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Everything posted by SymmetryOfImperfection

  1. he doesn't mention me by name in the email and there were tips for future directions to take the project in. I know this sounds like I'm making a big deal out of something small, but my gut feeling tells me that this isn't normal in the context of everything else. There's other things too.
  2. I am definitely going to bring this up at the next meeting. I just find it very strange that this happened. I did the bulk of the data collection and analysis for this particular project. People who weren't even on this project were included in the email; I wasn't.
  3. I just found something that changed the dynamics of the problem. I don't know what I should think at this time: I was chilling out in my office while my colleagues were reading an email. I asked "hey found any good papers?" and they said "no its just an email from the boss detailing a new direction for the project". I say "hmm I better go read it"... and it is not in my inbox. The topic of the email was very similar to the report that I had just turned in, and it was quite long. Obviously, I should not read email that was not directed to me, so I didn't see much besides the title. I don't
  4. Thank you for the advice. I did not actually think about the fact that my advisor might think everything is going OK. I sometimes have a hard time communicating my wants and needs clearly, I guess I should make it explicit, such as by saying "Can you give me some feedback on how this project is going?" I try not to take it personally since this is the way he does it, I just wanted feedback on my work - guess I should just say so.
  5. He has almost never replied to me sending out a research report. Not even an acknowledgement of "OK, thanks" to show that he received it or read it at all. It's been going on for years. I mean, I am sort of used to it by now but it just feels terrible. It's almost as if my advisor has zero interest in my research project and is giving me the absolute minimum in feedback. I sometimes get pumped up on a new idea, design an experiment, run it, analyze the data, it takes a month... and then, I send it out, and absolute radio silence until the next group meeting, which is when the postdocs and 5th
  6. There's a few problems with the equipment, once which I knew was my direct responsibility and one which I didn't (and turned out to be the bigger one). There are no direct personal safety issues resulting from my mistake. If my personal mistake was the sole problem, it would've taken half a day to fix. In the course of the repair we found another, even bigger problem which will take an additional 2-3 days and hundreds of dollars to buy parts. I have never been disciplined for unsafe lab practices before although the professor has noted that my experiments are not always well designed. Th
  7. Is it typical for students to be kicked out for this type of mistake? I'd think that a quickly repairable equipment mistake wouldn't be a reason to be kicked out but they made it out to be like it was huge.
  8. I made a mistake with a piece of equipment. The equipment is being successfully repaired (without needing to send it out) right now, but the boss says that this is symptomatic of lack of attention and unsafe lab practice and would like to have an individual discussion with me after he returns from a conference. Does this mean that I'm going to get kicked out?
  9. Welcome to grad school and the typical graduate career path. I have friends that also didn't go to college or majored in an easy A major, making money, getting married and all that. I'm a male though, it's a bit different, but you see high school or college friends talking about their investments, spouses, family vacations, etc, and you're here wondering, what am I doing with my life? I kind of realized it's not worth it to go nuts over grad school. It is what it is, and it certainly is not supposed to define who you are as a person. If you let it define who you are, you won't like t
  10. everything sucks. only a single experimental variable is reproducible, all other experiments failing. unable to identify why experiments are failing since intermediate steps seem to be working. slipping on cleanup. getting yelled at by the postdoc for slipping on cleanup.
  11. What IS the difference between debate and arguing? I'm always respectful to my advisor but he says I argue about my interpretation too often. I thought I was just airing my interpretation and not being pushy.
  12. Thanks for the tips guys. I spoke with some other members of the group today and it surprisingly went well. We agreed to at least do a lab cleanup and have a designated area for tool/glassware storage that deal with heavy metals.
  13. All processing of materials occurs in a closed atmosphere glovebox with an airlock. However, the precursor is transported to the box in powder form. The final films are also cut outside the box with a diamond saw. All waste is stored in a dedicated waste hood. I've been testing myself for other signs of nerve damage but those are supposed to only manifest at acute exposures. I'm buying some surgery masks today. Thanks for the tips. I've arranged a visit to the campus doctor and hope my blood tests come back negative.
  14. I work with very toxic chemicals which serve as precursors for the materials I grow in the lab. In particular, one is a bioaccumulative neurotoxin that causes nerve damage and all other sorts of nasty stuff even at extremely low concentrations. The primary forms that we are exposed to in our lab would be particulates in open air and organometallic coordination complexes in organic solvent. I have always been extremely paranoid about bioaccumulative neurotoxins, but in the past I've never felt like the research was actually a danger. Recently though, I've found my behavioral patterns
  15. I sent an email with an outdated report to my professor. Within a few hours, I sent the updated version of the file before he could reply when I discovered I sent the wrong one. I don't know why but I feel like I'm being annoying by doing this... am I just overreacting? In the back of my head it's really bothering me.
  16. Sorry to hear that, thanks for the encouragmement.. Wish you luck. So here's what I know: California public institutions (not Stanford, USC or Caltech) are hard to get into for their ranking because they indeed prefer in-state students. If you wanted to go to Berkeley or UCLA, you should re-evaluate other choices even if those other choices are ranked higher on paper, just because private schools don't have that quota. It is even more true for anthropology, since there are fewer TA positions. Basically, diversify your risk, increase the spread, so that your expected value of acceptances is abo
  17. calculus is not like linear algebra so it isn't a good predictor, IMO.
  18. got ignored-dumped by the girl I was dating, I don't know why, and I'm pretty disappointed. Grad school is tough sometimes and it'd be nice to have someone to talk to without fear of being judged, someone that cares. I really cared for her too. I really liked hearing her out about her problems, I never ignored her, and I'd just like some equal treatment. I just hate playing the stupid game where you go by a playbook to poke for maximum response, as if people were robots. I don't consider myself terrible in social situations or an introvert either, I'm not mean, I know when to give people
  19. thanks. i fully understand that high quality papers need high quality graphs to go along with them. problem is, I wasn't given an explicit checklist which I'm used to getting for things that have to be done exactly in one way.
  20. One thing that I noticed in grad school that has been very annoying is the lack of communication about specific requirements for presentations, posters, papers, etc.
  21. Thank you for the hints. Should I talk to the counselor at my school, or seek outside help? Can I PM you some things? I'm worried that this environment is unusual, since right now you're saying that it's not what you think is expected. It at least feels alot different than at my old school.
  22. Multiple people from my cohort have quit or decided to drop after a MS. The stress level here is absolutely insane. We are to teach (with a huge workload) until we pass oral comps at the least. Some people have been teaching for 5 years. Simultaneously we have to produce research. The other thing here is that some of the supervisors have limited availability. Mine in particular doesn't seem to be highly interested in my project (that he assigned). This means we are supervised mostly by postdocs in such groups. The postdoc in my group has very high expectations and doesn't tolerate mi
  23. 1. it's hard work with low pay and long hours. 2. Sometimes you have to do what your professor wants you to do with little independence. 3. Your advisor might not be that interested in your work unless it's exactly what they were thinking of.
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