World Domination 102
You can’t stay in WD 101 forever.
More tips and moral support for getting in, getting ahead, or just staying in the game.
Date: April 14, 2014
Thursday, 26 November 2015
Life, the universe, pies, hot-pink bunnies, world domination, and everything
You can’t stay in WD 101 forever.
More tips and moral support for getting in, getting ahead, or just staying in the game.
Date: April 14, 2014
“WD 101 is not a prerequisite for this class. It is intended to be taken together with Mad Science 150. Please select both a lecture and a lab section. Ask your advisor for further details.”
That’s awesome (and well-deserved)! Congratulations.
Update: place probably secured, Kokonspiracy back on track.
Congratulations, that’s amazing!
Wow, that’s incredible!
Congratulations, Fireh! I can’t wait to hear all about it!
Fun! Those brags are well-deserved.
Congrats on all these fantastic achievements!
I’m trying to plot a rough course for myself for the rest of college. Right now, I’ve just about decided I’ll aim for a biology major – I like it, I’m good at it, it doesn’t necessarily determine my future career path if my interests change later, and deciding frees me up to take classes that won’t go towards anything if I’m confident in a solid plan there. After factoring in the number of upper-division classes I have to take for that, I’m left with a certain number of spots for other classes. Now I’m facing the age-old problem of not having enough time in college for all the classes I wish I could take: particularly Chinese, history, computer science and math, and physics/relativity, not to mention a semester of study abroad.
I feel like Chinese and study abroad are big potential break points. I’m currently registered for Chinese next semester. I took a year of it senior year of high school, but I’ll have to start all over, not that that’s really a bad thing since I don’t remember everything. I really love learning languages (I would study others if I had the time) and my school’s Chinese classes are supposed to be great, plus knowing some Chinese is a really great skill to have in the modern world. Still, I feel like the payoff only comes if I take at least two or three years of it, or else I’ll learn a year and forget most of it like I have now. Presenting this as a choice between 0 and 6 semesters makes me wonder if I would be better off doing something else…
It also ties into studying abroad since my school has a habit of offering those classes only in the fall or spring. If I spend a semester of my junior year abroad, my Chinese progression is messed up, and I can only complete two years with a year-long gap in the middle. However, because of my history with Spanish (immersion school, moved, had a hard time getting it for a while afterwards) I feel like it’s really important for me to immerse myself in a Spanish-speaking country at some point in my life. But given everything else, is that a semester abroad? A summer abroad? A shorter trip with my younger brother? And then what about other things I would miss out on over the summer, like internships or research?
I’ve been trying to go with the flow and take whatever interests me, and I did that a lot my first year (9 classes in 8 departments). But now I feel like I’m facing some complicated, interlocking choices and I’m having trouble sorting out what I really want. Any advice from those of you who have been here before?
I don’t know if I’m all that qualified to advise! However: it does seem like some kind of Spanish immersion is important to you. Maybe you could try looking for some kind of internship or research position relevant to your field, in a Spanish-speaking country? The job could be in English or Spanish but if you were living there for several weeks or months, I imagine it would be quite easy to be immersed in the local culture and language. I don’t know if those are hard to come by… Otherwise any kind of summer travelling would probably do the trick; I imagine you’re quite fluent already.
Could you maybe do a semester abroad for Chinese? You seem quite keen on learning it, and I admire you for that, it’s such a hard language! Once you’ve graduated and are on your own, it’s probably easier to revisit a familiar foreign language than to learn a new one entirely independently, so I think college is a really good time to start Chinese. Especially if your college has good Chinese classes, as you say – and if the classes are good, you might be more motivated to continue for more than a year.
Just my two cents, the best is of course to choose what you think you really want to do!
Thank you both for your advice!
