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juilletmercredi

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juilletmercredi last won the day on July 4

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About juilletmercredi

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  • Birthday 07/09/1986

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    Pacific Northwest
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  1. juilletmercredi

    Tattoos in grad school

    There's nothing wrong with tattoos in academia. They're super common, and they don't necessarily read as unprofessional or off-putting. I think you should feel free to expose them if you want, even while teaching. Your professor's comment was inappropriate and pretty creepy...but it's not your fault, and there's nothing you should do in reaction to it. The problem is with him. Commenting on people's bodies is always dicey, but even then there are still so many ways he could've given you a compliment on your tattoo without making it creepy (e.g., as you mentioned, without the wink and the 'on you.') I know it's difficult not to be self-conscious, but try not to let this incident make you self-conscious about your tattoo or your body, much less make you cover it up.
  2. juilletmercredi

    If I knew then what I know now (Officially Grads version)

    Form a study group! Even if study groups aren't normally your thing. I was super skeptical about forming a study group for my comps, but I joined one anyway and it was tremendously helpful. We were able to divide and conquer a lot of the reading and provide really good, detailed summaries of the key readings that made it easier to study. (Because let's face it...you probably can't actually do all of the reading.) For tackling the reading - make a schedule for it and stick to it. You have to add your own structure to your comprehensive exam studying period. If they are orals, set up some meetings with your advisor where you can informally practice by spending part of those meetings talking about the readings.
  3. juilletmercredi

    Question

    No. At some of the more elite law schools, it's slightly more common - for example, 9% of Columbia's JD class of 2020 had a graduate degree before entering, and I checked a couple others with similar numbers. But at the top law schools, it is becoming more common for people to work for a few years (2-3) before attending. You can check out the class profiles of law schools to see the percentage of students who came straight from undergrad.
  4. juilletmercredi

    PhD in Finance vs PhD in Accounting

    I once went to an interest meeting for a postdoctoral bridge-to-business program. It was designed to train PhD students in other fields (usually social sciences) to compete for jobs as business faculty, partially to stave a shortage of faculty in business. Based on the information they passed along in that meeting, I think that finance and accounting are actually pretty close in terms of openings for faculty. I got the sense that accounting may have a slightly better picture, but both fields had more openings than they had qualified candidates to compete for them. (I'm assuming that you're using this as only one factor and not the primary driving factor in selecting a program.)
  5. Is the offer at the office building school a good offer? Is it a great program in your field, with a good reputation? If it's a professional program, is there the potential for good professional connections? Pretty campuses are nice, but they definitely shouldn't be a primary consideration for choosing a graduate program. If the other program is a great one, I wouldn't decline the offer on the hopes that you might get admitted to the other program.
  6. I couldn't afford to go out to my graduate city a couple months before starting. I did meet a roommate online who was in my department and who lived within driving distance of the city, so she did go up to scout for apartments during the summer before grad school. But with the housing market we were moving to (New York), it all fell through and we ended up finding a place and signing a lease just a week before school started. I also knew several grad students who found temporary housing for a few weeks or even months before finding a more permanent place to live. We housed a fellow graduate student in a different program in the same school for about 3 weeks. I don't remember all the details, but somehow his housing had fallen through and the apartment he was going to rent on the first floor of our building wouldn't come available for another 3 weeks. My roommate offered him the couch in our living room. I thought she was crazy, but it turned out all right and the three of us became close friends!
  7. juilletmercredi

    Furnishing an Apartment on a Budget?

    Mattress: I would STRONGLY suggest getting a new one, not used. You can get inexpensive but good new mattresses at Macy's and Sears. I highly recommend Sears; my husband and I got a great, comfortable queen-sized mattress + boxspring from them for ~$700. We still have it in our guest room! They do have cheaper models, but they tend to be more uncomfortable. (My first mattress + boxspring set was $250 from a mattress store in Manhattan; I think I lasted about 6 months before I broke down and bought a new one. I could feel the springs!) Bed frame: I bought a metal bed frame from Amazon for $30. (I didn't want my mattress and boxspring on the floor. They last longer in a frame.) I too thought about asking my parents to give me my old bedroom furniture including mattress, but when I looked into it it was cheaper for me to buy new stuff than it was for them to ship it to me (they are in Atlanta and I was in New York). Other stuff: Mix of IKEA, Target, Wayfair, and Walmart. Target and Wayfair both have things that look nicer and quite frankly are sometimes better quality than IKEA and Walmart. I would also recommend getting a new couch (bedbugs can live there, too) and you can get an inexpensive one from IKEA or Wayfair. Target sells nice accent chairs. IKEAs in cities often contract with local delivery companies to get the delivery to you faster, but only if you order in person. So yeah, if you order online it may take weeks via UPS; if you go in person, often they will have same-day or next-day delivery for MUCH cheaper.
  8. juilletmercredi

