Thursday, May 23, 2019

Undergrad Reflections

Dear younger me,

College is hard but you will make so many memories. You will meet so many people from from different backgrounds. You will learn to work with different types of people. You will learn that grades aren't everything. You will learn the importance of being involved in your campus. You will learn that changing your major is ok. Your patience level will be challenged and your patience will grow. You will learn to work hard despite the physical pain.  You will discover the power of To-Do lists. You will learn the joy in small things in life. You will learn that it's ok to take naps while in college. You will realize that stress is really bad and good. You will learn that it is important to cope with stress in a healthy way. You will realize it's ok to have me time. You will learn it's ok to cry. You will realize that family is so important. You will learn that positivity and gratitude are helpful for mental health. You will learn that making big decisions are very hard but it can be done through prayer and support from family. You will realize how God has provided for you. You will learn that it is very important to do your best and not to worry about what happens. You will learn character flaws and learn to change them. You will learn to have more self-confidence. You will learn the value of relationships. Most importantly, you will realize that you couldn't do it without God's grace.

College graduate

Monday, May 13, 2019

How to Pick a Graduate School

Hello readers. I am officially done with my undergrad degree. Today I would like to share how I picked my graduate school. It can be overwhelming with all the different schools. I hope to help you by making this process a little easier. I started with 15 graduate schools then narrow it down to my top 5. Then I picked my graduate school based on these following considerations.

- First you need to decide what program for graduate school. Also decide on a program/ school that you also like. If you search for graduate schools in Texas, you will get many schools in the results. Searching for a specific program will help narrow down your results. I searched for general psychology, human development psychology, and child  development psychology programs. when I looked up general psychology, there were so many schools that popped up, I decided to be even more specific with the type of psychology. Human development and family studies was a program that kept coming in my results. This is how I ended up with my current program. I would recommend looking up three different programs that you interested in. It is also a program that I liked.

- Location of the school is very important to consider. Do you want to go out of state or stay in your home state? This will help you when you research programs. In the beginning, I had considered schools out of state but then I  decided I wanted to be in my home state. If you want to go out of state, I recommend looking a programs in the states you are ok moving too. If you don't care which state, I recommend looking for the program in anywhere in the USA . If you want to stay in your home state, I recommend searching for the specific program/s + your home state.

- Funding opportunity is another great aspect to consider. Graduate school is really expensive. It is very important to look at funding and fellowship opportunities ( some graduate school offer scholarships too ). If a school isn't known for great funding or states that there isn't much funding, you may not want to apply especially if finances are a factor. Also many Masters programs don't receive great funding so it .ight be good to find a masters programs that offers funding and scholarships. This was a very important factor for me. I ranked the schools by this factor. The school that would most likely offer me funding, I applied first. This was also the determining factor for me in deciding which graduate school to attend.

If you are in graduate school, what is the process you used when deciding to pick your graduate school/program.

~Liu Miao~

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Graduate School Series: Personal Statement

Hello readers! One of the most important documents for Grad school is the Personal Statement. Why is it important? It allows for potentiat schools to see what kind of person you are. Many graduate schools will require this document. Some programs will list specific directions to follow when writing this document. It is important that you follow their instructions. For the personal statement, I recommend writing several drafts and making multiple edits. Checking for grammar and incorrect spelling is very important. It is very helpful to get feedback from professors or anyone who has been through this experience/ who is talented in writing. I formatted my personal statement per APA guidelines because my area of study uses APA style. Some programs may prefer MLA style.

This is how I structured my personal statement:

  • First paragraph: I explained a little about myself and what program that I’m applying to. I talked about why I am applying to the program and I wrote about my research interests ( how my research interests relates to the program).
  • Second paragraph: I explained why I am interested in my research topic.
  • Third paragraph: I wrote about my research experience
  • Fourth paragraph: I wrote about how my unpaid work experience has helped me be prepared for graduate school ( leadership positions, assisting a professor, working with a variety of people).
  • Fifth paragraph: I wrote about future goals after graduate school. I wrote how the graduate school could help me reach those goals.
  • Sixth paragraph : I wrote about three faculty that I hoped to work with.

