How to Help Choose SNK4R's Summer -- Win $1,000,000! (in Contests)

SNK3R November 4 2007 8:59 PM EST

I'm in a bit of a dilemma. This summer, I have the choice of doing three things, but I can't decide! Your task is to write a logical explanation of why I should choose one of the three options listed below. The winner will be awarded $1,000,000. The winning factor will be based on how convincing your explanation is on why I should choose that option over the other two options. There is no length minimum or maximum for your explanation; feel free to write as little or as much as you want.

Before you begin writing, please read through each of the opportunities carefully and make your decision. Assume monetary issues are of no concern for the abroad program and knowledge of research topics is of no concern for the research opportunities. This contest ends Thursday at 8:00 PM EST. You may only submit ONE entry.

The three options are:

Study Abroad Program: This program will take place in Slovenia, Ljubljana from June 28 to July 26, 2008. I will need to pay a bare minimum of $2500 (most likely much more) to attend. This course takes an ethnomusicological approach to the study of traditional musics in Slovenia (which includes as minority groups Croatians, Serbians, Albanians, Bosnians, Roma, and Macedonians), and its neighbors Austria, Italy, and Croatia. This program will meet lots of musicians and dancers, as well as local music scholars and journalists. I will also do some singing and dancing. I will know the professor which will teach two courses during this program, and she will be the one "guiding" us through this study abroad.

Research Opportunity 1: This opportunity pays me a decent sum of money to do nuclear physics research at an institution (a National Lab) I've already done research at. I'm familiar with the research facility and its projects. The National Lab is very close to home. It's a familiar setting since I've been there the past 2 summers; I'm also guaranteed a spot for this summer, if I decide to apply. The program lasts 10 weeks.

Research Opportunity 2: This research program is not familiar to me at all. It will have to do with some form of physics research, but an area where I may know nothing. I will not be guaranteed a slot in any research program, so it will be a free-for-all in the application process. The pay is a little better than Research Opportunity 1, but will put me anywhere in the United States (think of a roulette), so it will be more of a "trip" and new environment for me. The program lasts 10 weeks.


If you still have questions, feel free to ChatMail me if you need more information about any of the above opportunities to help make your explanation more convincing. Good luck!

Hyrule Castle November 4 2007 9:02 PM EST

thats easy hands down imo...

as long as you like research opp. 1... do that..

you've done it before, it pays, and its near to home...^.^ whats not to love?

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] November 4 2007 9:02 PM EST

number 1 ~ what guy wouldn't rather study a broad?

chuck1234 November 4 2007 9:10 PM EST

Maybe its my adolescent hormones, but seriously SNK, from my pov, there's no competition here. The STUDY ABROAD PROGRAM is the hands-down, no-brainer winner.

You will get to meet a lot of musicians from Europe, a fair proportion of whom will be hot chicks; you get to meet a lot of dancers from Europe, more than a generous proportion of whom will be hot to very hot to oww brain-bursting hot hot chicks. Remember, beautiful girls from all over that part of Europe are trying their all to turn up in attendance at this event, and they are all eyes, ears, everything for Americans with fat pockets. And you will be doing your singing and dancing with them under the stars in the summer sky. Oooohh, i can't even get my fingers to type, my whole body's going into a chill thrill.

As against that what have you at the other two places? Hot uranium, and lotsa high-refraction spectacle glare. I know its nuclear physics, and maybe you stand to win the Nobel Prize; but seriously, SNK, its summer, and a guy's gotta get a life. Jump on this opportunity like a man, and if there's a place for one more person, book for me as well, make the ticket from London to that hot destination wherever in Europe.

Plz send the 1 mil CB to my char MI5, thanks in advance.

Phoenix [The Forgehood] November 4 2007 9:11 PM EST

Go abroad.

It's important to increase your knowledge, but it's more important to meet more people and understand their cultures.

48Zach November 4 2007 9:13 PM EST

I'm not much of a traveller, and I like to stay with things I am fimiliar with, so, Research Option 1 does it for me.

lostling November 4 2007 9:14 PM EST

i would say number 1 :) cultural exposure is always nice... maybe bring us some clips =x since you dont NEED the money yep... im sure in schools there will be many girls to look at so i guess thats a + lol =x

48xVanished48 November 4 2007 9:19 PM EST

I'm not trying to win this. But I would choose #2. I would much rather stay home and do something I already know about, Rather then traveling the world and doing stuff I don't know.

