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130. Coronavirus, and Life Outside the Lab

It has quickly become a new way of life – working from home, avoiding restaurants and gyms, and ‘social distancing’ from coworkers, friends, and even family.

The upending of normal routines happened so quickly, and the days have become so blurred together, that it’s hard to keep track of just how long we’ve been confined to our apartments and homes.

We know that scientists and doctors at the NIH, CDC, virology labs, and hospitals around the world continue their front-lines fight to understand and treat the pandemic, and we are deeply grateful.

But what about all the other scientists? The research faculty, postdocs, grad students, and technicians whose research doesn’t cover RNA viruses or epidemiology?

Even though they are not working directly on understanding COVID-19, they still have important experiments to do. They have cell cultures, fruit fly lines, and mouse colonies to maintain. The have classes to teach or take, dissertations to write, and theses to defend.

What happens to them when the University closes, and experiments are forbidden?

This week, we catch up with those scientists, to understand how they are adapting to life and science in a pandemic.

129. Grad School Rejection: Why it Happens and How to Get Accepted

 I feel a little disheartened because I’ve been rejected from many of the places I applied to and haven’t heard back from a number of others. Is it worth it to hold out hope for the ones that haven’t sent out updates?

 I have been rejected from 5 schools and am expecting 3 more rejections soon enough without any invitations for interview. I’ve had my time in regret and disappointment and I’m now thinking about what to do next. 

Should I just give up at the thought of me obtaining a PhD? I feel like a mess right now.

These excerpts are from just three of the many messages we received this year from grad school applicants who were moving through the stages of rejection grief.

Some understood it would be an uphill climb, and half-expected the bad news. For others, it was a surprise because they had followed all the advice on how to craft the perfect application.

For everyone, it was disappointing, demoralizing, and confusing – what can I do if I’ve been pushed off the only path I know to a career in science?

This week, we explore the arcane inner workings of an admissions committee, and detail not only WHY you received that rejection letter, but what you can do about it next year.

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