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dumbstruck with ironic timing...


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Ok here is a mini "I'm too dumbstruck to vent properly post..."

Last year at this time, after dealing with many rounds of grad school rejection I ask the Noble Prof of Rejection why I hadn't been chosen and if he had any advice, or anyone on earth who he thought would be a better "fit"...He felt bad for me and gave me a list of names of folks he respected and who matched my itty bitty highly specialized academic interest. Via this list I decided to contact the Far Far Away Scientist (ie. different continent) to see if he was accepting students.

As it turns out Far Far Away Scientist was doing amazing research, totally on par with my goals, yet was struggling to find a decent position anywhere on earth. He then offered a list of names of folks he respected and recommended, I was blown away by each one and applied to work with seven folks on his list. Months pass, we continue corresponding, exchanging research ideas or random comments. Each email back and forth left me with the "Darn, too bad you're not a prof yet..." sense.

In the process of fine tuning where will I go, who will I work with, I have dealt with alot of heart ache, mainly related to wondering if my partner will leave me if I move far away, worrying that I will drop out early if I have to live in a place that I have little to no desire to be in, yada yada....I researched every school within a three state radius of where I live and every person that I wanted to work with is located off in distant place. Finally I accept the fact that to follow my academic goals I need to move to a less than great location. After much heart ache I decide to go with the offer from University of Middle of Nowhere.

Now fast forward to today. Within 24 hours of mailing off my signed acceptance form to University of Middle of Nowehere I get a surprise email from Far Far Away Scientist. The good news is that he just got a position....FOR THE SAME UNIVERSITY WHERE I WORK! My corner of the globe! Noooooooo!

Why universe? is this some bizarre joke?

It is the same sensation as watching the train you were hoping to catch pass you by...

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Today is April 15th, you can call the school you accepted and decline today without penalty if you think it is a better life choice to stay where you are and apply to work with this particular professor next year (and start working with him in the mean time I would think). I think this is the type of situation that wouldn't really burn bridges to withdraw - you want to do what is best for your partner as well as yourself and you now have a great option that doesn't involve moving away from your partner's job, though it may cost you time. Did you apply to your current school? Any possibility you could get in this year?

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I found out today that canceling my acceptance is simply not an option. The Far Far Away Scientist pretty much backed out of the earlier informal offer. He expressed that he didn't want to burn bridges with the Prof at the University of Middle of Nowhere because they are research associates within a very very small community of scientists. I have to agree, the last thing I want is to start my academic career with a bad reputation (especially with folks who I want to work with in the future). This is hard because I am risking my relationship of the past 11 years to go to grad school, but professionally the University of Middle of Nowhere is still the best choice for me.

I just feel really sad.

Edited by coffeecoffeebuzzbuzz
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If this is what you want to do, then go ahead. I really hope that you change your mind, though.

Since it is the weekend of the 15th, you still have some options! First, unless this guy is the department head *he won't even see that you signed your offer, provided you decline now*. Do you think every professor is involved in admissions? They will find out about admissions at some point in the future, but not immediately (and especially not on the 15th)

If you are uncomfortable doing this (although it seems to be, by far, your best option) then you can defer admission for a year and stay in the same city. Then re-apply next year and take a position in the lab you want to join. This is 100% legit and nobody is going to hold it against you. In fact, if this professor is the type to hold it against you, you certainly don't want to be working with him for the next 5+ years

Basically, it sounds like you are making a terrible decision. I really hope you reconsider

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Also, don't you find it strange that nobody told you they were hiring this professor? **Especially the professor you currently work with** who was likely involved most in the hiring process? (assuming their research overlaps)

There is a certain degree of confidentiality in these decisions, but word definitely gets around

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Also, don't you find it strange that nobody told you they were hiring this professor? **Especially the professor you currently work with** who was likely involved most in the hiring process? (assuming their research overlaps)

There is a certain degree of confidentiality in these decisions, but word definitely gets around

Not to say that isn't a possibility, but it's also possible that in this case they wanted to keep the news quiet until the decision to hire becomes more certain. It's pretty embarrassing to say that one's been accepted, only to find that it's not true... or if the person ends up declining the position. So I think there's incentive to keep quiet, for the sake of the parties involved (including coffeecoffee, who might base her/his decision off of this).

Edited by hello! :)
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yes, and i agree this is an important (and good) reason for the confidentiality

however, i am surprised the professor didn't give very strong hints that this guy might be hired

especially, given how close the hiring was to the april 15th deadline.

couldn't your professor have told you 1 day earlier? it's not like these decisions are made overnight

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