Graduate School

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Graduate School

Unread postby Tonto_Simfish » Sun Jun 17, 2007 7:51 am

Is anyone thinking of doing graduate school (or who is a grad student)? I know Lady Wu used to be a grad student - she suggested me to make this thread. ;)

So anyhow - I'm just a lowly undergrad who wants to go to grad school. No other plans yet though.
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Re: Graduate School

Unread postby Kong Wen » Sun Jun 17, 2007 7:56 am

Tonto_Simfish wrote:Is anyone thinking of doing graduate school (or who is a grad student)? I know Lady Wu used to be a grad student - she suggested me to make this thread. ;)

So anyhow - I'm just a lowly undergrad who wants to go to grad school. No other plans yet though.

I'm just a lowly graduate student who wants to go to undergrad school.
"We spread the time as we can, but in the end the world takes it all back."
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Unread postby Lady Wu » Sun Jun 17, 2007 8:22 am

Great Deer, who hasn't shown up in years, got a PhD in engineering (and is now working for a government research agency or something?). agga is also a grad student (either almost done or beyond, since he was asking about postdoc grants.

I think you sink lower and lower after undergrad life until you get tenure.

Undergrad: free to take the courses you want; advisors and counsellors around to help you out; student loans not impossible to pay off; not much responsibilities and have time to play; you're a "customer" for the university so the university has to protect you in some way. 4 years. Easy.

Postgrad: narrower focus. Advisor becomes boss rather than mentor (especially in the sciences). Graduate stipend not even covering the basics, and you have no idea how to pay off that student loan. Profs see you as underlings (cheap labour), and students view you as "that mean TA" (or worse). You're tied in to the program for 5+ years (you can't switch majors as easily as you do in an undergrad program).

Postdoc/adjunct instructor: No job security; minimal wages. Have to drift from place to place every year or two. Chance of falling between the cracks in a department because you aren't in one of the two main populations (faculty vs. students). Minimal mentoring and support, and good luck if the staff acknowledges your existence (they get so many postdocs and sessional instructions coming and going that it's hard to keep track of everyone). You're looking at 2~5 years in the humanities or 3~7 years in the sciences.

Tenure track: Pay is better, but most of that goes to pay off your loans. Must balance teaching + research + administration. Must have stellar teaching evaluations, while at the same time churn out as many journal articles and books as you can. Publish or perish. And they like to give the impossibly big intro classes to the junior faculty, just coz. Huge pressure due to annual reviews, and the fact that once you're denied tenure by a university, you won't have to think about an academic job anywhere anymore. (I know of a prof who had just submitted his tenure application, after 6 years at the university, and just then the university decided to close down his department. Because of that, his tenure was denied, and that was a permanent mark on his records. Although his record was otherwise clean and outstanding, all the other universities he applied to automatically put his application in the bin because he had been denied tenure.) 4~7 years. Forget about family life. If you're a woman, think about adopting instead.

---

So you see, although it looks like you're climbing the ranks, you're actually lower and lower in the food chain until you get tenure, which could easily be 20 years after your college graduation! :shock:
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Unread postby Kong Wen » Sun Jun 17, 2007 8:29 am

Ahh, but then you get tenure, and you are as a god among mere mortals. ;)
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Unread postby Harimau » Sun Jun 17, 2007 12:06 pm

Mmm... I'm going to be doing the second part of my actuarial qualifications next year. After that, a year for the third level of my actuarial qualifications. After that, i'm supposed to go for an MBA, haven't decided where to yet though... Probably the AGSM again.
If I'm posting here, it means I'm procrastinating.
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Unread postby Lady Wu » Mon Jun 18, 2007 1:25 am

Harimau wrote:Mmm... I'm going to be doing the second part of my actuarial qualifications next year. After that, a year for the third level of my actuarial qualifications. After that, i'm supposed to go for an MBA, haven't decided where to yet though... Probably the AGSM again.

Wouldn't it help to have some job experience before doing an MBA? Or are you working part time now?
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Unread postby Lady Wu » Tue Jun 19, 2007 4:29 am

I thought it essential to post here my parody of Metallica's "Unforgiven" which I posted on another graduate student forum:

--------

New grad joins this lab
He'll quickly be subdued
Through constant pained disgrace
The young man learns their rules.

With time the prof finds all
His calculations wrong.
Deprived of all his rest
The grad revises on and on. He's known
A vow unto his own
That never from this day
His funds they'll take away....

What I've learnt, what I've known
Never shined through what I've shown.
Never free, never be,
Won't see the joy of sleep.

What I've learnt, what I've known
Never shined through what i've shown.
Never free, never me,
So they dub me Procrastinator.

They dedicate their lives
To running all of his
He hides, then, from them all
The bitter grad he is.

Throughout his life the same
He's dreamed of constantly
Degrees he'd never get
The tired grad they see no longer cares
The student then prepares
To quit his PhD---
That ABD is me.

What I've learnt, what I've known
Never shined through what I've shown.
Never free, never be,
Won't see the joy of sleep.

What I've learnt, what I've known
Never shined through what I've shown.
Never free, never me,
So they dub me Procrastinator.
Last edited by Lady Wu on Wed Jun 20, 2007 6:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postby Harimau » Tue Jun 19, 2007 9:11 am

Lady Wu wrote:Wouldn't it help to have some job experience before doing an MBA? Or are you working part time now?


I'm currently working full time right now... Well, i'm about to quit and move to a new job though.

My second and third actuarial qualifications are done while working full time - the same way that a person might get their Chartered Accounting qualifications, or someone being raised to the bar.

By the time I start my MBA, i'd have around 3-4 years full time experience.
If I'm posting here, it means I'm procrastinating.
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Unread postby Lady Wu » Wed Jun 20, 2007 9:05 am

Harimau wrote:I'm currently working full time right now... Well, i'm about to quit and move to a new job though.

My second and third actuarial qualifications are done while working full time - the same way that a person might get their Chartered Accounting qualifications, or someone being raised to the bar.

By the time I start my MBA, i'd have around 3-4 years full time experience.

Awesome. After you become a real actuary and earn big bucks, Auntie Wu expects a free trip to Oz. ;)
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Unread postby JCC » Wed Jun 20, 2007 12:35 pm

Ha, that song is gold. I'm a graduate student, and just finished up my first semester last month. Definitely not as much fun as I was expecting, and I wasn't expecting any to begin with! At this point, though, it's a necessary evil in my field.
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