October 2008

This week ended with the fact the subletter was honest and told the landlord that his dog was 55 lbs. The limit is 40 lbs, although I know I’ve seen bigger dogs around (bull dogs, for starters).

So I’m probably not moving, unless I can find a subletter by 5:30 today. I kind of doubt it.


Recently, life has been a little difficult for me for a variety of reasons that I don’t care to air in public. I’ve contacted my undergraduate physics department. Due to the nature of the school, I happen to be very close to them. We all were in that department, since it is tiny. It was very family-like, which for someone who isn’t close to her family, was very good.

Even when life gets hard, it’s really an incredible feeling to know that they’re still supporting and trying to help guide me. While I don’t necessarily wish to go back to the undergraduate years, I have to admit that I’m a little nostalgic now for them, especially knowing how sincere everyone is. I’m no longer their responsibility, and yet they still want to help.

It looks like we got it!! I wasn’t really worried, since I have good credit, but you never know. I did find (at least it looks like it) a subletter, so let’s hope that he pulls through and that all goes as planned.

Now just to get through this week.

Part of what’s recommended for prospective physics graduate students is to contact schools and specific faculty. It’s a combination of networking and feeling out whether one is really a good fit. I’m not sure if this is exclusive to physics or schools in the US or both, but I’ve always received this tidbit of advice.

Personally, I do not enjoy it. I find it awkward to contact a stranger and try to make a conversation of sorts with them regarding their research. Even if I’ve read about their research or a paper by them, it is still difficult to start that conversation. Then (perhaps this is just me) it’s hard to tell when you should end those email conversations.

What I’ve noticed, though, is several schools don’t seem open to this networking. I think they may get flooded by it, so they heed it off from the get-go, saying that they admit students generally, not by field or individual. I wonder if the idea of networking is going away. I’m not sure how I feel about it, since I find it rather awkward. However, I do think it’s given me an extra perspective on departments/people and hopefully, they get a good perspective of me beyond my personal statement.

I wish someone had a formula of how to approach these things or how to get into a school.

Today I took another day off. I needed it, considering after the labs from hell starting on Wednesday of the last week, I was also doing a take home midterm in EM, took my general GRE (I did better on it than I originally had), and finishing up homework on which I had an extension. I also think that I’m getting sick, because one of the profs for whom I TA was out all week with the flu.

I can use this week to catch up, since we have no EM due thank goodness. EM, though, I can handle. Programming in Matlab is not my stronger points; I’m not that interested in programming and not that good at it, perhaps as consequence.

And, as a final note, if anyone is in the Chicago area and looking to live in Chicago proper from Nov 1st to Jaunary 31st (or longer), please contact me. I began my search for someone to sublet from me.

I have to hand it to the electronics kids; they were in good spirits this week about lab, even though it looked daunting (It wasn’t time consuming, though). I really respect that they’re so willing to learn something they won’t really use in their lives and that they’re not being jerks about it; sometimes, I have encountered students who have poor attitudes towards learning physics and make teaching them a constant uphill battle. I understand that they’re only fulfilling a general requirement, but I try to make the most out of every situation and try to learn, if only because I’m being graded. I feel that they’re really trying to make the most out of this class, even if they’re met with challenges (their midterm I hear was killer and last week’s lab was no picnic). I’m really overall happy with my students this quarter.

I think that my fiancee and I have found an apartment to move into together! While my current place is fine, he doesn’t like having carpet (I can’t blame him; it is a pain) and wishes that we had a bigger kitchen. The new place is a bit cheaper and beautiful. It’ll be crazy moving towards the end of the month/beginning of Nov (finding a subletter, packing, etc.), but I think I can handle it.

Let’s hope this move happens.

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