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Everything posted by iwearflowers

  1. Georgetown is pricy. I paid around $1500 (utilities included) to live by myself in Glover Park, which is just north of Georgetown. You’ll be able to save a bit with housemates. The rental market in DC turns over quickly, with most units posted less than 30 days before they’re filled. That being said, you can start looking at Craigslist now to get a sense of what you want and can afford.
  2. I shipped via Amtrack, and it came out to around $1 per pound. It took a couple of weeks to arrive, but everything got there safely.
  3. It sounds like they interviewed you early and are waiting to make final decisions until they finish all the interviews. I know the waiting is hard, but don’t despair! You can always contact the person who set up your interview and see if you can get an updated timeline?
  4. This is a somewhat unconventional strategy, but if money is an issue, consider working part-time as an ACT/SAT test prep tutor. The math concepts are basically the same, it's just the complexity of the problems that differs on the GRE. I did this for a couple of years before I took the GRE, and it was enormously helpful. It also gave me a boost in terms of learning to think like the test in a way that I don't think being a student would have.
  5. Don't spend that kind of money on a class. I was accepted to 2 sociology PhD programs with a BA in religious studies and a masters of public health (plus 3 years of work experience as a research associate). I'd never taken a sociology class before. Economics to sociology is a reasonable path, particularly if you do a good job of selecting schools and POIs. For your letters, are you relying only on letters from undergrad? If your work involves research, I would encourage you to get at least one of your letters from senior staff at your job. The goal of a grad school recommendation letter i
  6. I interviewed several places last year, but I think UCSF was the only sociology program that interviewed. (Other programs were public health/health services research.) Be prepared to talk about your research interests and how they developed. Be prepared to talk about one or two specific ideas you might propose for a dissertation. (They don’t have to be well developed, and no one will hold you to them. You just need to show you’ve thought about it.) Be prepared to talk about your previous training and experience with quant and/or qual methods and which you prefer. Be prepared to talk a lit
  7. It varies by program. If you call or email someone in the department, they can probably give you an outline of their process.
  8. Three years down the road from a very expensive MPH (~$100,000 in debt), I still don't have a good answer for this kind of question. Here are some things to consider: What would your life look like without this degree? Could you work your way up based on your current experience and connections in the field? How much does the ranking of the program really matter to job outcomes? Identify some less expensive programs and compare the career trajectories of alumns from these programs versus your dream program. (My MPH was from a top 10 program, and I don't feel like it helped me all th
  9. Sorry for the late reply on this. Another thing you might consider doing is to trade letters with a friend who is also applying so that your drafts have an obviously different "voice". (In other words, you write one of their drafts, and they write one of yours.) I've done this a couple of times with good results.
  10. Have you considered an MPH with a social/behavior emphasis? That might be a bit more marketable/give you more hard skills than an MA. Also, many programs will allow you take classes outside of your program, so if you find a social work program that you like, you might be able to take some sociology courses to round out your areas of emphasis.
  11. I'm a 30 year old first-year PhD student. My path was a little more straightforward, as I went from undergrad to an MPH to a research position at a non-profit, but I think my age and experience made me a better, more focused candidate. I think I would take this meeting as a sign that this particular department was not a good fit for you rather than a sign that you shouldn't pursue a PhD at all.
  12. I'm sorry you're having such a rough time. During orientation, my school talked a bit about how hard the adjustment to grad school can be and compared it to culture shock. I've been finding it helpful to remind myself that it will get better if I keep at it! I suspect that your cohort will bother you less as you spend more time with them. Not, necessarily, because you'll learn to like everyone but because you'll start to find people you get along well with and won't care as much about the students you aren't close to. You'll get a sense of whose feedback is meaningful on what topics and w
  13. It’s not uncommon to find that the systems and strategies that worked for you in undergrad don’t translate well to graduate school. Consider looking into your school’s student services and see if there is someone you can talk to about study strategies.
  14. If there aren’t faculty with compatible research interests, why are you applying to that program? The match doesn’t have to be exact, but you will need to put together a committee who can mentor you through the dissertation process and evaluate the final product. In terms of how specific - I think the more specific you can be, the better. I found it helpful to create a “funneled” statement that started broad and got specific. BROAD: I’m interested in understanding how stigma or social disadvantage affects access to health care, LESS BROAD: particularly in terms of how patients
  15. Another option is to find out if there is an administrative person (or even another researcher) who helps with his schedule or can at least prod him about things like this. I've definitely worked with faculty who you'll never get a response from unless you copy their assistant/the department admin/the PD or PM for their study. Good luck!
  16. If the online classes were part of a degree or certificate program, those dates should be reflected in the education section of your resume. Otherwise, I would follow @wcw's advice.
  17. I echo @slouching. Find a therapist. Talk to your doctor about adjusting your meds and/or getting an “emergency” medication to take during panic attacks. Visit the disability office to talk about whether/what kind of accommodation you need. I spent a lot of time feeling miserable and missing out on things during my masters program because I was too ashamed of my mental illness to get the help I needed. Don’t be like me! Work with professionals to set yourself up for success! If you have a friend you can trust, ask them to help you get your appointments set up and maybe even to go wit
  18. I can’t speak to your field, but generally my sense is that committees understand that your resume may not reflect your interests perfectly. It’s more and seeing that you have broadly relevant knowledge, skills, and experience. Your SOP should explain your interests and why your experience has led you there.
  19. You may not have much luck conducting independent research with an MA, but you would likely be qualified for research coordinator positions in academic research or research assistant/associate positions in consulting firms (RTI, JSB, etc.). Depending on your previous experience, you might also look for positions in public health departments (state or local) that focus on evaluation or program management. If you're looking outside your area of expertise, you may want to look for positions with "Bachelors required, Masters preferred."
  20. Sorry for the very late reply here, but this would be a great question for a mentor and/or letter writer. You could send them a short description of the papers you’re considering so they don’t have to read them (which they likely don’t have time for). Also, I really like the way you’ve phrased your research interests. I found being able to funnel my interests like that (start broad and get very specific) was helpful when I was interviewing.
  21. I got involved in some community groups during my masters program, and it was kind of a saving grace. In grad school, you’re surrounded by your topic all the time, and it’s nice to get out of that bubble occasionally. Religious communities, hobby clubs, and volunteer organizations are all great ways to meet people.
  22. While it's possible this is just nerves and overthinking, you should consider seeing a therapist or your PCP. Some of the behaviors you describe (not caring about getting ready for your program, engaging with escapist media, changes in sleeping and eating patterns) can also be signs of depression and anxiety. If you're in your early- to mid-twenties, you're still in the peak period for emergence of mental health issues. There is also a diagnosis called "stress response syndrome" that's a shorter-term response to a specific stressor. I developed a pretty severe anxiety disorder near the en
  23. I applied to a mix of sociology and health services research programs because my research straddles the line. I wasn't actually interested in both departments at any of the same universities; In most cases, the faculty doing the research I was most interested in (i.e. most similar/helpful to my own interests) were concentrated in a single department. I found it really helpful to do a loosely structured review of the literature and choose my departments based on those initial findings. (It also helped later when people said, "Why didn't you apply to [highly ranked program]?" because I could jus
  24. I'm starting at UCSF this fall, and I've been warned repeatedly that they are not fucking around about these requirements. Also, to be frank, I think you might be overestimating how much free time she'll really have to come visit you in DC. I relocated to the bay area earlier this summer and have had to fly back to the East Coast for work several times. I lose most of a day just to the flight (~5 hours plus time change and layovers), so on a three day weekend you'd really only have a day together - maybe a day and a half. PhD programs require a lot of effort outside of class. Most of my friend
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