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GradHooting last won the day on August 14 2015

GradHooting had the most liked content!

About GradHooting

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  1. Thanks for the encouraging words. I feel as if I might need a lot of that at this point, because I am seemingly unable to conjure them up for myself. I'm just drained, and I'm looking at the job market thinking "I'm really nothing special, nowhere near where I had wanted to be." This is all just in terms of master's degrees too. I realize with full conviction that a Ph.D. was probably not for me unless I had found a fantastic match.
  2. So, lots of hectic things have been happening in the past few months. I managed to get myself on track to graduate with a coursework master's degree by the end of the summer. I will just be hanging around to complete some research. I was hoping for a better final cumulative GPA, but my "minimum" in my head was a 3.5. I managed precisely a 3.5. Given the circumstances of the year so far, I suppose that is not so bad. It's not exciting, or a huge relief, but it is "ok." I am just finishing up the physical therapy due to the car accident, and am in the process of applying for jobs through the school's job application system. There is still a lot of anger I have pent up about choosing this particular program in the first place. It says "aerospace" on the degree, but there was little to no actual aerospace research. I think that is a terrible administrative gaffe and strongly misleads students with aerospace aspirations. To think that I passed the qualifying exam one year ago and now I'm at the point where I just want to live a life that isn't an abusive work environment. I do not know if I've come a long way, but I am still battling the idea that I have completely failed at my goals. Basically, despite my negative feelings about the issues around me, maybe things are looking up, but I have terrible perspective because I do not know what the environment is like post-grad school. Unfortunately references will be hard to come by because of my struggling performance over the last semester.
  3. Well, on top of all the other mess, a woman thought it was more apt to text her friends than it was to watch the bumper of my car. As a result, she smashed into the back of my car at a relatively high speed, totaling my car and messing up my neck. Now, I have 4-5 doctor's appointments each week that I am required to commute to throughout the week, which is seriously compromising what little ability I had to keep up with my studies. I'm not even taking a full course load, and I am behind on my two classes, and all I am doing throughout the day is struggling against what little concentration ability I have left to get these studies done. This weekend I should have gotten an extremely easy assignment finished by last night. Tonight, it's still not done, and I've spent the whole weekend living in the library struggling over the simplest of topics, as well as catching up on all the lessons that I couldn't absorb during class. On top of that, I may have not even had time to touch a second assignment which may also be due tomorrow. I had a spare car just in case one of my cars were to mess up somehow, and that one ended up breaking as well, so both cars are in the shop, and I am on a loaner car. When going to my car to get to school to catch up with this stuff, the loaner car got towed (first time I've ever had a car towed in my life...). Through the 100 hour work weeks I had forgotten to notify the front office that I had a loaner car, since both of my other cars were no longer operable. So, half my time during the week is spend doing 15-20 phone calls a day with the lawyer, insurance companies, appointments with several different doctors, while trying to stay afloat in my studies. I feel as if life is my enemy or something. You can read my post history and see how hard I worked just to get into graduate school. Now that I'm here, it's as if everything that could possibly go wrong goes wrong. For the first time in my life, I had to have a family member fly in to offload the tasks. Their response was something akin to "holy crap, I can barely keep up. I don't know how you maintain your composure through all of this mess." I seem to just attract bad luck. I'm going to have to take two incompletes if I can, and almost certainly I will have to ditch any hope of doing a thesis. My adviser had a month to figure something out topic-wise (we have no autonomy in choosing thesis topics or dissertation topics), and has not figured anything out. I just want to get into industry and close this chapter in my life. Everything I have done regarding graduate school seems to have brought about the worst that life has to throw at me. I come out of it bitter, tired, and full of contempt for the whole thing.
