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What did you do during the summer right before you started your Ph.D. program?


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Hi folks,

After stressful time of waiting, I was fortunately admitted to some Ph.D. programs in physics. (yay!)

Recently, I have brainstormed about what I would like to do during the summer before I start a new chapter of my life as a grad student, but I could not figure it out. Would you please share what you had done during the summer before you started the grad school? Work? Travel? Started research early? I would appreciate if you could explain why you made that decision, too. If you are starting this fall, what is your plan in summer?

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Congrats on your acceptance!  I figured I'd stay on at my day job until school starts, but that'd still leave me with plenty of spare time.  The research lab I've been interning at just asked me to work on new project and they're going to pay me, woohoo!  Otherwise I've got a pile of pleasure reading books and nearby places I want to check out for the millionth time to convince myself I won't forget them.

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Hi,

Congrats! I'm starting in the fall and here are some things I'm doing:

1. Just got a job as a barista at a bookstore cafe. My current research job was only temporary since it was for a project, so I wanted a part-time job to keep the money coming in as I prepare for grad school. This is the perfect job for me since I love coffee and can learn how to make more drinks (preparing to make my own drinks during grad school to save money). 

2. Spend time reading for fun. This new job will give me a little book discount and I know that when I'm in school I don't read for fun as much as I should. I'm definitely taking advantage of this time off.

3. I made a bucket list for the city I live in, filled with things that I want to do before I move. I live in a huge city so I want to take advantage of all it has to offer before I relocate to a smaller town. I've lived here all my life (aside from undergrad) but I realized I haven't experienced a lot of things here. This also includes hanging out with my friends before I leave.

4. Obviously making tons of packing lists and things I need to do before I move. Just some housekeeping tasks like changing addresses after I find an apartment etc. Plus brushing up on some life skills while I still have people I know around to help me (i.e. successfully making crockpot meals, sewing).

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I'm getting my masters but I wanted to chime in! Originally, I was planning on interning at the museum I worked at last summer but I think funding fell through. I applied for their educator position but they wanted someone long term vs just for the summer. I'm planning on asking my mentor if I could possibly be paid to help him finish up the museum. If not, I'll volunteer to help him out! Plus I guess it depends on when my boyfriend gets a job in Lubbock. If he gets one soon, then I'm sure we will move fairly quickly. Sooooo I'm not exactly sure. :) I do know we are going to visit his family/friends before we go though or before school starts!

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Congrats @porcorosso and great name, btw! The Crimson Pig is truly elegant. For me, since my program is across the country, I will be doing a massive road trip and spending a few weeks with in-laws, a few weeks with my family members, and arriving a few weeks early to settle in to my new program. I'm a bit OCD, so I like to have things organized before starting a new job, living in a new place, etc.; and I know I will be quite busy for the next four years, so spending time with friends and family matters a great deal to me.

What are some things you would like to do/learn/see/eat, but haven't had the time?

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I'm planning to travel a bit and do a program to learn German, which is a required reading language in my discipline :) I figure that the summer is the chance to relax, read, and travel before research takes over my life in a couple months! Leisure-reading seems to be a popular choice--any books you're particularly looking forward to? I've got a new Muriel Barbery book that I can't wait to start!

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At first I was planning on quitting in july and starting in august and not doing anything at all....but recently I decided I am going to be adventurous while I can.  I worked hard for a few years and saved up enough money that I can enjoy myself this summer.

So...I am backpacking in yosemite for a week, going to Belize for a week, going to Haiti for a week, working at a summer camp (that my friend is a director at) for a few weeks, and probably visiting friends for a weekend here or there.

I also plan on reading a lot, probably binge watching some netflix, and spending some time with family.

Get out and have some fun! (as long as you can afford it!)

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I'm doing boring things compared to everyone else, just working in my undergrad supervisor's lab part time (as the lab manager/RA) and working part-time for a professor I applied to at a program I was waitlisted at (but I didn't get in because the spots were taken). The new professor offered me a part-time job to write a review paper and work on a new project for her.

I've also applied to be an undergraduate TA, but it's unlikely I'll receive that with no experience teaching.

Other than working, I'll just be preparing for the move, shuffling things around regarding finances, looking for apartments, reading papers to prepare for my new program (I come from a different subfield), and helping with some papers I'm on that we are trying to publish over the summer.

 

Wow, it's basically work and research. There's fun in there somewhere!

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I got a summer job as a wildlife technician and started 2 days after graduation from my masters program in May and worked until mid-July. I spent the rest of July and August floating in the pool with my mom who had knee surgery and was out of work for a while. Also did some reading and watched some tv shows, and drove down to the Carolinas to visit a friend. At the beginning of September, I drove across the country with my husband and cats, doing some limited sightseeing along the way (mostly stuff that could be seen from the car or was at a stop since we had the cats). Once we arrived in the Pacific northwest, I still had about 3 weeks until classes started and we started exploring the area. 

