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IMB8000
01-26-2015, 05:49 PM
Hello, since this is the waiting period (and the anxiety of waiting for results might kill me), it seemed like the perfect time to second-guess myself. The last 3 years I kind of steered my undergraduate career towards getting accepted into a top econ program. I took difficult math classes, most advanced econ, etc. and in reality I have enjoyed most of it. However, now the possibility of not getting into any schools seems very real, and I kind of wish I had enjoyed the last few years more, taken easier fun classes (who wouldn't want to take a film course or sports and society!), or even taken more econ and math classes to better my chances.


Do you guys have any regrets? about any part of it (application, undergrad, job, etc)? or are you all perfect with your choices?


Post-Scriptum: I do realize that if I get in somewhere it'll be worth it but still...







Moderator edit: Edited for grammar, spelling, etc. (which is, by the way, the correct abbreviation of et cetera)

Kaysa
01-27-2015, 02:55 AM
Don't regret what you cannot change. Use what you know now to prevent future regret.

PhDPlease
01-27-2015, 03:43 AM
On the offhand chance that you don't get into a PhD program, the math and advanced econ will probably e helpful when applying for jobs. There are a lot of employers who are impressed by applicants who have taken advanced math and will assume that you are an intelligent person, so it can come in helpful even if the math wouldn't actually be necessary to do the job.

Anyway if you are wishing you had taken easier classes AND harder classes at the same time, perhaps if you average the two factors out, you will end up with the level of courses that you actually took?

Econhead
01-27-2015, 12:40 PM
My undergraduate was not fun in any traditional sense of the word after my first year. I began working...a lot. Family issues crept in. Got married. More family issues and more hardship. All the time I was trying to do whatever I could to graduate and do what I thought was necesary to get into grad school. I had no "fun classes" built in, and circumstances before and during UG forced me to "grow up quick." I am still working towards the Ph. D having applied this cycle.

I have a lot of regrets in terms of the quality of my grades, but none in terms of how it has led me to my non-academic life with my wife. I am not sure, if anything significant had changed, how it would alter where I am now. I believe not going straight into a PhD was good for me. Only in some small way do I with that I had been able to have more "fun" in UG. Nothing related to the sexually potent years of my life, just that I wish I had taken some enjoyable classes, like film, and felt like I had time to breathe.

I believe eve this thread is best suited for about 2-2.5 months from now. If I receive no acceptances, I will have a re[redacted]]diculous number of regrets. If I am accepted anywhere (although particularly to about any of the best 12 that I applied to), everything I said above will stand.

tm_member
01-27-2015, 03:07 PM
My undergraduate was not fun in any traditional sense of the word after my first year. I began working...a lot. Family issues crept in. Got married. More family issues and more hardship. All the time I was trying to do whatever I could to graduate and do what I thought was necesary to get into grad school. I had no "fun classes" built in, and circumstances before and during UG forced me to "grow up quick." I am still working towards the Ph. D having applied this cycle.

I have a lot of regrets in terms of the quality of my grades, but none in terms of how it has led me to my non-academic life with my wife. I am not sure, if anything significant had changed, how it would alter where I am now. I believe not going straight into a PhD was good for me. Only in some small way do I with that I had been able to have more "fun" in UG. Nothing related to the sexually potent years of my life, just that I wish I had taken some enjoyable classes, like film, and felt like I had time to breathe.

I believe eve this thread is best suited for about 2-2.5 months from now. If I receive no acceptances, I will have a re[redacted]]diculous number of regrets. If I am accepted anywhere (although particularly to about any of the best 12 that I applied to), everything I said above will stand.

Please don't make me have to edit posts. Thanks.

Econhead
01-27-2015, 03:11 PM
Please don't make me have to edit posts. Thanks.

My apologies. Will not happen again.

rawls234
01-27-2015, 04:00 PM
I took a job that I don't particularly like (software engineering) because it pays very well for someone right out of college to have money to live with during graduate school. I really don't want to get stuck doing that for another year and I'm not even sure what I'll do with my life at this point if I don't get into at least one program with some amount of funding so the anxiety is stressful. I guess my other regrets would be I wish I would have taken more advanced econ / math courses instead of some of the CS electives I took (which were math-focused but ending up being applications of mathematics essentially and won't help much with grad school admissions) and done more with my RA and senior thesis work. I did my senior thesis junior year (with the original intention of doing a CS one senior year - which I didn't do) and my advisor said that we could have polished it for publication, but I opted not to because I was already doing an overloaded set of classes and running a company that I had founded. Since that company has since floundered, I wish I would have devoted my time to polishing the thesis and doing another RAship. Just can't wait for the end of Feb at this point haha.

Trifecta
01-27-2015, 04:32 PM
I wouldn't have made a 2.1 GPA in undergrad. However, like Econhead said above, that comes with the possibility that my life and career may have taken a different course and I may not have met my wife of almost 5 years. It's taken a lot of extra non-degree coursework in math and stats (30 credit hours), a 3.9 GPA in my 2nd tier MA program (commuting an hour each way), and several years in a research job to get to the point where I maybe have an outside shot at top 50 programs. I've already been accepted this cycle to a health policy PhD program (econ minor) at one of the best schools of public health in the country so I feel like I'm playing with house money now anyway. I know that my experience is probably an outlier for those with subpar undergrad GPAs but it can happen, although it certainly isn't the easiest way to get into a PhD program.

publicaffairsny
01-27-2015, 06:37 PM
Trifecta I find your story really inspiring. I also had the sub 3.0 ug GPA, doing the supplementary coursework thing. I'd be glad to hear some more about your experience or hear advice through pm.

sulebrahim
01-27-2015, 09:30 PM
from what I gather, the steps were: take math classes at a local college ---> do a masters in econ ---> work in a research position ---> PhD ---> Profit.


