Q:best of luck!!
Picking a (grad) school
We’ve had two recruitment weekends, and I’m in an advice giving mood (aka Dr Who is buffering and I have no desire to test my code without David Tenent’s cheer). So, a list of my suggestions for picking a (grad) school.
- Pick a school where there are multiple labs that make you happy. You may get there and discover that you don’t fit with the people you thought would be perfect for you. Or, maybe you do and they don’t have funding. But, make sure you have a few options.
- Look closely at the people who you are recruited with. These are, at least, some of your potential classmates. You will be spending a fair bit of time iwth them in the next 1 - 5 years both in and out of class, so make sure you don’t hate everyone.
- Look at the rest of the people there. Do the professors get along with each other and do they have good things to say? Do the older students get along? How do people talk to and with each other? Joking is one thing, and nastiness is another. It sucks to be in a bad environment.
- Speaking of the environment, is it someplace that you like. If you’re a city kid, moving to a town of 25,000 people will probably make you feel like a fish out of water. Conversely, if you can’t imagine living in a city of 100,000, don’t go there. Find a community that fits your personality. Check out the weather by watching it online for several weeks, and think about if its something you could live with. If you are affected by sunlight, consider that schools in sunny areas may be better than those in cloudy ones. If you have trouble with cold, pick someplace warm. More than that, consider if its the type of campus you want to be around.
- Keep the stipend in mind. In science, you shouldn’t be paying tuition, since a PhD is an investment. Ask if people are making a living, how much rent is, and how they feel about things. Graduate students will usually be relatively honest about hte cost of living. If they’re really excited about the free food, it’s honestly because they’re graduate students, though.
- Ask about back up funding, especially if the school doesn’t have teaching. In this day and age, it’s not a bad idea to make sure you have a back up so that you get paid. While not having to TA may be very attractive, it can leave you vulnerable to grant cycles, funding cuts and sequesters. Ask how grad students get paid in the event of a loss of funding, or what happens to them when the boss is having budget troubles. Keep in mind that it may be a possibility and decide if its something you could handle.
- Make sure you can have a life outside the lab. If you have activities that you love, ask about them locally. Or, find out what people do for fun. You may discover a new passion, but it will also give you a sense of the options. If you’re not a jock and all anyone can talk about are sports and drinking, you may not be in the right town.
- Ask about any special concerns. If you’re not sure about specific things that are important (health insurance happened to be one of mine), feel free to ask someone. They may not realize its interesting to you, but they’ll be happy to answer.
- Go with your gut. Be confident in yourself and your choice, and go to the place that feels the best to you, even if its not other people’s favorite.
- Remember that Graduate school is stressful for everyone. There will be days that you are tired, disappointed, running around like a crazy person, and frustrated. This is a normal part of the experience.
Appending after another year.
- Talk to the current graduate students. Their perspective might be a bit skewed, and they may have some biases, but they’ll be more honest about the lab and the dynamics than the professor would. Keep in mind that grad students can end up bitter and cynical after months of experimentation not working and personal issues. But, they’re more likely to tell you a realistic story about funding, lab culture, etc. than the PI.
- Look for red flags. Do at least 65% of the graduate students you meet seem like they’ve bathed and slept recently? Are more than 50% of the graduate students apathetic toward their work (they maybe going through a rough time, but when you ask them a question, do they get excited?) How many graduate students stay past 5 years? 6 years? 7 years? more than 7? (Which labs have students who stay more than seven years?)
- It’s not about the name, it’s about the fit. Let’s say you get into unnamed private school in Massachutus, unnamed public university in California, and unnamed university in St Louis. The first two have higher prestige, but you didn’t like the environment. They were both too competitive. One of the professors you met with in California did so much LSD that he altered his own perception of time. In St Louis, you liked the reserach better. You liked the people better. You felt happier. Ignore the name, and go to the place that made you feel right. If you do good work for a good person, you will make a name for yourself. If you’re unhappy and not working well, it doesn’t matter where you are, because you may not make it through.
I’m sure most of you have seen this article, “9 Disgusting Things You Didn’t Know You’ve Been Eating Your Whole Life,” by now, but in case you haven’t, I’d like to provide you with some entertainment for today.
The article picks a few ingredients found in foods that are also found in other things (e.g., L-cysteine being found both in human hair and in bagels). Can we just take a moment to realize somebody just listed an amino acid as something disgusting we consume? An. Amino. Acid. I heard water is used in paint thinner. I guess we should just avoid water too!
These “ingredients” that are listed are found in such trace amounts that they will not kill you, unless you eat 1000 cakes in one sitting or something. Like Hank Green said, to everyone who doesn’t like the idea of having “chemicals in your food,” everything is chemicals!
I hope everyone gets a good laugh out of this article! I know I sure did.
This one could’ve used a fact-checker or two…
This was an issue? I just assumed this pic was an actor, because the picture looks too modern to actually be her?
Q:So is vaccination really necessary and not just a Big Pharm heist for money?
Are vaccinations necessary?? ARE VACCINATIONS NECESSARY??
IS THE POPE CATHOLIC??
Vaccines save thousands of lives every year. Ever heard about Polio?? A disease that used kill thousands of children in this country. (Read Nemesis by Philip Roth). 58,000 children used to get this disease a year—it left thousands dead or crippled for life.
