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112: Listener Mailbag – Leaving Home, Avoiding the GRE, Finding Collaborators, et al!

It’s that time again… Let’s open the mailbag and see what you, our listeners and friends, have sent in!

You asked for it…

We start out with a couple of questions from David, who is considering going back to grad school for computational biology after a successful career as a software developer.

He wants to know where to find ‘a list’ of programs that don’t require the GRE for admissions. Here’s that link for anyone interested in attending grad school without shelling out money for a standardized test.

Bio/Biomedical Graduate Programs Dropping GRE Requirement

He also asks whether he’s likely to face age-discrimination for going back to school in his 30’s or 40’s. While it’s clearly illegal to discriminate based on age in the graduate school application process, we don’t have enough experience to say what he’ll face when he reaches the work force.

If you have a PhD and know how companies or schools consider age in the hiring process, why not let us know in the comments below?

Next up, Allison looks for some advice on the very real emotional and relational impacts of moving to a new place to attend graduate school:

I love listening to the podcast and have been listening for about a year. I am a graduating senior at my University, looking to go to graduate school in the fall. I am looking for advice on moving away from home ( for the first time) during grad school. I am married, so that helps, but I still feel nervous and don’t want to get depressed about moving away. Advice?

We reminisce about the various times we’ve had to move away from ‘home’ to attend college or grad school. It really is a difficult transition, and it’s deeply personal.

Though there’s no way to make that move easy, we recommend putting some effort into establishing new roots by meeting people outside the lab. That might look like a book club, church, sports, or roommates, but keeping busy is key to feeling comfortable in the new place.

We also offer some suggestions for maintaining those vital connections to friends, family, and home. Schedule time to visit, or to have your friends visit you. And even though it might sound weird, schedule time to talk or video chat.

Having that time carved out on a calendar will mean that you won’t go months between connection.

Our last two questions came from this very website that you’re reading right now!

Rui asks whether it’s worth describing a negative advisor relationship when applying to a new program and joining a lab.

And Shilpa, an ambitious undergrad, wants to know how to find research opportunities if they’re not offered at the local university.

We answer all these questions, and a few that weren’t asked in this week’s episode. Be sure to email, Tweet, or post your questions below to keep that mailbag full!

Yellow Haze

It’s pine-pollen season in North Carolina, and it’s tough to appreciate just how gross that is unless you live here. They say a picture is worth 1,000 words, so here’s a drawing someone did on a restaurant table near my office:

Yup, that’s pollen…

And if 1,000 words aren’t enough, here are 1,000,000,000:

We refresh ourselves with the Dreamspeaker IPA from Modern Times Brewery in San Diego. It contains something called “Weyermann® CARAFOAM®” which seems pretty aggressively trademarked and will probably get us into legal trouble just for drinking it.

Ah well, bottoms up!

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