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Showing content with the highest reputation since 05/28/2017 in all areas

  1. 13 points
    Good. Because you have offered some comically dangerous advice. He only has to get "physically aggressive" once for your advice to turn out poorly for OP. The guy only threatened to divorce his wife because she won't let him hang a Nazi banner. He sounds really stable and like the kind of fellow who is unlikely to get physically aggressive. Are you for real? Holy mother of God, no! This advice is bad enough when offered to people in non-threatening relationships .... OP: fuzzy hit the advice head on. Please take care of your physical and emotional health. If want to try to help your husband, that is great (I think). But please don't believe that it is your responsibility or that you alone can change him.
  2. 12 points
    Okay, I'll voice the possibly less popular opinion. Your responsibility is to yourself. You don't have to stay with him and you are not responsible for getting him better or for educating him. You need to take care of yourself. If you do decide you want to try and stay, I think it's of utmost importance to get support from others. Can you involve his family? friends? do you have a support system around you to take care of you, if you need it? If he wasn't always like this, something must have triggered this, and maybe you can help him through it. Whatever it is, though, you shouldn't do it alone, and you shouldn't let him take it out on you. This sounds like a situation that requires professional help. I know that posting here was probably already hard enough, so maybe the next step is for you to find counseling on your own, maybe through your school, before you think about talking to him. Figure out your resources and support network, then come up with a plan to confront him. I hope that there is no fear of physical violence, but if there is, let me repeat again: your responsibility is to yourself first. Make sure that you are safe, and take care of yourself, both physically and mentally. If that means you need to leave him, I think that's totally understandable and no one from the outside can judge. And if you choose to stay and try and fix it, again I hope that no one will judge and that you can find the help you need.
  3. 10 points

    Most/Least Crowed Time Periods

    Adding to Bill's excellent response: You need to specialize in the field you are most passionate about. It's not about improving your odds at a job five years from now. It's about doing your best work in a field where you would then be spending 30+ years of a career. I really like Chaucer. I'm incredibly fond of Victorian novels. I dig comics and graphic novels. But I can't imagine spending 30 years working on any of those topics. But Renaissance drama? I LIVE for that. When I teach it, I come alive and I never tire of seeing it, thinking about it, and writing about it. Whichever field gives you that feeling, THAT'S the field you should specialize in, because the work you do in that field will stand out on the job market, whether you are up against 20 competitors or 200.
  4. 8 points

    Feeling Unwelcome

    I can give you some advice as to the matter of your threatened eviction. I was a social worker for 10 years and worked at my (then) county's legal aid office. What housing is threatening you with is both illegal and prejudicial. Your daughter's diagnosed, documented psychiatric conditions may qualify her for APD benefits, if she does not receive those already. Even if she does not qualify for APD benefits, you cannot evict someone as a result of behaviors that stem from a psychiatric illness. That is a violation of the Fair Housing Act, which you can read here: https://www.justice.gov/crt/fair-housing-act-1. You can afford to lawyer up; here's how: contact your local legal aid office. Their whole existence is based on the fact that people without a lot of financial means need legal services, too. Call them, complete the intake process, attend your appointment, and they will be able to help you with this. I have to echo Eigen's remarks: end-of-year or mid-program reviews aren't designed to make you feel good. They don't have to say anything positive about you at all, although many professors or advisors do. The criticism isn't personal and isn't a sign of your being "unwelcome;" it's standard criticism given by mentors whose job it is to prepare you for a career in academia. You certainly don't have to answer this question publicly, but it sounds to me like you are under an enormous amount of stress between being a graduate student and a working mother of multiple children, including one with severe psychiatric illness. So my (rhetorical) question is, how are you? Are you receiving any treatment or support for anxiety? Perhaps it would be good to access some support in that aspect. Please send me a PM if you need any help or have any questions about accessing legal services. I'm happy to do what I can for you.
  5. 8 points

    Over-educated and Unhappy

    I don't doubt that you're capable of doing PhD-level work, but from your writing it doesn't sound like a PhD is a good career move for you right now. I think you are much too focused on the joy that a doctoral program will bring you, and I doubt that any program could measure up. Grad school doesn't generate instant happiness, and neither does a job as a university professor. I think it's important to be realistic and realize that getting such a job is incredibly difficult. For someone who's been drifting and has done three masters degrees, I think it's a concern. I didn't read anything in your post that convinced me that you should actually do a PhD. You don't sound focused on a particular field or question; instead, you're attracted to a mystical perfect job post-PhD that doesn't exist. It's important to realize that a PhD is a long and difficult road, and that the majority of people who go into it will not get a job as a professor. Don't go into it only to get that outcome, because it's just not realistic. I think instead it might be a good idea to do two things. One is get help improving your mental health. The other is try to think about career goals, broadening your sights beyond academia.
  6. 8 points