I’m going to email my adviser to ask her advice about study abroad messing up Chinese language progression (she’s a Chinese professor, conveniently). There have got to be people before who have been in similar boats. Once school gets back in session, I’ll talk with the study abroad office about programs that might have biology or Chinese – or history or computer science, or any of those other classes I think I’m interested in. I’ll also try to remember that I have a lot of life ahead of me to learn and experience things and not worry too far ahead!
oh my god that is legitimately a huge deal wow i’m so happy for you!! definitely let is know so we can listen to you omg
Saw this thread in “Recent Comments”, ignored it because I assumed it was… okay, I don’t really know what I assumed it was, probably some sort of creative writing thing I guess (I have realized that creative writing is not exactly my forte and I should stick to academic writing).
Anyway, I’ve now taken a look at this and realized that hey, this applies to me! So I’ve decided that next summer I will be applying to work at several different biotech companies/startups — I’ve discussed this with the grad student I currently work with at my lab, and he agrees that this is a Good Idea (he is aiming to graduate within a year and then work at a bio company himself)! The challenging part of that, I fear, will be my grades. I’m not really very good at studying (still… haha *twitch*), and I took extremely competitive classes for the last couple of years, so my grades kind of tanked. I’m above a 3.0, which is good, but I’m worried that among other Stanford student *cough*pre-med*cough* applicants my GPA will not be terribly stellar or impressive. I guess I do have an extensive amount of lab experience going for me (and, most likely, the good graces of a Stanford professor and grad student as well as — hopefully — my adviser and/or a professor this fall), so. Hopefully I can work at an actual, real live company next year!
P.S. oh god I’m going to be a junior and what do I do with my life after college??? I think I mentioned this elsewhere but I’m planning on getting a 5-year combined master’s/bachelor’s degree but do I go to grad school??? go to work??? do I even have to think about this yet??? people have been asking me and aaaaaa what do
the plan was always grad school before but I think I just took that for granted because I wanted to “beat” my parents, who both have MBAs, but honestly grad school seems a little depressing and not terribly worth it if I don’t want to stay in academia and I think it might be better to get a somewhat low-level position in a company and then work my way up from there than work for 4-6 years to start at only a slightly higher level and meanwhile live off of ramen???
Hmm, well, I am certainly not a Real Person With Money, but as a starting point for determining how much money “money” really means, I guess just start by looking up housing prices in your area? For example, here in the Bay Area $2K/month for one person is a good rough estimate. And then maybe from there create a rough budget, always rounding up? Maybe that can help you get a grasp on how much money you need to survive, though just aiming for the highest possible number is also a valid approach I suppose.
I had to re-check because $500/month seemed so low / $2000 seemed so high, but with just a quick scan of Craigslist it looks like $2000/month for one person is a little high but not unreasonable. My friend is living in East Palo Alto for the summer and has a rent of $1900/month I believe. (It’s a little ridiculous, but yeah. Gentrification, man.)
Also, I have no idea where utilities are factored in. Probably included in the $2000. Food is definitely not included though.
Grad school — in a techie or fuzzy field? I mean obviously it would be easier in a techie field, because you’re getting a stipend (and I know plenty of grad students who get along just fine, albeit living a little frugally), but grad students do manage to live here, even fuzzies. Especially if you go to a private school that has funding. I dunno. Do more research before housing costs put you off, I guess.
Sorry, Stanford lingo — “techie” is just any STEM field, and “fuzzy” is just any humanities field. Neither are derogatory, just shorthand. What I have heard is that techie grad students get a stipend, while fuzzy grad students don’t.
Well, salaries in the Bay Area are also adjusted for the cost of living expenses, I believe.
Hey, great minds think alike! I think the Bay Area is definitely one of those places that’s worth living in, even for just a short while. Leaving Minnesota for California has been one of the best decisions I’ve made in my [admittedly quite short] life thus far.
It would be like Magic Tree House! You would wander around a bit, see what life is like, realize that everyone (or even just a few people) is/are in some way doomed, and then immediately find the single most important person in the area.
I’ll grant you that the Cities are exciting, but every place is different, right? I like NorCal because you can basically do anything you want. Like to ski? All right, go to Tahoe. Gamble? Vegas. Beach? Half-Moon Bay. A proper beach for swimming? Santa Cruz or SoCal. Hike? There are billions of trails. Also, in Minnesota, the diversity is distinctly lacking; almost everyone (this is probably less true in the Cities) is white with Scandinavian or German descent — and while I have no problem with that, when everyone has a very similar perspective (and especially when you’re a part of a relatively small minority), it gets tiring.
