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Was this a mistake??


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Okay, I feel that I am being neurotic about this, but yet I can't quite shake the feeling that I did something dumb. Help! I've been accepted into a program that is well regarded and I would be working with someone who's research I really like. The only problem is that I'm not too keen on anyone else's work in the department. I know this shouldn't be a really big deal, but on the school's website they talk a lot about fostering collaboration, etc, and when I spoke to my potential advisor on the phone she said that the door was "wide open" for me to collaborate and explore my interests. In my SOP I suggested that I saw opportunities for collaboration with other faculty members. However, upon thinking about this more seriously, I realized that I am not really very enthusiastic about the other work going on there. Don't get me wrong, it's interesting and important work, but I just don't see myself getting involved in it. So....I emailed my potential advisor to see what she thought about this (very carefully worded email). Now I'm wondering if I should have asked...part of me is thinking that she might think my concerns contradict what I suggested in my SOP about collaboration. I fear that maybe I was admitted because of this stated openness to collaboration?? Who knows?? Ugghh...

In my own mind, I think it's a decent fit. I'm happy if I can work with one person who's work I really like, and be in a program that offers quality research training. It would be nice if there were more people who's work I was excited about, but there are many other variables that I have to consider along with this one (program quality, etc).

Am I worrying about nothing??

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Okay, I feel that I am being neurotic about this, but yet I can't quite shake the feeling that I did something dumb. Help! I've been accepted into a program that is well regarded and I would be working with someone who's research I really like. The only problem is that I'm not too keen on anyone else's work in the department. I know this shouldn't be a really big deal, but on the school's website they talk a lot about fostering collaboration, etc, and when I spoke to my potential advisor on the phone she said that the door was "wide open" for me to collaborate and explore my interests. In my SOP I suggested that I saw opportunities for collaboration with other faculty members. However, upon thinking about this more seriously, I realized that I am not really very enthusiastic about the other work going on there. Don't get me wrong, it's interesting and important work, but I just don't see myself getting involved in it. So....I emailed my potential advisor to see what she thought about this (very carefully worded email). Now I'm wondering if I should have asked...part of me is thinking that she might think my concerns contradict what I suggested in my SOP about collaboration. I fear that maybe I was admitted because of this stated openness to collaboration?? Who knows?? Ugghh...

In my own mind, I think it's a decent fit. I'm happy if I can work with one person who's work I really like, and be in a program that offers quality research training. It would be nice if there were more people who's work I was excited about, but there are many other variables that I have to consider along with this one (program quality, etc).

Am I worrying about nothing??

Maybe you'll realize that the others research is something you're into once you're there. If the program is well-regarded, as you say it is, I imagine someone else has to be doing something of interest to you (or is at least capable of handling stuff you are interested in).

Personally, I would have kept my mouth shut since you did contradict your SOP. But what do I know?

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Oh man....thanks!! Now I'm really anxious!! :cry:

But in your SOP you are making suggestions. I don't think they hold you to all of your ideas about what you would do if you were admitted into the program...

You are right that I may change my tune once I'm there and learn more about the work people are doing. But I think in reality it is often the case that people's work is so specialized that collaboration is not as easy as it seems in theory...

Anyway, part of me feels like it was worthwhile to raise this issue because really, it is something I'm concerned about. I wouldn't want to go there if people had certain expectations of me that I'm not prepared to meet.

Anyone else have any thoughts?!?!

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Not much they can do once they've admitted you. They don't want to deal with legal hassles, and they can't renege an offer of acceptance.

I think it doesn't really matter what school or advisor you work with as a graduate student- you're going to be engaging in their work to some extent anywhere, because you have to pay your dues. As we like to say in my program, in grad school we research what our profs want us to research, so that someday we can research what we want to research.

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Well...they made you an offer, right? They might be pissed at you, but the offer's still going to be there, so the door is open for you to explain yourself and reverse any damage.

And it's possible no damage was done. I think it depends on the program. In psych especially, programs and profs really vary in whether they expect you to work exclusively with one person or whether you are expected to work with multiple people. If you did not know this program was particularly collaborative--or if your POI is lying and it's really not--then it was reasonable for you to assume that the one research fit with your POI was good enough.

Ultimately I think your POI's response will be the surest sign as to whether you have screwed up! Why ask us? We don't actually know, and there is nothing you can do to change it now. :wink:

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Glad to hear it!

One prof who interviewed me was quick to assure me that she encouraged her students to collaborate with other profs. Apparently some profs tend to get a little jealous and possessive of their students. So your POI was probably just trying to reassure you that that would not be the case.

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I agree. Some students also have eclectic interests and could lose interest as a result of any implication that they wouldn't get to work in more than one area, so the department was probably trying to emphasise the more interdisciplinary options that they offer.

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