    Loan Forgiveness

    I'm not sure which you qualify for, but DeVos is proposing an end to loan forgiveness programs as part of her education cuts. I strongly urge everyone here to write their representatives in protest of these potentially disastrous cuts. It's a disgrace, honestly.
  7. 6 points
    @AP, my comment was specifically about the poster's comment about avoiding departmental drama and keeping their head down to do their work and only their work. That doesn't prepare one well for dealing with the drama that all workplaces have. Some of that department drama can have a direct impact on graduate students so it behooves students to at least pay some attention. (For example, my department ended up having a multi-year external search for a department chair. As a result, other faculty had to take on that work, leaving fewer advisors for PhD students and slowing down their grant/publication activity, which also affects PhD students. Consequently, a group of us paid close attention to the search and would explain to the faculty how and why we were being affected by it. That doesn't mean that we got dragged into being on the search committee but, it was something worth being aware of as a member of the department.) I also think some people have a different idea of what it means to treat graduate school as a job than I do. For me, that means yes, you have friends outside of school but it also means that you have to build a network in school (in your department and around the university). It means working with people in your department. It means not being so selfish that you only focus on your own work, never pausing to help out others. None of those things are useful in the long-term as a grad student (and same for any workplace because no one likes the self-centered colleague who can never help anyone out with anything). This last part might be because I come from an interdisciplinary field but, here goes anyway. If you don't have a broader understanding of your field and how to make your work interesting to people outside of your specialty area, then you're setting yourself up for a rough time on the job market (whether that's academic or not). One of the easiest ways to start learning how to do this is by having informal discussions with other students about what you're working on. If you're only there to go to class and do your own work (which is what the person I was responding to said), then you may not be allowing this to happen or you might view such conversations as a waste of time. My advice was a caution against that.
  8. 6 points
    Old Bill

    Most/Least Crowed Time Periods

    Hello and welcome! This isn't a bad question -- not at all -- but it's also a nearly impossible one to answer definitively for a variety of reasons. I can imagine writing a 1000+ word response (because I have a lot of thoughts on this topic), but I'll try to keep it brief. First of all, you simply have to separate "odds of admission" and "employment further down the road" into two distinct categories. The academic landscape is constantly shifting, as is the job market. For the past few years, there has been a marked academic trend among applicants and in departments toward rhet-comp -- it currently seems to be the fastest growing, and most job-friendly field. But that's at the moment. Remember that a Ph.D. is going to take roughly five years minimum to complete, which means that an applicant right now is trying to forecast what the job market is going to look like in six or seven years. I personally think that's somewhere between a vain improbability and an outright impossibility. My gut feeling is that the job market for rhet-comp is going to be oversaturated within the next five years, simply because the advice-du-jour for the last few has been that it is the most employable field...which has prompted legions of new rhet-comp applicants (and acceptances). But how big can rhet-comp actually get in an otherwise shrinking discipline? I use rhet-comp as an example, just because it is the most distinct of the sub-disciplines within English. Secondly, remember that (as I just mentioned) a Ph.D. program usually takes at least five years to complete. That's the same amount of time as your junior and senior high school years. It's long. While there is certainly some wiggle room in terms of era / field / genre once you get into a program, most of those years will be spent studying something fairly specific within a specific era or field...and because you have specialized, that's how you will be labeled when you go on the job market (i.e. 20th century Americanist, British Romanticist, Medievalist etc.). Moreover, you'll likely be tethered to that era / field / genre for the first several years that you are gainfully employed as a professor (in the slightly improbable event that that even happens). This leads to the all-important question of whether trying to choose a currently uncrowded field that will also be a future uncrowded field makes any sense from a personal interest standpoint. Again, things aren't quite as rigid as I'm making them out to be...but the core idea is correct. Third, there are many reasons for why certain fields of study are "crowded" and "uncrowded." Take Restoration Drama, for instance. It's not at all a crowded field. If you happen to enjoy Etherege, Dryden, Congreve and others, you probably wouldn't have a lot of company in the application pool...but by that same token, there simply aren't many Restoration Drama scholars period, which means that you'd invariably need to narrow your list of programs considerably when you're applying, and if you're taking a long-term employability approach, you have to consider why there are so few working scholars in that field / era...and whether you have a decent shot at nabbing one of those few jobs when those scholars retire. There are many more aspects I could detail (in my head, I have at least five other points...), but what it boils down to is that you should try to work on what interests you the most, with a slight bit of attention to what is available both now and in the future. I'm a Shakespearean myself (for the most part), and while there might be some "overcrowding" in terms of applicants interested in Shakespeare and his contemporaries, there are very few programs that don't have at least one or two Shakespearean scholars on faculty...and usually many more. A few eras / fields such as early modern drama (i.e. Shakespeare and co.) and 20th century British and American literature aren't going to go away anytime soon, nor are they likely to shrink any faster than the discipline in general. But that invariably means that they will be eras / fields with larger draws than others on the applicant end. I hope this is at least somewhat helpful. It's a complicated industry, in a lot of ways, which means that there are very few easy answers to broad questions like this one...even if those questions certainly deserve to be asked!
  9. 6 points

    undergrad grunt work?

