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mandarin.orange last won the day on August 4 2015

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  1. Yes, generating your own funding for research expenses like this is quite common. It's still not clear what department or subfield you are in, so I can't help much. I would recommend that you get in touch with your professional society (if you don't belong to one yet, join one or a few that are supportive of student research and offer small grants). If there are other grads in your dept. more senior than you with CVs posted online, mine these for information on what grants they have been successful with. Same for early career professors with relevant research. Ask outright the people in your
  2. I had (and liked) State Farm in my prior state, and have been with AAA since moving to California (parents' recommendation; they have been long-term customers). Their coverage is awesome. I would not recommend Geico, and riff off TakeruK's comments on the importance of a company's "bedside manner." They were very intimidating and shaming when I had the abovementioned accident -- and it's all by phone, as there are no office/local reps to meet with. They are cheap for a reason!
  3. Are ALL schools like this? No, but administrative procrastination, oversight and mistakes are common everywhere, and certainly has been my experience (e.g. wrong pay grade, fees to me because someone didn't file my hiring paperwork on time, 11th-hour class assignments, etc.) I think the majority of this oversight stems from admins being overworked, while in the fray of most dept politics. I certainly don't envy their job! I echo others' advice: start inquiring about your schedule, class assignment, early and often. Harrass follow-up if you don't hear what you need to within a few days/week. Ma
  4. Thanks for these timely and clear posts, SocraticProf! This is my go-to thread now for updates; not much activity lately on that CHE thread, and twitter of course informative but fragmented. Student-workers are indeed unionized at UC Berkeley, but I have no idea how organized/effective their current leadership may be (varies WIDELY between UCs). If the broader UC-wide union picks up this issue, they could be very effective. I haven't heard anything on that yet.
  5. Yeah, years ago during my masters I came home from a trip to find my side mirror ripped off my (street-parked) car at the time. Fortunately my car was okay for the two years starting my PhD (other than a couple parking tickets when I forgot to move for the weekly street cleaning, grumble) and the windshield break happened elsewhere...though the low deductible I already had in place was certainly a boon for its replacement. But one of the most heartbreaking things I saw was another student who'd posted signs on all the telephone polls on my block, wanting any information or eyewitness accounts
  6. Yes, I anticipate bad ones, no matter how much effort I've put into the class...particularly with GE classes. In GEs, you get those students who just need one last class to graduate in the mix. They are already pretty checked out from day one, and can be a fun time with their constant questions and negotiations of how little they can do and still pass. I've never had a conversation with any professor about my evals, and I would bet $ that no one in my department is even looking closely at them. When a class is truly bad and unfair, admins and profs get wind of it real-time, during the term.
  7. I'd echo TareruK's advice to bundle with renter's insurance, and to raise your deductibles, if you are comfortable with the inherent risk. You don't mention if this is a commuter car (i.e. your primary way that you will be getting to campus). If I were driving every day, I'd keep lower deductibles for the increased protection, but that's just my comfort level. Also, do you have a designated parking space at home, or street parking? I was stuck with street parking my first 2 years of grad school, so I paid higher premiums to kept my deductibles low. This was more than worth it when I had to rep
  8. This spring, UC Berkeley similarly notified grads they were dropping dependent insurance. Unlike the MU case, this affects only 0.9% of the student body, but seems yet another hurdle in grad school to those with children, families, close family members with chronic illness. The UC system's union has been involved, and it's been widely covered in local news and media. I believe there is a one-year financial assistance program for affected grads. One article about it is here and unfortunately I have not seen (or closely followed the story) for any updates since June.
  9. This is good advice. With regards to the outside prof I want to drop, a committee member had forewarned me in a one-on-one meeting, and I vividly remember it starting with, "You seem like a nice person..." I tried to blaze ahead anyway. Lesson learned! Eigen, I appreciated your post b/c these have largely been geochemical techniques. People have their very specialized instrumentation and expertise cornered...seems to make collaboration essential.
  10. Thanks, fuzzy. I waited a few days to see if there would be more replies, but perhaps no one else collaborates? The point about personality mesh being key is what I've been coming around to myself. It's easy to get stuck on study design, and the techniques or potential data sets that would really enhance a project...but if the "gatekeeper" to that technique is very difficult to deal with, perhaps it is ultimately not worth it.
  11. How much of your dissertation depends on being able to share resources, labor and others' expertise? Has this enhanced your research significantly, and added value? Have any been total washes? I'm thinking on this lately because I have one I'm trying to manage right now, and it's not going great. It's a finicky technique requiring lots of testing and re-dos, and it came out of left field...long after my proposal defense, advisor just fixated on it and insisted it be done. Another is one I've been trying, largely on my own, to get off the ground for a year and a half. It would have been som
  12. OK, despite rather liking/admiring Kelsky myself (she's been invited to speak at my institution twice), I laughed at that. This is good to know. I did not admit in my post that I revert to backpack on days I bike to campus (something I started doing only recently). But for conferences/job talks, I really make the effort to pare down to a messenger bag. I often pay for coat/bag check, too. I don't know WHERE all the stuff creeps in, but I'm really prone to the bag-lady look if I'm not vigilant at conferences. Although a lot of attendees at the conferences I go to tend to wear full-fiel
  13. "What Should We Call Grad School" has got you covered! How you feel before the defense: After the defense: Congrats!
  14. I'd say it's a worthwhile experience, broadly speaking. If you do continue in the academy as a professor, it's good experience to round out your CV. In addition, you have the experience to be savvy about what service to focus on as a young faculty member. I've been fortunate to have fellowships that released me from teaching duties more than once during my PhD. I often tried to "give back" those years and served for my dept. or broader grad organization. I did get roped into an additional, unplanned year after that for an ad hoc committee within my dept. I largely regret THAT particular ex
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