Life after acceptances...

  • As many already know, studying for the physics GRE and getting accepted into a graduate program is not the final hurdle in your physics career.
  • There are many issues current physics graduate students face such as studying for their qualifier, deciding upon a field of research, choosing an advisor, being an effective teaching assistant, trying to have a social life, navigating department politics, dealing with stress, utilizing financial aid, etc.

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YellowXDart
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Life after acceptances...

Postby YellowXDart » Mon Apr 12, 2010 10:43 pm

So now that I have officially submitted my letter of acceptance to Case and turned down the other schools I've gotten into, I officially consider myself a grad student. I felt the need to post in this forum as part of a celebration of the fact that I am finally a grad student.

Onward!

I wanted to know everyone's thoughts on moving to a new city. How do you plan on finding a place to live (or how did you, for our experienced grad students)? Will you visit the city, or will you just pick a place online? I'm sure some of you are in a similar position as me, where I own pretty much some clothes, a laptop, and a mattress. Are you all just going to craigslist it for some furniture? Would you recommend getting a roommate for the first year, or flying it solo? What month is a good time to start looking for a place to live (not too soon because I'm not moving till the fall, but I don't want all the good places to be gone)?

I'm so excited to get back to taking classes and doing new research! :D

nathan12343
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Re: Life after acceptances...

Postby nathan12343 » Tue Apr 13, 2010 1:32 am

Many of these questions are highly location dependent and should be directed to the older grad students in the department you are joining.

Also, consider Ikea: one stop shopping for modestly priced furniture.

blackcat007
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Re: Life after acceptances...

Postby blackcat007 » Tue Apr 13, 2010 4:09 am

YellowXDart wrote:So now that I have officially submitted my letter of acceptance to Case and turned down the other schools I've gotten into, I officially consider myself a grad student. I felt the need to post in this forum as part of a celebration of the fact that I am finally a grad student.

Onward!

I wanted to know everyone's thoughts on moving to a new city. How do you plan on finding a place to live (or how did you, for our experienced grad students)? Will you visit the city, or will you just pick a place online? I'm sure some of you are in a similar position as me, where I own pretty much some clothes, a laptop, and a mattress. Are you all just going to craigslist it for some furniture? Would you recommend getting a roommate for the first year, or flying it solo? What month is a good time to start looking for a place to live (not too soon because I'm not moving till the fall, but I don't want all the good places to be gone)?

I'm so excited to get back to taking classes and doing new research! :D

Glad to see that someone else also has a similar set of queries. I am planning to move to Florida, Gainesville on 1st or 2nd Aug. I am really planning to have a roommate, since living alone renders me quizzical and claustrophobic (as I have found out, when my present roommate is not there). also how exactly do you search for roommates?
I would like to add another, is it recommended to book apartment before arriving, like using craiglist? is it trustworthy?

My primary reason for excitement is that I will be doing physics finally, after frittering around in an engineering college for 4 years. :)

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YellowXDart
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Re: Life after acceptances...

Postby YellowXDart » Tue Apr 13, 2010 9:20 am

nathan12343 wrote:Many of these questions are highly location dependent and should be directed to the older grad students in the department you are joining.


Well of course things will be different from place to place, but certain things like getting an apartment or living with a roommate are fairly universal. I'm mostly curious what other people are doing, even if it will be completely different from what I end up doing.

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notnaps
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Re: Life after acceptances...

Postby notnaps » Tue Apr 13, 2010 11:25 am

I'm excited/scared! I'm going to California after spending my whole life in Illinois, eep! :shock:

I'm going to go through university housing at Stanford for my first year at least. After living alone for my senior year, I definitely want some roommates again.

geshi
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Re: Life after acceptances...

Postby geshi » Tue Apr 13, 2010 12:28 pm

nathan12343 wrote:Also, consider Ikea: one stop shopping for modestly priced furniture.


I had 2 shops for my furniture: Ikea and my parents. See if your parents are looking to "upgrade" any of their furniture. My parents had some stuff they were looking to ditch and get new stuff, so I grabbed it :). Of course the pickings were slim for me because I'm the youngest of the 3, so my older brothers got the majority of "upgradable" furniture that my parents wanted to get rid of (hence why I did a bunch of shopping at Ikea).

When I moved, I found some places on craigslist and some places on the internet (aka google). I visited the city to look at the apartments before picking one (good thing too because some of the places I had found via the internet were really nasty when I visited them ... stuff like cockroaches running around).

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grae313
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Re: Life after acceptances...

Postby grae313 » Tue Apr 13, 2010 1:26 pm

When I visited Cornell I was hosted by a current Cornell grad student and stayed in her apartment. It was a nice place and I ended up signing a lease in May to start in mid-August. I spent some time looking at craigslist, but when you can't visit and see the places for yourself, it's a bit of a gamble. I was advised that in Ithaca, the good places go fast and it's true that you have to start looking three, four, or even five or six months ahead of time.