    I've had several undergrads (and high school students) come through the labs I've been a part of, and their experience are all similar to what I experienced when I started out. When I started as an undergrad researcher, I started doing things just as you are... taking out biohazard trash, cleaning benches, maintaining equipment. Then I moved on to handling and weaning the mice, genotyping, etc, then to sterile techniques for mammalian cell culture, and finally I started my own projects, but that took about 6 months. They cannot (and should not) let you start contributing to their expensive experiments until they know you've learned enough to do the experiment appropriately. This is far different than most psychology research studies, and you have to build a skillset for this. No matter what people say, doing experiments in the biology lab is not the simple step-by-step that it is in your classes. You have to put in quite a bit of time to learn how things in the lab work and what needs to go into an experiment. Remember that their experiments are going to be funded by grants. That funding is limited and experiments are expensive. In addition, wouldn't you hate to generate some "data" that derailed the direction of the lab only to find that it was wrong later because you didn't do it correctly? I've seen this happen, and it isn't pretty! It takes a lot of experience with seemingly menial things to do well in the lab. Cleaning up biohazard trash means you're less likely to contaminate yourself with a virus, etc when you're doing a real experiment. You might spend a couple weeks pouring gels for western blots for people in the lab to use, which seems menial, but now you have a valuable skill that is one of the most important parts of a protocol that you likely won't mess up when you get to run a real experiment. Also, 20 hours is nearly nothing. That's the minimum amount my current PI allows for time for undergraduates in the lab. If they can't be in at least 20 hours a week, they're not going to get to join the lab because they won't ever be able to get anything meaningful done except for what you call, "grunt work." Was your 20 hours in a single week? If you've only alloted 5-7 hours to lab a week, you're only going to get grunt work. This is because experiments take a lot of time! A western blot takes about 6 hours the first day and 4 hours the second day with some incubations in between. That doesn't count the 3 hours it takes to prep protein for the blot, or the 6 hours I spent dissecting mice to get the tissues for the experiment, or the 2 hours a day I spent treating mice for two weeks before the dissection. That's just one experiment. A typical grad student has 3-4 of these going on at a time while also doing data analysis on the previous ones. In our lab, we expect an experienced undergrad to handle one of these on their own (with guidance from a grad student). However, we don't let them do an experiment like that right out of the gate. They have to do exactly what you're doing first so they can show that they're committed, but most importantly that they're careful and they can follow direction. Once they show that they can do this, I start them with small, bacterial cloning experiments for things we need in the lab. If they do a good job, they get to move up to something more exciting. I have a high school student, now, who moved up to doing mouse experiments in about 2 months, and she's an author on my last paper. Don't be so negative. I would not call what you're doing suffering at all; in fact, I think it is quite nice of them to have you handling biohazard trash rather than starting with gross dissection (or worse, poop processing). If you're disgusted by biohazard trash, which should be nicely bagged or boxed up so you just have to close it and autoclave it, then I would question how well you will be able to handle the real experimental work. Mice are gross, and if you're not working with those, you'll be working with human samples, bacteria, viruses, or cell llines, which can also be quite stinky and gross. You need to evaluate if you're going to be able to deal with these things. Finally, your reasoning for being in the lab might affect what you get to do. If we get someone that is just fleshing out their resume for med school, it is usually obvious even if they don't tell us; they're usually not as committed to being in the lab when we need them and don't do A+ work on what we assign them to do. Because of this, they don't do as well with the grunt work, and usually get a smaller project, if any. However, if a student wants to go to grad school or is genuinely interested in research, they're also usually willing to be in lab a little more and they really put in the effort. Those are the students that get the cool projects because they ask for things to do, they ask questions about the research, they raise their hand in lab meeting, they read papers, etc. If something goes wrong with their experiment, these are the students that come up to you and say, "Well, this didn't work, but here are the things that could have gone wrong and here's how I want to troubleshoot it." If that's the kind of project you're wanting, you need to be that kind of student. If you're still concerned, send me a message. I'd be happy to talk more with you about this. You should also talk to the faculty member in charge of your lab, but don't be disappointed if they tell you everything we've just told you.
  10. 5 points

    2nd thoughts about PhD acceptance

    Wow. Ok so I have a few thoughts here, hopefully I can express them in an organized fashion. First your fiance........ I understand deciding against buying an overpriced house especially when it is unclear how long the market will be stable, but telling you that commuting over an hour to school while living apart is "totally doable" is not a generous offer. You don't need to discuss all the details of your relationship, but if you 2 are open to living together prior to the wedding then it seems odd that he wouldn't be interested in renting a place with you that reduces the commute burden (potentially for both of you). If he's willing to help you with expenses then it seems like living together is an easier way to do that especially if you're getting married next year. Commuting to school........ I commuted over an hour for my unfunded Master's program and it worked out well. I was able to keep my job and health benefits while adjusting my work schedule so that I could time my drive so I didn't sit in traffic. However, all of those hours on the road were still lost and the extra wear on my car lead to increased maintenance costs. Now that I'm in a PhD program I realized immediately that a commute that far would not work with all of the skills and training I wanted to gain. There are students in my program who live 30+ minutes away (by freeway) and the hassle is evident on their faces. Sometimes traffic and/or parking is horrendous so they're late. Sometimes they have to drive to campus for only their lab meeting that ends after 15 minutes or for one client who no shows. Or something gets left at home or on campus and another trip has to be made. Other times they have to be in the lab late or see clients late and if their day has already been 10+ hours long a lengthy drive on top of that sucks and could be dangerous. If their car breaks down and there's no public transit where they live then they're screwed. You don't have to live in walking distance of campus, but it is advantageous to be within 10-15 minutes on city streets or have the option of taking public transit quickly. This is precisely my situation now and its fabulous. I have more time for studying, seeing clients on or offsite, and lab work. I don't have to get up very early if I don't want to and even after long days on campus I don't get home so late that I'm too tired to do anything else. Living at home....... I too am an older student and the best decision I made was spending a little bit more to live all by myself in a bigger place. This way I have a whole room that is an office with plenty of room to brainstorm, cartwheel, or lay on the floor and vent Mindy Lahiri style. If your parents are familiar with the life of a grad student and a dedicated quiet space can be created for you then that might be different. But if that isn't an option and their place is too far then do not do this to yourself. If you and your fiance find a way to live together I highly suggest making sure the place can accommodate your having a dedicated office. Being able to shut the door on all your school stuff will give you a sense of separation when you take breaks and allow you to immerse yourself in a task while he's home doing something else. Sticking with your chosen program....... Ultimately this is going to be your call. I think your current advisors make a good point that it is very difficult to get into any program with some funding, especially a neuropsych program. If the faculty you'll have access to are well known in their field and their former students have gone on to successful careers then that is definitely something to keep in mind. You say the funding package isn't great, but is doable. You don't have to provide details, but really think about what that means. Does doable mean only with your fiance's help? If so that's a big risk if something were to happen with your relationship or his financial situation. Does doable mean with a few student loans? If you're still eligible for the federal ones then this isn't a terrible option in my opinion. If doable means sacrificing your health or safety in some way then its not worth it. Also think about how challenging application cycles are. You got into a program for this season, but if you reapply next year that doesn't mean you will. Programs able to take (and fund) students change, advisors may seek a different fit, other applicants may stand out more than you, and my understanding is professors talk and may find it odd that you rejected a perfectly good offer. Or you might get several offers and still be unhappy with the funding. So maybe a good way to look at it is if you reject your current offer and reapply next year, will you be willing to reapply the following year if for some reason you don't get in or find your funded offers lacking?
  11. 5 points