Just my two cents. Minneapolis is nice, and Minnesota is definitely a great place to raise kids, but a bigger city might be worth the high rent for the sheer experience of it all.
“I grew up in Maryland, but I don’t consider myself as living there anymore, when people now ask me where I’m from I say I live in Asheville, because I’ve spent the most time residing there for the past three years and will continue to do so for another year, which is interesting. My parents still live in Maryland in the house I grew up in and I call going there “home”, but it’s becoming less my personal home and more my parent’s house.”
I find this interesting, because I’ve spent almost all of the last two years here in the Bay Area (including summers), but when people ask me where I’m from, I still say Minnesota. I guess it’s different from college, but I feel like even when I graduate from Stanford and if I continue to live in the Bay Area, I’ll still say I’m “from” Minnesota. Until my parents move, that is; then I have no idea what I’ll say. (Probably still Minnesota?) Did you live in Maryland your entire life?
I say I’m from Washington but I actually emphasize eastern Washington quite frequently. If anything, this would go against avoiding cultural assumptions as Lizzie suggested. I think one reason I do this is because almost everybody here who is from Washington is from Seattle, a Seattle suburb, or another part of western Washington, so I head off the assumption that I am too.
Well done, that’s amazing!
Well, now I feel like an Actual Person: I’m sending out resumes like crazy and looking for open intern positions for next summer (it’s so early! but Dropbox, Facebook, and Google are all interviewing people already so I figured I’d jump on the bandwagon) at Bay Area biotech companies. Genentech and 23andMe are high on my list right now, but as they are larger companies I’m emailing smaller companies and startups first — they would probably be more forgiving of mistakes, as they (probably) aren’t receiving hundreds of emails, and more personal.
The goal is to A) actually work at a company doing biomedical computation (or biology, I’m not picky, but I’d prefer to do real-life CS as well), and B) actually have some pocket money left over after the summer rather than spending 3/4 of my salary on housing (like I’ve done the last two summers). Wish me luck!
There’s this new website out there called Pymetrics which is trying to replace self-assessments used by companies for recruiting with “unbiased” reports developed from how you play various neuroscience-based games. The idea is that companies can quantitatively measure aspects of candidates’ cognitive, emotional, and social processing and reach out to/continue the process with ones who are a good fit. I got an email this morning that my college is part of the Beta or something, so I decided to try the games for the heck of it (didn’t take too long and broke up my homework routine).
The results (which are given as percentages) are interesting, though I’m having a little trouble interpreting all of them. Some make sense to me; for example, I have very strong attention control and attention duration, I’m fair-minded, and I am far more internally motivated than sensitive to award. Others were surprising: according to the report, I prefer all kinds of risks (and in fact have a stronger preference for high than for medium than for low risks), I don’t really go above and beyond to get what I want, and I don’t learn from mistakes particularly quickly or well. Actually, now that I think about that last one, in some situations I do tend to make the same mistake multiple times. So maybe that is the advantage of something like this rather than a self-assessment? It still seems like there might be some artifacts of the games that affect the results.
Anyways, I don’t expect to get a lot out of this, since only 12 companies are currently participating, and the three “Featured Companies” (the only ones they tell you about at this point) are Fidelity Investments, Anheuser-Busch Brewing, and Egon Zehnder Management Consulting. And there is no category for Science/Research (closest is “Education”. Which I had a 12% fit on. And according to their description, teachers and professors “do not need strong verbal creativity to excel at their jobs”? Not the good teachers I’ve had.)
I am skeptical of its value. But hey, didn’t take that long.
I like your insights.
Also, during the games that had to do with faces, I was distracted the entire time by thinking about the Muse article from forever ago about reading micro-expressions. “Is this really disgust, or this fear? Which one of those had the raised eyebrows?” Perhaps I’m better at reading faces when you don’t make me think about it.