So are vaccines necessary to save children from disability and disease? YES
Rubella can cause horrible congenital defects in children. By ensuring that every woman who might become pregnant has been vaccinated we save thousands of babies every year from being born deaf or with congenital heart defects.
So are vaccines necessary to protect babies in utero?? YES
The HPV vaccine prevents the top 2 strains of HPV that cause cervical cancer—a cancer that used to kill thousands of women in this country. (Not to mention it protects against 2 strains of genital warts!). The HBV vaccine prevents people from contracting Hepatitis B which can lead to HCC (hepatocellular carcinoma).
So can some vaccines prevent cancer?? YES
Some people cannot have vaccines. Some people are allergic to them, or are immunocompromised (patients with HIV, cancer patients, etc) and cannot tolerate the vaccine. By ensuring that all people who can be vaccinated are vaccinated we protect those people who cannot be vaccinated!!
So can vaccines protect children with inherited immunodeficiencies, those who are HIV+, cancer patients, and a whole long list of other people who aren’t able to vaccinated? YES.
Can vaccines prevent the elderly from suffering from certain types of pneumonia? YES.
Can vaccines save the lives of children bitten by rabid dogs? YES.
HAV? HBV? HiB? HPV? H1N1? Yes.
Rotavirus? Chickenpox? Pertussis? Mumps? Yes.
Did vaccination eradicate smallpox? A disease that killed thousands of people every year? YES.
What about Anthrax? Shingles? Yellow fever? YUP. YUP. YUP.
Does the vaccination of health professionals against influenza prevent thousands of patients from being exposed every year. YES!
So if vaccines are a “Big Pharma heist” I don’t really give a fuck—because it’s a scheme that saves thousands of people every year. (Besides—vaccines don’t make a lot of money for those companies at all! They count on Viagra to make their big bucks). NOT TO MENTION big pharma would make a hell of a lot more money on the drugs it would take to treat these people if they got sick…. SOOOO it sounds like they would make a hell of a lot more money off not producing the vaccines to me. But you can form your own opinion on that one—because whether or not they make money is not really the issue for me here! The issue is can we save lives??
This is the one and only time I will ever answer this question because it is a RIDICULOUS question. It is 100% OUTRAGEOUS that we have to have this debate in this country.
So for the record
- DO VACCINES CAUSE AUTISM? NO
- DO VACCINES SAVE LIVES? YES
- CAN EVERYONE BE VACCINATED? NO
- SHOULD EVERYONE WHO CAN BE VACCINATED GET VACCINATED? YES
- DO VACCINES SAVE LIVES? YES
- DO VACCINES SAVE LIVES? YES
- DO VACCINES SAVE LIVES? YES
- DO VACCINES SAVE THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF LIVES EVERY YEAR? YES
So shut it down. Shut down anyone who tells you vaccines cause autism (because the guy who FALSIFIED the results of that study had his medical license pulled and his FAKE findings have been disproven a thousand times over).
Shut down anyone who tells you it’s about the money (because if it was about the money there would be more money made in producing designer drugs for erectile dysfunction).
Shut down anyone who tells you they’re dangerous (because while a VERY FEW people can have severe adverse reactions this is not only OUTRAGEOUSLY rare, but you are at a much higher risk from getting the disease than you are of having ANY side effect at all from the vaccine).
Shut it the fuck down.
IF YOU CAN BE VACCINATED GET VACCINATED.
Because guess who you protect when you get vaccinated?
- Your family
- Your grandmother with cancer who can’t get the flu vaccine this year because of her chemo.
- Your pregnant sister whose fetus could develop terrible birth defects if she were to be exposed to certain diseases.
- Your roommates in the dorm from getting meningitis.
- Your neighbors kids who might get pertussis if you haven’t been vaccinated.
- The patients you see at the ER
- Strangers on the bus
- Children with BTK, SCID, and other immunodeficiencies.
- ALMOST EVERY OTHER PERSON ON THE PLANET.
So guess what—vaccines are perhaps one of the best developments of modern medicine in my opinion. And if only people would stop asking these ridiculous questions we could eradicate polio in the third world. We could stop children from DYING in this country from diseases that haven’t been seen in our parent’s lifetimes.
So—yes—I will SHUT IT THE FUCK DOWN any time I hear this pseudo-science because vaccines SAVE LIVES. And it’s time we wake up before we live in a world where there are thousands of children dying every year from Polio all over again.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has gathered data comparing countries all over the world on their track record of gender differences in various skills, degrees, work, and wages. It’s an interesting cross section of opportunity, gender imbalance, and culture. The OECD even took into account self-perception in math skills.
kem-ist replied to your post “Made it home. All I want to do is sleep (even though is only three…”
How was the grad school?
I was awesome! Although I guess that’s to be expected from Columbia bioscience…Now I just hope I actually get in!
hediied replied to your post “Made it home. All I want to do is sleep (even though is only three…”
covers you with a blanket and sings a lullaby
Made it home.
All I want to do is sleep (even though is only three pm) but I have to go do all the homework and studying I neglected this weekend.
At least I can revel in the fact that I spent the weekend in NYC and the only non-reimbursable money I spent was $6 on a beer…(the only reimbursable money I spend was $30 on a cab from the airport so that was pretty sweet also). (Grad school interview weekends are kind of awesome, I highly recommend them).