Trifecta I find your story really inspiring. I also had the sub 3.0 ug GPA, doing the supplementary coursework thing. I'd be glad to hear some more about your experience or hear advice through pm.

Trifecta
01-27-2015, 10:57 PM
from what I gather, the steps were: take math classes at a local college ---> do a masters in econ ---> work in a research position ---> PhD ---> Profit.

That's the plan!

I think the key is that once you do as poorly as I did in undergrad, the margin for error going forward is so small. Make a C in linear algebra...you're done. Don't have a 165+ Q on the GRE...probably toast.

tm_member
01-27-2015, 11:58 PM
My apologies. Will not happen again.

It's no biggie, we're all adults, but the forum has to live within the testmagic universe and its rules. Thanks for understanding.

publicaffairsny
01-28-2015, 12:47 AM
from what I gather, the steps were: take math classes at a local college ---> do a masters in econ ---> work in a research position ---> PhD ---> Profit.

Yeah its nice to share your experience with someone who can relate. Its the foundation of alumni associations, book clubs, support groups. I am already pretty set on my path, but there are nuances of the experience that can only be addressed by someone who has lived it as well.

IMB8000
01-28-2015, 01:14 AM
Trifecta way to keep at it, that is honestly inspiring specially since I don't know if I would go through all this process again if i get denied. And maybe Econhead is right that this should be discussed in 2-3 month when all the information is available, because I wont regret anything if I get into my top choice but I'll regret a lot if i don't get anywhere. But the way I looked at it, that now we don't have the benefit of hindsight so our answers can include more things and are not limited to agree with the result.

(By the way, thanks and sorry to tm_member for all the edits; hopefully this post is better. i just wished i knew you when i was writing my statement of purpose )

publicaffairsny
01-28-2015, 03:04 AM
That's the plan!

I think the key is that once you do as poorly as I did in undergrad, the margin for error going forward is so small. Make a C in linear algebra...you're done. Don't have a 165+ Q on the GRE...probably toast.

I think this is perception too. (And probably a useful delusion). But being an econ PhD and being human are not mutually exclusive. Things happen but if you truly have the potential any mistake can be overcome.

If my time working at the adult education school has taught me anything its to never rule a person out no matter what their mistakes. I've befriended people who spent 20 years in prison who came out and took the steps to do right. We had a poster on the wall, it said "over every obstacle a bridge will be built." I really believe in that and I also believe in my personal truth that its not over until you're dead.

Food4Thought
01-28-2015, 03:17 AM
I think this is perception too. (And probably a useful delusion). But being an econ PhD and being human are not mutually exclusive. Things happen but if you truly have the potential any mistake can be overcome.

If my time working at the adult education school has taught me anything its to never rule a person out no matter what their mistakes. I've befriended people who spent 20 years in prison who came out and took the steps to do right. We had a poster on the wall, it said "over every obstacle a bridge will be built." I really believe in that and I also believe in my personal truth that its not over until you're dead.


I think regret is so common in econ PhD hopefuls because of the extremely competitive nature of admissions. Many many many students deserve to go to a top-20 or even top-10 program, but sometimes people screw up or make suboptimal decisions. As a result, many people feel like they get a raw deal.

This is my case. I have great grades and good recommendations. So, the only thing I worry will hold me back is the pedigree of my institution.

publicaffairsny
01-28-2015, 03:30 AM
I think regret is so common in econ PhD hopefuls because of the extremely competitive nature of admissions. Many many many students deserve to go to a top-20 or even top-10 program, but sometimes people screw up or make suboptimal decisions. As a result, many people feel like they get a raw deal.

This is my case. I have great grades and good recommendations. So, the only thing I worry will hold me back is the pedigree of my institution.

Sure, a mistake may keep you out of your dream school. But it wont keep you out of the school where you belong (which is the one you go to). This is why I think you guys need to read some foucault with your friedman. Societal institutions, especially those credentialing knowledge, traffic in power. This power can be used to oppress some while benefiting those selected to perpetuate the power structures. Don't allow yourself to be oppressed by these false hierarchies. Or lets take it down a notch and remember our favorite rastafarian: "emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds."

Econhead
01-28-2015, 03:37 AM
Sure, a mistake may keep you out of your dream school. But it wont keep you out of the school where you belong (which is the one you go to). This is why I think you guys need to read some foucault with your friedman. Societal institutions, especially those credentialing knowledge, traffic in power. This power can be used to oppress some while benefiting those selected to perpetuate the power structures. Don't allow yourself to be oppressed by these false hierarchies. Or lets take it down a notch and remember our favorite rastafarian: "emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds."

This post reminds me very much of the marxian commi economist at my UG.

publicaffairsny
01-28-2015, 03:39 AM
This post reminds me very much of the marxian commi economist at my UG.

It works for me because i internalize the critique while maintaining a commitment to capitalism. I have the best of both worlds. Just because we live in an oppressive society marred by inequitable initial distribution of resources, doesn't mean the market can't fix our problems if we level the playing field.