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  1. Fountain Park and Woodbridge are popular with some grad students I know. I'm sure there are a ton more that people can add. Maybe try searching Google for places that offer a grad student discount (normally ~$25 per month). It's definitely not foolproof, but that might give you an idea of which complexes cater to a grad student clientele. If you haven't found this already, the Graduate and Professional Student Organization also has some housing resources for grad students on their website.
  2. Four miles is probably a little further than I'd like (I personally prefer walking distance), but it's by no means outrageous. Check the bus schedule to see how often your particular bus(es) run. You can use the real-time bus tracker to get a sense of how long it would take to get to campus and how long you might have to wait for a bus. (Make sure you're looking at it on a weekday during the day.) You can also look at the Bloomington transit schedules to see whether your bus(es) run over IU breaks and in the summer, which could be an important factor. And you can check the bike routes and stre
  3. Now is the time to start looking for apartments. March/April are the peak times before things start to fill up. If you find somewhere you like, I'd be proactive about going after it. It certainly isn't impossible to find somewhere by summer, but your options will start to become more limited. I know a few people who have lived in Bloomington without a car. It certainly isn't impossible, but carless living here isn't as convenient as it is in other places. If you aren't planning to have a car, you'll probably want to make sure you examine the bus map fully before deciding where to live. Eve
  4. Now I will second what pawnee_IN said! There's definitely a pretty high tolerance for "weirdness" here, as far as manner of dress, gender expression, hairstyles, etc. I'm a fairly masculine lesbian, and I find that I very rarely get "sirred" here and have only once in six years had a sort of stressful public restroom encounter. My partner and I got married in January, and we had nothing but enthusiasm and excitement from all the vendors and civic officials we worked with throughout that process. (We get the sense that most people are happy for us, maybe even more so than if we were an opposite
  5. This is going to sound totally new agey and weird, but you're going to have to make your own path here based on what sounds best for you. However, the good news is that even if you're wrong about what's best for you, you can change your mind and try something else later. I do think you'll want to make sure that research is a good fit for you before apply for grad school. The isolation, repetition, and frustration are not for everybody, and there are plenty of meaningful science-related careers that don't involve laboratory research. The reason research experience is so critical for grad school
  6. This may vary a lot from place to place. If you feel comfortable contacting somebody who already attends the program where you're planning to go, you should get in touch with them and ask questions about the where and the when of finding housing. For example, I'm in Bloomington, Indiana, where it's nearly impossible to find a lease that starts some time other than mid-August. (Although subletting is obviously an option. Likely a hassle, but still an option.) February and March are the prime time to find apartments here, and by May the options are more limited. However, other places might be mo
  7. Huh, I never thought about this before. I don't know anything about how admissions committees operate, but it seems a little unlikely that they would use Turnitin.com or a similar service, mostly because those services tend to be a pain to use. Plus grad students (even prospective ones) are more likely to be given the benefit of the doubt compared to undergrads, meaning professors are going to be less likely to assume grad students will plagiarize. (Although shady online thesis mills indicate otherwise.) I guess your best bet is probably to edit your essay or add a comment or whatever to make
  8. My advisor likes to meet individually with first-year students once per week just to help get them on track with doing research in the lab. These are usually 30-60 minute meetings, depending on how much stuff there is to talk about. I liked this frequency of meetings, so I have kept it up even though I am now in my fourth year. Weekly meetings help keep me focused if I know I have to have something new to talk to him about each week (either new data or a problem to discuss that is preventing me from getting new data). But we have a small lab (usually only 3-4 grad students at any time, all PhD
  9. You have come to the right place! This is my favorite topic! Or maybe I just like this topic is because the only way other grad students will talk about it is in hushed voices away from the biology department, as though leaving academia is the equivalent of joining a cult. If you're feeling depressed, drop everything you're doing right now (seriously! throw that pipettor on the ground!) and buy this book (or borrow it from your library): "So What Are You Going to Do with That?": Finding Careers Outside Academia by Susan Basalla and Maggie Debelius (make sure it's the updated 2007 edition,
  10. Finding a place to live in Bloomington can be a challenge. Nearly all the leases run August-August, and the prime time for apartment hunting starts in February or March. After you move into a place, many landlords will ask you to decide whether you will re-sign for another year by January. For grad-student-friendly housing, make sure you check out the Graduate and Professional Student Organization Housing Resources. Specifically, I recommend looking at the housing board. There is a pretty diverse array of landlords represented there, everything from the big property management companies to the
  11. I would not put it on my CV either. The CV is supposed to represent professional activities and accomplishments in which you invested a great deal of time and energy, not just answering a few questions. I think it is sometimes even a little questionable when people include popular/news articles that they have written on their CV. But you should take heart in the fact that somebody (like an employer) who Googles your name later will probably find the news story. That's kinda cool, right? You could also put a link to the story on your personal website if you wanted to.
  12. I agree 100% with what The Cleve said. If you have an idea about which lab you'll be working in or who might be your advisor, then do a little background reading if you want. But don't get yourself all stressed out before you even start -- there will be plenty of time for that later.
  13. LEGO is the best! I haven't gotten into the robotics yet, but I've discovered that there are a ton of adults out there using LEGO bricks to make all sorts of awesome things. It's an expensive hobby (especially on a grad student salary) but definitely a relaxing and absorbing one.
  14. I treat grad school like a job. A demanding, intense job, but still just a job. That means I go into work at the same time every day, focus and work hard for a set number of hours, and then leave at the end of the day to do whatever I want. (BTW, this is much easier to do once you're done with coursework!) I also take weekends (yes, the entire weekend!) off except in unusual circumstances, and I allow myself a reasonable number of vacation days every year. I have found that I need time off in order to be my happy, productive self. If I am only capable of focusing for so many hours a day, then
  15. Upland and Lennie's are great too! Upland is especially nice in the summer. When the undergrads are in town during the rest of the year, it can be a pain to try to get a table there. As far as coffee shops go, Soma is probably the most popular of the local places. Of course there are several Starbucks around, but Soma is the non-chain place that has a nice "hang out here for a while!" vibe. The inside is a little cave-like, though. I think some people like The Pourhouse Cafe, but I've never been there. (I'm not a huge coffee drinker.) One of my favorite places to go in the morning (though
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