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cogneuroforfun

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Everything posted by cogneuroforfun

  1. cogneuroforfun

    Possible to live without a cellphone?

    I know home phone isn't very expensive when you bundle it with TV/internet at home, but I think most people with normal/expensive cell phone plans don't have home phone. So if you're comparing cell phone only vs. home phone only, that reduces the price difference by $5 or $10 per month or whatever home phone would cost you, although home phone would still be much cheaper. As for not being reachable 24/7, that would be nice, but it isn't feasible for me and probably many others. It may be different if you're not in a lab setting, where labmates or your PI may need to reach you with questions or problems (or I may need to reach them ).
  2. cogneuroforfun

    Possible to live without a cellphone?

    If your university and apartment/house both have wifi, you can also grab a used android phone, as people have mentioned, and have most of the benefits of a data plan (internet on all the time) without having to pay for either data or voice. That doesn't exactly solve your cellphone question, but a cheap prepaid flip-phone + wifi android phone will serve all your phone/data needs and cost only the prepaid minutes you actually need. Not bad!
  3. cogneuroforfun

    Does B really equal PhD?

    Anecdotally, the DGS and several head professors in my program have said if we get all A's, we're spending too much time on classes. It was nice to hear
  4. cogneuroforfun

    Transferring credits from a masters to doctorate

    While I can't speak specifically to I/O, typically you should not expect credits to transfer from masters to PhD. Most PhD programs grant an MA/MS en route; they want you to take their classes and fulfill their requirements, and even if two classes at different universities look similar, they may be taught quite differently. Why don't you call or email a couple PhD programs that interest you? This is the kind of policy that will vary between schools.
  5. cogneuroforfun

    eReaders

    If the iOS app works like the Android app, you may have to tell it to upload the file. Even if you can browse your whole dropbox on your ipad, it may be the case that files aren't actually on your device until you tell dropbox to open or download them. I believe this is so you don't run into data overages (for example, having your phone constantly sync dropbox on a 2gb plan would quickly eat up your data for the month). It is still pretty pain-free: the file structures are preserved and uploads/downloads are very quick.
  6. cogneuroforfun

    eReaders

    Yeah, Touchpad is discontinued. Supposedly HP is going to support webOS for awhile, but it isn't clear how much support anyone can expect. At the very least, you have a nicely specced and sized browser/media player tablet. At best, webOS may still get some nice upgrades and ports of Android, Linux, and maybe Windows will be developed. If you're in the market for a 10" tablet and don't care about getting 100s of games to play, even $250 is relatively cheap and decent. For $99 or $150, it is a steal.
  7. cogneuroforfun

    eReaders

    A $99 HP Touchpad (if you can find one) also looks like a very sweet deal for a cheap pdf reader option.
  8. cogneuroforfun

    Is getting a PhD worth the stress?

    This is why you should not apply for a PhD, in any field. It is worth the stress if you know what you're getting into and you want to do it. It sounds like you have a lot of interests, but are not anywhere near ready to lock yourself down into one of them for 5-7 years of study + a lifetime career after that. Take some time off, get a mindless job if you can't find anything super interesting, and keep exploring your interests!
  9. cogneuroforfun

    eReaders

    I just got Repligo Reader for Android and will now definitely use my Nook Color for reading articles. You can add notes and little graphics (arrows, highlighting, etc) on top of the pdf and these annotations do display when you open the file using Adobe on a PC. So that seals it for me, no more huge stacks of printed articles. I can take notes as I read and view those notes on the actual pdf file when I go back and reference an article for a paper or something.
  10. cogneuroforfun

    eReaders

    I'm surprised there isn't more Nook Color love. With a rooted Nook Color and a custom ROM installed (Cyanogenmod 7 is very nice), which is actually quite easy to do, you have a full-featured Android tablet with excellent build quality for ~$200. You can overclock it to get a huge bump in performance for any graphics-intensive stuff you need. Almost any app you need can be found for free in the market, which is a nice thing about Android devices. The smaller/lighter size is good for some things (under a pound, so very easy to hold for long periods) and not as good for other things (reading scientific articles on a 7" screen means you can usually do one column at a time in portrait or short full-page horizontal sections in landscape). Oh, and it doubles as an e-reader The screen is very readable on minimum brightness, which saves battery life and your eyes! Overall, I am incredibly happy with it. It has much more functionality than an e-ink reader, but is more portable and much cheaper than a larger tablet. The Galaxy Tab WiFi is in a similar position. Here is an article comparing the two: http://blog.laptopma...r-vs-galaxy-tab I think either would be a good buy if you're on the fence about tablets or want something affordable and fully-featured. Edit: One more thing for compatibility issues. You can convert e-book formats between Kindle, Nook, etc. With any of the full-featured tablets, you can either install each of the reading apps (Kindle for Amazon, Nook reader) or convert them to a common format and use one reader for everything. I'm not sure whether e-ink/Kindle readers are able to do this.
  11. cogneuroforfun