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I feel similarly to @HopefulPHD14 -- I've been working full-time for 3 years since finishing undergrad and while I've managed to do a lot of interesting and fulfilling things on the side, I am so looking forward to a summer full of stuff I want to do.

I'm quitting my job at the end of May (SO EXCITED FOR THIS), moving my stuff to the east coast to sit in my mom's garage, spending a few weeks in DC volunteering at a sort of exchange student leadership camp, then going to Iceland for July for a language program, and then maybe the Faroe Islands after that. Then at the end of August I'll be driving across the country to Seattle. I haven't made things easy for myself in terms of logistics, but I have a very...naive? sense that it will all work out.

So many books to read in the interim! 

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Sounds like everyone has some great plans!! I'll be starting my MA in the fall, but I'd like to chime in, too.

I anticipate working (and saving up) through May and then taking some time off to enjoy my summer. Ideally I can hop on a plane and spend a month in France drinking some vin rouge and eating some croissants, but I'll probably just go to, like, the beach and read a bunch of books about France while pretending that I'm there and talking to the seagulls in French (I won't be studying it in grad school, so who knows when I'll ever speak it again!).

I also want to get a head start on my studies since I have the reading list for one of my classes in the fall, but we'll see how that goes :P

Edited by klader
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Thank you, guys for the responses! Great plans. Your comments help me to getting a general idea how you spend summer before the storm called a grad school life. Btw, special thanks to @Cat_Robutt. I really love the movie. 

I graduated a college this month, and am currently working under my former academic advisor. I will be working in his lab until June, and will have a lot of time until September. I might go back home (i am international), or visit my friend abroad. but other than that, I do not have a solid plan

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I want to fix my motorcycle and ride around the country. Never been to the east coast so maybe go east to Florida and northbound towards ny. Across the north, perhaps visit hometown, through montana, go see friend in seattle, maybe go see girl in portland, yosemite, utah, gila in nm, back to texas. Done something like it on a bicycle, but figure motorcycle could be more fun. Get some bucklist things crossed out before my time disappears in the lab. But its just a dream right now.. my engine is leaking, which is bad..

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I'm currently in the process of finishing my masters (overdue...), so I've been a part-time student since September. Still unsure if I would do a PhD, I ended up taking a RA position with a professor, who we both agreed upon that if we both liked each other after some months working together, I could apply to his program as a PhD student. I'm now leaning more towards the PhD with him, which means I could get a head start right now till September on my graduate studies. Problem is (and I've posted such issues many times here before...), I did not like the masters, and honestly, just feel completely burned out with how things turned out with it. I kind of regret not taking any time off, or even just having a regular 9-5 job for a few months, just to have a break from it all, and come back recharged. So as it currently stands, I'll be a RA for the summer, but possibly with the work-load of a PhD student, but I'm hoping to sneak in one vacation in that time...

Edited by HYHY02
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(I'm getting and MA, too...) Working... I just got contacted by a recruiter so that might be an interesting change... I currently work 2 part time flexible positions, and this would be a full time gig, but for a really good company... so that would definitely change the shape of summer if it fits in with school. I hope to take a week vacation right before class begins. I don't need to move for my program, so that is a huge amount of stuff I don't need to do! So excited for everyone.

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I'm finishing up my last semester as a NTT faculty member, and then spending two months packing and working online (test scoring) before I move to Phoenix/Tempe. 

In the mean time, I will be reading as much as I can, making a trip to central Illinois to help my girlfriend pack, and making some last rounds of visits to friends and family in Michigan.

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Starting an MA program come fall...

I'm still debating what to do with the summer, but right now, I'm strongly leaning toward getting the hell out of here ASAP (as in, shortly after I get my BA, mid-May-ish), and just getting myself settled where I'm going. I'm 90% sure of which school I want to go to now, so I figure I might as well get established in my new environment.

I absolutely have to work, and soon, to get through the summer until classes start. (I haven't been, due to a very heavy course load.) But I figure it's best just to use the funds I do have to move and get a steady job in the new city, rather than go through a string of headaches finding shorter-term jobs in both places. I'm hoping I can get a position with my soon-to-be professors, or else some kind of summer student position in another department. I might start emailing them about this soon, come to think of it. I'm a little surprised that my coordinator didn't direct me toward these kinds of departmental resources when he learned I'm looking, but I don't know if that's normal or what.

I'm very excited to get started with this new chapter of my life, and even more excited that it's so much closer within reach than the August move date I'd originally planned on. I see no reason to bake here through another summer if I don't need to. :)

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On 3/29/2016 at 1:11 AM, shadowclaw said:

I got a summer job as a wildlife technician and started 2 days after graduation from my masters program in May and worked until mid-July. I spent the rest of July and August floating in the pool with my mom who had knee surgery and was out of work for a while. Also did some reading and watched some tv shows, and drove down to the Carolinas to visit a friend. At the beginning of September, I drove across the country with my husband and cats, doing some limited sightseeing along the way (mostly stuff that could be seen from the car or was at a stop since we had the cats). Once we arrived in the Pacific northwest, I still had about 3 weeks until classes started and we started exploring the area. 

