On Grad School Visits and Research

I have not utterly forgotten that I promised to report on my trip to Cornell. In fact, I spent most of my (copious) airport/airplane time today writing about just that. I’m pretty sure that some of the people on the flight thought I was cracked because I only paused to rip pages out of my notebook and turn them over to write on the back. I have a lot to say on the topic of that visit, though, and I’m not entirely certain that I want to post it all publicly. So, for anyone who has more than just a glancing interest in how my visit went–and this includes the lowdown on Bill Nye, people–leave a comment here using a proper e-mail address (which won’t be displayed to anyone but me) and I’ll put together a nice long e-mail message with all the details. Alternatively, if there’s really only one aspect of the weekend that you’re interested in hearing about–like which professors I want to work with or something like that–you can specify that in the comment and I’ll tailor what I send to your interests.

It’s possible that, at some point, I’ll go ahead and post everything here, but that’s entirely unforeseen right now. I’m still debating on whether to place an edited version here, actually. Thoughts?

In other graduate school news, I’m currently writing from Ann Arbor, Michigan, on the eve of what appears to be my final graduate school visit. I got word from Notre Dame yesterday that they’ve accepted me but have no financial aid offer. Tonight, amidst bad news, I got word from Duke that I’ve been officially accepted there and that my financial offer is in the mail (ha ha ha!). I was kind of starting to wonder if they’d decided not to accept me after all.

I haven’t said much about life outside of graduate school visits recently, perhaps because that stuff probably isn’t of much interest to anyone. This week was my final Spring Break, though, and I suppose that should earn it at least a footnote in this on-going chronicle of my life. I spent all of Monday and Wednesday working in the lab, feverishly denting my head against concrete walls. Well, I should back up. My research is actually (finally) going well. My equipment works. It’s possible to take data from both the software and hardware perspective. Most of my troubles this week were in trying to make sense of my data, and a trip to see my advisor helped a lot with that. Since it’s a slower week than normal for him, we spent about an hour in his office going through things together in Excel and discussing what it all meant before I headed back to my hovel to program the same type of analysis into MATLAB. I quite enjoyed just getting to work one-on-one with him for an extended period of time again; it feels like forever since that’s happened. At one point I brought up Cornell and some of the stuff I saw there and how excited I was at the prospect of working on some of these problems. And, though he was clearly happy for me, there was also something genuinely sad in his manner as he told me that I would have to be sure to let him know what I ended up doing. I don’t know if he was sad that I’m leaving, or if he’s sad that he won’t be working on those problems, or if it was something else entirely, but it definitely struck me as uncharacteristic for him.

3 Responses to “On Grad School Visits and Research”


  • Oops, I think I accidentally sent a blank comment a few seconds ago… Apologies.

    I’m definitely interested in the details of your Cornell visit, as well as about the UMich Ann Arbor visit. šŸ˜€ Grad school apps are certainly a whole different ball game from undergrad apps!

    Also, congrats on the Duke offer! šŸ˜€

  • If you sent a blank comment, I never saw it. If a tree falls in the forest…

    It looks like you may be the only one with any interest at this rate! Ha.

    I don’t know that I’d say that grad apps are a whole different ball game, but they certainly do have their differences, particularly in the way the process is handled. The fact that they accept so few students makes everything a bit different. I have to say, though, as someone who only visited two universities for undergrad that getting paid so that I could visit more of these schools was a nice change. It’s such a serious commitment, though, getting a PhD somewhere, that I suppose it makes sense to do such things.

  • I want to hear all about it!

    And, yes, you are that good!

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