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juilletmercredi last won the day on October 22 2016

juilletmercredi had the most liked content!


About juilletmercredi

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    Cup o' Joe
  • Birthday 07/09/1986

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    Pacific Northwest
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    Not Applicable
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    Working in industry
  1. 1. It doesn't have to do either, but that is really going to depend upon how you spin it and your letters of support (from your advisor and 2 other professors in your program). If you make a strong case that's essentially "I thought I wanted a PhD in political science, but it turns out that as I spent more time in my program my interests evolved and I realized I was better suited for a PhD in public policy" then your stint at the political science program doesn't have to hinder you at all. 2. Only if you don't get strong supportive letters from your current department, and/or if you don't make it clear why you're leaving (and, to be clear, the reason should not be "because my husband lost his job." I mean, that IS the reason, and there's no need to hide that - but in your statement of purpose and your letters, the clear primary and most important reason should be "because I think a PhD in public policy in YOUR department would be a much better fit for me."). Your letter writers also need to make it clear that you aren't leaving your program because of some insidious conflict with your current advisor/committee/someone in the department. In other words, make it clear that you're delightful to work with.
  2. Love vs Grad School

    I think it really just depends. I sympathize and identify with the struggle - I spent my twenties in a PhD program, and while regret is not exactly the word I'd use, it's definitely a trade-off. I married my SO and we live happily together, but I still sometimes wonder what could've been - in my life, and our relationship - if I hadn't gone to graduate school and we hadn't spent about four years living apart. My advice is to return to pondering the reasons why you applied to and accepted the MA in the first place. It's easy to romanticize your relationship and the experience in the city, since you are deep in it, and a bit further removed from studying literature and being immersed in academia. But there had to be some kind of passion that spurred you on to apply to the program in the first place. What was that? Explore those feelings for a bit - and if you need a few days away from your SO to really dig deeply into your own feelings, take them. Hopefully she'll understand. There's also a value in taking risks and doing the bohemian thing when you're younger. When you're older, in general you'll have more of a craving for stability and it'll be harder to do these kinds of things. It's not that you can't - it kind of depends on your lifestyle and choices - but it is, on average, more difficult. The one thing that does stand out to me is that you said you planned to do this MA before you even met your SO, so it sounds like this is a pretty new relationship. While that's not reason in and of itself to choose the MA, it does mean careful consideration if you're still in your honeymoon phase. Everything is very nice and sweet and awesome in the beginning, and passions run higher. So staying with the SO seems initially like a much better idea than it might seem when things cool down later, even if you decide that you still want to stay together. Still, it may be personally worth it to you to stay where you are and see if you can cultivate the relationship - long distance may not be good early in a relationship. At this point you may have decided, though, so I'm curious to hear what you did.
  3. what's your career aspiration?

    I'm sort of in a different place because I'm already two years into my career. I'm a non-academic social science researcher at a large tech company. I think people have this odd conception of the work/corporate world that's probably based largely on movies, television, and literary portrayals of work. The truth is, it's entirely possible to find deep meaning in the work that you do, even at a for-profit company. I work a position at a large corporation that generally requires about 40-50 hours a week of work. I have a lot of free time - more than I know what to do with, actually, definitely way more than I had as a graduate student. I have plenty of time to pursue hobbies, make lots of friends, and develop my relationships. And if I wanted to do things like take two weeks off to ride a motorcycle through South America or backpack through Europe or whatever...I could (and I have a reliable source of income to provide for that). Of course I can't spend my days doing exactly what I like while I let my money make money for me, but that would never be appealing to me as an option anyway. I do define myself and my identity largely through my career and the work that I do. It's important to me to have work that I like at a place where I can advance and grow professionally. I just did not want to sacrifice my personal life and free time at this stage in my life for that.
  4. Post PhD: Teach at a Private School or go back to Museums?

    Yeah, I don't have any experience in this area but there are tons and tons of PhDs who have gone to teach at private/independent high schools. I have heard, anecdotally, that depending on the private school this can feel almost like teaching underclassmen at a college. Private school students at very selective ones can be very bright. Take a look at Carney Sandoe & Associates, a firm that specializes in placing faculty at private and independent schools.
  5. Background Before PhD Program

