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 Post subject: Re: Graduate Students of the PPK, Assemble!
PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 2:32 pm 
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I don't know, because the grader didn't say. I'm pretty sure of my method, but it involves several long sets of values that I had to type in from the textbook. I made at least one mistake in typing them in that I discovered while working on it, but thought I'd checked the rest pretty carefully.

For reasons I'm not clear on, this professor keeps the identity of his grader(s?) secret, so it's not like I can go find this person and sort it out in person.

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 Post subject: Re: Graduate Students of the PPK, Assemble!
PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 2:54 pm 
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Annoying. (Would be extra annoying for me since all of my education was done in schools where the method was more important than 'the right answer', so there was a lot of forgiveness for stupid transcriptional mistakes, etc. That obviously doesn't work if you're trying to fly to the moon ............ but in a classroom? I think it's ok.)

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 Post subject: Re: Graduate Students of the PPK, Assemble!
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 3:48 pm 
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Hi there,

So I'm currently pursuing my MS while working full time, and I've been toying with the idea of applying next year to PhD programs. My area of study is Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, don't know if anyone here is in that field. Anyways, I've been looking around at programs and I'm wondering if anyone in a related field of study (Biology, Computer Science, Engineering etc.) could give me some advice about choosing programs to apply to. Does the ranking of your grad school matter a great deal, or do people find that they benefit more finding a good mentor/advisor when choosing programs to apply to?

Anyone in the field of Bioinformatics? Any insights about higher ed in the field?


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 Post subject: Re: Graduate Students of the PPK, Assemble!
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 4:02 pm 
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I'm in a different field (Cognitive Science) but in general .... I think the lab environment and advisor are a lot more important than rank. Also, awesome that you're in Computational Bio(informatics). One of my friends is in the bio-physics lab here, and it sounds like he does really interesting, challenging work.

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 Post subject: Re: Graduate Students of the PPK, Assemble!
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 4:07 pm 
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My BS is in computer science, the phD I didn't complete was in computer engineering, and the MS I'm working on now is a sub-program in the computer engineering department called software engineering. So I'm in a related field!

There used to be a computer science specific ranking of grad schools online, with breakdown on their criteria. You could search by things like average time to completion of phD and stuff. Dunno if something similar exists for bioinformatics but it might be worth looking for.

For me, the way I picked grad schools was by reading a lot of papers in my area of interest, figuring out which schools (and advisors) produced my favorites, then applying to those. I had some other personal criteria, mostly having to do with where I wanted to spend the next 7-11 years of my life. (Not so big of a deal if you're just in for an MS.)

Pretty good way to do it, though I wish I'd talked to my potential advisors more in between schools offering me acceptance and me choosing an offer. They all contacted me, and one guy even offered to fly me from California to Massachusetts to meet with him, and I'm sorry I didn't take him up on that because the guy I ended up working with, his research interests had changed a LOT and didn't mesh with mine anymore and I kinda got shuffled around to someone else and... Anyway. All I'm saying is, if you get an opportunity to speak directly to the people you think you want to work with, take it!!

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 Post subject: Re: Graduate Students of the PPK, Assemble!
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 4:10 pm 
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coldandsleepy wrote:
All I'm saying is, if you get an opportunity to speak directly to the people you think you want to work with, take it!!


Word. This x 2 million.

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 Post subject: Re: Graduate Students of the PPK, Assemble!
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 4:34 pm 
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Thanks guys! When did you start contacting advisors? Was it during the process of applying or did you contact them way far in advanced? I have been reading up on different faculty members in programs I'm interested in and I have no clue when it is appropriate to contact someone and see if they are taking on grad students for the fall semester year 2014...kind of a long shot.

I'm planning on finishing up my MS in the spring 2014 so if I did pursue a PhD it would be after that.

Out of curiosity Cold and Sleepy what school in Massachusetts were you considering? I'm based in Boston and actually looking at UC Santa Cruz and other state schools in Cali. (Berkeley and UCSF are dream schools of mine) so it was funny to hear you almost came to my side of the pond for the same reason.


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 Post subject: Re: Graduate Students of the PPK, Assemble!
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 10:38 pm 
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Oh, so, I actually lived in MA at the time (going to a small engineering school there), but was in CA for an internship when acceptance letters came in and when decisions needed to be made. UC Santa Cruz (where I went, and ultimately left) and UMass Amherst were my top two choices, and I often reflect on how different my life might've been if I'd gone with UMass.

UC Santa Cruz is a great school though, and their Bioinformatics program is VERY well respected. Plus, if you come to SC, you can hang out with us cool vegans here. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Graduate Students of the PPK, Assemble!
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 11:33 am 
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Yeah, I have been looking into UC Santa Cruz and am very tempted to apply there...this Boston winter weather is making me wanna jump ship! If I come around to Cali, I will have to contact the ppk and arrange a meet up!