    Emotional Support Animals in Graduate Housing?

    rising_star makes a good point about single-occupancy apartments, but I want to add that based on my experiences at Columbia, it is not the case that single-occupancy apartments (studios or one-bedrooms) are less desirable. It is exactly the opposite: these apartments are in high demand, and the university chooses to award them first to married/domestically partnered couples and families. It is very difficult to get a single-occupancy apartment space unless you are partnered and/or have children. (However, an assistance animal may change things.) From a more practical perspective, pets are prohibited in UAH apartments but I knew lots of students who had dogs and cats. They were not supposed to, but *shrug* they did. My building was completely owned by UAH and we had tons of dogs and cats in the building. I lived there part-time after I graduated (my husband was still finishing and i was splitting my time between PA and NY) and brought the dog we adopted in PA there a lot; the doormen loved her and never said anything. You should definitely register with disability services, though, because it is a reason that someone could kick you out. You can find the liaison for your program here: https://health.columbia.edu/content/disability-services-liaisons
  9. juilletmercredi

    When Did You Find Housing?

    Yeah, it totally depends. When I moved to New York for graduate school, I didn't find and secure an apartment until a week before classes started. That was pretty normal. There were lots of students who didn't find housing until several weeks after classes had begun. I was told that looking for an apartment before July was too early, because they go so quickly. Plus, landlords in New York would expect you to start paying rent from the time you secured the apartment; they don't hold apartments for people like that. When I moved to a small college town (State College) for my postdoc, I started looking for an apartment the February before I moved there (in August) and that was late. Most of the students rented apartments for the following year between November and January of the year prior. The saving grace, though, is because there isn't a lot of overlap between what the undergrads wanted and what the postdocs and professors wanted, and I was able to find an apartment that was mostly populated by grad students, postdocs, and professionals. (It was a little more expensive and a little farther from campus, but "farther" meant it was 4 minutes driving rather than walking distance.) One thing you can try is subletting for a while. Lots of students find out over the summer that a roommate is leaving or they have secured an apartment but need to find a roommate. Also, sometimes apartments free up when students graduate in December. Sometimes professors on sabbatical or graduate students on fieldwork sublet their apartments for a semester or a year. They often list these on Craigslist. Sometimes the university has an internal source. I wouldn't wait on university housing unless you know for certain that spots usually open up over the summer and that students tend to get in. I'd pursue other avenues and try to find somewhere to borrow money for deposits, if you need to.
  10. juilletmercredi

    Cost of Living for Morningside Heights (NYC)?

    Yes, if you live with roommates and live frugally. Apply early for the university housing at Columbia (UAH) by the Morningside campus. Most graduate students get into that, and all of those units will be within 20 minutes walking distance to Columbia's campus (most of them less - I lived in a unit that was directly behind the campus, and it took me about 3 minutes to cross the street and get into my department's building). Since you are leaving in December 2020 you'll really want to find a university apartment, because the lease terms will be more flexible. You don't want to deal with trying to sublet a market-rate apartment while trying to graduate. (Not that the market-rate apartments in Morningside Heights are affordable anyway.) Morningside Heights is a pricey neighborhood, not just in terms of apartments but also in terms of amenities. The restaurants are expensive; the grocery stores are expensive; the bars are a mix. Luckily, you're not too far a walk from Harlem where you can walk and get some cheaper food and groceries if you want.
  11. juilletmercredi

