I know the answer would be specific to the college I’m studying at, but I’m asking this to understand why libraries specify a return date instead of allowing a student to return it when they are done with the book.

Why I’m asking: I travel (quite far) to college for a weekend course, and have to return a book I’ve borrowed after two weeks of borrowing. If I don’t, I am liable to pay a nominal fine which accumulates linearly for every day I don’t return the book.
Recently, our classes were cancelled on a weekend that I had to return a book (so didn’t go to college). The next weekend was an official holiday. The third weekend when I returned the book, I had to pay two weeks worth of a fine (the librarian reduced the amount, but that’s beside the point).

I would have actually preferred to return the book three months later, because there was a lot I needed to learn and refer from it. Why do libraries do this? If there are a sufficient number of books for x number of students to borrow, can’t the student specify at what (reasonable) date they would be able to return the book (if they don’t, the fine applies)? Why specify a two week deadline?

I am a hopeless and frustrated university student in second year.I do not know whether I should stay in math major with low GPA?What are the signs indicating the need of a change of major?I seems to be weak in math ability compared with others.In addition, sleep and concentration problem plague me a lot.In the beginning of undergraduate education, I indeed had passion in math.But afterwards, things turn badly.Maybe one reason is lack of sleep and bad habits.I have to travel a long way between college and my home every day.I skip lectures a lot in order to give more time to self-study and doing assignments.Due to this unpleasant undergraduate experience, I sometimes have the thought of dropout.(or waiting to be forced to leave)
Maybe I should take math as an amateur interest?Maybe I should leave the university?If the situation continues like this ,sometimes I think I would end up with being a waiter or cashier struggling to make a living as the employability of math students (especially pure math students with low GPA) seems to be low.What changes should I try to make?I think after this semester my average cumulative GPA will fall below 3 or even worse.I think my undergraduate experience reduces to “waiting to be assessed”.Most of time I just study alone.I feel like the only things I gain from university is the resources of library and a quiet place to study.What is the implications of entering the job market before re-entering university?

I am a postdoc helping in the supervision of a PhD student who is finishing his 2nd year now. This is in Europe, meaning the student came in with a MSc degree and these 2 years have been of research. “Helping in the supervision” actually means here that my professor is nominally appointed as supervisor but I am doing all of the actual supervision (my professor is not familiar with the details of our project, just the “big picture”).

The project is on computational physics/chemistry, and the PhD student has a background in chemistry with no prior computational knowledge. At the time of hiring we were under pressure to get the project going and complementing my physics background with someone who actually knows chemistry seemed like a good idea back then. Also the student was very motivated.

I have been spending a large amount of time teaching this student lots of physics and programming/scripting, which is needed to carry out the project. I assumed I would need to spend a lot of time at the beginning because of the background mismatch, so that was no problem. I thought things would improve with time. Unfortunately, they have not. The student is terrible at any kind of programming and has a lot of trouble learning new concepts, but what worries me the most is his attitude.

He basically is obsessed with getting results but is overlooking learning, in the form of reading books and papers and working hard on a problem for a period of time. If I tell him to “bang his head against the wall” for a couple of weeks trying to crack a problem before seeking advice from me (like we all have done during our PhDs), he gets frustrated after one or two days and starts sending me lots of desperate emails begging for me to intervene. This is a “gimme teh codez” kind of student, looking to avoid any problem which is any hard at all. I spend long meeting sessions explaining the theoretical and practical details of some approach, but he only seems interested when I write code that he can copy paste and use to get results (without even understanding the code, let alone the underlying physics).

Because of this I have to do lots of debugging and finding the same little (and large) mistakes that arise now and again because the student does not understand what he’s doing. I have discussed many times with him that he needs to focus on understanding theory and code, instead of just getting results. But this is to no avail. I get the impression the student wants to do a technician’s, rather than a scientist’s, job but still get a PhD out of it.

As a result, I find myself working personally on any part of his project which has any hint of difficulty in it, spending way too many hours a week doing supervision, and getting increasingly frustrated at the lack of progress on the project. At this point, it would be fair to say that I could myself get everything he has to do (and more) done just in the time I spent meeting with him.

I have brought some of these concerns up, but the student won’t accept they need to adjust how they work, instead claiming the tasks are too complicated (believe me, they’re not), the professor does not help enough, the project is not well organized, etc. I don’t know what to do – this student is getting easily 10 times more help than I did during my PhD (and I had a good experience).

To complicate things, I am just a postdoc so I have not a wide experience supervising different students that would tell me whether this case is common or isolated.

