Five years into a statistics program and I’m still shocked at my decision to go down this path. Switching fields going into my PhD was daunting and I’ve spoken before about how was convinced to turn Full Stats Stud during my visit to the programs recruitment day. Since then I’ve helped out with each batch of prospective students as they too are welcomed to Happy Valley and introduced to what earning a PhD in Statistics here could mean for them. I want to share these experiences and a little bit of what’s going on behind the curtain for our readers. If you are be going through a similar process, here’s one look at what a recruitment day looks like and what to expect. We’d also love to hear from others about their experiences as this process varies GREATLY between departments and universities!
In PSU Statistics, we invite domestic students that already have offers to our PhD program to come to campus for a day of information and fun. These students already have been accepted and we hope to convince them that they’ll find a great environment for spending the next 4-6+ years. Not all recruitment events happen after offers go out, and that could make for a more stressful visit. Even visiting a department you do have an offer for can be extremely intimidating. I know I am STILL intimidated sometimes! But one of the most important tips I have is to remember that you have worked hard and earned a spot! They should be working hard to impress you and be showcasing what their program has to offer.
Rachel recently used the analogy (METAPHOR? KY SCHOOLS TAUGHT ME THINGS I SWEAR) that life can be a feel like a circus act of spinning plates in the air. All the tasks and goals we balance in grad school are different plates, and we also want to keep ourselves and our relationships healthy and spinning. This blog is about our life, but as scientists our work is a large part of the equation. The amount of focus we can dedicate to Sweet Tea, Science waxes and wanes as the number of plates we have in the air changes. We’ve learned over the years to be gentle with ourselves and each other during times when the STS plate needs to be ignored a bit. Our lives are ramping up in exciting ways as we both near the end of the PhD chapter that’s kept our plates and heads spinning for the last 5+ years. (Y’all, Rachel is SO close to being my Dr. Bestie!! ::hearteyes::)
Academic “spring” may begin at the start of the semester in January, but March is always an exciting time as true spring is just around the corner (spring equinox, holla). This period of time can get very busy for graduate students. It’s tempting to get ALL THE THINGS done before summer hits: comprehensive exams, getting out that manuscript, and that other manuscript, securing summer field work or internships, and a whole slew of other goals. Keeping track of everything we hope to get done means a litany of lists. Both of us love to make lists, lists for groceries, packing, what needs to be done around the house, around the office, lists of code to run when it finally works, lists of things that could be wrong with our R code, all the lists. One of our favorite lists has got to be the List of Fun Way to Relax After Finishing a Thing. It’s very tempting to put off a lot of things while you’re hyper focused on an academic goal, but we think it’s important to carve out time for at least some of the funthings along the way. We also always love hearing how others deal with the constant work-life compromise struggle and warding off burnout.