Other students in my class did various things. Some made a trip out for a week where they stayed in a hotel and visited places before arranging for a lease. Others took a gamble and signed leases without having seen the place, and several people found roommates with other incoming students from their year or older graduate students. In time, your department should send you a list with everyone's name and email in the incoming class, and it can be a great idea to arrange to rent out rooms in a house or share an apartment together.

It's also a good idea to contact older grad students in your department with your questions, as they will be best able to answer with specifics about your own institution. I had two grad student "mentors" assigned to me, but if your school does not do that, ask your admission coordinator for an email address of someone in your field of interest who you could contact and ask questions.

mobytish
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Re: Life after acceptances...

Postby mobytish » Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:56 am

I definitely say starting looking for a place now. Lots of college towns have places that rent august-august (or some other academic year combination) and many start looking for tenants in January. Of course, there are also those that work like normal apartments and only start looking 30-60 days before vacancy, so I wouldn't worry too much if you don't have the time.

Oh, and for furniture, if you have a way to get it, look on craigslist right about the time of finals at the school where you're moving. That's the time when people moving out will be ditching their stuff. You will also get a wave of this mid-august when people with leases ending in august are moving out. If you're willing to live sparse for a year, you can always get stuff the following year, once you're already out there. I know, in Pittsburgh, you could roam the streets during finals and find lots of great furniture at the curb waiting for trash pick-up. I got my TV stand that way.

golick2000
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Re: Life after acceptances...

Postby golick2000 » Sun Apr 18, 2010 8:38 am

Being a European makes it difficult to choose a place to live. Besides I have never lived in the dorms and lived at home all my life. I firmly decided to live alone as that will make my life easier though more expensive. Hopefully, from the second year I will find friends with who I will share off-campus appartments.
As I know universities (at least MIT where I am going) usually provides on-campus students with necessary furniture in the dorms.
The only thing I am worried about is food

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grae313
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Re: Life after acceptances...

Postby grae313 » Sun Apr 18, 2010 10:21 am

Yes, Universities often have dedicated housing for international students. Most grad students much prefer to live off campus (I don't know any grad student in my program who lived in dorms), but if you've lived at home all your life than a dormitory might be a good way to transition. Why are you worried about food, golick?

golick2000
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Re: Life after acceptances...

Postby golick2000 » Sun Apr 18, 2010 10:51 am

grae313 wrote:Why are you worried about food, golick?

I was staying in the US for a month 6 years ago. I was 15. I gained 7 kilos weight as food in the US is fat or smth like that.I dunno the exact reason, but anyway the fact is. Besides, some my friends who stayed at the US quickly gained weight.
Besides, here in Europe the US is considered to be a country where people gain weight very quickly and the food is commonly unhealthy. That all may be only stereotypes, but nevertheless I am pretty concerned.
After coming back home I started doing tennis,snowboarding, etc. and now I am fit, 182 cm/ 72 kg. But I am afraid of gaining weight again :)

mobytish
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Re: Life after acceptances...

Postby mobytish » Sun Apr 18, 2010 11:36 am

In my time in Europe, a bunch of the people I was working with commented that I looked thin for an American, so I agree that's it's a common perception. It's not really the health of the food, which is actually taking great leaps and bounds toward improvement (lower fat oils for fast food restaurants, healthier options, etc). Still, the biggest problem is our portion sizes, which are sometimes three or four times more than they should be. I'd always get my dining hall meals to go and could turn them into three or four meals back in my room (of course, that's also how I became underweight). Just watch how much you eat and don't binge on junk food and you should be fine. For example, when getting pizza, don't get pan pizza and limit the meats and you'll probably halve the calories you take in with the pizza.

golick2000
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Re: Life after acceptances...

Postby golick2000 » Sun Apr 18, 2010 12:17 pm

concerning pizza, meat is fine, it does not add you a lot of fat, the problem is white bread:)
Definitely, I am planning to put a ban on eating junk food and try to do my best in my attempt to eat healthy food

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grae313
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Re: Life after acceptances...

Postby grae313 » Sun Apr 18, 2010 2:37 pm

You can't blame America for weight gain. There is plenty of unhealthy food available, but there is also plenty of healthy food. Especially in a university environment, there are also plenty of young, active people that care about their health and maintain it very well. I don't think this is different anywhere you go. Make the right choices for your lifestyle and it won't be a problem.

kroner
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Re: Life after acceptances...

Postby kroner » Sun Apr 18, 2010 4:35 pm

You can partially blame America. Obesity is definitely a bigger problem here than most other places (although apparently Australia beats us now), and there are a lot of structural reasons for that. You can't simply say that Americans as a people have poorer will power. Obviously personal choices matter a lot, but it's easier to make good choices in an environment that encourages it.

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grae313
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Re: Life after acceptances...