Am I expecting too much from my student? Is the problem I’m having a common one? How can I improve his attitude towards learning and working? How to deal with a bad research student?

I’m looking for post-doc position, and applied to a position. Here’s brief flow of email converstaion.

Possible PI: Well, it looks like your research interest and experience matches well with mine, let’s have a interview.

Me: Thank you. When can we have a discussion?

Possible PI: (No response)

3 days later

Me: Hello? Do we have interview?

Possible PI: (No response)

more 3 days later

Me: Hello? Can I have interview with you?

Possible PI: (No response)

I don’t know what is going on his side, but I never wrote something rude or stupid. Can I regard this sign as refusal? Or do I need to email him again? Or can I call to his office phone number?

I don’t think his reaction – no response – is polite at all, at least…

I am a Masters student in maths in Toronto and changed supervisors one year into my Masters program. My new supervisor was expecting me to to a PhD with him, but within two months of switching to him, I mentioned to him that I would not be pursuing a PhD. I mentioned to him that I haven’t decided what to do after my Masters, as I would like to work hard on my Masters thesis and write a good thesis.

Even though I said this, I am spending half my time learning data science because I would like to transition to data science after my Masters. The fact that I have only been putting in a minimal amount of effort to my thesis is reflected in the amount of work I complete every week before my meeting with him.

I have recently decided to fly to Chicago for a networking event in data science, which means that I will not be on campus for one working day of the week and also I will miss my supervisor’s group meeting. I have already mentioned this to the course instructor for which I am a TA this term and he’s switched my office hours for next week.

Now, the course instructor and my supervisor are in the same research group, and I am afraid to ask my supervisor for a leave for one day because I have been putting in a minimal amount of effort for my Masters thesis.

Should I ask my supervisor for a one-day leave, or should I not tell him and miss the group meeting and just return to work the next day?

I am a mature student. I work full time and I can’t access a tutor face to face. I have to use online solutions. I have a Wacom tablet that I use to draw Math content and I screenshare over Skype. I am looking for a whiteboard/screen drawing/screen sharing software that:

  • responds well to handwriting with a Wacom tablet
  • allows real time annotations to be made by me and my tutor
  • must work on both Windows and Mac

I bought Office 365 (Skype for Business). I would have liked to use the whiteboard sharing facility that Skype for Business comes with except, even though I already paid for it, the whiteboard sharing facility has never worked. Installing Skype for Business was not straight forward. Even after Microsoft staff assisted me, the installed software does not allow access to the feature that I bought it for initially. I will ask for a refund.
I don’t mind paying for such software. Just needs to work well. I apologize if my post seems a bit vague. It is only because English is not my first language.

I have been following 7 journals at the same time for may be about 10 years now. 4 of them are relatively unpopular and publish may be about 50 papers per year, so they are easy to follow, 1 has 100+ papers so it sometimes requires an effort to read about everything they publish but the other 2 are very popular and publish biweekly full issues with dozens of papers, so it is painful to follow them and I need to look at their webpages to see what is new almost every day. However, I’m interested in a field where I always need to look for papers outside of it and have to browse many journals irregularly to find possibly interesting information. That means I browse through dozens of journals irregularly and have to look through literally thousands of papers. And, oh God, it takes its toll. But the REAL problem is that my requirements only get broader with time, so I now can’t just keep on. I think there are really too many journals and too many papers in them to browse through and I can’t even manage to read through all the titles of all the papers that could potentially interest me, let alone read the abstracts.

This is why I would like to try to find someone who has similar problems and ask him/her how does s/he manage to solve them, e.g. what does it take to browse the maximum number of journals possible as far as search optimization, number of journals covered and time are concerned? Is it possible to cover a wide field and follow everything it happens in it so you could be aware of the new papers published in dozens of journals or is this simply impossible? I want to know how far can I get and how much time would the effort consume, so, if you could share with me your experience I would be very thankful.

Thank you very much!

Someone I know (or maybe me) wants to audition to the instrumental music section of LaGuardia High School on tuba. Can anyone give an example of a piece of tuba music that would get a tuba player into Laguardia? (Of course this should be music playable by an 8th grader, so it would help to post a piece of music that actually got somebody accepted.)

Note: I could not find a fitting tag for this, and do not have enough reputation points to create a new one, so the the tag does not entirely match.

I’m writing the introduction for a research proposal and am trying to express that our approach is “experimental” in the sense that it uses more exploratory and alternative methods rather than that it uses a controlled experiment.

Is the phrase “experimental approach” appropriate in this context? If not, what are alternatives? (Words like “novel” and “exploratory” aren’t quite right.) Which way should that phrase be interpreted in general?