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Matt
I have not contributed much to this forum, though I have read a great deal, nearly all of the truly informative material. I have become to think of some contributors very knowledgeable, thus I reasoned that you could provide me with some first hand information of your status of studies, in what institutions, ones you would suggest, fields that are becoming interesting recently.

I imagine some of you are in graduate school, and I would like your input on anything that I have seen in this forum. My interests are semi-representative by this forum, biochemistry, neuro-science, extra-worldly experiences (whether drug induced, or achieved through meditation, btw, thoughts on the astral plane would be great too)

I am currently a 16-year-old student, and my thoughts thus far for higher education are leaning to Berkeley, and some other reputable institutions. I am taking these possibilities very seriously; I am not short of motivation to say the least. I am looking to make some friends from these places, maybe some contacts that could aid me in a quest for education.

So please give me all that you can possibly offer, I would like to know just where I might fit best, and talk of what is what I imagine the newest edge of your fields

In advance, thank you so much for your time
Matt

p.s. *golf clap* for this forum Shawn, I and others have found it most helpful wink.gif
Shawn
hi Matt,

You're 16, which is still pretty young, but old enough to be considering undergraduate work.  

For undergraduate (and graduate) work,  I think Berkeley would be a good choice; it's a very nice campus with excellent facilities, surrounding area, and climate.   My advice would be to place considerable effort in applying to all the places that interest you.  

If you were applying for grad school, I'd say that the most important information underlying your decision regarding what school you'll attend will likely come from your interviews (where the schools that like your application will invite you on an all-expense-paid trip to their school for interviews with the faculty and a tour of the campus).  These interviews will give you a chance to see, first-hand, the faculty (and how they interact with each other), the grad students there, the campus, and to get a real 'feel' of how it would be to go there for school.  Ask the grad students what it's like to go there for school.   This is the most important opportunity, I think, to get info for making your decision regarding what school to go to, and so you should try to make the most of it.

However, for applying to undergraduate schools, they don't usually have interviews, and so you can't really rely on these for your decision, unfortunately.  In such a case, I'd say to look at school rankings and also find out what sort of facilities the school has, and consider little things too, like climate and the surrounding area.  

Regarding what schools to apply to in the first place, there are many sources of info that can be used in this decision.  For instance, there are various school and department rankings (like in U.S. News and World Reports) that should be consulted prior to applying.  In general, you'll probably want to apply to at least 5 or 6 schools, unless you already know with certainty what school you want to go to.   Always take the precaution of applying to at least one 'back-up' school, though hopefully you won't have to fall back on this one.

Anyway, if there's any other info you'd like, please let me know.

It's an exciting time, applying for higher education, and the opening of new doors and new horizons, so to speak.  Good luck with it.

Shawn


 
Matt
Thank you for the information, I do appreciate it.

I have already taken the preliminary steps towards application to undergraduate studies, but i was curious as to what you and some of the other contributors feilds (if any) are. information from grad students that may contribute to this forum would be very useful to me, as you say, talk to grad students. with the resources i have a limited view of whats out there, short of an actual plane ride, i was hoping you could tell me a bit about your own studies and at which place you might be doing research.

if nothing of this applies to you (place of graduate studies, and what these studies might be) then my apologies, i only wanted the 'inside track' so to speak.
Shawn
hi Matt,

I'm currently finishing up my doctorate in the neuroscience program at Johns Hopkins University.  My thesis-related work involves presenting visual stimuli (coherent glass patterns vs. random non-coherent glass patterns) to monkeys, subsequently examining immediate early gene (IEG) expression in neurons in special areas of the brain (IEG expression is a marker for neuronal activity), and then determining the chemical identity of neuronal populations involved in coherent form analysis vs. non-coherent form analysis.    The methods I employ are mainly immunocytochemical.

However, there are also a few side projects I've worked on and am still working on.  These include, for the most part, fMRI-related studies and theoretical work.  

During the first year of grad school, I took courses and did lab rotations.  During the following years, I was involved in research practically all of the time (except during spare time, which I devote to other things for the most part).  Even now, I'm still engaged in research and busy writing up my dissertation.  

The road through grad school is a fun one if you have the right personal qualities.  For example, you have to be internally motivated in order to succeed.   This is very different from undergrad work where oftentimes the motivation to learn and ace your exams comes from wanting to be at the top of your class and making an A.  However, as a grad student, you no longer have this external motivation (i.e., wanting to make the grade) to compel you to do work;  you have to turn to your internal motivation in order to move ahead.  If you're not strongly internally motivated to pursue research, then grad school is probably not the ideal place to go.  I've seen many casualties of grad school.  When you go in, you must be intent not to become one of them, and to not have your flame, your holy curiousity, your inner motivation, extinguished.   If you possess such a strong inner motivation that you are resilient to practically any and all external circumstances, then by all means, give grad school a go.  You have my blessing.  

Dara
Hey Matt!

You seem to have much enthusiasm about your education, which I find refreshingly good! I am a grad student, though my field of study is in thh area of Special Education, more specifically, early intervention. I go to a local college here in Long Island, NY. I did my undergrad in the same school, and I am very impressed with their dedication to quality. Quality of the programs they offer, quality of the staff, AND quality of the students work. This college is strict, it has lots of requirements other schools dont have for the same programs, but I find that I really know what I am doing.

I realize I have yet to mention the college I attend is St. Joseph's college in Patchogue, NY!

Good luck in your persuit of education.

Love,
Dara!
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