You do what you think is best.

Goodfish November 4 2007 9:31 PM EST

While I know, from personal experience, how important studying abroad is, I think there are other things you have to take into consideration. I realize you said money is no issue, but it's terribly important. If you can't afford to part with three grand, don't study abroad. In this case, I would choose RO #2, due to the fact that it might get you to "learn" some new things anyhow. While familiarity is very handy, sometimes it's also important to get outside your comfort zone, meet new people, and try new things.

Now, here is my take on all three options.

Studying Abroad: While I am not musically inclined, at least as far as traditional folk music goes, I think traveling to Slovenia would be very exciting. You will learn plenty. Of course, learning about nothing but music might bore you after a while (at least, it would bore me, and after only a few days). One downside is that it lasts less than a month. What would you do the rest of the summer? If music is your thing, and money isn't an issue, this is your pick.

RO #1: Decent sums of money are always great. The only problem is, it looks like you have two other, more interesting options available to you. In this case, staying around the house looks like the drollest of your choices. I would not do this unless you are stricken with a physical condition which renders you incapable of travel.

RO #2: To me, this would be very exciting. I'm a physics major (and from what you've been describing, it looks like physics is one of your areas of expertise as well), and getting the chance to do some neat-o research would be great. Not to mention, it might be a vacation! Depending on the location you get sent to, it may be a wonderful vacation-slash-research opportunity, or it may just be a research opportunity. Regardless, you'll meet new people, learn new things, and make a heap of money. I am a big fan of all three. Plus, I would imagine that if you are rejected, you can always do one of your other choices (which should probably be studying abroad). This is your best choice, because it involves making money, going somewhere new, and experiencing a completely new (albeit unfamiliar) field of research. I would be blown away if I had the chance to do something this fantastic, and here you can't even make a decision! =]

QBOddBird November 4 2007 9:44 PM EST

I'll address each of these points individually before giving you my conclusion.

Study Abroad Program: From what I see, it looks like you get to travel to a foreign country where you get to try something fun for a bit - a look into their cultural and musical heritage. There's lots of history here, and there'll be lots of opportunities for photographs...additionally, you enjoy music, so this will a fun experience. It'll be as much of a vacation experience as anything else. That, and the thought of SNK4R dancing is almost delightful.

Research Opportunity 1: Big point numero uno is that you are getting paid to do something that you intend to do as a career - nuclear physics. That's work experience, which counts for something. So in this case, it'll be more experience versus fun. This one, however, is close to home - less travel, and the travel experience is an invaluable one. However, again - work experience versus the fun experience. Plus there's the guarantee for a spot for the summer.

Research Opportunity 2: First off, it isn't familiar to you, really. You aren't entirely sure of the physics research area, in which you may know nothing - could be a good thing, as you could get to explore new fields, but then again you might just cover old, boring territory. Additionally, the free-for-all in the application process makes it that much less desirable as well. Last, but not least, this puts you anywhere in the United States - but you can go anywhere in the U.S. since you live here, so that's not so much of a bonus as it really sounds. I'd count this one out point blank.

My conclusion: between Study Abroad Program 1 and Research Opportunity 1, I'd choose Study Abroad Program 1. The opportunity to travel outside the country is always exciting and an enjoyable experience, as well as the opportunity to experience and learn about another culture. You get to learn 2 courses, so there *is* some education involved; you get to bring home some lovely souvenirs, mementos of a trip you won't forget; and you get to involve yourself in the musical experience of another nation. Plus SNK4R sings and dances. Jeez, no brainer there. *snickers*

Study Abroad Program 1 it would be, if I were you. =) Fun + Education + Unforgettable experience = Priceless opportunity.

SCORPIOUS November 4 2007 11:57 PM EST

Well now lets see, research opps 1&2 sound good and all but that sort of thing sounds like they come around time and time again and you would have other chances of getting into such research programs in the future.The study abroad however sounds like a once in a lifetime, never to be forgotten experiance that would stay with you till your diying days. You would get to see and feel life on the other side of the planet, different cultures, different scenery, different foods, not to mention Slovenia has some of the most beautiful women on the planet. What red blooded male could pass up an opportunity like that.Take the study abroad program, youll never regret it!