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 Post subject: Re: Graduate Students of the PPK, Assemble!
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 12:33 am 
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LAZY GROUP MEMBER IS STILL BEING A LAZY JERK. I have decided we need to talk about his work ethic and responsibility to the group in person, and I have made an outline of topics to cover. I hate confronting people. He seems like the kind of person who hates being confronted, so hopefully he'll dislike it at least enough that he does his work to avoid it happening again.


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 Post subject: Re: Graduate Students of the PPK, Assemble!
PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 11:22 pm 
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So I just sat down and made myself a list of all the deadlines I have in the next month. I knew shiitake was starting to hit the fan, but somehow seeing the whole list is just making me feel even more overwhelmed than I was to start with. In the next 3 weeks, I have ten major deadlines-- none of this is trivial stuff-- including 3 exams and a massive project that I've already spent a month working on and yet (despite literally daily work on it) am nowhere near done.

At the same time, it's also summer job hunting season, and so I have all of this career-related stuff to attend to that's eating into my already limited work time. I was thrilled to learn that I have an interview for an internship I'd really like to have on Friday... not so thrilled that I'd sink 2 hours into getting there and back, but oh well. Then I learned that it's a three and a half hour long interview. For, let me repeat, a summer internship. Sooooo that's basically going to eat six hours of my day on the one day of the week that I have to just work-work-work-work. Not to mention I need to carve out some time to mentally prepare for it. I'm assuming they are going to ask me a shiitake ton of technical questions (because fork balls, what else could they plan on filling 3.5 hours with?) and I reeeeeally need to brush up on how to express some of the concepts in this particular field eloquently.

I need someone to hold my hand and tell me I am going to get through this shiitake storm, and also maybe to remind me that it's not the end of the world if I crash and burn.

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 Post subject: Re: Graduate Students of the PPK, Assemble!
PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 7:31 am 
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I was just cc'd on an important memo written to 7 of the biggest names in my field. what the fizzle. When did grad school become this amazing?

Good luck with that doubleplus giant list of things to do, coldandsleepy!

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 Post subject: Re: Graduate Students of the PPK, Assemble!
PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 6:57 pm 
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Lutin, that's awesome, and it genuinely cheered me up to read it... made me think more about the amazing parts of grad school and less about the horrible parts, heh.

For my own holy-shit-amazing stuff, my summer internship search is going, um, pretty well. I had a phone interview today with one company and in-person interviews with two other companies tomorrow and next Thursday. All three companies are BIG names in these parts. (You would all recognize one of them, and anyone in the computer networks field would recognize the other two.)

A year ago I really thought that no one was ever going to hire me to do anything in my actual field again (due to the fact that I left school, took two years off, then worked in another field for a year). When the first interview offer came in, I seriously cried with relief. Now I remember why I came back to grad school, why I am paying so much g-d money to be here, why I am working my asparagus off, etc.

Now I just need to keep working (and also not fork up the interviews).

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 Post subject: Re: Graduate Students of the PPK, Assemble!
PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 7:20 pm 
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coldandsleepy wrote:
I am irritated because I spent a long time working on a problem and the grader gave me 0 points on the question. I feel like I should've gotten at least partial credit on it, but the grader pretty much said "because your final output (an almost 300 number long matrix) doesn't exactly match mine, you get no points."

Vexing.


Sorry to hear about this. I used to be a grader in my Physics department and my identity was also top secret (I didn't even know who the other graders were!). The reason was if we gave bad scores (lots of 0s for obvious cheating of undergrads - lots of nonsense work followed miraculously by the right answer!) there was fear of retribution. We had pretty explicit instructions from the professors about how to grade stuff, though, so I might not immediately jump to being angry at the grader because they may be following shitty directions.


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 Post subject: Re: Graduate Students of the PPK, Assemble!
PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 8:15 pm 
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I'm not annoyed with the grader personally, just generally annoyed at the situation; a negative grade without an explanation is pretty much the most useless thing on earth. It doesn't teach you anything. It's not the end of the world or anything. It's just, as I said, vexing.

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 Post subject: Re: Graduate Students of the PPK, Assemble!
PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 8:21 pm 
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Bah. Our lab's having funding issues and my advisor said he can only fund me through the summer. I mean, I'm finishing up anyway, but it means if I need fall to finish writing my thesis we'll be stuck with living off my husbands income. He's applying for jobs right now; I hope something comes through.

In other news tonight I'm going to some silicon valley chemisty meeting to try to network. The labmate I was going to go with flaked so now I have to go alone. I have soooo much social anxiety!

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 Post subject: Re: Graduate Students of the PPK, Assemble!
PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 12:25 am 
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So much for networking. I was like the only person there under 60!! Aaaaand my thesis advisor was there and spotted me. So awkward.

There are thousands of chemists in my area. Why don't we have a better networking org??

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 Post subject: Re: Graduate Students of the PPK, Assemble!
PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 10:14 am 
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Ugh. I don't know whether to laugh or cry. I do a lot of multi-modal annotation work using elan, which is a bisque for mass exporting datasets and annoying to cleanup the data after export, but it's the standard. I finally got all the inter-annotator agreement files together and exported a few weeks ago, and have been analyzing and error reporting like mad because Stuff Went Wrong in a big way.

