology programs: GRE prep materials: ~$100 (In retrospect, I went overboard on this.) GRE test and score reports: $367 (I could have saved so much money by looking up the school/department codes before the test, but I was too stressed out.) Application fees: $490 My transcript costs were <$10, but I know this can be very expensive depending on your school. I'm still spending money on campus visits. Even the ones that are reimbursed aren't always fully paid for. One school in my time zone is only reimbursing $100 of my expenses to come interview, which is a little less than half the cost. Another school will only pay up to $300 of my travel, which is going to be $350-$400. Plus, most of these visits require me to pay the costs up front and be reimbursed. And you always end up with weird little extras. The school doesn't provide meals on your travel days, which you often end up eating at the airport or in restaurants. You forget something and have to run to CVS to replace it. Don't even get me started on how much I'm spending on dog sitting. I'd put aside at least $2000 for application and travel expenses. If you're a student,you might also think about your interview/business casual wardrobe so you can shop sales between now and then.
  11. I can't get along with my peers due to finances.

    On the one hand, I feel you. I often felt jealous of my classmates from wealthy families during my masters program. The program was not well funded (typical for MPH programs), so most of us did not receive a stipend or tuition assistance. Going in, I assumed that everyone else would be paying for school with loans and working to make ends meet like I was. Instead, many of my classmates were paying for school with educational trusts or being supported by their parents. This meant that they were free to take on volunteer work and unpaid internship positions that often gave them a leg up in terms of building their CVs. I ended up working retail holiday jobs and baby sitting to give myself some breathing room on top of the two part-time research jobs I took. That being said, I wonder if creating some extra space in your budget would help you feel better about your situation. I've tutored part time since finishing grad school (in addition to my full-time job) to help boost my savings and pay off my debt faster. You also might be able to pick up consulting work in your field. If you want something lower stress, maybe look into dog walking, house sitting, or driving for a delivery service. There are a lot of options that offer flexibility but give you the extra couple hundred dollars a month you need to feel okay about your situation.
  12. "Let's just TALK about it..." Decision Edition

    OMG, SAME. I applied to my dream program with no hope of getting in. I just knew I would regret not trying. Now I have an acceptance, and I'm freaking out about the cost of living in that city and feeling guilty about picking it over a more reasonably priced location.
  13. Decisions 2018

    Congratulations!!! It's so nice when you end up being the dream applicant for your dream school.
  14. The hard skills and experiences you come out of your program with are way more important than what your degree says. Look at the methods courses available to you in each department and use that to make the decision. You can always work with faculty or take electives in other departments. My MPH is in behavioral sciences and health education, but I've worked almost exclusively in health policy and health services research because I focused on building a strong toolbox of quantitative and qualitative methods that were valuable across content areas.
  15. Decisions 2018

    I've got two campus visits coming up, and I'm trying to schedule at least one more (still waiting to hear back from one program). I've basically got a data collection protocol drafted with all of the questions I want to ask students and professors, things I want to cost out online, and other factors I want to consider (climate, program fit, etc). Then it's going into an Excel spreadsheet I'm calling my decision matrix. And then I'll probably end up picking based 75% on that and 25% on what my gut says because I'm an INFP. I honestly didn't expect to get into more than one or two programs, so I was not expecting this part of the process to be quite so stressful.