Khardin November 5 2007 12:17 AM EST

It's a hard question to answer without knowing where you are at in life. Study Abroad sounds great - travel the world! meet crazy people! - but getting a good choice of jobs later would be the best bet. It's good to have traveled outside of the U.S., perhaps even critical. You'll probably be working with people who have all done so and you want to be able to relate since it will give you a better chance to be hired.

Research Op #1 sounds good. You've been there the past two summers, and if you want to work there soon enough then keeping your face fresh is a good decision.

Research Op #2 is my pick. You might see areas of the U.S. you haven't experienced, and knowing your own country is even more vital than traveling abroad. Many states are different enough to be foreign countries and the only good way to know about what's out there is to see it. I don't know if this is something which requires you to have a security clearance, or if you have one already, but getting one before you get to the job market will make you stand out more and even make it 'easier' for some places to hire you.

j'bob November 5 2007 4:43 AM EST

Knowing nothing about you I say STUDY ABROAD. Research comes and goes and will always be there. Seriously, there's always gonna be something new to research, or at least something new to you. Travel. Travel now. Travel while you can. You just never know what's going to happen in your life that may change your situation into one that may never allow for something like option #1. Even just a month in a place you might never have gone can open opportunities that you might never have known.
Option 3 may involve some travelling, but you don't know where you're going and it's been my experience that a trip with in the US is always going to be easier to plan in the future regardless of what your situation might be.


Slashundhack [We Forge Our Own Stuff] November 5 2007 4:51 AM EST

Maybe I'm just being prejudiced but the first one is a money hole in a formerly Communist country. That says to me bad food bad lodging and you are out 3 grand . Although if you are looking for a mail order bride go for it ! Research 1 is a bird in the hand . Research 2 sounds like it could be a run around, goose chase, bug hunt ,but better money if it works out . Eh clairvoyance tells me you will be lucky and score royal if you go for R2! Me being a chicken I would go for the sure thing . So it seems to me your question is answered by this are you chicken or do you believe in a clairvoyant talking out his spokes model ?

zeaderan November 5 2007 5:42 AM EST

u are relatively young and energetic and healthy.
spending money is also not an issue.
you have a valid up to date passport + visa.

opportunity 1:
familiar environment.
close to gf/wife, also... yet an excuse to be far enough to get some .occasional breathing room without making it feel like you want to get away.
done it b4 so maybe work might be easier.
done it b4.
maybe a little bit of a wasted summer since there are other unexplored opportunities.

opportunity 2:
new stuff and material.
get more diverse in your field.
exciting cause you don't really know where you'll be stationed. some places may sound lame but actually end up being pretty fun since you're new the area and can enjoy events/things that some of the locals may find boring and routine.
b4 you start the research you can road trip it to where ever you're going and stop by some places you've always meant to check out. you can also bring the gf/wife along for the road trip and then fly her back when u start work. also road trip back home on a different route and see more places.
pays more.
even if you don't get the position you have 2 back ups to choose from.
meet new people.
you aren't a big fan of new things.
you hate road trips.
the new work environment isn't fun or what you expected of it.
not getting the position may get you down.

study abroad:
foreign chicks are so hot. even if you have a significant other... you can still look. eye candy is always a plus. as some put it: if you're gonna go to a different restaurant... looking at the menu is ok, you're just not allowed to order.
a rare opportunity to travel overseas with a guide.
this overseas trip could be an eye opening experience.
authentic exotic foods.
you'll be paying money instead of making money.
you'll be taking a two courses as you try to experience a new country.
you cant enjoy/eat the food.
the US goes into civil war and the current government gets overthrown and you end up being a citizen of nowhere landing you stuck in the Slovenia airport for a long time (tom hanks - the terminal). small pro to the con... u get to meet catherine zeta jones.

personally i would pick opportunity 2. opportunity 1 is old news. you've already done it. it should be reserved as a back up to the back up. unless you've really enjoyed it in the past or you're looking to get something in the future with that institute (job/referral) it prob, in my opinion, not worth re-living. the study abroad maybe fun and seem like once in a life time but later in life you'll find the time and money to do those type of things and you'll be more experienced age and taste wise and also you can go with friends, family, or a loved one and really throw yourself into the culture without restraint from school or a guide. i would use the study abroad to be a back up to opportunity 2. with opportunity 2 you can widen your work experience and still get the vacation of a new place. the US is a big place but people don't explore it as much as they should since they already "live there."

ps if u haven't done so and still cannot decide what to do, make a pros and cons sheet for each option. it seems silly but it works for most people.