    This is going to vary a lot by university and fields. In some fields, it's common for most incoming PhD students to have master's degrees; in others, it's less common. In one of my fields - psychology - it was less common for students to have a master's degree before entering, although relatively common for people to come in with 1-3 years of experience between college and grad school. I entered my program straight from undergrad, but out of my psychology cohort I was not the only one. I think it was about half and half, maybe a little more on the "straight from undergrad" side, with one or two people who had a master's beforehand. On the other hand, in public health it is much more common for people to have a master's degree (often but not always an MPH) before pursuing a PhD, and in some programs it's required. I think out of my cohort of 6 in the public health department only 2 of us did not have a master's degree before entering, and I was the only one who had entered the PhD program straight from undergrad. Everyone else had several years of experience post-college.
  6. In addition to what others have already said above, let me address this. I am a scientist who works in industry. I assumed the same things as you when I applied to industry jobs, and I found that my assumptions were not true: 1) I did have to give a job talk to get my totally non-academic research position at a large private corporation. And I have found that other research positions require the same thing. Many research employers want to understand how you think about science and how you design and conduct your science. 2) Even if you do apply for positions that don't require a job talk, you will still have to interview, which will involve answering questions about your research, your work, and your field on the spot. That goes for any kind of job - academic or non-academic. 3) Being able to talk off-the-cuff is an incredibly important skill to have in industry science. It's somewhat harder, sometimes, in that you not only have to be able to answer questions in the moment but you also need to be able to translate your field's jargon and language into language that non-scientists can understand easily. In fact, I would say the opposite of what you said above is true - the main way that I communicate in my job is through presentations, discussions and conversations, not writing. Sure, I write research reports - typically between 10 and 30 pages long, depending - but in reality, the way that I effect change with my client teams is through discussion. Being able to clearly articulate my research, my results, and my recommendations in oral communication is actually quite a bit more important than my ability to write. A person in my job who had mediocre writing skills might be coached to improve; a person in my job who did not have adequate oral communication skills would probably be coached out of the job. Yes, everyone has different strengths. But as a scientist, oral communication is one of the most important tools in your tool kit.
  7. Comps - how did you do it

    There's always that one faculty member in a department who envisions themself a hardass - gives out B+s to everyone, asks lots of specific, detailed questions, expects graduate students to know nitty-gritty details most of his colleagues have probably forgotten, etc. The good news is you have three months and you have forewarning - that's plenty of time to prepare. Don't feel bad - you simply weren't aware of the level of detail that you were expected to know. That's no reason to feel ashamed or humiliated. The whole point of this process is to learn more, and the fact that you couldn't pass your exams three months before you were expected to actually take them is not a bad thing - it's an expected thing.
  8. Post April 15 PhD FOMO

    One thing you'll often find is that your emotions often have no relation to the quality of your decision-making It is quite normal to be sad to leave a familiar place with people you know and like. By your own admission, you love your current city, you built a community and you like your advisor. Of course you will be sad to leave! You're also going to move to a new place that you've only been to once to work with people you barely know. Of course you will be fearful about the situation! That doesn't mean, however, that leaving is a bad decision. After all, at some point you were new to your current city, right? There was a time in your life when you didn't know your current advisor and didn't have a community in your current city. You had to build those things, too. You took a chance. And so you will take this chance build these components anew in your new city.
  9. Why Grad School is Fucking Awesome

    I still don't understand this interpretation. Not that I think you're wrong, but I think rather that the folks who say this either are unfamiliar with non-academic career options for PhDs (or non-academic work in general) or got kind of unlucky with the positions they had in the past. Not that there aren't many jobs where people do the same thing, but a person who has a PhD and works a white-collar professional non-academic job probably won't be in any of those jobs. At my current job every day is different and no two days I've worked have been the same. Some days I'm running participants; some days I'm meeting with the development team; some days I'm giving a presentation to company or industry leaders; and some days I'm surfing the 'net in my office. To be quite clear, I actually feel like my work is LESS repetitive and formulaic than when I was in graduate school or my postdoc. I think this has a lot to do with what you enjoy. For example, I love writing, but I hate writing academic papers in the silly formulaic jargon that we used. I especially hated responding to nitpicky feedback and comments from reviewers 8 to 12 months after I had actually written the original paper. In my current job, I still write a lot, but I use clear plain English, I get feedback within 48 hours and it's always geared towards improving clarity and impact. I loved teaching but grading was tedious (except papers...I like grading papers.) I get to choose what I do each day and I have enormous freedom in what my day-to-day is like. Most weeks my manager has to check in with me to know what I am doing! And if I wanted to work outside on my company's gorgeous campus rather than inside my office, I could. Or maybe I'm just lucky, I don't know, but I don't think that's the case. I have growing list of friends and professionals who departed academia and really enjoy their flexible, dynamic non-academic jobs.
  10. Phd without funding?