  4. In my department, what was expected of me was to spend at least 6-8 years pursuing my Ph.D. I bailed.
  5. Thanks for the kind words, everyone. Unfortunately, it seems that my desire to gain some sanity in my life has resulted in the professors from all directions doubling down on the pressure they're having on me. They want me to have all research done for a thesis by October, while teaching two classes over the summer and taking classes, teaching classes, and doing research on the semester that I am to finish my thesis. I simply do not have time to breathe and I will not be allowed to even leave the city at any point in 2015. I do not know whether I have the emotional wherewithal to do this. I was hoping for the pressure to scale back a bit, but it seems the exact reverse is happening, and not a single damn person at this school has been of any assistance to me whatsoever. Every single person has basically told me that I am on my own, to "talk to more people and see what they can do" (basically redirecting me to someone else), and to work harder. "Just 8 more months" Well, I do not know if I can last 8 more months under this pressure. I need to breathe. I need some time to recharge and reorganize so I can then do the doubling down they want me to do. But, no, it's a mixture of "future programs will see your lack of publishing by now as a serious mark against you" and "doing a master's in over 2 years looks really bad" and and equally confusing "that Ph.D. programs will look down a coursework master's degree is complete nonsense." Not a single word of encouragement from anyone. Not a single sense of drive from anyone. I don't know. With every additional person I talk to, I feel even more energy being sucked from me. It's like there is no spirit in this place, no vibrancy about my proposals and ideas. Maybe I'm just terrible.
  6. Well, I made a pretty important decision today. I am now pursuing a terminal master's degree with a thesis option (hellbent on getting published, though). I would love to pursue a Ph.D., but it would have to be in something I enjoy. What I did in this case was follow the money. If I was doing something I actually enjoyed, I'd definitely stick around to complete the degree. But it's 5-6 years of formative years of my life not enjoying where I am, all for a piece of paper which merely states that I am capable of completing the work necessary for a Ph.D. I love the science and I love learning something to very fundamental and complete levels. My motivation comes from being immersed in topics I enjoy. I came for aerospace, was given nanomanufacturing research to do, didn't enjoy it, and now I've decided to walk away having at least turned some of it into something that is publishable. Maybe I'll come back for a Ph.D. in something else, some other time. I just don't know. So much of my life I had defined a Ph.D. as just being the final academic goal. Life's really mysterious to me right now.
  7. I am going to be talking to my advisor on Monday. I have a lot to talk about. My performance has been absolutely horrendous despite putting in 81-100 hours during the week. I am working at probably around 30% efficiency and I am making mistakes that I never made last semester. The workload is the same as last semester! I'm just not of a sound mind right now. I am starting to see all the problem around me and am starting to realize just how much of a commitment I am making. I was up for 21 hours straight trying to get a homework assignment done that everyone else seemed to get done in around 10-16 pages. I turned in 34 pages and wasn't anywhere near halfway done. I am making tons and tons of bugs when programming and I just cannot debug it all in time. I forgot to post the lab data for the class that I should have done on Wednesday -- because I forgot my thumb drive on Wednesday. I never made any of these mistakes last semester. I am just worse at everything I do right now, and I feel I have no way of controlling it and bringing myself back up to the quality that I was at last semester. I feel at a loss.
  8. Your anxiety about the test in general is honestly a pretty good sign. You sound like you recognize the weight and potential difficulty of it and have taken the necessary steps to prepare yourself. The people who brush off the quals thinking it's a walk in the park are the ones I worry about
  9. I was really enjoying my time here last semester. The research wasn't that interesting, but I was making the best of it. This semester, the amount of stuff I have to do on a weekly basis has been severely ramped up, the class that I have been teaching is now being taught by my abusive advisor, and my attempts to find emotional sanity or confidants outside of therapists have been hindered due to the realization of the requirement of 60-80 hours a week, 50 weeks a year. I looked more into just how long a Ph.D. was going to take, and asked myself whether it was truly worth the ~7 year sacrifice of my life to do something I do not truly love. Two days back I concluded that I wish that my school never gave me the monetary offer that it did. I would have gone to another school and pursued something much more directly aerospace. What I am doing right now has nothing to do with aerospace whatsoever, despite the degree being called that. That is not worth 7 years of my life. My early attempts to ask my advisor about aerospace applications (I mean, it was on my freaking SOP. He read it. I was invited to the school because of it) elicited a response of "No no no, you're thinking about it all wrong. This is not about acquiring skills for a certain field. It is about learning to become an independent researcher." While I might agree with the sentiment of that statement, it completely ignores the importance of loving the work you do. I don't want to work in semiconductors. I was only here because it was the only financially supported option I have. Now I realize that I wish I had taken the financially worse option so I could keep doing what I loved. This isn't about money anymore. I had saved up for an unfunded situation in the first place. Plus, I can always search for PI's while at school. The goal in the back of my mind right now is to finish a master's degree here, then transfer to where I actually wanted to go (assuming they even let me in a second time). I am in very good academic standing, at the very least.
  10. I don't know how much longer I can do this. Almost every day I'm curled up on the floor in tears, feeling like there's no escape, just trying to get my work done. The hours are just so much. I don't know. My therapist seems to have run out of ideas.