    Emailing POI?

    Email is the way to go. I think I emailed mine earlier than you guys are recommending, like July-ish. It is true that their funding situation in a year may not be set in stone, but I wanted to give myself time to hear back from professors and ask questions before committing myself to writing an SoP or application for any given program. A few programs I knew I would apply to, whether I heard back from profs or not. But for most of them, I ended up applying because I was interested and the PI(s) I emailed also seemed interested. I actually only had one program/PI out of ten that I did not hear back from via email, which I still can't believe!
  12. cogneuroforfun

    First author publication(s)

    Yeah, publications, first author or otherwise, are bonuses, but they're by no means necessary to get into great programs. If you can publish something, great! If not, having some interesting research projects that you can talk about in personal statements and interviews is perfectly good enough. Doing research as an undergrad is a prerequisite, but having publications is not.
  13. cogneuroforfun

    Clinical Psychology PsyD Nova

    It doesn't sound like you really have a compelling reason to get a PsyD. It will probably open fewer doors for you professionally than you think, especially since you already have a relevant MS and work experience. If you're qualified to do therapy, keep doing it! I have heard that the clinical field is changing somewhat, as more and more services are being provided by practitioners with masters degrees in counseling, substance abuse, or social work. How much did your masters cost? How much do you think the PsyD would add to your salary? What do you think the monthly loan payments are going to be for 200k+ in non-dischargeable debt? What other certifications can you get that would help you professionally? Loving learning doesn't mean you should go into massive debt for another degree. If you've worked with "The famous Dr. Minuchin" and enjoyed it, keep being involved with research. That is a much cheaper way to foster your love of learning!
  14. cogneuroforfun

    Open Office vs Microsoft Office

    When I had to decide between buying Microsoft Office or using Open Office, I used Open Office. When my lab offered to pay for a Microsoft Office license, I went with that.
  15. cogneuroforfun

    Gap year(s) - how much time off?

    Especially if you're helping with any research projects, your current boss should be able to write you a decent letter. They won't need to actually write it out until December at the earliest, so you'll have some more time to impress them, too. Typically people take gap years when they aren't sure what they want to do or when they need to get more research experience to have a shot at good PhD programs. They may be a full-time lab manager or RA for a year or two to get solid experience designing and completing some research. For an MA in counseling, you probably don't need your application strengthened too much. Do you have decent grades? Can you retake the GRE so that it is up to par for the programs you're looking at? Do you feel comfortable starting and paying for a full-time MA?
  16. cogneuroforfun