....Today I discovered that something went wrong in the export because a number of the annotations are off by one line. forking terrible. I'm already cross-eyed from looking at giant spreadsheets of doom (100 x 11 cells per annotator, just for the test set; the actual data set is 700 x 20 per annotator). Even though it's rad that this could mean Less Stuff Went Wrong, it still sucks to have to do all the exporting and data prep again.

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 Post subject: Re: Graduate Students of the PPK, Assemble!
PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 9:13 pm 
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Group member A: we really need to have a group meeting! we really need to have one in person!

(we all compare schedules and ascertain there is no time other than class time where we can all physically be in the same location)

Group member A: then we must have a Skype meeting! on the weekend! right at dinnertime!

Other group member and me: (groan) okay fine

(Meeting time rolls around and...)

Group member A: I'm in the library! I can't Skype unless you want to give me time to drive home and get ready for the meeting! And I don't have time for Skype! Let's just talk about this via text message!

Derrrrrrrrrrrp.

I'm just as happy not to meet guy, but I probably would have let myself fall asleep on the couch at 5:15 when I was on the verge of passing out if I hadn't thought I had to be up for a Skype meeting at 6.

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 Post subject: Re: Graduate Students of the PPK, Assemble!
PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 3:29 pm 
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coldandsleepy wrote:
At the same time, it's also summer job hunting season, and so I have all of this career-related stuff to attend to that's eating into my already limited work time. I was thrilled to learn that I have an interview for an internship I'd really like to have on Friday... not so thrilled that I'd sink 2 hours into getting there and back, but oh well. Then I learned that it's a three and a half hour long interview. For, let me repeat, a summer internship. Sooooo that's basically going to eat six hours of my day on the one day of the week that I have to just work-work-work-work. Not to mention I need to carve out some time to mentally prepare for it. I'm assuming they are going to ask me a shiitake ton of technical questions (because fork balls, what else could they plan on filling 3.5 hours with?) and I reeeeeally need to brush up on how to express some of the concepts in this particular field eloquently.

I need someone to hold my hand and tell me I am going to get through this shiitake storm, and also maybe to remind me that it's not the end of the world if I crash and burn.

Did you have your interview yet? My husband's going through the same exact thing right now...he's looking for data science internships and the application process is just wild. He has to do like an hour phone interview with some technical questions just to get to the half-day on site interview, which is all technical. And then some other company gave him a 48-hour project to complete just for the privilege of an on-site. He worked on it the whole weekend for hours and hours. For an internship! Not to mention having to do all this outside research on the companies, their products, and teaching himself a bunch of new skills...I'm tired just thinking about it all.

You'll get through it, maybe a bit frazzled at the other end, but it's going to be ok and hopefully you'll get a cool job out of it! And if you have a few melt downs, well, I'm sure all of us here can commiserate and offer hugs :)


My complaint for the day is I'm applying to do a poster at this small, prestigious conference in July that will really help me make connections in the field I want to go into. However, the registration fee is $1000. $1000!!!!!!!!!! Not to mention it's all the way across the country. Oh boy. Better start saving.

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 Post subject: Re: Graduate Students of the PPK, Assemble!
PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2013 4:00 pm 
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I had a talk with one of my profs about my participation grade for class (I have anxiety and talking in front of people is a major fear). The meeting did not got well, she basically told me to drop out because I doodled in class (and that means I don't care about anything). She also said I'll never be able to get a PhD (I'm currently working on my MA). I'm kind of sick with putting up with this kind of crepe in grad school.


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 Post subject: Re: Graduate Students of the PPK, Assemble!
PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2013 4:22 pm 
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Argh. Nevermind. Stupid campus network ate my relevant post.

Couroupita, good luck with the poster! (And super good luck to your husband with the intense internship interviews... I have so much empathy for that.)

Finnophile, you now have to get a phD just to spite that asparagus weasel of a professor.

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 Post subject: Re: Graduate Students of the PPK, Assemble!
PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2013 5:15 pm 
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Also, a grad student friend of mine had this gem to describe coping with grad school induced feelings of helplessness the other day:

"You can't stop working. But you CAN start drinking."

That's kinda where I'm at.

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 Post subject: Re: Graduate Students of the PPK, Assemble!
PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2013 5:50 pm 
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couroupita wrote:
My complaint for the day is I'm applying to do a poster at this small, prestigious conference in July that will really help me make connections in the field I want to go into. However, the registration fee is $1000. $1000!!!!!!!!!! Not to mention it's all the way across the country. Oh boy. Better start saving.


Woah! And to think I was feeling resentful at being asked for £150 registration fee for a conference I'm presenting a paper at ...

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 Post subject: Re: Graduate Students of the PPK, Assemble!
PostPosted: Fri Mar 08, 2013 2:34 am 
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Imogen wrote:
Woah! And to think I was feeling resentful at being asked for £150 registration fee for a conference I'm presenting a paper at ...


I know, right? What kind of a conference charges $1k?

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