    I don't think it is. I don't think attending a PhD program without funding is ever a good idea. From a purely financial perspective, borrowing for 5 years of a PhD program is likely to cost you $160,000 to $200,000. Even if you only have to borrow for two years, that's still $80K to $120K depending on the total program costs. Even engineers don't make enough to very comfortably repay that. That's leaving aside the fact that if it's customary to offer PhDs full funding in your field, your department not offering one to you is a show of a lack of confidence in you as a candidate, and that may follow you through the department. If you do decide to consider it, though, it will be important for you to ask the faculty what the likelihood of you getting funded in later years is.
  11. Depends on how much debt "a ton" is, but generally, I'd say you probably should not bite the bullet and add more debt. If you already had $60K in debt, for example, and you borrowed an additional $60K of debt to attend one of these programs - then let's say 2-7 years later you get a job that pays you $80K. Well, that's great, except that now you have $120K of debt to repay, which is kind of an untenable position to be in. And based on the way the coming administration is going, there's no telling how long loan relief programs like IBR or loan forgiveness will last. Your debt load needs to be manageable relative to a solid average salary you can expect to make coming out of the MS program (or your eventual goal).
  12. Interdisciplinary Programs, which rating matters most?

    Departmental rankings matter more in some fields than others, particularly in fields without a strong lab/PI culture (think humanities and some social sciences). That's not to say they don't matter in STEM fields and other social science fields - they do. But your advisor has more prominence in the latter kinds of fields. If you have a great mentor at a 40-60 type school that can make all the difference. I attended an interdisciplinary PhD program that was nominally housed in one department but took place equally across two departments. My experience is that both matter, but the one that matters more is the one that you're planning to go into more. For example, let's say that you're doing an interdisciplinary biology and engineering PhD with your research focused on biomedical engineering, but your eventual goal is to teach in a biology department. Then the biology department's ranking and your PI in biology are going to matter more for your future career goals than the engineering department - although both may be important. Keep in mind that your goals and priorities also may change.
  13. How to Present Yourself (Superficially)

    I would go smart casual for a visit day - dark jeans and a nice top (blouse would be good). Slacks and a blazer could be fine, too. You don't need to dye your hair or wear makeup, but I wouldn't wear leggings (unless they're under a dress).
  14. NSF GRFP 2016-2017

    Congratulations to all of the awardees and Honorable Mentions! Sure, that's true. But you could say that about any application process - NIH and NSF grants, applications to graduate school, other fellowships, etc. In any process where the applications are based on qualitative components, there are going to be difficulties defining and quantifying what's or worthy of a fellowship. It will always come down to intangibles, and that will be true throughout a science career, both in and outside of academia. The other thing to remember is that there are so many high-quality, talented applicants. So many!
  15. One thing you can do, OP, is take a look at job ads in your area/field - not just from the institution you'd potentially be interested in working at, but at a variety of institutions of different types, sizes, locations, etc. Start looking at them early. Job ads can tell you a lot about the individual desires of certain departments as well as which way the wind's blowing in your field. For example, by examining ads in my field I noticed that advanced quantitative skills and the ability to teach research methods and statistics were high-value skills that didn't seem to be going away; job ads over the course of several years exemplified that this was an area of sustained interest. I already had an interest in these areas, so I decided to spend some extra time and energy developing them even more as a strength of mine. For another, I learned that cultural/multicultural research and diversity initiatives were also important in my field, and lots of departments asked for applicants/candidates who had specialties in those areas AND could demonstrate experience with students from diverse groups. Again, this was already a passion of mine, so I made sure I pursued it in ways that would show up on my CV, so I could show and not tell when it came time to write cover letters. Note that the goal of the exercise is to help shape the way that you develop yourself and present yourself. I'm not suggesting that you look at job ads and decide your research interests and the skills you want to develop on that basis. Rather, take a look at ads and see what they are asking for, and then ask yourself what your own interests are and how you can develop yourself in specific areas to be marketable across positions. It may also simply be a wake-up call or a signaling device. For example, if you're an Americanist and you're finding that the number of ads for Americanists is equivalent to the number for comparative scholars, even though there are ten times as many Americanists, you know that you're facing steep competition. That may make you more inclined to publish earlier and more often; it may impel you to engage in some other professionalization activities like networking and organizing symposia; it may make you develop a secondary specialty in a comparative area, if possible; it may make you develop some portable skills you can take outside of academia. What you do with the information is up to you.