Ammon [The Black Tower] November 5 2007 1:48 PM EST

My choice would be this

Study Abroad Program: This program will take place in Slovenia, Ljubljana from June 28 to July 26, 2008. I will need to pay a bare minimum of $2500 (most likely much more) to attend. This course takes an ethnomusicological approach to the study of traditional musics in Slovenia (which includes as minority groups Croatians, Serbians, Albanians, Bosnians, Roma, and Macedonians), and its neighbors Austria, Italy, and Croatia. This program will meet lots of musicians and dancers, as well as local music scholars and journalists. I will also do some singing and dancing. I will know the professor which will teach two courses during this program, and she will be the one "guiding" us through this study abroad.

I would say to Do the Study Abroad program, Yes it may cost more money but then again you would be getting experiences that you wouldn't have likely had otherwise, How often would you be able to do this compared to the other two, You've already done research in the National lab so it would be familiar but why would you want things to stay the same, to do the same thing, over and over again to let things become routine. The second research option your not guaranteed a place in it, while if you had the money then you could learn more. Why not learn more about another country and their music and culture. You will also be able to see how things are compared to here and will also be able to help change at least someone's view of your world. Everyone does things differently. It would also give you a chance to see the sights of the area. You will be guided by a professor so there will be less freedom then some things but you will also meet people that you wouldn't have before. Having contacts with other places is interesting so why not do it. You will be learning something that will be worth while, and likely enjoyable. Yes there will be homework but also there will be experiences that you wouldn't have had before and you may also pick up on the local or one of the local languages and it would also give you a chance to bond with others. So you could sit at Home and do the same thing, at the same time, again. Or you could give something different a try. Why stay when you can do something interesting, and learn about another culture. What ever you may choose make it fun, or at least interesting

QBBast [Hidden Agenda] November 5 2007 2:25 PM EST

RO2: It's time to branch out again. Given your trajectory, it's better than the SAP. Given that you have the freedom to spin the wheel, the roulette option is great for you. You might eat onions.

Stephen November 5 2007 10:29 PM EST

The Study Abroad Program will take you into an ex-war zone with a mix of the most ethnically incompatible people outside of the US in Iraq.

Research Opportunity 1 could make you sterile

Research Opportunity 2 could put you in Ohio

Good luck.

Ernest-Scribbler November 5 2007 10:53 PM EST

I am not sure if anyone has said this yet, but..................
Slovenian Women are HOT HOT HOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Brakke Bres [Ow man] November 6 2007 6:31 AM EST

yes they are!

AdminQBVerifex [Serenity In Chaos] November 6 2007 2:32 PM EST

I would choose study abroad, and here is why: You will have more then enough time throughout your life to research your field (nuclear physics right?). If you study abroad, you'll get some valuable life experiences in another culture. You will get to meet new people and experience some amazing things from another country. I'm not sure, but it seems like those "research opportunities" will be around later. I know the easy and "safe" thing to do is go with one of the two research opportunities, but you might be passing up a really worthwhile life experience with the Study Abroad program.

IMO, I would take the study abroad program just for myself; something I wish I had done when I was in school. I've never left the country to this day, and I know that there are a lot of things I would like to experience from other countries. If I had the opportunity to experience something new and exciting while doing something I enjoy, I would take it. It will probably be a very memorable and incredible journey; on top of all that, you'll have a guide, which really seals the deal for me. It's just a matter of stepping out of the "routine" and doing something that might be very different. Slovenia probably has very different customs then here in the states, so I would study up on it before heading out.

The research can wait, you'll have more then enough time to do that later, and chances are, once you get into research and you've got lots of money, you will start to put some roots down, which will mean you won't have much time for two month stints to Slovenia. :)

QBsutekh137 November 6 2007 2:57 PM EST

I will start by giving my views on all three, one of which has relevant personal identification for me (because I did it). Then I will give my opinion.

This option sounds fun. However, a crucial query to make upon yourself is to decide if the summer is for personal growth or professional growth? Going abroad has the potential for opening your mind in new ways, even seeing science in new light. It might bring a Renaissance for you, personally. Alternately, it might just be a fun time with little professional development. Will the travel setting be such that you can meet with potential future colleagues? Will you be able to get a flavor for the scientific community better? Will you end up not being able to really focus on the science at all? Does that even matter? The studying abroad option has the slim potential for having it ALL, while a larger chance of doing a lot of things less profoundly.

