How to Decide Which PhD Program Offer to Accept When you Have Multiple Offers

Hi people! It’s that time of the year when acceptances are rolling in from Ph.D. programs and excitement is bubbling in the hearts of recipients. Someone I am mentoring (my God, does this read as pretentious as it sounds?) told me she received an acceptance into her first choice PhD program! Such fantastic news. I am very happy for her. The visiting/open day (or whatever it is called now) will be happening soon. For those who don’t know much about the process, it’s a day when grad programs invite accepted students to come visit their program after being accepted but before deciding whether to in fact enroll.  They understand that prospective students may have 3 or 4 or 5 (or even more for some lucky people) programs to choose from and need information to make a decision. Part of attending the grad students day/visiting/open day is gathering that information.

Book of the Month: How Beautiful We Were by Imbolo Imbue

Hello and welcome to the book of this month! I have slacked off on this blog these past few weeks and want to get back in the groove of things. Needless to say, I LOVED the book of this month. From the same author who brought us Behold the Dreamers, the book of this month is called How Beautiful We Were, and that past tense in the title reveals more than you can imagine. New York Times described this book as "sweeping and quietly devastating" and I couldn't agree more  This is not a feel good story at all. Anyway, let's get into it. 

"We should have known the end was near..."

The book tells  the story of what happens when a small fictional village in Africa (yes, the author was this unspecific) called Kosawa decides to fight against  an American oil company that had been polluting their land for many years. It follows a group of children who were born in the village, but especially draws the focus on one of those kids, a girl named Thula who ultimately leads the revolution and resistance. When the story starts,  the village is very polluted, the rivers are covered in toxic waste, the air is dirty, the kids are getting sick and dying. In response, the oil company just resorts to false promises that things will get better but things aren't getting better and kids continue to drop like flies. So, the villagers decide to take matters into their own hands, and when the story starts the children are watching their parents fight the oil company and over time, the fight becomes theirs and they take over. The story unfolds from the perspective of "The Children'', a group of about seven kids and the family of one of them, Thula, who becomes and becomes the leader of the movement to bring the company to justice.


I happened to be in Florence, Italy today, at the Galleria Della Accademia (Accademia Gallery). The first piece of art I saw when I walked in was a marble statue, a masterpiece by  Giambologna, called "The Rape of the Sabine Women". This represents an incident often called the same name or sometimes termed "Abduction of the Sabine Women". Let me tell you a little about that incident. According to Roman mythology and historians like Livy, in the early history of Rome, just after its founding, Romulus and his male followers realized the population wasn't growing enough and thus worried about the city's strength. Yet, there were so few women inhabitants that growing the city's population would be challenging. They appealed to a bunch of people including some from neighboring towns to co-mingle with them or marry them, but that was not successful. Thereafter, they decided the next course of action was to abduct Sabine women during a festival (they deceptively invited these women to) and then, they raped them.