• Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


TakeruK last won the day on January 1

TakeruK had the most liked content!

About TakeruK

  • Rank
    Cup o' Joe

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    Western Canada
  • Application Season
    Not Applicable
  • Program
    Planetary Sciences

Recent Profile Visitors

17,980 profile views
  1. Should I invite my advisor to my award ceremony?

    I would My friends who have won similar awards invited their advisors, too.
  2. Queens Uni Canada or Cambridge?

    I agree there is a big prestige/ranking/resources gap. I don't know how Queens' fare for Gender Studies, but if you would like to chat about Queen's U as a school in general and/or living in Kingston, send me a PM (I chose Queen's for a masters degree because of a very good advisor fit too)
  3. This sounds more and more like you should take more courses and get them over with, in my opinon. Is there a general academic advisor for grad students in your program? For us, during our first year, we had an academic advisor (the same prof advises all new students) that helped us with course decisions and is separate from our research/dissertation advisor (our academic advisor often ends up chairing your thesis committee). If so, talk to that person. Otherwise, talk to the director of grad studies (or similar title, i.e. the prof in charge of grad students specifically) or your department chair for their thoughts on taking more classes in the first semester since you're not TAing. In addition, even though you don't pick a PI until December, surely you have some ideas in mind and perhaps already talked to at least one prof about working in their lab. You should probably check with them too. Maybe you want to use the extra time to try out working in their lab a bit to see if you like it. It's only March now, so you don't even have to do all of this right now....at most schools I've been to, you don't finalize your grad course list until a week or two into the semester, so you can wait until you arrive for the school before worrying about all of this.
  4. dropbox to store and organize articles?

    Maybe years ago it might have been different, but I think most software makes it pretty easy to switch from one to another. They do want you to be able to change from another provider to theirs anyways. I am pretty sure in Mendeley that you can export your annotation into the PDF itself (but by default, they are not saved onto the PDF itself). Many schools now also provide free subscriptions for their students, staff, researchers and faculty to many of these services. At my grad school, they paid for premium access to many other similar services. If you are forced to use a certain software, it is likely because the school provides it for free. A lot of the premium software is, in my opinion, worth it. So if you can use whatever your school provides for free, it can really make your life easier. The tricky part is after you graduate, you may not have the same premium access. But by then, you might have your own funding or be able to afford it yourself, maybe! In any case, it's a problem for future-you to worry about.
  5. Who pays for the flight?

    What @Elephas said could work but School D might not like paying for 2 flights. However, if both legs from School D is still under $500 then it's no extra cost to you or them and they probably won't care. If School D does care but another school on the list doesn't care, then make that other school the double-leg-paying school. This might work out well if your beginning/end schools are far from home but the middle schools are close together. I would probably pick the double-leg-paying-school in a way that makes each school's cost as even as possible. Another option is to add up the entire itinerary and show the whole cost to all of the schools. Then divide the total cost evenly by 4 and each school pays their share. This could be much easier for everyone if no single school has extra strict documentation rules for reimbursements.
  6. dropbox to store and organize articles?

    Wait, what? I've used Mendeley for 7 years and never had to pay. I checked out the website (i haven't logged in for a long time) and learned it looks completely different now that it's been bought out by Elsevier. You still get 2GB free though and I did a check: I have 1.6GB used after 7 years of collecting papers. So, at this rate, I will probably be okay for another 2 years or so. If they haven't changed their model then I will probably switch though. I am not giving money to Elsevier! (To be clear, I am happy to pay for a quality product and our research group pays for things like Slack, ShareLatex, etc. but I really despise Elsevier's practices).
  7. Research, PI, or “Real World” Application

    I second fuzzy's comment that your PhD topic affects your career path and that it mostly affects the jobs you can apply for after graduation (at least in my field). The first postdoc position is often an extension of your PhD topic (e.g. a spin-off research question) because it's necessary in today's job market to publish early and often during postdoc. So you want to have something that you already know how to do (and maybe already halfway finished during grad school). Then, a lot of people in my field do a pivot during the second year of their postdoc. Their next postdoc (or faculty job) would include multiple research directions. And many new faculty start even more new lines of research once they are hired since now they can hire a bunch of postdocs and grad students to do the work (they "just" need to come up with the ideas!). Most faculty I know aren't doing the same research they did as a grad student, but research question choice will affect your near future. In my opinion, I would value: - advisor fit first - then research interest fit - then real world applications Here's my reasoning: I'm passionate and interested in my area of research and the act of doing research, but I don't feel like I need to work on exactly X to be happy. So it's much easier to shift my interest than to change an advisor to work well with me (not really possible anyways!). The only aspect of research interest that matters to me is whether or not academia even wants people trained in this area. If there are only 10 people in the country that study that subfield, then I wouldn't pick it for my PhD since that will really limit your job choices. I picked a research area that is the new fad in my field. As for real world applications, this isn't really important to me, personally, for choosing a PhD program. Being able to influence society and contribute to the world is very important to me though, but I don't see a need to do this through my research. Instead, I find other ways to be a productive member of society. I spend a lot of time doing outreach and education to local groups. And, if I really wanted to contribute good to the world, I would just leave academia and do something else. I'd get paid more, maybe have more free time, and be able to make more of a difference to the world.
  8. Turning Down an Ethusiastic POI