Past ZNZ, I can’t say much with the Time Police watching but your college education is vitally important to our mission. Study hard and download all the waltz music you can, if you know what I’m saying. [TRANSMISSION ENDED]
In 2020, I will be 28. Looking at the next five years, I envision I’ll have a Bachelor’s degree, and will possibly be working on a Master’s, in Fine Art or Business, probably not something more academic like Art History. I will continue making art, but I’m not sure in what way it will be connected to my financial life. I see myself living in a part of the New York metropolitan area, but whether that’s Chelsea or the Bronx depends on how I’m making my living. I’d be happy with either, as long as it’s suited to my work. I’d even be happy moving away to a different place, as long as it’s a deliberate move. I’ll have sailed hundreds (or thousands?) of miles offshore, and I’d like to have completed a transatlantic crossing. I will continue to live the avant-garde.
i got into smith
(official notifications aren’t till the end of march but they chose me as one of the ones they let know early! there was a note handwritten on it referring specifically to the parts of my essay the woman liked!!! i am going to literally explode!!!!!)
Smith is a great school. Do you think you’ll go there?
1) oooh witchy plant fun and picking flowers!
2) That internship sounds like it will be a cool adventure! Looking forward to hearing how it goes!
3) Can we have a picture of your squid and cephalopod plushes strapped into the backseat?
4) I showed some friends here pictures of your mermaid costume, and then added, “oh, and look, she has a giant squid plush too.”
I applied to a dig in Cyprus this summer that said it offered a stipend, but it turns out that was only if you’re a current student and I will have graduated. The cost would be too taxing for the family otherwise.
So I saw a Space Camp brochure and I know they always want alumni to come back as councilors, and I went to the website, but they don’t have the summer positions up yet, just the ones starting in April…
There is a great job at Woods Hole’s Museum doing experiments for kids that is SO close to what I did for Cornell Marine Cooperative in the summer of 2009, but it’s not paid and we don’t know anyone who lives on Cape Cod, so I would have to rent or something and it would be a net loss to the family finances which makes it a no-no unless I can find a way to live on Cape Cod without costing my family money…
Ah, yes, I forgot to mention that I have obtained a place to stay for the summer! I didn’t want to live in one of those hacker houses where it’s like 20 people crammed into one house with bunk beds and everything (some of them are all-female but I’m willing to bet that the co-ed ones are mostly guys, which is… not what I want…), so I managed to get a very nice apartment for $1280/month with my own bedroom and bathroom (which is a steal!). I’ll then be able to commute to work using the Caltrain, but my parents are pretty worried about that so they’re bringing my dad’s old car out to California at the beginning of the summer so that I have a backup plan in case the Caltrain breaks down or something.
So, for this summer: apartment + car. I’m really excited (yet nervous to be driving here… drivers here can be mean!).
Way to go!
Somehow I’ve never signed a lease thus far, although it seems like the very adult thing I ought to be doing by now, but I guess I’ve either been living in institutions with dormish setups, or I’ve been living in super casual couchsurfing scenarios. So I don’t know the specifics of how contracts work, but it seems like you’re doing a good job with pros and cons. Do I have these right?
Reasons to Stay:
apartment hunting is a nightmare
Reasons to Go:
$1100/month is expensive
lease is for the whole year
Why were you going to bail last semester?
Why is contacting expatriates for leads on housing out of the question?
Oh, hey! ‘Tis a bit of a non-sequitur, but I didn’t realize you were attending UCB. I’m at Davis, myself, and pop by Berkeley on the regular (more or less). This coming Sunday, in fact.
I think that’s fairly normal for universities… New York City area schools tend to guarantee housing for the first two years, but it’s very expensive (shocking, I know). After that, most people want to move somewhere cheaper and cooler.
I was thinking that most people who I do know with shorter-term apartment leases found them through friends, maybe it’s worthwhile asking if anyone knows anyone.