  11. Ah, I forgot to clarify. I was referred to these two professors by the graduate coordinator. I know that, for sure, I will not be able to work with one of them. One of them is the "graduate advisor" for the general grad program for my focus. The other is... I don't know, to be honest. They have some vague ability to do something. One of them is going to get me information on which professors have money, I believe. It's just waiting it out for me, right now.
  12. I absolutely love this idea of lab rotations. I wish we had that at my school. It makes so much sense.
  13. So, two professors are aware of my intents, and they both consider this information coming out to be just as annoying for them to deal with as it would be for me to deal with. They also have some administrative roles in the department, and they will be coming back to me with potential opportunities (e.g. funded). I tried to better pinpoint the demeanor of my PI which makes me come to the conclusion that it would be unbearable to purshe a Ph.D. under him. I have worked in the missile defense agency, for NASA, on various research projects that required learning things I did not know and reaching out for resources. In none of these experiences have I been exposed to such a condescending demeanor. If I err, the pain doesn't stop after I fully and promptly own up to what I do. No, it seems to give both professors (two professors running the group) carte blanche to expound for periods of a half hour or more (in front of the research group) about why it is so important to not make the mistake and how I am supposed to think. In that last phrase lies the key reason why I cannot work for this research group: My PI is demanding that his students think the way he thinks, precisely. By doing this, he is eliminating the possibility of breakthrough ideas from non-compliant students. Furthermore, not once during my entire time here have I ever been encouraged by my PI, or given positive feedback for making good progress. I feel that all I can do is meet his expectations on what he feels should be good research. I am at this school as a confused student. I explained my intents and the way I think quite clearly in my application essay. He has read this essay and wanted to take me on. Why does he feel that I need to completely deconstruct how I naturally approach problems to precisely match how he approaches problems? He should have just rejected me if that was his plan. Needless to say, now I have to reject him. The PI deliberately avoids answering my questions about research expectations via email, simply so I can sit in his office and waste another hour with him lecturing to me in a condescending manner something that he could have simply told me in 5 minutes and I would have been on my way. I have dealt with professors before. I have been in research groups before. I have never encountered anything like this. I do not know what his beef is, but, at the very least, we do not and will not get along. Of course, when the cat is let out of the bag, the only reason I will publicly state is that the research is not a good fit for me.
  14. There are some professors in the department who have a personality that I would jive with very well, I think. Unfortunately I have not had too much time talking to many of them. I was also told that I should make my intents of leaving clear to my professor immediately instead of ask around behind his back. On the other hand, I don't want to risk soiling my own bed before I know there's somewhere else to go. I'm in a tough situation.
  15. I've gotta be honest: There are a myriad of subjects which would interest me if the overall vibe around said subject was that of enthusiasm and positivity. Right now, I feel like I am simply on my professor's leash and regularly shamed. I am sick and tired of working through these bugs, and I do not know how to improve upon it. I hear that there are situations where the students get along well with their professors. This would be unbelievably helpful to me. There just seems to be a fundamental disconnect with how my professor communicates, and how I most effectively receive information. I can't even perform to standards that are satisfactory to myself whenever my professor is watching. I just get too intimidated, too worried that even more criticism will be piled on. Right now, I've gone through a recent break-up situation which has numbed me just a bit to the critique. Unfortunately, I can feel him clearly ramping it up, hearing that my performance has been lackluster, all in blue comic sans email font. My problems feel numerous and I have no idea how to effectively get out of the situation. Part of me is desperately working late hours just to show some sign of progress so I can at least feel justified in bringing up my desire to change research subjects. Every day I feel like I am just being a lazy person without a purpose. Even if I was getting everything right, I still would not feel any satisfaction from it. I am merely presenting it to what feels like an emotionally dead environment. I know that I am not slow at learning software. I learned everything up to this months-long bug in about two weeks. I feel this project will be laced with sample preparation more than actual analysis of data. Granted, all experiments will involve some high degree of sample preparation, but few quite reach the level of cleanliness and precision required for analyzing nanometer-scale van der Waals behavior on semiconductor material. I had aspirations of going to space, building structures in space, subjecting materials to different types of failure, and now I am poking things and seeing how sticky they are. I suppose, on some level, my interest would level out as a decent "meh, it's alright" if I was in a research group with good vibes. I know if that were the case, I would not feel so compelled to leave, because I would at least feel like the work environment was decent.
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