I can speak to this. This is what I did for two summers in a row, summer of 1992 and 1993. It was fun, close to home, and earned me some scratch. But all it really amounted to was a better way to spend the time than being home on the farm. Then again, anything at all would have been preferable to that. I am seeing through sour glasses to a time when I was already starting to burn out, but repeating the research summer at Kansas State left me feeling bored and vacant. My work ethic was for crap and my attitude was that of a free-loader. As I said, I was probably already burning out on my physics route, but going back to the same place made it feel less like adventure and more like a dead-end portent.

New research has a couple advantages. First, the process of deciding what to do will be an adventure in and of itself. Yes, writing applications and rolling the dice on less of a sure thing (and location) can be scary, but you will be mitigating that risk by looking at programs you might not have looked at otherwise. It is CRUCIAL that you keep the "fire in the belly" as you advance your scholastic prowess and make decisions about post-graduate life, whether that life be more school or a leap into the "real world". I really was Mr. Safe in college, so afraid of ending up back on the farm for the summer that I took the easy route instead of keeping up my intensity and newness in the field. I am not saying I actively regret that, I just want to help make you aware of different thought paths. Realize that the path isn't always about the destination, but about what you gain from the preparation and travel.

On that note, I would opt for NEW RESEARCH. The abroad program would have a narrower path and even a narrower scope for the destination (albeit a very cool scope). Repeat research would have zero path-related fun, and you've already experienced the destination. Only option three offers both a great deal of potential AND the ability for you to strike out and generate that potential in the first place. It's also good practice for post-graduate life where discovering and building paths will be one of the most important phases in your career and life.

SNK3R November 8 2007 11:05 AM EST

Roughly 9 hours left for entries to be valid.

RichardRahl{Kill Gun} November 8 2007 11:27 AM EST

Research Opportunity 1: because you are cool

Iluvatar[NK] November 8 2007 2:56 PM EST

Study Abroad Program: While different is good, I worry that this will deviate too much. Being a physics major, investing in a trip that has quite little to do with your field of study is rather risky. Despite the focus on females given by other entrants, it's not as if the other two options are completely devoid of feminine companionship. Plus, this one actually costs you money, whereas the other two pay you.

Research Opportunity 1: Repetition can get dull. The only advantage this has over option three is that it's very safe. To be honest, that's not much of an advantage at all. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Research Opportunity 2: This is different, which is good, but not so different as to be extremely risky. Even if it's a roulette, there aren't many truly boring places in the United States, so you're set wherever they send you. The pay is higher, and the field of study is at least associated with your current track.

deifeln November 8 2007 3:11 PM EST


As a chemistry student who is working on a PhD, I would encourage you to do Research Opportunity 2. Working at a national lab is a great (RO 1), but having a diversified physics experience is also quite valuable. While, the 'free-for-all' application process may seem intimidating, it could (through wonderful serendipity) land you an awesome position that both increases you research experiences AND your connections/networking. You really can't overlook new networking possibilities in science as meaningful, deep ones are few and far between. You won't make the same contacts at a three day conference within your field as you will exploring a new lab for two and a half months. Often, I feel very much like the science I do is 'compartmentalized' and might benefit from some unconventional relationships with labs doing dissimilar work. There is no way to tell if working at in a new, random lab will be applicable to you future career in physics, but it presents an opportunity that I feel you cannot pass up.

Good luck with your decision.

QBsutekh137 November 27 2007 10:59 AM EST

So.... What's your summer looking like, SNK? *smile*

SNK3R November 27 2007 11:05 AM EST

Oh, right, almost forgot about this. Between starting under a research advisor and getting school stuff finished, I forgot about this; I'll try to come up with a winner soon. Thanks for the reminder, Sutekh.

QBsutekh137 November 27 2007 11:09 AM EST

Maybe your summer should have an option 4: "Just chillin'." *smile*

I understand being busy, no rush, it's your money, and your contests are always fun and/or discussion/inducing anyway -- that's the most fun...

Apoclyspe December 2 2007 8:52 PM EST

Well i would say option 3

Not only will you get payed well learn something new which is always good.

You will get to go somewhere you may have never went or may ever choose to go normally Which is always cool.

This options gives you the most bang for you buck if you will.

QBOddBird December 3 2007 4:03 PM EST

*whistles and bumps the thread around* ;'D
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