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First Year Worries...Experienced and Fellow 1st Years, Chime In


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Hey everyone.

I am nervous about my first year. Anyone who is currently a 1st year feeling like this? Also, what should I expect? Any experienced people have any advice for us new students?

I am worried about the amount of time TA'ing is going to take away from my work. Should I try and publish something this year? Should I start thinking about my dissertation or just finish classes? I was told I should always be thinking about my dissertation...

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Hey there TMM.

 

Not really all that nervous to be honest. I am more excited/eager to actually get started. The cohort seems really friendly/nice and we've managed to arrange/attend a few get-togethers already.

 

I think some nervousness is natural/to be expected though. A professor I know described starting a PhD program as "being tossed to the wolves". 

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Hi there!

 

I am not nervous at all. This could be because I haven't done anything for a month, so I am eager to start doing something. I haven't even met my cohort yet. However, I don't have to TA this year, so I a little more relieved than you. TAing can never be easy. Let me comfort you by saying that usually people find it easier to manage time when they have a lot of things to do than when they don't. I am sure you'll be great! 

 

About the dissertation, I am with you in this one. I don't know what other people think, but having a clear aim in mind (the dissertation) works for me. Furthermore, I intend to do at least one poster presentation this year and do research in the summer. From where I see it, having the dissertation in mind may help you plan your road ahead better. However, I would ask your advisor about this. 

 

All the best of lucks!!!! :)

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I started classes this past week, though Math Camp actually started almost 2 weeks ago, and maybe my expectations were just for it to be even worse than I could imagine, but so far things haven't been too tough.  I've finished up all but about 50 pages of my reading for the coming week and am getting a lecture ready for Wednesday for a class that I'm TA'ing but the prof will be away at APSA. 

 

The biggest twist for me was that I wasn't even supposed to be a TA this semester at all, but due to unforeseen circumstances the department needed a theorist to TA and I'm one of 2, so I'm now the TA for a 50+ student class and am leading 3 discussion sections a week.  Had to drop one of the classes I intended to take as well.  Luckily the course isn't too bad in terms of work I'll have to grade, so I won't really feel the crunch until after all of my work is done and we get their finals in. 

 

I am nervous about statistics and all of the methods work that I'll have to do, as it's nothing I've ever done before and is completely outside of the vein of political science that I come from and believe in, so that might be the difficulty, but I'll do what they want for now until the prof who I'll work most with and learn from comes back from leave next year and is able to guide me more for real theorist work.

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I started classes this past week, though Math Camp actually started almost 2 weeks ago, and maybe my expectations were just for it to be even worse than I could imagine, but so far things haven't been too tough.  I've finished up all but about 50 pages of my reading for the coming week and am getting a lecture ready for Wednesday for a class that I'm TA'ing but the prof will be away at APSA. 

 

The biggest twist for me was that I wasn't even supposed to be a TA this semester at all, but due to unforeseen circumstances the department needed a theorist to TA and I'm one of 2, so I'm now the TA for a 50+ student class and am leading 3 discussion sections a week.  Had to drop one of the classes I intended to take as well.  Luckily the course isn't too bad in terms of work I'll have to grade, so I won't really feel the crunch until after all of my work is done and we get their finals in. 

 

I am nervous about statistics and all of the methods work that I'll have to do, as it's nothing I've ever done before and is completely outside of the vein of political science that I come from and believe in, so that might be the difficulty, but I'll do what they want for now until the prof who I'll work most with and learn from comes back from leave next year and is able to guide me more for real theorist work.

Well its good that your having a good time so far. Too bad you had to drop a class though. That sucks.

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Well its good that your having a good time so far. Too bad you had to drop a class though. That sucks.

 

It's not that bad; I'm teaching instead, which is probably better in the long-run, and I'll now have 2 service-free semesters to use down the road rather than 1, so I'll be able to devote an entire semester to dissertation-writing, no teaching or classwork to distract me.  From what people have been saying, though, it's probably a good thing I'm not in that class, as it's been quite tough with loads of readings along with STATA work in the first week with elections data-sets.  Not at all my forte.

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