    Second what @rising_star said. Rotations isn't a bad idea but don't do it because you "owe" them---you don't. I had an experience where I had thought I really wanted to work in group X but my school requires what is similar to two "rotations" in the first year and I really didn't like X at all. I am glad I got the chance to try out a couple of options before committing. In my opinion, one semester rotating in a lab that you aren't as interested in (for now) is well worth it as an "insurance premium" in case you really hate the lab you want a direct match for now. You'll be spending 5 or more years in the home lab, so spending at least 1 semester in another lab is not a huge setback and will open up other opportunities too. Finally, to answer your question though, unless you are directly asked by this enthusiastic PI to join their lab, you can keep the news focussed on the positive. Write to them and say that you've decided to attend University X (i.e. their school) and that after talking to everyone, you are going ahead with a direct match to Prof. Y's lab. Then thank them for all their contact, support, answers to your questions etc. along the way.
  9. Campus Visits

    Some schools are very fast and do it within 2-3 weeks. Some schools are very very slow, especially for people who aren't their students and employees, or for international visitors (like I was). But even for schools that were in my country, a good fraction of them reimbursed me in May for a visit done in February. This slow reimbursement "culture" is a huge problem across almost all of academia. It is especially tough for students but also for postdocs and new faculty. Most academics I know often have to float several thousands of dollars while waiting for reimbursements. My advisor was very good about this and offered to put my expenses on their card whenever possible in order to lighten the burden on me. I will try to do the same for my future students if I end up in that position. Anyways, knowing that this is a common problem isn't going to make your own cheque come faster or reduce the financial burden. But hope to give some context. For your particular situation, have you already submitted all of your receipts and paperwork for reimbursement? Have the school acknowledged receipt of these items? If not, then it's a good time to check in with the school. You can ask it as something like wanting to confirm they got everything they needed and whether they need anything else. If they have already confirmed receipt and said "expect it in X weeks", then wait for 1-2 weeks after that to check (give time for the mail to get to you, wait longer if you are in a part of the country/world where mail takes longer). Finally, keep in mind that once the department admin staff send off your request to the University's finance office, it's out of their hands and they have no idea when you (or anyone else they submit expenses on behalf of) actually get the money. So the finance office might be telling all these admins that it will "only take 2 weeks" to sound good but in reality, the University itself might be very slow. Just letting you know because it's not the fault of the department admins at all! But if you are polite and ask nicely, they might be able to follow up with the financial office at the University level. And I have never heard of a school refusing to reimburse a student because they did not attend (never a problem in my case, as some schools didn't send me the money until well after I declined them).
  10. short interview = rejection?!

    It's pretty common for interviews to not take the entire time they originally said.
  11. If the recommended load is set with the expectation that the student will be spending X hours TAing and the OP has an exception to reduce their teaching load, then it might be okay to think about adding one extra class. In my field, this might be a good idea since you don't get that much research done in your first year anyways and this will free up more time later on. But definitely talk to your advisor or a prof in the department about this first to get their opinion.
  12. J-1 visa

    What do you mean "have to". No, you are not required to apply for J-1 visa specifically. There are two main visas for foreign students studying in the USA: F-1 and J-1. Having a full funding offer means you are eligible for J-1 so if you want a J-1 and if your school is willing to sponsor your J-1 application, then you could apply for J-1. If you don't want a J-1, you can still apply for F-1 (let the school know what you would like). If you want a J-1, then while you have met the main funding requirement to be eligible for J-1, you still need the school to be willing to sponsor you for J-1 (not all schools would do this). If they do not want to sponsor you for J-1 then if you attend that school, you will have to apply for F-1.
  13. It is a HUGE faux pas to ask to read them. Don't do it. Those letters are not meant for you to read and they were written with the expectation that you would never see them. Unless they offer to show them to you, don't ever mention wanting to see them.
  14. Again, the exact time depends on how the housing/rentals market work in your specific area. Ask some current grad students to find out the best time to go. We did this three times if you include my postdoc. For my MSc program, we spent 3 days; for my PhD program we scheduled 5 days and for my postdoc, we spent 4 days. The MSc trip was short because we didn't have much money. The PhD trip was longer because 1) we were anxious about moving to a new country and 2) we stayed with our friends in town so a longer trip only cost more for food, not much else. The postdoc trip length was set based on the amount of time we were able to spare (we did it during my thesis writing), the fact that my employer was paying for it, and that there is a very very low vacancy rate in the city we were moving to. In all cases, we set up as many appointments as we could before leaving. For the months ahead of the trip, we scouted out listings online, pretending we were moving the next month. This gave us a good sense of what time of the month there were the most listings. So we scheduled our trip for that time of month when it was for real. Then about a week before we left, we called every place that had a listing to set up a visit. We checked the listings twice a day and made more calls as the trip went on. And we continued doing it while we were there too, in addition to just driving around and looking at signs. For my MSc and PhD programs, we looked at around 6 places before we found something that worked. And at both of these programs, the place we chose was not something we knew about beforehand---it was a place we found while we were there. However, the management company that owned them were known to us beforehand, so it was helpful to have seen ads from them before so that we knew to look for their buildings when we were in town. For my postdoc move, we ended up looking at 12 places before finding one that worked. It turned out to be one of the few places that we did schedule ahead of time. Some of our other pre-scheduled appointments got cancelled just before our time because the person who saw it before us took the apartment. There was one showing where we were one of 12 couples looking at the same place at almost the same time.
  15. Does it look bad to request a deferral?

    (1) You can't help / control that. Your own needs are more important than what the department thinks of you on this regard. If the school/department offers deferrals, it would be wrong of them to think poorly of students that take what is offered. (2) All three of your reasons sound compelling to me and they are valid reasons for a deferral, in my opinion (not that my opinion matters to your department though!)