My personal statement ended up being one page ( double spaced 12 times new Roman font). Some personal statements can be longer. The length of the personal statement will be determined by the requirements of the program. Some programs may want a specific word count or page count. Mine was short because I haven’t had tons of experience that would relate to graduate school. I also watched a lot of YouTube videos and I asked advice from professors. My professors were nice and gave me their personal statements as examples ( this helped me how to organize my personal statement).

~Liu Miao~

Monday, March 11, 2019

Graduate School Series: Application process

 Note : This is based on my application for an United States graduate school and everyone has their own experience / thoughts about the application process. This post is meant for the general graduate school application process and it is not to be specific towards a specific program/ degree. This is why I give general advice that could apply to those who are applying to a variety of graduate programs.

First, I used an excel spreadsheet to keep track of all the schools I wanted to apply. You could use Google spreedsheets if you didn't have Microsoft Excel. My professor recommended doing this because it can be hard to keep track of which deadline go with each school and sometimes schools require different documents. Horizontally I wrote: location, deadline, number of recommendations letters, documents needed ( transcript, CV, writing sample), Personal Statement, GRE scores, Name of the degree, school website.

Vertically, I wrote name of school. So my excel sheet looked like this. I have included a picture of a table that I created in powerpoint. (I didn't knw how to include a picture of my spreedsheet but the table has the same format)

Things I learned from the application process:

  • it’s never too late to start looking at graduate schools. I started looking at school during my junior/3rd year of college.
  • Double Check Deadlines. This is very important because every program has a deadline and deadline can vary depending on the program. Also deadlines vary depending if you are pursuing a masters or doctoral degree.
  • Check to see if your program accepts new students in the spring or is it only fall acceptance.
  • Find out if your program requires the GRE. If it does require it, I would start studying it. I recommend scheduling the test early because seats went fast when I took the GRE during the fall semester. I had my test scheduled in March and took it in September. Then I rescheduled to take it a month later ( October). There is a 21-22 day wait period before you can re take the test. Some programs require official scores from ETS so you need to take the test in enough time before the deadline because it can take awhile for ETS to send the official scores to the school and the school needs to process those scores ( according to one graduate program I looked at).
  • Start writing your personal statement early . I recommend writing multiple drafts. Many programs require this. I received great advice from my professors and a great friend about structuring a personal statement. If you get your personal statement done early, you can have professors and friends give you feedback.
  • Recommendation Letter. I try to give my professors two months in advance of the deadline. Also give your professors specific instruction on how the letter should be sent ( email, regular mail, submit letter to an online link, etc).
  • Also try to talk with someone who has gone through this experience. This can be friends or professors or bloggers. I was very fortunate to have professors and a friend who were willing to give me advice and answer questions . I was able to ask those in the blogging community who have been/ currently in graduate school. It is very helpful to have someone to ask questions/ advice about graduate school.

I would love to hear which graduate schools that you are applying to? If you are already in graduate school, what is one tip that you would share about the application process?

Have a great week!!

~Liu Miao~

Friday, February 15, 2019

Changing your major??

You go into college with a major in mind or you finally pick a major during your freshmen/sophomore year. Then you realize that you don’t like the major you picked. You ask yourself, Should I change my major or is this the right major for me?

I have been in this same situation while in college. It’s common for people to change majors while in college. I came into college and declared as a biology major( thoughts of becoming a doctor). I thought I was set. As I started taking biology, chemistry, and trigonometry, I realized that biology wasn’t something that I wanted to continue. My academic asked me this question “ what is a major that you can see yourself doing a job and that you enjoy doing?” I realize that I couldn’t see myself doing a job that requires a biology degree ,but I could see my self doing a job that requires a psychology degree. My goals had change while in college. I found new passions to pursue. Now I’m a psychology major and I plan to be a professor/ researcher in human development and family studies.