    How important are friends/social life in grad school?

    I absolutely agree with this. I just passed my quals, but three people in my cohort are dropping out (two decided in the last two months not to take the exam, while the third took it but already wanted to leave before he took it). The one thing that these three people have in common is a strong disconnect with other members of the grad student community. They never attended colloquia or stuck around for wine and cheese afterwards, didn't attend meetings of the History Grad Association, and didn't talk to other students about the pitfalls of choosing your orals committee, taking classes in x outside department with x professor (who other grad students know). Two of them had very strong social lives outside of grad school, and the third isolated himself and really developed no connections in the city at all. As a result, all three of these folks missed out on very useful information, or struggled needlessly to plan or prepare things that would have been much easier if they had been in the loop. Although your major professor knows many things, other grad students are often very valuable sources of information when it comes to navigating university bureaucracy, meeting deadlines for things like funding applications and teaching certifications, and telling you about how to navigate setting up committees or informing you where to go for more information. If you don't take the initiative to get to know people in the first year, you could find yourself shut out of a valuable network (especially involving graduate students in years above you who know the system and are often happy to give new hands advice). I have no doubt that in the case of these three who departed, feelings of confusion and isolation contributed directly to their dissatisfaction and fear about taking their qualifying exams, ultimately persuading them that the Ph.D. was not a happy place for them. I'm not saying the result was inevitable, but their lack of support and connections with other graduate students definitely contributed. Just as professors collaborate and dialogue with each other on a regular basis to make their work easier, Ph.D. students have a better time of it when they network with each other and collectively support each other professionally and academically.
  12. 4 points

    Feeling Unwelcome

    I want to thank those who have responded. As far as the comments re: first year review: I understand that a review is a place to critique, hopefully constructively (mine was not constructive) your performance. I am in a very small cohort, and I have asked those in my cohort about their reviews, and they were either more even handed, definitely more constructive, or, in one case, completely glowing. Trust me, I am not trying to play the victim, and I do not want to feel this way, but I cannot help but feel that maybe this is a bad fit, and the department feels that way as well. As a result, I have begun reaching out to other programs to gauge their interest. I really appreciate the advice on housing and legal issues. I felt the approach taken by University Housing was wrong when I was faced with it, and they tried to play it off as they do not have to follow state rules regarding evictions, etc. I have countered in email after doing some more research into Federal rules, and hopefully they will back off a bit. Orphic, thank you for asking about how I am doing (although, I am actually a working father). The service provider that was working with my child has offered us family and individual therapy, and we are getting that organized as well.
  13. 4 points

    Over-educated and Unhappy

    Do you know this illustrated guide to a PhD? http://matt.might.net/articles/phd-school-in-pictures/ I like it a lot because it makes an important point: A PhD is about specializing in something very specific and very narrow. You seem to have a different trajectory that's more geared toward breadth than depth. That's perfectly fine, nothing wrong with that (no cynicism here!), but it's just not what a PhD is about. The field you've chosen is also one that requires a good deal of practical work before you're a strong candidate. So I think for now @ZeChocMoose offers you very good advice: get some more practical experience (along with some counseling, I think). Be more flexible in where you live, especially keeping in mind that what you save in transportation costs you may be spending away on rent (the DC area is expensive!). I think you should only apply for a PhD from a place where you're focused and motivated, not drifting into it. I also think you should only be applying if you can accept that it might then be the last stop on this particular train, and you'll have to get off at the end of the PhD road if you can't find work in your profession -- a quite possible eventuality. A PhD makes you eligible for certain jobs, but it makes you overqualified for quite a few others, and it's also time taken away from working and gaining other experience. All of those factors should go into making the decision. Whatever it is, I think this coming cycle should be a time where you look for more practical experience and a stable job, not a time where you should be applying for grad school.
  14. 4 points

    Acceptance Thread

    Just saw this now - I accepted the offer from Syracuse!
  15. 4 points
    Both of those are massive red flags for me, TBH. The lack of financial support is especially troubling as we're into May and they still don't have an answer for you. I would strongly urge you to not accept this offer. International MAs are not something I'm familiar with, so you should probably ask someone who has done an MA from another country and then gone to the US for PhD study. I do know a few people who got into strong PhD programs in the US after having gotten MAs from non-UK/Canadian programs (Peking University comes to mind), so I don't think it's a big deal. As far as teaching or presenting--no one is going to care about these things when you're applying. My general feeling is that where you do your MA isn't going to matter much. But you'll still want to check that US programs recognize this university's degree program and are okay accepting people from this particular school.
  16. 4 points
    Sam Anscombe

    Getting in and how much you get!