How did your cats do on the trip? We have two and I'm (probably, haven't officially accepted yet) moving from Chicago to Louisiana. One of them cries and cries in the car. The other just sits silently, wide-eyed. How did you transport all your stuff, plus cats, etc.? The logistics of this move are starting to freak me out. 

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On 4/9/2016 at 9:19 PM, yayspace said:

How did your cats do on the trip? We have two and I'm (probably, haven't officially accepted yet) moving from Chicago to Louisiana. One of them cries and cries in the car. The other just sits silently, wide-eyed. How did you transport all your stuff, plus cats, etc.? The logistics of this move are starting to freak me out. 

They did surprisingly well. Both of my cats typically scream during the entire ride to the vet's office (which has always been a short drive), but they were relatively calm during the trip. First off, we rented a relocube to transport the majority of our things (furniture and banana boxes full off clothes, books, movies, etc.). I highly recommend it for very long distance moves - it can work out to about the same price as renting a uhaul truck (depends on how much stuff you have), but you don't have to pay for gas (or worry about driving a big truck around). It also helps that I have a Subaru Forester, which has quite a bit more space than a car. We crammed the back "trunk" area with the majority of the stuff we were taking by car, and also had stuff on the floor by the back seats and some things on the seats (mainly suitcases and duffel bags). I had canoe paddles forming a barrier between stuff on one side of the car and where the cats where placed in case something shifted.

Each cat was in its own carrier and I lined the bottoms with puppy pads for accidents. I didn't bother trying to take them out during the day to use the litter box. The general wisdom of the Internet was that they wouldn't use it and taking them out of the carrier in the car is risky (mainly because you might have to open the car door while they are out). They screamed their little heads off for about an hour on the first day, then got tired and just gave sad little mews now and then. Every so often they'd break out into loud meowing, but it would usually be brief. I made little dishes from the bottom of coffee cups at a gas station and put ice cubes in them for the cats to lick during the journey and to prevent a big watery mess. At the hotel each night, I let them roam around the room and I made a travel litter box out of a big tupperware container with a lid... I put it in the bathroom at each hotel since it's fairly easy to clean up spilled litter from a tiled floor. I also sprayed the carriers with Feliway each morning before leaving... it's supposed to keep them calm. I also added a few drops of some Rescue Remedy to some treats before leaving (also designed to calm).

So overall, moving the cats wasn't hard. Packing the car was very tricky and I don't think the way we packed it was particularly safe if we got into a high speed accident (then again, I'm not sure there's really a way to pack a car to be safe for a high speed accident unless you tie everything down). However, we obviously didn't get into any accidents and I had to keep the speed down anyway due to the canoe and kayak on the roof creating amazing drag at speeds above 60 mph. My gas mileage was so bad between all of the stuff in the car and the boats killing the aerodynamics.

FYI - all La Quinta hotels are pet-friendly and they don't charge pet fees or require pet deposits. I stayed at a mix of places - La Quinta, Sleep Inn, Travelodge, Comfort Inn... you just need to check out websites and look up the pet policies. 

On 4/9/2016 at 9:22 PM, MarineBluePsy said:

Am I the only one that finds it really weird that there isn't some sort of pet shipping service?  There are pet resorts and pet restaurants so.....just saying.....  

I feel like no one wants to deal with that kind of hassle nor would they want to deal with the liability. 

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1 hour ago, shadowclaw said:

I feel like no one wants to deal with that kind of hassle nor would they want to deal with the liability. 

That's what I used to say when I heard people say what a great idea a pet resort was and now we have those lol.

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On ‎4‎/‎9‎/‎2016 at 11:19 PM, yayspace said:

How did your cats do on the trip? We have two and I'm (probably, haven't officially accepted yet) moving from Chicago to Louisiana. One of them cries and cries in the car. The other just sits silently, wide-eyed. How did you transport all your stuff, plus cats, etc.? The logistics of this move are starting to freak me out. 

Just as a suggestion... We road trip with our cats sometimes... And I bought a dog kennel... The wire crate kind with a puppy divider. Just small enough to fit in our backseat.

You take the puppy divider and place it horizontally rather than vertically to create a 2 tier cage with room in the front for them to get from one floor to the other. And then we put a disposable litter tray and food bowls on the bottom level, and a blanket for them on the top level. And we put a thin blanket over the top so they couldn't see out the window and didn't have sun shining on them.

The amazon basics ones are like $40. We use ours often. http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00QAVO29I/ref=mp_s_a_1_3?qid=1460317132&sr=8-3&pi=SX200_QL40&keywords=dog+kennel&dpPl=1&dpID=617rCTjjYAL&ref=plSrch&th=1&psc=1

 

Also, there are calming sprays you can get to help calming.

And I don't know about you, but we have 2 cat harnesses for transporting them outside the crate.

Edited by sjoh197
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