internship application taboo?

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axiomofchoice
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Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2009 11:45 pm

internship application taboo?

Postby axiomofchoice » Thu Feb 05, 2009 11:59 pm

I'm applying to some REU programs this summer, and I'm interested in mostly theoretical ones, and that means lots of programming... The problem is, I have hand problem (carpal tunnel or whatever) that I really don't want to worse. I can still type on the keyboard, but just not 40 hours per week. I'm hoping for a project that, if programming is needed, programming is not the major focus or not the only major focus. Should I mention my hand problem in my application? I'm afraid that I might lose my chance with some projects which I can't tell how much programming is involved from the description, as I do not sound entirely enthusiastic about programming (or running others' programs)...

Edit: also, one of my strong point in my application is programming, since my past project is a programming-based one, and I'm very experienced with computer and programming. Would mentioning that I can't program full-time discounts my application?

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quizivex
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Re: internship application taboo?

Postby quizivex » Fri Feb 06, 2009 12:21 am

Hmm that's a very good question. You don't want to further injure your hands (and yea no physics major wants to code 40 hours a week), and the profs should sympathize with that (the former), but just in case they're not so sympathetic you don't want to give them another excuse to discard your app given the already extreme difficulty of getting into REUs.

So, my suggestion would be this. Don't mention your problem on your application, but once your are given an offer (or if you're lucky, several offers), then tell them your problem and request that they find something suitable for you. They'd have to (and want to) help you since you're already admitted, and it shouldn't be hard for them because at the time of making offers they're not even close to assigning particular projects to students.

How does that sound?

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twistor
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Re: internship application taboo?

Postby twistor » Fri Feb 06, 2009 12:53 am

Disclaimer: twistor is not a lawyer.

I don't believe they can refuse to give you an REU due to a disability. I'm pretty sure ADA says they need to accommodate you. I think quizivex's advice is reasonable enough but you should definitely make sure they are aware of it before you start just in case you need special accommodations.

Also, don't expect to be typing 40 hours a week at an REU unless you're working for the physics equivalent of Stalin. I think most people spend their time posting to message boards and taking extended lunches.

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Helio
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Re: internship application taboo?

Postby Helio » Fri Feb 06, 2009 1:01 am

i am not a lawyer either, but I have seen people use special braces for their wrists when they had carpel tunnel and had to type for long times. Have you have used one of those natural keyboards? It takes a bit getting used to, but is way better then a regular one.

sterculus
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Re: internship application taboo?

Postby sterculus » Fri Feb 06, 2009 1:24 am

I had one summer internship (DOE SULI) that was all simulation and computer-based analysis work. I was *definitely* on the computer 40 hours per week, and I don't think this is particularly uncommon. On the other hand last summer I worked on an experimental project (an actual REU) and didn't use a computer anywhere near that much. I would contact the program administrator and ask what you should do to ensure that, if accepted, you're assigned to a project that you can work on.

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coreycwgriffin
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Re: internship application taboo?

Postby coreycwgriffin » Fri Feb 06, 2009 1:03 pm

twistor wrote:Also, don't expect to be typing 40 hours a week at an REU unless you're working for the physics equivalent of Stalin. I think most people spend their time posting to message boards and taking extended lunches.


My REU lunches included 3 hour naps this past summer, haha.

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Helio
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Re: internship application taboo?

Postby Helio » Fri Feb 06, 2009 2:05 pm

damn REUs seem like a dream compared to what i have done... I remember a summer research where i worked to 2 weeks straight for 12-14 hours a day and they still wanted me to continue. That happens if the advisor does not come in and the postdoc has to run the show.... at least last summer was pretty relaxed 8)

WakkaDojo
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Re: internship application taboo?

Postby WakkaDojo » Fri Feb 06, 2009 4:13 pm

Though I could have gotten away with three hour naps, I never felt so inclined! I worked roughly 10 hours a day. Pretty reasonable I guess. The others in the group generally did the same as me.

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coreycwgriffin
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Re: internship application taboo?

Postby coreycwgriffin » Fri Feb 06, 2009 4:21 pm

WakkaDojo wrote:Though I could have gotten away with three hour naps, I never felt so inclined! I worked roughly 10 hours a day. Pretty reasonable I guess. The others in the group generally did the same as me.


Even with 3 hour naps, it seems like I did more work than other people in my program. My roommate was going to baseball games and to the beach more often than not.

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twistor
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Re: internship application taboo?

Postby twistor » Fri Feb 06, 2009 5:04 pm

WakkaDojo wrote:Though I could have gotten away with three hour naps, I never felt so inclined! I worked roughly 10 hours a day. Pretty reasonable I guess. The others in the group generally did the same as me.


Why? They only pay you for 8.

astrophysicist2b
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Re: internship application taboo?

Postby astrophysicist2b » Fri Feb 13, 2009 6:02 pm

my reu involved setting up mini golf courses in the intern room, taking many pastry breaks, and making representations of interns out of paper products. oh, I guess I did some research in there too... (I did go in at 8 am and leave at 6 or 7 each day). but some reu responsibilities can include things like going to talks. plus I spent a while hitting my head against the wall when I couldn't debug my code, so it wasn't all typing even though it was coding-intensive.

anyway, on the actual subject of this post I agree with what people have said so far; reu people tend to be pretty flexible, and I think they'd do their best to work with you.




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