    Future cognitive applicant

    By "systems labs," I meant systems neuroscience, basically bridging the gap between behavior and neural circuits: how do particular networks of neurons support behavior/cognition? Things like in vivo electrophysiology, quantitative model-based fMRI, and computational modeling fall under this umbrella. For graduate stats, you can certainly take them as a senior, which is what I did. There was a two-part seminar on general linear models and using SAS, plus another seminar on common methods in analyzing spike train data. Both were graduate courses and were incredibly useful and helpful. They helped me show I could handle stats and quantitative analysis, which may have been pretty crucial since I only had math through Calculus I. However, if you're more interested in pharmacology, I would worry less about this. I think taking more chemistry and biology would serve your interests better. You don't need to worry about a senior slump, unless you're going to blow your last year completely. Getting two As and two Bs in your senior year would be fine, especially if (1) you are doing other impressive things like research, (2) the Bs are in less relevant courses. But really, once your GPA is above 3.7 or 3.8, I'm not sure anything else helps too much. Higher is better, but ad comms would easily take a 3.7 with better research over a 3.9 with mediocre research. It is nice to get fancy latin words to put after your GPA though I guess when I said don't worry about grades, I didn't mean stop trying. But definitely focus on perfecting other aspects of your application, since no matter what happens senior year grade-wise (within reason), your GPA will be excellent. Extracurricular activities are fine to include on your CV and aren't a negative at all. But they're not the boost that they're sometimes sold as. Being an officer in Psi Chi, for example, is much less important than working on another research project, serving as a TA in a related course, or taking an extra relevant course. Something more substantial, like volunteering at a rehab clinic if you're into addiction or clinical, can be helpful and give you something extra to write and talk about. If you have time to do everything, extracurricular activities aren't going to hurt you or anything. However, if you're strapped for time and are figuring out what to ditch, they should be probably be the first thing. Narrowing down your research interests is essential, and you're right that it will likely happen once you've actually tried working in a couple areas. If you're asked at an interview what interests you, you better not say "everything." What that says is you don't know or you don't have a deep enough understanding of the material or that you don't really care about the field. It is totally fine to appreciate other research areas; working on one topic doesn't mean you can't read about anything else. A PhD is 5-7 years of working on one relatively narrow topic, though, so you need to know (and interviewers need to know) that you are really, deeply interested in it, that it isn't a passing interest that will bore you in a year, and that you care enough about it to persevere through problems and setbacks. Especially since you'll be joining a lab right away, you can't come off as "interested in everything," since each lab is going to have some specific primary topic of research. Applying to join a memory lab with a personal statement that says "I love memory, addiction, audition, and motor systems" is going to get you a rejection.
  17. cogneuroforfun

    Future cognitive applicant

    - Bio and chem will help, sure, but they may or may not be essential. I got into neuroscience and cognitive neuroscience programs with one year of biology and no chemistry, but I applied to systems labs, not so much behavioral/pharmacology. - The same is true for advanced statistics; if you're running behavior and pharmacology studies with rats, basic stats may be enough (t-test, ANOVA), but other research topics require more in depth understanding (GLM, likelihood stuff). My own area does, so I took a couple stats/data analysis courses for graduate students. - Research experience is a must. If you apply this upcoming fall and have 1.5 years in a relevant lab, you'll be in decent shape. The most important thing is being able to talk about it intelligently, both in your application and on interviews. - Your grades are fine. Even if you get a B or two in the fall, you'll have >3.9? Don't stress about grades anymore. - Extracurricular activities don't matter. If you have to ditch those to spend more time in the lab, do it. - Publications are nice, but are not necessary. What is necessary is solid research experience and the ability to display a real understanding of what you did, why you did it, how you could improve it, etc. You'll be talking about your research at interviews, not listing off your publications. - Programming is very helpful, but just like the courses, it is very dependent on your research interests. Many labs don't use anything more than Excel (although that is rare in cognitive neuroscience). Others use custom written programs in low-level programming languages. Many are in between those extremes. - You need to develop some specific interests, even if they're relatively broad like "working memory" or "visual psychophysics." In most psychology programs, you'll be entering one lab right away that you will work in for the entirety of your PhD. While collaboration is certainly possible, you are essentially applying to specific labs, even though you're sending your apps to a department. If you want to do "social neuroscience in autism" and apply to departments with no one doing that, you're not going to get in! - Hopefully you've noticed the theme Find some papers that are interesting to you. Do you feel comfortable with the statistics they use? What about the biology or chemistry they throw around? What computing packages do they seem to use? Do that group's other papers and research topics seem interesting? Do they adhere to some theoretical or philosophical positions that you like or dislike? Most of your questions are completely dependent on what research topic you'd like to pursue, so it's impossible to answer them if you don't have any idea yet.
  18. cogneuroforfun

    Task Management

    Google calendar. Talks, events, meetings with people, all get added. I also use it for short-term to-do lists, for example making sure I remember to do something before leaving the lab for the day. Edit: To clarify, if I find out in the morning I need to do something before leaving work, I'll put an event in the calendar for 6pm or whenever so I'm sure to see it go off before I leave for the day. Is that the kind of function you need? As far as keeping track of your to-do list, I'm not sure exactly what you need. Do you need to remember when a paper or something is due? Put a reminder in Google calendar for a day, week, month in advance, whichever is relevant. Do you really have difficulty forgetting something like "reading this paper I'm interested in is cool but low priority, finishing these slides to give my advisor tomorrow is less fun but higher priority?" I totally understand needing to keep track of deadlines for things, but shouldn't you know how important different tasks are just by looking at the task?
  19. cogneuroforfun

