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Am I no good?

  1. Feb 7, 2012 #1
    I am a 1st year Masters student. I started working with an adjunct out of department faculty member last semester and she mentioned that she'd fund in Spring. But now she says it won't be until this Fall. In the mean time I applied for a few TA positions, but didn't get any of them. Just heard back from a scholarship committee, not selected. I've been applying to labs for research projects in summer, no responses. My grades are fine, so is my CV; professors are asking me to come in for interviews based on them, but then I'm messing things up. I've tried to make up for what I'm doing wrong in the previous interviews. But that hasn't helped yet and the positions are few as it is. The research isn't going anywhere either.
    All these failures are just so disheartening. Am I no good? Are these many rejections normal/acceptable? Should I rethink what I am doing? Or am I just being impatient? I don't mind keeping at it, but I'm beginning to think that I’m probably just not good enough to do things at this level. I plan to apply to PhD programs this fall, but right now it feels like that'll just be wasting both time and money. I just don't know what to do anymore.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 7, 2012 #2
    I'm interested in the part about messing the interviews up. Are you getting feedback from these interviews so you know what to make up for?
  4. Feb 7, 2012 #3
    Hmm, Where are you from?
    if you are in USA, it is very good chance to teach or research in Asia or Europe as well

    let's see another point of view, they take researcher based on their needs (similiar to the 10 companies I applied but no one even response)..then after I probe,the fact is whether you are best or moderate if it is not their necessary, you will not accepted.
  5. Feb 7, 2012 #4
    No, it's mostly what I think I did wrong, like not speaking up enough or not knowing enough about the area. The TA positions are being offered in areas that are not my core strengths. So I've tried my best to read up before the interviews. But for the second interview, the prof. said that he doesn't like to take students who are working with other people because he is very demanding. The third one was more like a casual chat and I think that I couldn't convey the extent of my interest appropriately. I have another one scheduled tomorrow. But it's for a technical position. In the current situation I am afraid to hope for anything.
  6. Feb 7, 2012 #5
    You will never get a positive in every interview that you attend. Nobody does. Here's a few of the techniques I use to prepare for interviews (I have never applied for a position in academia but I imagine basic interview technique is the same regardless):
    Always go over the questions they are likely to ask and have a prepared response putting yourself in the best light prior to the interview. Be prepared to deviate if you have to but at least make sure you have an idea how you will answer the basic questions.
    Try to get inside the head of the interviewer and figure out what they are looking for. Again, do this well before the interview (i.e. a day or two before, not just before you walk in).
    If the positions are not in your core strengths try to work out what you bring to the table that others don't - experiences, knowledge etc.
    Never come across as desperate. A sense of desperation is the fastest way to not get an offer.
    Prepare a one to two minute sales pitch on yourself - who you are, your background, your strengths, your goals and how this all will help in the position. This is great for those "informal" questions like "tell me a bit about yourself" which really translates to "I am giving you two minutes to sell yourself, I will decide whether to spend any more time on you only if you interest me in the next two minutes".
  7. Feb 7, 2012 #6
    Thanks for the tips. I'll work on the sales spiel.
    I guess I'm just overreacting. I don't seem to handle failure very well.
  8. Feb 7, 2012 #7


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    Are you sure you want to be in grad school? :biggrin: The most important trait I think a grad student needs is to be resilient enough to keep bouncing back from failures...you'll encounter a lot of those in research.
  9. Feb 7, 2012 #8
    I do want to be in grad school. Thanks for reminding me what's important.
    I guess this is the perfect time for me to teach myself some failure management.
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