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Old 04-15-2011, 04:23 PM
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Science About starting

I just registered to take the GRE and now I am having a mini panic attack. :freakout:

Every time the website asked me what my educational goal was, I clicked "Ph.D." and I thought to myself, "WHO THE FUCK DO YOU THINK YOU'RE KIDDING, DR. QUITTER?!"

I'm set to get my BS in May '12, and I want to start grad school that fall in August '12, so the ball is officially rolling now. :freakout: again!

The Ph.D. CS program at UGA is a five-to-six-year program. That is a really long time for me to commit to something like that. My five-year plan changes every six months. The longest I ever stayed at a job was the Air Force, and that was because quitting that job lands you in prison. Even then, I lived in different states, served in different units, and held various jobs, so it's not like it was four years of the same thing or anything.

I have transcripts from (I think) six colleges and universities. I started pursuing my BS in 1994 and have changed majors twice.

I'm going to put a positive spin on it and say that spending 18 years (OMFG) obtaining a four-year degree actually shows that I really can commit, I do have the endurance required, and after that, 5 or 6 years will be child's play.

Yeah, that's the ticket. :hyperventilate:
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  #2  
Old 04-15-2011, 04:25 PM
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Default Re: About starting

Congrats and good luck :goodluck:
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Old 04-15-2011, 05:34 PM
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Default Re: About starting

Good luck! And (from my observation, not experience), getting a PhD has different phases so it won't necessarily feel like the same thing for the whole time.
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Old 04-15-2011, 07:16 PM
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Default Re: About starting

I have friends I went to high school with (class of '90 lol olds) who have been in college this whole time. It's an Italian tradition to take as many decades getting your degree as humangly possible, so really you're just being multi-cultural.
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Old 04-15-2011, 07:21 PM
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Default Re: About starting

The best of luck to you.

FWIW, if you haven't already (and I wouldn't be at all surprised if you have), I'd sit down and make sure you have some kind of life plan. What do you want to do after graduating? Do you want to go into academia (if so, be prepared to enter a job market that is tighter than a virgin midget, and make sure you're getting a good pedigree)? Do you want to go into industry? If so, doing what? What kinds of jobs have been taken by the CS PhD alumni in your school?
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Old 04-15-2011, 09:39 PM
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Default Re: About starting

Quote:
Originally Posted by Goliath View Post
FWIW, if you haven't already (and I wouldn't be at all surprised if you have), I'd sit down and make sure you have some kind of life plan.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ensign Steve View Post
My five-year plan changes every six months.
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If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.
This is my life. Right now, all of it. If life is something that starts when I'm done with school, I may never have one, and that's fine with me. I love school for it's own sake, not as a means to an end, otherwise I'd get my MBA. I have the luxuries of a cheap mortgage, no kids, and a supportive spouse with a similar attitude toward school and career, which helps loads. I can get my Ph.D. and then go work as a receptionist until I retire or die for all I care. As long as I don't have to design web pages.
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Old 04-15-2011, 09:46 PM
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Default Re: About starting

What do I get for five dollars?
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Old 04-15-2011, 09:48 PM
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Default Re: About starting

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Old 04-15-2011, 09:53 PM
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Default Re: About starting

My babby bort was in school p. much until he was almost 40. He's got something like five degrees, and his post-school plans were maybe opening a bike shop or going back into welding.

He ended up getting a different job in a field completely unrelated to any of his studies, but his PhD did get him in on a technicality.

I don't know if you're born that way or if it's a lifestyle choice, but either way, you've got a community.
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Old 04-15-2011, 09:59 PM
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Default Re: About starting

Yeah, I don't mean to be like I don't have a plan at all (right now the plan is: graduate, go to grad school) it's just that they never, ever, ever pan out like I plan them. Which is why I'm nervous to even start something that's not supposed to end until 2018, much less think about anything beyond that.

But, hey! Lots of people like plan to get married and have a house with a cheap mortgage and that's just like something that happened to me by accident while I kept being unable to decide which coast I wanted to live on. Which BTW if I'd decided to stay on the other coast the plan was to already have the BS degree by this time and who knows what the hell I'd be doing with it but I surely wouldn't have this rad house and spouse.

Anyway I told my doctor boss that the plan was to get the Ph.D. and then fucking retire, and he said that actually tons of people say they're going to do that but then they end up teaching for 40 years, which would also be cool.
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Old 04-15-2011, 10:51 PM
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Default Re: About starting

Quote:
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I can get my Ph.D. and then go work as a receptionist until I retire or die for all I care. As long as I don't have to design web pages.
In that case, have fun. :)
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Old 04-17-2011, 04:02 AM
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Default Re: About starting

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ensign Steve View Post
I just registered to take the GRE and now I am having a mini panic attack. :freakout:

Every time the website asked me what my educational goal was, I clicked "Ph.D." and I thought to myself, "WHO THE FUCK DO YOU THINK YOU'RE KIDDING, DR. QUITTER?!"
That reminds me of my career goals when I first started with my most recent employer: Supervisor, Manager, Director, Vice-President, President, CEO, Chairman of the Board.

I'm such a quitter loser.
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Old 04-17-2011, 03:06 PM
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Default Re: About starting

But you have my dream job!

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Old 04-17-2011, 03:07 PM
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Default Re: About starting

Oh wait, I just remembered! I already have a life plan! And I'm on the right track, too. :giggles:
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  #15  
Old 04-22-2011, 09:17 PM
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Default Re: About starting

So, let us talk about the GRE. I'm taking the general test in August and the subject test in Computer Science in November.