    Between an Ivy and a Hard Place

    tl;dr this is a HARD problem. Before I started grad school, I would've told you Great School, no question. Now that I'm done and did a postdoc in a small college town that was OK at best and work in industry in a city I love...I don't know, man. Location and quality of life, IMO, is so important. I'm a big fan of treating a PhD program as a phase of your life - not some temporary, supra-existential chunk of Limbo time, but as an actual period of your life in which you deserve to be happy and develop yourself as a person and not just a professional. Balancing the two of them is really important. I'm tempted to say that if you really believe "it's hard to go wrong with either," then why not go with the place where you really want to live and where you are pretty sure you can be happy? * The long version: 1. Fit is king. If Great School has research interests that are closer to yours, then it seems like it's probably a better fit for you. 2. I went to an Ivy in a very, very expensive city (Columbia, in New York). You get by, and can even thrive. I lived with roommates and/or in small apartments the entire time I was there, but there are unparalleled opportunities for work and play in large cities. It just kind of depends on what you value, what makes you tick. If you like lots of space and wide-open vistas, a tiny apartment in Boston or Philly or New York may drive you nuts. If you want to eat greasy pizza at a hole in the wall at 3:12 am or get Sri Lankan food delivered to your door or take in world-renowned ballet or opera in your downtime, then a big city is kind of the only place you can do that. 3. I will always appreciate and never regret the seven years I spent in New York. Life-defining opportunity, even while broke. Location in grad school is far more important than I gave it credit for before I was applying. 4. Doing research that you would kill to do is one of the only ways to maintain your sanity in graduate school. When you wake up in a cold sweat early one morning during your third year wondering why you are doing this to yourself, remembering that you are asking and answering the questions you are passionate about is what soothes you back to sleep (or, more likely, eases you out of bed to get a coffee and start reading). I'm half-joking, but seriously, there's something really special and joyful about digging into something you LOVE for five years straight. You want to be at a place where you can really do that. It sounds like Great School is. Is Ivy? 5. I went to an Ivy that also had a reputation for neglecting its students, which in my opinion was mostly true (it depended a lot on the department). In my opinion, this also wasn't so bad...but that depended a lot on the student and the professor. I had mentors who were pretty good to really great, and they would make time for me if I was proactive about seeking it out (but wouldn't necessarily come find me on their own, which I don't see as a problem). I had excellent research mentorship from people at the top of their field. And I would say in my case, it pushed me to be more independent: to come to meetings with mentors prepared with agendas and notes; to seek out multiple mentors from different institutions to give me what I needed when my main ones were missing in action; to think deeply about what I wanted and what my research interests were (and not my mentors'); to gently push back against things I did not want to do. Is this a pro over having a more nurturing mentor? I don't know. I have some friends who had super nurturing labs and mentors and that experience sounds lovely. It also sounds smothering, to someone who never had that. I kind of liked the fact that my mentors didn't really care where I was or what I was doing at specific hours of the day as long as I was turning in good work consistently. I'd also say that the 'friction' required to get stuff done has helped me in my professional career afterwards - I'm much better at pushing things forward and taking a proactive approach (and bringing attention to myself and the stuff I'm doing) than I would've been otherwise, and it's been noticed. The advice I always give students looking at my program is that if you're already a person who's got well-defined ideas about what you want to do and a sense of self-assured independence, attending a department with somewhat-neglectful (I say that sort-of-affectionately) faculty isn't necessarily something that will destroy you. 6. Citations, or publications? Do the professors at Great School publish more prolifically than the faculty at Ivy? take note of that. You need publications, and one of the best ways to get them early on is to jump onto a publication a professor or PI is doing. 7. Is the Ivy actually a more prestigious program in your field, or are you just attending to overall prestige?
  12. juilletmercredi

    E-mail Security

    You could turn on BitLocker for your machine and use a complex password. I don't think you need to change it weekly; I work for a tech company with highly confidential information and we only change our passwords every 90 days. You can set a reminder for yourself to change your password routinely. You can try a password manager like LastPass to manage them, if you'd like. The IT department at your new university can help you figure out good security practices, too.
  13. juilletmercredi

    Finishing undergrad research during first year of PhD

    Eek. I think it depends on how related to your doctoral research this project is, and your own personal motivations for finishing it. You will be very busy with classes and with getting settled into your new lab as well. How much work is left on it? Are you mostly finished with analyzing results and are proceeding to the write-up phase? Having a publication in your first or second year of grad school would be an excellent thing, especially if it's in your field, so you should strongly consider it. Have a frank discussion with your current advisor about their expectations and timelines for the project and paper, including authorship and division of labor. Also, talk with your PI at your graduate university about the situation and see what they say.
  14. juilletmercredi

    Have I been rude/impolite to my advisors?