I know a few people who went to St. Olaf’s and were very happy with it. I’ve visited once or twice myself and can attest that the campus is very pretty. There’s a good coffeeshop downtown, too. Tuition is not cheap, however.
St. Olaf and Carleton are both nice. Northfield is a nice place, if quiet, but then if you want the social scene of a big city it’s only 45-minute drive to Minneapolis.
As Oxlin said, the nice thing about schools like St. Olaf and Carleton is that I believe they have both academic and financial aid. Schools like Harvard and Stanford don’t have academic aid, but they do guarantee full financial aid, so even though they’re really expensive, they guarantee that you can afford it (even if it might stretch your limits).
I applied to three (two state schools and one private school), but if I had not gotten in to Stanford early I had something like thirteen applications ready to go, to schools including (but not limited to) Caltech, Northwestern, Carleton, University of Virginia, MIT, and Harvard. When I got into Stanford, though, I thought “would I really want to go anywhere else?”, figured I wouldn’t, and ended up not applying to any other private schools.
Besides Stanford, I really wasn’t sure what I wanted out of a school, so I was planning to apply to a bunch of different kinds of colleges to see which would stick — I honestly had no idea where I would get in. I think I was also planning on applying to UChicago, Johns Hopkins, Harvey Mudd… and others.
I was really not sure where I would get in. I feel extremely fortunate for having a relatively pain-free application process.
It depends on your state. The UC system is broken, so they might give horrible financial aid — I know for a fact that it would have been cheaper for me to go to the University of Minnesota than… like… almost anywhere else.
Sounds unfortunately similar to my experience. It does make me think, however, that the number of people I’ve encountered who ‘luckily’ fit into a school they knew less about than they realized may actually just reflect that an education comes more down to how we treat the environment we’re in than the actual environment. I think that to be generally positive! Sort of surprising that so many focus on it the other way around.
I think I applied to 7 (3 “reach”-ish schools and 4 safeties with earlier scholarship deadlines) at the end of the day. I had an initial list of 12 or 13, but I got into my early action school, and there were a lot of schools I didn’t feel the need to apply to after that.
I applied to ten. I got into four, rejected from two, and waitlisted at the rest.
My dad was so upset about me applying to a state school as a safety. Community college wasn’t even discussed. Don’t you love how parents become egomaniacs on their kids’ behalf?
On the other hand…
Me: Mom, I think I’m going to apply to Stanford early, the guidance counselor at my school said I might get in.
Mom: Okay. You know you’re not going to get in, right? But sure, if that’s what you want. Be sure to prepare other applications.
[week before results come out]
Mom: Are you doing other applications? Your Stanford rejection will be coming soon! Haha, just kidding. You might get in. But probably not.
I mean, in retrospect I think it was good — if you set the bar low, then that’s less disappointment, right? And I did end up finishing the other 12+ applications I planned on doing, so I had the luxury of picking and choosing which ones I sent in (which turned out to be 0, lol). So it turned out all right.
I had similar feelings when I visited my (eventual) college. I put myself under a lot of pressure to find it perfect, not least because I knew it was the school closest to where my boyfriend would be going and so as to be absolutely sure I wasn’t making important life decisions based on him, this school had to be absolutely perfect for me to pick it over other schools. *facepalm* (This was a stressful time.) The thing is, I actually had a bad overnight experience here…my host lived in a very high-energy hall but I was ready to crash, it was a weekend night and they offered to take me out drinking, and it was just not a good experience for me. I was really stressed afterwards because that seemed to make my decision even harder.
In the end, of course, I decided other positive factors outweighed my bad overnight, came here, and have been very happy all in all.
I don’t know if any of that is relevant to what you’re going through, and I don’t want to minimize the stress of making important life decisions at all, just know that a place doesn’t have to be perfect when you’re putting a lot of pressure on it to be perfect if it seems generally like a good fit for you! Liking the people, which you note, is really important too.
I hope Admitted Students Day is going well.
Do you know anyone who has been in a similar position?
What does the cost of loans look like over the long term? How much would you pay per month, and what kind of job would you have? Are you okay paying X per month while you make X per month?
