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About icthere

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    Computer Science and Engineering

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  1. I think it's really a good idea. I recently bought a refurbished Macbook from Apple website and honestly, I can't tell that it's not new although it was $500 cheaper than the new ones. I did some research on the internet and I could almost find no complaints from people who shopped the refurbished store on Apple website.
  2. At UCSD, most engineering PhD students (at least CSE and ECE departments that I know of) get around $1900/month after tax for RA and around $1700 /month for TA.
  3. Maybe I'm not familiar with the general assumption...do you mean before or after tax? For me, it makes ~$4.5k difference and changes my answer.
  4. I went through something similar this time last year. I was choosing mainly between two offers, one from a rather young professor with a strong reputation of being overly hands-on, and the other from an older, really famous, hands-off professor. I remember listing all the pros and cons of each after talking with each profs students and chose the second offer, but I have found out about another downside that this kind of advisors could potentially have which I didn't notice back then (not generalizing, just think about this too). And that is, because he doesn't get involved very much in my project, he really can't give me the feedback I expect and his comments are often too shallow. I'm sure that given his history, he could potentially be much more helpful to my research, but I guess good ideas just need more mental involvement with the subject to come up! Now don't get me wrong, I would definitely choose him once again if I go back. I really enjoy the independence in research and the lack of constant pressure to deliver results. It allows me to try out ideas that don't look that promising in the beginning without fearing that I won't have enough good results for next week's meeting, which I think is what research is really about. I think I have the least frequent interaction with my advisor. We have no regular meetings and close to zero research related email interaction. I can ask for a meeting if I want to, but he wouldn't come after me even after two months (maybe more, but this is as far as I have gone!).
  5. Sorry for the title, probably not what you thought! My adviser is one of the most well-known people in his field. He is the chair of the department and a couple of other research organizations, and basically has achieved most of the things he probably could have aimed for. Consequently, he does not really have that "motivation" for research anymore, and as a result, his students are "on their own". This has actually resulted in some not-very-competent graduates (and even a couple of drop-outs) from his group in the past couple of years. Now, two years before I start my PhD this Fall, he hired a student from my country who has absolutely rocked. He has simply outperformed every other student my adviser has had through his years as a professor, publishing about enough papers to graduate in as short as three years! This was I think, one of the most important reasons he chose to hire me as well (me being from the same country and that student recommending me). I felt lucky back then to have the opportunity to have him as my adviser (and I still do) but having to work alongside that student is really frustrating me. I don't feel that I am working any worse than him (I have actually made more progress compared to his same couple of first months), but I feel that my adviser is taking this for granted. I understand that I should be patient, but I am worried that no matter how much I try, I will be at least one step behind him, always in his shadow. Does anyone have any advice or similar experience?
  6. Thanks fuzzylogician! I checked the meetups of my area. There were plenty of them and plenty of opportunities for new friends. My only concern is the age range of most of the people using the website which seems to be higher than what I aim for. SeriousSillyPutty! Great advice on small talk and those language tips. I will certainly use them. And wow! I was happily surprised to learn that you enjoy conversations with internationals more than many Americans. I wonder if you/Americans in general feel the same way about a more involved relationship. I mean, you're right that it may be easier to start a conversation with an international student because the topics to talk about is so much more obvious, but I guess you need more similar interests/experiences than that to go to the next level. Which is my biggest concern and kaykaykay mentioned it wisely: cultural experiences. I mean, I have not watched a full NBA game in my life! That said, kaykaykay brought about another good point with grad students being so intelligent and educated. I guess we are (on average) more interested in learning new things and more open to new ideas/cultures than other people. Thanks for bringing this into my attention. I feel better knowing that!
  7. Thank you guys! Great advice... I guess both of you feel that that making friends with the locals should take priority. But, how easy is it? I mean, how receptive are Americans to foreigners? To be fair, my group of friends here at home is not very open to newcomers, even when there is no problem with the language. So, I don't expect Americans to be more receptive. What do you guys recommend? Improving on my English skills is certainly good advice. But, what else?
  8. A few weeks from now, I will start not only a new stage of my education but a new stage in my life. Moving thousands of miles to the US, from a country with a completely different culture, to start grad school is big enough to freak me out and make me unbearably anxious, especially, knowing that I will most probably stay in the country after graduation which makes it more like immigration. And immigration is tough!!! But, I guess I am lucky to start this process with grad school. I mean, there are many international students like me, and obviously, the environment is much more foreign-friendly than, say, a job environment. Then again, the heavy load of a PhD will most certainly make it harder to put more time and energy on my new "life." With these said, I am seeking advice, both from you American students and especially from fellow international students on how to help this process go more smoothly. I would particularly appreciate experiences of people who have gone through similar situations. One specific question that has kept me thinking for a while is that how wise it is to try to find friends from my own country and remain in their "comfortable" circle for a while. This seems like a very reasonable advice, but I know some people who tried this and could never get out of that circle. They remained "foreigners" which is something I certainly don't like. Please feel free to share your thoughts on this and any piece of advice that you think might help me. Thanks
  9. Although I am not in Humanities, I have always been curious to learn how things happen in a typical PhD program. I have noticed that the majority of these kind of writings are written by computer sciense people and as you said, some things which are the norm in engineering and sciences such as collaborative research papers are not so in Humanities. That said, I guess there are many experiences and many feelings, that all PhD students go through.
  10. Hi everyone -- I just finished reading this small book about a PhD student's experience at Stanford. It is very much different from other PhD-related writings in that it is not intended to provide grad school advice; the format is more like a story. For me, it was much more helpful in giving an inside-look into how things work in a PhD program, and I actually enjoyed reading it! Anyways, I liked it. Thought you might too You can read/download it here: http://pgbovine.net/PhD-memoir.htm
  11. Actually, I am! Sent you a PM...
  12. Hi! Yes. It is random, unless two students submit a request to be roommates. They must set their preferences in the housing application exactly the same so that the office can pair them... At least, this is what my friends at UCSD told me. They had managed to select their roommates themselves this way!
  13. Nice to meet you Rita and Mesa do not seem to have long wait lists. I saw on the housing website that they are currently making offers to those who applied in April (for single students). It seems OK to me!
  14. icthere

    San Diego, CA

    Hey everyone! I will be going to UCSD for a PhD in CSE. I took at the on-campus housing. Rita and Mesa seem to be more suited for me. Has anyone lived in both places and could share their experience? Also, I am looking for a roommate. Let me know if you are interested
  15. Hi all! I'll be joining CSE this fall. Would love to meet those who will be going to San Diego. Also, I am looking for a roommate. I'll be applying for on-campus housing. If you are interested, please let me know
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