    I'm glad to hear that this generally worked out, OP. Generally speaking, I think it's better to be upfront, and I think this is where you could've improved your approach to to Andy and Cecilia's request. You knew from the get-go that you didn't want to do this experiment - it seems like money was a big factor, but it also seems like you just didn't want to work with Andy because he's kind of toxic. That's okay, but it would've been good to find a way to gracefully say no to this project. Given the context, it makes sense that Andy and Cecilia would be upset that you agreed to do the experiment and then turned around and backed out. The mistake you made was not not wanting to work with them, but that you strung them along when they could've been finding someone else to do the work. It does make sense that they wouldn't be happy for you, because it's very natural for postdocs to get tied up in the primary work they are doing for a PI and not have time left over for an additional experiment that's not in that primary area. It does not make sense that they would bombard you with emails of anger and disappointment, because that's not an adult reaction, but...understandable, I suppose. One area I do disagree with is that I don't think you used Andy and Cecilia to graduate. If this experiment was not part of your dissertation and they simply needed it done because they wanted a publication out of it, it's not really appropriate for them to consider you completing it as a requirement of your PhD. (It'd be a different story if they wanted it as part of your PhD proposal or thought it was necessary to your development or program or research.) You promising to do the experiment under pressure - when you thought you'd be paid for it - is not, in my eyes, manipulating them or Ben. If anything, I think they were manipulating you by threatening to hold your dissertation hostage unless you completed this project for them for free. But your family and friends are right. This is water under the bridge. Andy and Cecilia, from your first post, seemed like difficult (and, in Andy's case, unreasonable) personalities to work with anyway.
  15. juilletmercredi

    Living in student housing as a grad student

    I'm not sure exactly what city you are looking in, but in many cities the university is in a nice neighborhood where finding an affordable one-bedroom apartment to live in alone with a 15-minute commute radius is nigh impossible on a grad student budget. I went to grad school in New York and looking for that kind of set-up would be unrealistic; I'd imagine a lot of other large expensive cities (LA, Boston, DC, San Francisco, Seattle, etc.) would have similar barriers. Is it possible that what you're looking for doesn't exist? Would you consider... 1) Extending your commute? 15 minutes is rather short. What about 30 minutes? If you're traveling on public transit, in many cities it's common for those commutes to be longer. You can read or listen to podcasts or music on the bus. 2) Living with roommates? It's very common for grad students to live with roommates, especially in big expensive cities. Even one roommate can significantly reduce the cost of rent. More-or-less random roommates aren't necessarily bad; I've lived with lots of different randomly-placed/found roommates between the ages of 18 and 28, and I've never had a horrible experience and I've had some really positive ones! You can actually find someone in your department - the roommates I had in grad school were all other grad students who went to my university, and my first roommate was in my department. Some schools release a directory of students who are all looking for housing so you can pair up and look together (that's how I found my first one). Believe it or not, I found a couple of my roommates on Craigslist, and it worked out fine. You just have to be sure to meet them beforehand. I've lived in all of these kinds of setups. For two years I was a graduate hall director and I lived in all-upperclass, undergraduate buildings, where I was the only grad student. I've lived in university-owned apartments for graduate and non-traditional students, and I've also lived in regular open-market apartments not owned by the university. It honestly doesn't matter - these options are going to vary widely in the kinds of amenities and atmospheres they offer. Undergraduates do, on average, tend to throw more parties. But I have also lived in some open-market apartments that were pretty loud; in fact, the loudest place I ever lived was an open-market apartment in a neighborhood in which the teenagers and young adults had frequent summer jams on the stoop outside my window, sometimes until 5 am Some undergrads in my building when I was a hall director threw a party every (other?) Thursday, but they typically wrapped it up before 12-1 am, and I could only really hear them when they opened the door of their dorm room. Graduate students, in general, tend to be very quiet...the grad student apartments I lived in were the quietest place I lived, I think. Also, I gotta ask: What is your threshold/definition of crime issues? Everybody has to have their own personal threshold of safety, but I've found that a lot of neighborhoods people perceive as unsafe or crime-ridden actually...aren't. I lived in a neighborhood that a lot of people might feel uncomfortable with, at first blush, because of who lived there. But I felt super comfortable because I knew a lot of people on my block and there were always people outside - even at 5 am (the aforementioned teenagers!) - and I'd see them and talk to them when I was on my way back from a late night/early morning. Crime data on alcohol-related offenses is not really going to tell you what areas have a lot of parties - for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that universities often shield students who get into alcohol trouble from ever interacting with the actual police much less being charged with a crime (and also because a lot of these get called in as noise complaints, not alcohol-related offenses anyway).
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