So apparently now tuition to Stanford is free if your family makes less than $125 a year? Assuming you get in, of course.
Yep! They greatly expanded the financial aid program. Stanford has a great financial aid package in general. Also that’s $125K.
Oh yeah. Forgot to add those zeros.
Guess who’s going to pursue a double major? Yep, that’s me.
Guess who’s terrified? Yep, that’s me.
(Writing and biology)
I have been re-evaluating my life prospects and goals a lot lately, so I thought I’d put this out there: what fields are in need of good writers?
My impression is that traditional journalism and publishing are dying, and academia is not so much “already dead” as “a shambling corpse prolonging its unholy existence by feeding on the blood of the living.” I’m interested to know where people who can write and communicate well are in demand, and where they can do the most good.
Huh. I was wondering how you spun a BS in math into a science writing/editing career. I know a good grasp of statistics is helpful in understanding practically any science, but still.
This is at least encouraging because one of the skills I’m in the process of acquiring is a command of Spanish.
I took my required units of Spanish in high school and didn’t go any farther because I didn’t want to bother taking any more in high school. (I didn’t like it because I had other hard classes and couldn’t bothered to be study/the class was early in the morning/the guy next to me kept trying to get me to go out with him etc).
I like the idea of knowing two languages and plan to take more Spanish in college. What other languages should I take? Right now I put Spanish closed captions on Netflix in hopes I won’t completely forget what I know of the language.
I’m learning it partly because I used to be very good at it; partly because my fallback plan after college is going overseas to teach English somewhere, maybe Spain; partly because it’s useful around California (though who knows how long I’ll still be in California?). Plus I’d like to be one of those truly bilingual people eventually.
senior year of college starts tomorrow aaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhh
So I applied to two schools, both in-state with good programs. I’ve visited both several times and like both of them. I have great chances of getting into the universities themselves, and I’m optimistic about getting into both music programs, especially at the rate my audition prep is going. The schools are UNC-Greensboro and App State. I can say that, right?
Everyone else I know is applying to way more than that. I figure I should apply to a few more, but every school I look at is either too much of a party school for me to watnt to go there, or it’s too close to home, or it doesn’t have my major, or all three! People keep asking me why I don’t apply to Chapel Hill. I know it’s a really good school, and that as an in state applicant I could probably get in, and it’s a gorgeous campus, and it has a reputable music program, but… ugh. I just Don’t want to. how do people find 13 different schools they want to go to and find the time to apply to all of them, even with common app? it’s so exhausting.
I know out-of-state private schools are an option and there can be scholarship money involved but honestly there are so many options there and applying to stretch schools would take…. so much effort…..
also my parents want me to apply for honors programs at both of the schools I applied to and I just found out that for App State that requires writing three essays so. sigh.
Question: What is a 403(b)? My mom has made me set up a Roth IRA after my summer internship, but I don’t really know how it works except that I can’t touch the money until I retire.
Aha, I see, thank you! Follow-up question: What is the difference between a mutual fund and an annuity?
Ah! I see, that makes a lot of sense, thanks.
Update #1: I applied to attend (not present at) this conference in Tampa next week, and apparently I got it so I’m going to Tampa next week?? It all happened very suddenly.
Update #2: I have gotten two people to write rec letters for me to apply to the coterminal master’s program in biomedical informatics here at Stanford; and when I say I “got them” to write it I mean I emailed one and he responded “absolutely” and when I talked to the other the conversation went “Hey, can you write a rec le–” “Yes, of course!”
So that’s good. I have to write my own essay now about why I like biomedical informatics, which shouldn’t be too bad. The app is due Nov 1.
Update #3: I am starting to go to career fairs and give people resumes and stuff and it’s all very stressful and kind of terrible, honestly. I might just go back to my summer internship company to avoid all this nonsense, which I would be very happy with (though getting offers from other companies would give me collateral in negotiating, which I hear is an important thing). (Also, the very idea of showing up to a career fair in formal attire to impress people is repulsive to me. I’m not sure why.)
https : / / xkcd.com / 905 /