Postby grae313 » Sun Apr 18, 2010 5:01 pm

Well, maybe I wasn't quite correct to say "you can't blame America"... Here's a more correct statement:

You can sit around, get fat, and blame America for it, or eat healthy food and get off your ass once in a while and not have a problem. :)

geshi
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Re: Life after acceptances...

Postby geshi » Sun Apr 18, 2010 8:09 pm

You could just try eating popcorn for 3 meals a day. That's what all the anorexics do (or they might only 2 meals a day, I'm not sure). Then they go to the gym and run for 45 minutes each day. Oh, and only drink water.

You could also try pulling the trigger after every meal. I hear stomach acids do wonders for your esophagus.

But seriously, most of the heavier people I know eat out at restaurants a lot. They typically eat at really big chains that serve horrible grease covered food. If you want to be healthy, you can be healthy. It's really not hard.

You could try becoming a vegetarian. Then on the rare occasion you do eat out, you stare at the menu and think, "well ***, everything has meat, even the salads. I guess I'll have a bowl of water." Problem solved; no huge portions staring you in your face ;).

golick2000
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Re: Life after acceptances...

Postby golick2000 » Tue Apr 20, 2010 3:42 pm

becoming a vegetarian is impossible for me. I love meat besides my religion says me to eat meat :)
thanks for the answers, will try&do my best to stay healthy

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HappyQuark
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Re: Life after acceptances...

Postby HappyQuark » Tue Apr 20, 2010 4:47 pm

golick2000 wrote:becoming a vegetarian is impossible for me. I love meat besides my religion says me to eat meat :)
thanks for the answers, will try&do my best to stay healthy


If you don't mind my asking, what religion do you follow that specifically outlines meat eating as a necessary tenant? I've certainly heard of religions that forbid certain meats from being eaten, pork and beef in particular, but I don't think I've heard of one that implores you to eat meat.

golick2000
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Re: Life after acceptances...

Postby golick2000 » Wed Apr 21, 2010 4:07 am

HappyQuark wrote:
golick2000 wrote:becoming a vegetarian is impossible for me. I love meat besides my religion says me to eat meat :)
thanks for the answers, will try&do my best to stay healthy


If you don't mind my asking, what religion do you follow that specifically outlines meat eating as a necessary tenant? I've certainly heard of religions that forbid certain meats from being eaten, pork and beef in particular, but I don't think I've heard of one that implores you to eat meat.


I am Jewish. Pork is forbidden, but such meat as chicken or beef should be eaten.

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HappyQuark
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Re: Life after acceptances...

Postby HappyQuark » Wed Apr 21, 2010 10:18 am

golick2000 wrote:
HappyQuark wrote:
golick2000 wrote:becoming a vegetarian is impossible for me. I love meat besides my religion says me to eat meat :)
thanks for the answers, will try&do my best to stay healthy


If you don't mind my asking, what religion do you follow that specifically outlines meat eating as a necessary tenant? I've certainly heard of religions that forbid certain meats from being eaten, pork and beef in particular, but I don't think I've heard of one that implores you to eat meat.


I am Jewish. Pork is forbidden, but such meat as chicken or beef should be eaten.


I wasn't aware of that. Thanks for the information.

dct64xx
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Re: Life after acceptances...

Postby dct64xx » Thu Apr 22, 2010 10:51 pm

grae313 wrote:Yes, Universities often have dedicated housing for international students. Most grad students much prefer to live off campus (I don't know any grad student in my program who lived in dorms), but if you've lived at home all your life than a dormitory might be a good way to transition. Why are you worried about food, golick?


Why is that, anyway? I'll be living on campus in a grad residence come September, and it seems like a good setup to me. Reasonable rent, easiest commute ever, and it's pretty much like an apartment anyway. What gives?

geshi
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Re: Life after acceptances...

Postby geshi » Thu Apr 22, 2010 11:05 pm

dct64xx wrote:Why is that, anyway? I'll be living on campus in a grad residence come September, and it seems like a good setup to me. Reasonable rent, easiest commute ever, and it's pretty much like an apartment anyway. What gives?


Personally I would never consider living on campus because it would make me feel like too much of an "undergrad" again. I would also feel too close to the undergrads (sure, it'd probably be a separate building, but it's still on campus). I did 4 years in dorms while I was an undergrad, and so far I prefer living in my own apartment more. I'd imagine other people have similar sentiments.

kroner
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Re: Life after acceptances...

Postby kroner » Fri Apr 23, 2010 1:06 am

Some people say that going to grad school is a way to put off facing the real world, but they are wrong because we will live in grown-up houses just like grown-ups do. :mrgreen:

mobytish
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Re: Life after acceptances...

Postby mobytish » Fri Apr 23, 2010 6:46 am

From what I've heard, the university-provided housing for grad students is incredibly limited. The plus side of a lot of it is that is generally comes furnished so you still don't have to pay for furniture.

Still, I agree with the people who don't want to live with undergrads anymore. I like the idea of living far enough away that I don't have to worry about parties every night.




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