There are many things that I learned from this experience.

  • it’s ok to change your major . Goals and passion can change while in college.
  • It’s ok to feel confused about what to do with life. It can be very hard to make big life decisions since these decisions can impact your life later ( like what kind of job you can get)It is also a time where you are more independent.
  • Talk with a professor in the major you are pursuing. I had talked with a psychology professor about her experience of becoming a professor. I also asked about the field of psychology ( job opportunities, the different areas of study , education goals etc). This is how I decided that I could see myself in the field compared to staying in biology ( I previously asked the same questions to biology professors and still couldn’t see myself in the field).

Have a great weekend.

~Liu Miao~

Monday, January 28, 2019

Why I started this blog

Hello readers!! I hope that everyone is having a great Monday so far. I can’t believe that the month of January is almost over. Today I want to share why I started this blog , A Word with Liu Miao.

I started this blog fall 2015. This was about 3.5 years ago and so much has happened since starting this blog. Writing has been one of my favorite things to do since I was a little kid. I used to write short stories and stories with many chapters as a kid. In high school, I discovered Youtubers and bloggers. I liked that bloggers and Youtubers shared content such as tutorials, sharing inspiring stories , life experiences or favorite products. What does this different type of content have in common? Content helps people in some form whether it be educational or making people happy.

So in the year 2015, I decided I wanted to share my thoughts, experience and knowledge to the world in someway. I decided to do it in the form of a blog. This is how A Word with Liu Miao blog was started. The name of the blog comes from my Chinese name. The “A Word with “ part was to mimic a conversation between friends such as let’s have a Word together. I tried to pick a name that didn’t force me into a certain topic to write about such as Cooking with Liu or College with Liu.( Nothing bad with blogs that are geared towards a certain audience/ topic) I wanted the ability to write about a variety of topics

Have a great week
~Liu Miao~

Saturday, January 5, 2019

International Travel Tips

I have travel abroad by myself to Switzerland in 2017 and I learned some great tips that can be helpful for those who haven’t travel internationally before or for those who want to learn new tips.. It can be such an exciting and nervous time. My perspective is an American traveling internationally but many of these tips can be used for those from a different country.

  • passport. This is a very important document. If you don’t have one, make sure you get it in plenty of time before your trip. If your passport is expired or close to expiring , renew it in enough time.
  • Visa. Some countries require a visa to get into the country. Make sure to get one in enough time.
  • Do some research about the place/places you are visiting. Try to learn customs( for example is it acceptable to handshake or give hugs), the currency, a little bit of the history. It is good to show respect to the places that you visit.
  • Make sure to keep a little bit of currency from your home country with you while you are traveling so when you return to your home country, you can buy some food if there is a delay at the airport. Some people like to exchange currency or carry a card ( with the card you have to discuss with your bank at least in the USA. I am not sure if other countries offer these type of cards) or do both. It really depends where you are going since not all places take card. On my trip, I exchanged money into the currency of the country I visited.
  • I looked up a map of the airports that I flew into. This was helpful so I had an idea of where I was going. Many airports are really big and some require to take a train to get to other terminals.
  • Make sure you have a plug adapter for the country/ countries you are visiting. Plug adapter allows you to plug something into the plugs in other country since the shape of the plug outlet can vary.  Here is an article that lists what plug type and voltage that countries use plug type, voltage   You may need a voltage converter Voltage is the amount of electricity that goes into what you just plugged in. Some countries have a higher voltage power. Some devices are dual voltage that don't require a voltage converter. Here is a great article that explains this all in detailed voltage converter info.  I'm not an expert in this area and I would make sure to research or discuss with someone who understands this. I only brought an iPhone charger and it only required an plug adapter. I didn't bring any other devices such as a computer or hair blow dryer since I was staying with a friend and she let me use her things. If I was studying abroad, I would have brought my own computer.
I hope these tips help with your future travels. Do any of you guys have travel plans for 2019? Let me know in the comments below. 
Have a great weekend

~Liu Miao~