    1. That is definitely not a usual thing to do. I get it with your situation, but I think many schools would view this as presumptuous considering that some of the best programs admit only 2-3% of applicants. Apply and then decide based on stipends once you're in if that's your primary consideration. There is also some information on stipends on phdstipends.com (though there aren't many entries for Philosophy on there). There was also a stipend survey done a few years ago that you might try to dig up. If you want to message me about particular schools and I can check the email archives since one of the last people who ran the admissions blog ran the survey. 2. An A+ and good letters are great and put you in the running, but those alone won't get you in. Your writing sample is the most important part of the application and your letters should be glowing. Bear in mind there are many applicants who have a near-perfect GPA and near-perfect GRE score and (likely) a good writing sample and letters who still are not admitted to every school to which they apply. 3. Not sure about this one. You've probably seen this resource already but in case not, it's a good one and I recommend checking it out. Best of luck to you!
  17. 3 points


    Your stats are enough to avoid having your application binned immediately at any institution. But if I were you, I would disabuse myself of the notion that a PhD app is like a BA or MA one. Stats have very little relevance beyond a hurdle you have to clear, and the rankings of programs are mostly bullshit.
  18. 3 points

    Prepping for the 2018 cycle!

    Hey guys, Unfortunately, like many others, I did not get accepted in the 2017 cycle. After taking some time off from my research idea's and this forum, and focussing on my great great job in customer service I started working on my proposals again a week ago. When I applied last year I had no idea what to expect and what to do. This year I'll be better prepared and hopefully not the third, but the second time’s a charm! To make a long story short, how are you preparing for the 2018 cycle? If you got rejected last year what will you do different this fall? I'll start: 1. I re-read the feedback I got from two PoI's and realized they were actually pretty positive! They did not say 'you and your ideas suck' but 'your idea's are interesting but your SoP has to be more theoretical in this competitive field'. When I got rejected I was so sad that I couldn't see the feedback for what it was. 2. Improve my SoP. Since I'm not from the States I had no idea how to write a good SoP and nobody proof-read it for me. I'm now writing a more European-style proposal (very extensive) that I'm going to narrow down for my SoP. I'm also going to send it to as many people as possible. 3. Apply to more schools. I only applied to 4 schools because I was thinking too much inside the box. This year I’m not only going to apply to anthro departments, but I’m also going to try my luck at Human Geography and Latin American Studies departments. Fire away!
  19. 3 points

    2018 Applicants

    I'm not sure why I'm about to offer advice for applying because I felt anxious and stressed the entire time; however, I hope it makes a few of you feel better about where you are in your application processes. I am the epitome of a type-A personality, and I thought I was nearly prepared to submit my applications by the beginning of August. I couldn't have been more wrong. I finalized my SOP in October and my writing sample (a paper that I had written for a graduate course my first semester) wasn't complete until maybe a day before submitting my first application on December 1. My dear, dear advisor and I tore my paper apart for almost two months. In fact, I think I went through approximately seven rounds of thorough edits and avfew in between. Basically, don't be too hard on yourselves about where you are with your applications because you probably should go through many rounds of revisions. These things often take more time than we expect. I gave myself a lenient date to complete everything in October, and I still wasn't done until a month later. Woe is life. Best of luck to you all! I'm sending good vibes your ways.
  20. 3 points

    Pre-MPP work experience

    I recommend working for longer than a year or two before applying not because the work experience will impress an admissions committee, but rather because it helps you pick a career. You may have an idea of what'd you like to focus on in an MPP program, but actually working in a field—in terms of the actual work, quality of life, security, and so on—is very different from studying it. You grad school experience will be much more rewarding and secure if you can really focus on an area you have prior experience in, which lets you not only focus your studies but also network more successfully.
  21. 3 points

    Leading Discussions as a New TA

    1) you've got to get comfortable with silence. at a certain point the students will speak up because they find the silence awkward, even if they don't have very much to say; other students have plenty to say but they need time to formulate their thoughts first. when you pose a question to the students, count backwards from 10/15/30 in your head, depending on how much time you think they need. usually someone will say something before you hit zero. a lot of folks get nervous and just start blabbing to fill the time, or they answer their own discussion questions before the students have a chance to try them out. 2) you also can't control whether or not students do the reading. if you get to class and discover that no one's done the reading, honestly there's nothing wrong with just giving them 15 minutes to do the reading right then — I'm pretty up front with my students, like, "if you didn't do the reading, tell me so we can do it now, and have a shorter but more valuable discussion," etc. I'd just give them the 15 minutes of reading time over shuffling through some zombie-fied discussion over a text no one read. but the main reason why students don't do the reading is that they are busy and pressed for time, and if they think they can get away without doing the reading, then they won't. they have a million demands on their time, and they're going to prioritize what has to get done to get by. so while you can't control what the students do in their spare time, what you can do is make doing the reading a worthwhile exercise. I don't like graded pop quizzes because they seem rather punitive, but I do sometimes ask students to jot down their thoughts at the beginning of class, or come to class with a discussion question prepared. you can then have them turn it in for a check/check plus/check minus grade, where the students can feel like their contributions are being noted but they're not being punished, either. again I like to be up front: our discussions will be less painful and more valuable to you if you at least make an attempt at the reading. my personal ninja trick is to very obviously take attendance and take notes during discussion — makes the students feel like I'm noticing their contributions and "counting" their participation, even though I never calculate participation grades by tallying up "well, you spoke up 2 times on Monday and 3 times on Tuesday." 3) students will hassle you about grades. this is a known fact. where we usually grade starting at 0 and assign points upwards, students look at their grades as starting at 100 and losing points downwards. you give a student an 85 because you think it's a B paper; the student thinks that they lost 15 points and what they will want you to do is account for every single one. they'll do this on dumb assignments, too. I had a student send me 4 paragraphs of vitriol because he got an 8/10 on a reading response paper. don't get pulled into this. do NOT let them put you on the defensive. they'll try to corner you after class; firmly re-direct them to office hours. they'll ask stuff like "but why did I lose 10 points for this"; turn the question around and ask them why they think they could have lost 10 points or what they could have included. if you look at the grade and think that you maybe made a mistake in grading and they deserve more points (it happens) NEVER change the grade on the spot. tell them that you'll consider it and consult with the professor in charge. depending on the professor you may actually want to consult with the professor in charge! the first professor I TA'ed for gave me this advice, and it's exactly right.
  22. 3 points