    Opinions about MA in Neuro vs RA

    If you can get a paying RA job, that is ideal. For neuro PhD admissions, research ability and experience trumps most everything else. Your GPA is a little low, but it isn't terrible by any means. In my neuro program, many people took a couple years off after undergrad and did an RA gig full time, but I don't think anyone got a masters. I think the main reason is that all programs will have at least a year of core courses to bring everyone up to speed with coursework, so it is much more critical to show research aptitude. Since you double-majored, I assume you have all the basic neurobiology and neuroanatomy you can be expected to get in undergraduate, so it isn't like you're lacking required courses or anything. Doing well in a masters would boost your GPA, but two years of RA work in a good lab and an outstanding letter of rec might do even more for your chances. If the masters includes significant amounts of research and a thesis, it can give you the benefits of both, with the drawback obviously being the cost. $40k is a lot to make up, especially considering you'll be a grad student and postdoc for probably the next decade. If you do go into debt, make sure you avoid private lenders and go with federal loans (Grad PLUS). You can also likely audit courses for free if you work as an RA; although it won't affect your GPA, it will still look good.
  20. cogneuroforfun

    To smartphone or not to smartphone...

    Verizon has one of the best networks, in terms of coverage and call quality. AT&T typically gets very bad ratings. I've got T-Mobile, which seems somewhat in the middle, probably leaning towards poor. Another big difference is the actual hardware the carriers carry. Lots of the specific Android phones are only sold by a specific carrier or two. You may be able to root/unlock/jailbreak phones and use them on any service provider, but I'm not sure.
  21. cogneuroforfun

    To smartphone or not to smartphone...

    Yup, I can't imagine going back to a phone that didn't have access to email, calendar, PDFs, internet, Wikipedia, ebooks, etc. etc. But it is also an expensive toy, with lots of short, time-waster games, console emulators (SNES on your phone!), and more.
  22. cogneuroforfun

    Buying new laptop

    The discounts offered by my undergrad and grad schools were both pretty poor. They offered something like a specific, over-priced model, for a slightly reduced price. I have been buying parts and computers from newegg.com or straight from manufacturers (Apple, HP, etc.) and both work very well, let you customize what you want, and shop around until you find the right price for you.
  23. cogneuroforfun

    Buying new laptop

    The advice I heard with Dell is that you should spring for one of their small business laptops, not the standard consumer models. In the summer before grad school (2 years ago), I went for a Dell Vostro, for several reasons: the hardware was supposedly better made (less bend in the keyboard, for example) and buying that got me in with the Dell business customer support, rather than the standard Dell support. So far, the computer has been fantastic. I used a coupon code that I found on a site like http://www.notebookreview.com/deals/ , which let me get ~$1600 in specs for under $900, plus a few extra little freebies, and ordering direct from Dell (or any other manufacturer) lets you customize the machine however you want. That kind of deal easily beat out anything offered by my undergrad or graduate school. I'm not sure how much of that has changed in the past two years, but after experiencing a couple terrible Dell desktops, I have been happy with the laptop. Definitely look for coupon codes for specific manufacturers, as they can save you tons of money. Remember, you can always get a dud machine, with any manufacturer. My HP laptop lasted for 5 years in the early 2000s without any problems before finally getting too obsolete, while my wife's lasted 2 years before a fan died (cost >$100 to fix, ugh) and it started blue-screening at random. Many people have happy Mac stories, but the one plain Macbook we ever owned also crapped out after 2 years, couldn't hold a charge in the battery, and started randomly shutting itself down and freezing with simple programs. That doesn't mean Mac or HP or X are awesome/terrible. Get the one with the price and specs right for you!
  24. cogneuroforfun

    New Haven,CT

    Prospect Street itself is fine, and north of Whitehall is fine too. Its west from Prospect that gets bad, but again, you won't really have any reason to go there.
  25. cogneuroforfun

    established vs new, big vs smal

    If you want an academic job, isn't School A a better choice in basically every way? Unless School B will be offering faculty jobs to all their own PhD graduates, it doesn't matter whether they want their graduates to become faculty or not. Other schools will be doing the hiring, so it is their opinions and preferences that matter. Since that is the only real positive you've given for School B, this seems pretty clear cut.
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