Please tell me all your experiences with the GRE, especially what you did to prepare and whether you found said preparation useful or necessary when test time came. I'm looking at prep books on Amazon and reading the reviews, but I don't trust those idiots.
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Old 04-22-2011, 09:41 PM
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Default Re: About starting

I learned that I had to take the GRE before September 1st in mid-August, so my studying was slightly rushed. I bought the Princeton Review GRE book because their SAT book is awesome. My mom is like a standardized test wizard, and she uses that book in the SAT class she teaches. I ended up reading through it twice, I think.

The verbal section of the GRE is fucking hard - a 740 is 99th percentile, compared to an 800 math being only 94th percentile. I wanted to really kick ass on the verbal section and make myself stand out, and I figured I suck at math anyway, so I spent way more time studying for the verbal section. I made flash cards of every GRE word I didn't know in my book, plus another book I got, plus any other word I heard that I didn't know. I also highly recommend supplementing a GRE book with the material that the ETS provides (scroll down): GRE General Test: Prepare for the Test . Their review of math concepts was especially helpful to me. I did very little to prepare for the essays, because vet schools don't care about them. I read over the material for them in my book, but never wrote anything.

On the day of the test, there will be someone sitting two computers down banging on the keyboard like a monkey. Bring earplugs. I learned about 350 fucking hard words and saw two or three of them total on the test. Unless you really go for it, just straight up learning vocabulary won't be that useful, so maybe also focusing on learning prefixes, suffixes, and stems would be helpful.
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Old 04-22-2011, 09:52 PM
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Default Re: About starting

Did not prepare. They sent me a free CD with a sample test on it, but it took a long time to click through. That worked out fine. Should try harder for the bar exam.
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Old 05-27-2011, 04:23 PM
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Default Re: About starting

:news: Update

I bought a box of vocabulary flash cards but decided against getting any books. I'm taking the revised test that comes out in August 1, and so everything is all different. They completely got rid of antonyms and analogies (they say it's because it's not meaningful to test vocabulary words outside of context but of course I think it's because of the dumbing down of America).

The Princeton Review and Kaplan and all them say that they have books for the revised version, but nobody has taken it yet so I don't trust them. Since I'm a registered and paid test-taker, I have access to all kinds of free and cheap prep material directly from ETS, and it all looks pretty basic. Not that that is likely to stop me from taking at least one prep course here at school if they offer it for the new test.

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Old 10-08-2011, 09:29 PM
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Default Re: About starting

I took the GRE general test last month or the month before, I guess. I took the new test, so I won't get my results until November. I'm going to take the computer science subject test next weekend.

At this point, I'm seriously reconsidering. I'm going to submit the application and apply for assistantships just in case, but my senior year is really taking the wind out of my sails. It's just so much damn work for no money, and I know grad school is just going to be 1000 times worse. I would love for the first time in my life to be done with school.

So the new plan (what do you know? it's been six months!) is to also go to job fairs and work on my resume and look for actual work in parallel with my grad school application timeline, and come graduation, if I have a choice to make, I'll consider myself lucky. I might also ask the Air Force about officer training opportunities in the guard or reserve.
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Old 10-09-2011, 12:05 AM
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Default Re: About starting

That sounds like a very good new plan.

I really, really enjoyed grad school. I got to choose what to focus on and what classes to take. It didn't hurt that I got paid (modestly) to do it. BUT, I can't really encourage anyone else to do it right now unless there is some real, non-speculative career benefit to an advanced degree. My MA is the only thing more worthless than my JD is going to be, and that is pretty fucking worthless. So when you're thinking about doing an MS or whatever in Comp Sci (surely you are not thinking about a PhD right now) consider carefully whether there is a tangible career benefit to doing it immediately after you finish your first degree. Would getting that MS now qualify you for a job that you couldn't get with a BS? If not, don't do it now. Do it later. GRE scores are usually good for 3-5 years. Get a job and hold the fuck on to it.
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Old 11-05-2011, 01:28 AM
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Default Re: About starting

The job search is ugly. The real world is scary. All the work is in Atlanta, and I love myself too much to start commuting like that again. Also it's all in web development, which, no.

However:

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I emailed one of my previous professors about the possibility of independent study next semester and he wrote back within 6 minutes: "Yes! I have the perfect project for you!" Here's hoping it's not sharpening pencils all day. :giggles:
It's not sharpening pencils, y'all.

He wants us to develop a course together over spring which I would then teach (for cash money) as early as this summer. I am so fired up over this opportunity that I just can't get over myself. He really, really wants me to come to grad school, and he's talking to me like a recruiter. Don't worry about money. We have plenty of funding. You'll go far. Etc.

:tweek:
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Old 11-05-2011, 02:04 AM
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Default Re: About starting

That is enormously awesome ES. Great opportunity. If this works out would you consider academia as a career path?
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Old 11-05-2011, 01:06 PM
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Default Re: About starting

What a delightful turn of events, ES! I hope that works out -- it sounds like a lot of fun!

Did you get your GREs back yet?
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Old 11-05-2011, 11:45 PM
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Not yet. Supposed to be this month, I think.
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Old 01-27-2012, 04:09 PM
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Default Re: About starting

I got my official acceptance into the Computer Science MS program at UGA. I keep being on the fence about it, but I figure it's just 2 more years of school :gah: and it'd probably be easier to knock it out now rather than later. It's not like I have anything better to do right now.

I don't think an MS degree is going to do me any more good than my BS does at this time and place, but that's not saying much. If I do end up in Silicon Valley or some place in the future (time for a new five-year plan!), I think it will make me more competitive. I hope. I don't think it could hurt, anyway, at least not for the kind of work I'd like to do.
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