    Leading Discussions as a New TA

    Hi! I've just finished my first semester as a TA and I've learned quite a lot (mainly that's because I screwed up a lot...but we won't talk about that! ) Something that was especially difficult for me was getting the kids to do all the reading. I'd prepare discussion questions, arrive for section and have about 12 kids staring at me for 50 minutes. A few contributed often, but it was far from the majority. Two things really helped me with this. First, I would often pose questions to the section as a whole, then break them up into groups of three or four to discuss them amongst each other for about 10-15 minutes, then have everyone come together and go over what they talked about. This was something that was done in one of my seminars and I really liked it. Also towards the end of the semester, I started assigning groups a different paper to read and it was their job to present it to the section and create questions for discussion. The students really liked this because, while their reading load was lessened (albeit temporarily) for the week, it forced them to actively engage with the article more than they would have otherwise. Finally, I did this exercise I found online where the students had to create pictoral metaphors about one of the papers they read as a way to remember the main points of the article. They also seemed to really like that. Best of luck!
  23. 3 points
    This post, like most of your other recent posts here, makes absolutely no sense. Is there a point you are trying to make, other than your apparent impatience and negativity?
  24. 3 points

    Over-educated and Unhappy

    For a PhD applicant, a 3.5 GPA is not a very good GPA. It's just enough to not raise eyebrows - assuming this is cGPA, not GPA in major. Average admitted GPAs in PhD programs range from A- to higher. 5 or 6 acquaintances of mine graduated with their education masters in this most recent class. All of them from top programs. Those of them who are not working at entry or mid-level positions in run-of-the-mill schools and districts are all on temp contracts or doing internships. The ones who are doing work that I, an outsider, perceive as more prestigious have previous relevant work or academic experience (e.g. one got a nice opportunity in POC empowerment, and she has been doing race work since her undergrad thesis). I get the feeling that the field is competitive and a degree doesn't guarantee you a job. I think you're right. You don't say what your field is, but it seems like you've gotten a lot of unrelated degrees, not just subject-wise, but in terms of how they connect to your career. It seems like you got a degree in one professional field, but didn't work in that, then in another, didn't work in that either, and so on. Rightly or wrongly, you seem flaky. I struggled to get my first job out of undergrad as well, it is NOT easy out there, but I think, at a point, it may be worthwhile to stop getting degrees and consider if it's something else, like your soft skills, that needs attention. Another factor is that, and I'm trying to put this nicely (I really am, mods!), your expectations are unrealistic. It is not possible - it is almost certain that you will not become a professor. That you would be "content" with a director role anywhere is likewise out of touch. These are all extremely competitive positions that aren't just handed out to people with 3.5 undergrad GPAs. They aren't handed out to people with 3 publications in top journals and a PhD from MIT either. You need to be an expert in your field, an exceptionally hard worker, and well-liked by your colleagues to get them. There is also a not-insignificant element of luck. Most people with PhDs don't end up in those jobs. lol To quote something I read on the internet, the DC metro sets itself on fire every day.
  25. 3 points

    Spending most of the stipend on housing?

    So, I'm still an undergrad and have never needed to take out any loans--but as a high school graduate, I managed to support myself while paying just over 70% of my income as rent (in a region that is quickly gaining notoriety for unaffordability), so here's my advice. University-provided housing might not be the worst option for you--it'll suck for 75% of your stipend to go toward rent, but that amount should also include utilities, Internet access, etc. If it's university-owned you may also be able to cut down significantly on the costs of transportation (eliminating the need for gas/car insurance/public transit fares). Then, in terms of anything else you need on top of transportation and shelter: Health insurance: Ask your department if there's any way they can cover your student health fees/student insurance--you might have more of a case with this than you think if your university mandates proof of insurance (most do). As an undergrad, I emailed the college financial aid office and was literally handed a couple thousand dollars (the cost of the college health insurance plan) immediately, no questions asked. Food: Buy dry foods (cheap), buy in bulk, from discount (e.g. Grocery Outlet) retailers, clip coupons (Safeway has a great smartphone app)--I know this sounds ridiculous (if not outright avocado toast-y), but I have been able to feed myself on $80/month by extreme thrift. If your university has lots of student organizations, keep an eye out for flyers advertising free food at events (someone at my school once made an app consolidating event posts containing strings like "lunch will be served" and discovered it was definitely possible to subsist on only free leftovers). If all else fails, look into food stamps. Seriously. Eligibility may vary by state, but in most cases certain noncitizens can receive benefits, depending on factors like how long you have been in the country etc. Cell phone: avoid contract plans (this will save you $30-70/month), stay in wi-fi range (easy on a university campus), decide if you absolutely need a phone number for emergencies--if so, opt for prepaid by-the-minute rates. Extras: peruse Craigslist for extra work beyond your 20 hours a week. Especially in affluent areas, tutoring is always in demand. If either your current university or your undergrad institution are brand names, consider freelancing as a private college counselor--I have two friends who have made $50+/hour as "admissions consultants" by letting high schoolers read their college application essays [essays that ~got them into x school~, OMG]; of course, you could also take a less fanatical approach and revise kids' application essays and such. Same goes for SAT/ACT tutoring if you have high scores on those. If you do this privately, you're likely to end up with cheques (à la teenage babysitter) that you can choose not to report as income. Obviously YMMV, but hopefully at least some of this is helpful.
  26. 3 points

