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Thread: Holidays and vacation as a phd student

  1. #1
    Eager!
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    Holidays and vacation as a phd student

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    So I just got an offer and from one of my top programs so I知 very excited. I知 married and my spouses career he痴 spent 15 years making is at home almost 11 hours away from the college so I understand if he isn稚 willing to move until after I知 out of school and in a TT position. Unfortunately that means long distance lots of travel. I was wanting to hear from other current students about holidays and vacation time. When can you leave for Christmas get back after New Years? Can you go home in the summer for a few weeks I f you still can get work done or is FaceTime necessary. Does this change after you complete your comps?

    Im an accounting student if that makes a difference. My offer makes no mention of vacation just 20 hour RA position.

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    A long long time ago XanthusARES's Avatar
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    Re: Holidays and vacation as a phd student

    A lot depends on the school and your advisor specifically. Some people are perfectly fine with you being away for a while. Some people prefer you to be there all the time.

    For the record do not go to a school or work with an advisor who is unwilling to give you a week off at winter break and a week off in the summer. It's not worth it. I can't speak to all programs, but for me I worked in the office through yesterday (12/22). I had a meeting with my advisor at 4 PM and then headed out for a week. I have to get some stuff done at home over the following week, but I won't be back in the office until January 2 at the earliest. For others in my program I know some left around the 19th and won't be back for a month. Again it all depends on what your advisor (and yourself) is cool with. If you can work fine from a separate location, then you'll likely be OK. There are some required things that you'll need to be at school for, but no one is going to bat an eye if you leave for a few weeks during the summer (almost everyone does).

    It all really comes down to how much work is getting done. If you are staying on track to graduate in a reasonable time, meeting regularly with your advisor, and not missing any departmental things, it shouldn't really matter where you work. I know people who work better from home and they do. I rarely see them in the office. I also know people (myself) who prefers to not work when I'm at home with my family, so I do about 80% of my work in the office.

    Unfortunately, there isn't a standard and as I stated at the start, it all depends on your department and advisor. As far as long distance relationships go, they're difficult during grad programs, but I know a few married couples who make them work. You'll get used to Facetime. The other thing is that if you're so far away from your spouse you might want to just assume that when you are together you won't be getting any work done. If you go in with that assumption you won't feel like a failure when you don't get stuff done and you'll more fully be able to enjoy your time with them.

    Congrats on the offer by the way (this seems extremely early).
    Til now I always got by on my own
    I never really cared until I met you...

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    An Urch Guru Pundit Swami Sage
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    Re: Holidays and vacation as a phd student

    Vacation and work time are weird as a PhD student. I think the answer to your question is that it depends.

    I'm in the office right now, but I'm the only one. If you get things done that you need to, then you can take a lot of vacation. There isn't a lot of specific stuff to do in the summer after comps and responsibilities leading up to winter break can vary. It wouldn't be unusual to have a presentation or something like that over winter break. It is a nice time to get some research done without distractions. If you work well from your home, then you could spend a lot of time there.

    There have been a couple of women in the program with me whose husbands stayed in another place and they commuted a lot.

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    Within my grasp! BrazilianPhD's Avatar
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    Re: Holidays and vacation as a phd student

    I think it's nearly impossible to say something for sure.

    From what I've seen here, students have a lot of freedom, unless they have classes, meetings, presentations, things like that. And even those things are sometimes harder to predict than it seems. Another student here went back to her country for the winter break, and had already scheduled the flight to return to the US according to our expected day of return to classes. After that, she saw that one of the courses for Spring will take place in another university, where classes start 1 week earlier, when she will not be back yet. So she will miss the first week of class (not a good thing, for sure). On the other hand, I had planned to take that same course, but I had to drop it this week, and so it seems my vacation will be longer than it seemed at first (taking also into consideration the Martin Luther King Day).

    I stopped going to the university on Dec 19, deciding to keep studying at home. I've seen people leave before that, and I think there were people going to office until yesterday.

    About Summer, I know that here we are expected to take Summer courses in the beginning (two first years, I guess), so I don't think there will be much time left for summer vacation. After that, no way to know.

    You should talk to people over there if they think facetime is necessary or not in some situations, what they expect from you. I was worried about that in the beginning, because I had a lot to do, but it was much better to work at home than at my office (I didn't have all the software I needed at the office, for example). I talked to the program coordinator, who said that as long as I get the expected results, I'm free to decide the way I want to work.

    Here they also don't care about those 20 hours you mentioned. There is very little actual work as an assistant in the beginning. In my case, on paper I'm supposed to work 10 hours for one professor and 10 hours for another professor. But one of the professors just said she has nothing for me to do right now, and the other one said I should use that time to focus on the classes I'm taking. So, you can have a lot of freedom to decide how you're going to use your time, but you have very little free time (if any). This first semester was really overwhelming to me.

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    Re: Holidays and vacation as a phd student

    Congratulations on the offer, that's really great. Please write about that in the thread about results, it's a good way for us to keep track of how things are going.

    http://www.urch.com/forums/phd-busin...n-results.html

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    Re: Holidays and vacation as a phd student

    This is a great advice. Every prospective PhD student should take this into consideration.

    Everyone's case might be different but fundamentally it is the same problem. Competing priorities between work, family, kids, pets, start-up, name anything. But, we need a balance and a break in between work will only help the productivity.

    Personally, I had a hectic term balancing course work, couple of projects I am doing with the professors (an opportunity to get involved in publishing a paper was too good to pass, though not an academic journal) and my start-up. So, I am taking a total break from work until after the New Year and managed to get through an entire family holiday without even taking my laptop. I did sneak in reading a few papers when the family was at the beach or pool, but when they were around it was strictly no work. You need such breaks if you want to maintain work life balance.

    By the way, congrats on the offer.

    Quote Originally Posted by XanthusARES View Post
    For the record do not go to a school or work with an advisor who is unwilling to give you a week off at winter break and a week off in the summer. It's not worth it.

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    Re: Holidays and vacation as a phd student

    Most advisers will be very humane about this. Your real constraints are going to be the timing of your required classes in the first and second years. Even then, I can't imagine any issues about you leaving to join your spouse outside of term time, as long as you work your adviser to make sure that you are productive on your RA. I think though you will need to mentally commit to spending term time at your university during your third and fourth years because otherwise I think it is too easy to get lost and not make progress on research.

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    Re: Holidays and vacation as a phd student

    Quote Originally Posted by elsenot View Post
    Most advisers will be very humane about this. Your real constraints are going to be the timing of your required classes in the first and second years. Even then, I can't imagine any issues about you leaving to join your spouse outside of term time, as long as you work your adviser to make sure that you are productive on your RA. I think though you will need to mentally commit to spending term time at your university during your third and fourth years because otherwise I think it is too easy to get lost and not make progress on research.
    this has been my experience as well.
    This is hard work

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