    Looking for a little guidance

    If it's the only place you can apply, why worry about your chances? Just chase the strongest recommendations you can get, craft a solid writing sample, and put some time into explaining (in your letter) why you think an MA in philosophy (rather than whatever your BA subject was) is right for you.
  27. 3 points

    2018 Applicants

    Hey, @mk-8! You've got this 😊 I don't feel like I've gotten a ton accomplished either, but I'm gonna try and start fresh and prioritize my time. I'm trying to look at it not so much of what I haven't accomplished in my working part-time/being lazy but the opportunity I have to turn it around. My goal was to do a bunch of thesis stuff this summer, but now I'm starting to realize that my conference presentations and PhD apps come sooner, so I may need to reorient myself. I haven't done nearly enough reading, but that's okay. My chair just has very lofty goals for me and will have to understand what else I have going on. And @verjus, accountability is truly key and very important! I'm wondering if anyone wants to set up a pm chat where we can share our plans/goals and report back to each other every so often? I'd totally be down for that
  28. 3 points

    Anyone feeling regrets?

    You're not alone, I too am finishing my first year in my program and have realized I'm not in love with my program or its location. Since you can't transfer in grad school the way you can in undergrad and for me personally dropping out and reapplying isn't an option I'm going to stick it out and make the most of it. This is going to take just as much effort as it did to get into a program in the first place, but since I'm determined to have the career I want then its what I'll do. In terms of quality of life I am literally forcing myself out of the house and into the community to do something every week whether I feel like it or not. Yes I do mean don't spend all of your time on campus or with people from your department/lab. There's nothing wrong with them, but you don't want to get labeled as a downer that no one wants to be around or work with. In the community free events, site seeing, meetups, and short term volunteer opportunities are great places to start. I've attended plenty of things that I wasn't totally interested in or had no idea what they were and usually had a decent time or at least learned something. I also ask the locals what I should see and do while I'm here and add those things to my list. I will only be here for a few years, but when I leave I can truly say I experienced being here even if I didn't love it. If you're able to get out of town on the occasional weekend, during school breaks, or for a training opportunity somewhere else then do it. A change of scenery can refresh your batteries in many ways. Engaging in self care is also very important. Whatever your thing is....exercise, meditation, cooking, a hot bath, etc. it needs to be done regularly so that you have some balance.
  29. 3 points

    CSDCAS Question

    As AlwaysaFalcon mentioned, each of your references submit one letter of rec on CSDCAS. All your schools will use that one submission. Personal statements or Letter of Intents are submit separately for each college on CSDCAS. I, too, also made a general one that targets the obvious questions (Why you chose this field? Why that particular school, etc.) then later tailored it to that specific school. A HUGE Tip: Try to submit your stuff at least 3-4 weeks in advanced (including your LOR). It takes FOREVER for CSDCAS to receive it, review it and post it in your file as "completed". Some schools will specifically say it on their site that if CSDCAS did not completed it by the due date, it's considered as an incomplete application. Every school is different, call CSDCAS to see which one of your schools need everything "completed" by the due date and which schools are ok that CSDCAS received documents but have not put "completed" in your file yet. The earlier you start on your submissions, the better. Don't wait till peak time (Dec-Feb) because my GRE scores took 3.5 weeks to be posted in my CSDCAS application. Even the process of paying it needed time to approve. It was such a hassle!
  30. 3 points

    Professors wont respond

    I'll be honest. At the end of the semester, current students are my priority. And, in the summer, I'm not under contract to do work so I only check my work email sporadically and only answer the things that are urgent. The rest can wait until I'm actually being paid to do that work again.
  31. 3 points

    2018 Applicants

    @klader You're not alone! I had a hellish end to my spring semester, and as a result I've been braindead for the past 2-3 weeks. But, realizing how much I want/need to do, I'm trying to get myself into gear by breaking things up and making myself accountable to others. I'm drafting a schedule with realistic minimum weekly targets for applications, thesis research, paper submissions, and GRE studying to make everything a bit more digestible. (I get an inordinate amount of pleasure just writing a plan down, building in tolerances, and then assessing my progress. The delight of checking things off is almost NSFW ) Also, a few of the people in my MA class are getting together for a workshop in a few weeks to read/give feedback on each other's work and ideas. Can you set up a similar group in your cohort? Otherwise, I'd be happy to participate in something online. Also, I'd also suggest returning to your plan and making sure your goals are specific, achievable, and time-bound. Sorry to sound all management-robot-like, but's just how I've learned to cope in my life as an over-anxious person.
  32. 3 points

    Medieval Applicants (2017)

    Finally accepted to a Master's program! Accepted to The University of Nottingham's MA in Viking and Anglo-Saxon Studies. Waiting on funding. In the words of Kevin Garnett: "Anything is possible!!!!"
  33. 3 points
    Old Bill

    Tips for Applying to English Ph.D. Programs

    · A few weeks ago, I was asked to talk to first-year M.A. students about the Ph.D. application process. I prepared a list of what I figure to be key elements, and I figure it might be useful to many on GC who are preparing to go down this path as well. I'm quite certain that some of these points are purely subjective and open to discussion / debate, but having gone through the process a couple of times now, these items ring true based on my experiences and observations. ---------------- Others have surely told you about the state of the industry, so I’m just going to assume that you already know the “there are no jobs” spiel. · Others have also surely told you about how relatively difficult it is to get into a Ph.D. program—I have yet to hear of a program that admits over 10% of applicants. o Because of this, if you are committed to applying to Ph.D. programs, I strongly recommend considering applying to at least ten. Even though merit is a critical part of determining who gets in, there is a very real element of “luck of the draw” which pure numbers will help to mitigate. · With that in mind, NOW is a good time to get started on your program research · Your first consideration when entering the process should be to determine what era you would like to study, and ideally a general sense of methodologies you want to employ. These elements will be reflected in the two most important components of your application: the Statement of Purpose (or SoP), and your Writing Sample (WS). · Some basics: o The SoP and WS should ideally work together o When thinking about potential areas of study, avoid proposing transatlantic or transhistorical concepts: admissions committees are still very much set up by period, and your application should be easily sorted into a field group (i.e. you’re clearly a Romanticist, or you’re clearly a 20th century Americanist). o GRE scores, GPA, and other elements are important, but remember that the things you can control the most at this stage are the WS and SoP. o Given the importance of these two documents, you will want to get as many eyes on them as possible as soon as possible. § My SoP and WS were read and commented on by at least five professors and several fellow students, and ultimately went through at least six rounds of revision each—several of them top-to-bottom revisions. · There are multiple factors to consider when looking at programs. Some of the most important include: o Are there multiple professors actively working in your chosen field § I personally used a “rule of three”—if a program had three professors with significant research overlap with my interests, I would consider it. § By “active” I mean that you should be able to find publication credits from within the past five years—they need to be in touch with current scholarship. o What level of financial support do they offer—not just the annual funding, but whether they fund in summer, and how many years of funding are guaranteed o What courses have they offered in the past? What courses are they offering in the fall? o What is the teaching load like, and how do they prepare you for that load? o So-called rankings matter to a certain extent, but remember that those rankings are almost completely arbitrary. USNews rankings are helpful as a list of all programs offering Ph.D.s in English…and a very, very general sense of the strong programs vs. the less strong. But FIT with your interests trumps all. § (E.g. the Strode program at U of A is highly regarded, even though U of A itself is somewhat less so) o Location and cost of living. A 20k stipend will get you a lot further in Lincoln, Nebraska than in New York. And elements like small town vs. large city, cold vs. warm climate etc. are all perfectly valid factors when looking at programs. You’ll have to live in this place for 4-6 years, after all! · A few quick and random tips: o It can be helpful to contact professors ahead of time to determine research fit etc., but it can also be quite valuable to contact current grad students to get a sense of the program and the environment. o Remember that an important part of professionalization in a Ph.D. program is publication. More than anything, this means that before you go down the road toward application, give some serious thought to whether or not your writing and research inclinations have that kind of potential. And whether or not that’s something you really want to deal with at all. o Also remember that teaching is a huge part of your job, and always will be. If you don’t enjoy teaching (or the prospect of teaching), you’d better really love the other components of your position, because there’s not going to be any getting away from it for many, many years. o It might go without saying, but be very courteous in all of your communications with professors and other graduate students. And that courtesy should be sincere! o Consider the total cost of applications: application fees average about $75, sending GRE scores is $27 (more if you need the subject test), and if you have multiple transcripts, that can tack on another $10. In other words, each application will likely be upward of $100. Given that I recommend applying to at least ten programs, you’re looking at a commitment of over $1000. There ARE fee waivers you can find, however. o Forums like GradCafe are a good way to socialize with fellow applicants, and commiserate with people in the same situation. Just remember to take all advice you see on those forums with a grain of salt. o Finally, there are NO SAFETY SCHOOLS. Just to reiterate, rankings are arbitrary, and almost every program gets ten times as many applicants as they can admit (let alone fund). As a result, you want to look at the best overall fit for you.
  34. 3 points

    Fall 2017 applicants

    Thought I'd post an update: I got off the funding wait-list at University of Tennessee, and will be attending this Fall! My thoughts: Relief.
  35. 3 points

    slp grad school

    1) I did not have a job, mainly because I wanted to have something pretty flexible and didn't find much. Some classmates had GAs, others were TAs, some had outside jobs off campus, and others did not work. If you don't have evening classes, you could probably work but keep it mind you'll need time to plan sessions in addition to hw/studying. But if you need to, you can if you have the right job and mindset for getting things done. 2) part-time jobs? the only ones I can think of that classmates had were at the local library, telemarketing surveys, or teaching yoga. Otherwise retail? restaurants? Probably nothing during the day since clinic is scheduled then and we had no say in our client schedule. 3) I went to football games my first fall, a few gymnastics meets, and a couple basketball games later. My main recommendation is that if they overlap with class, do not expect a prof to let you out early or rearrange class just to let you go. I've heard of someone trying that once and the prof did not take it well. We had some grad school socials and I went to a couple for the free food. If you want to be involved in a specific campus group, the schedule may be the toughest to work around, especially if it's a class that is scheduled during the day (like I used to do marching band but knew rehearsals would interfere with either class or clients). 4) Time consuming and a big lesson in time management. You'll be juggling multiple clients/sessions per week, meetings with supervisors, and classwork. But academically no harder than undergrad. All my cohort felt this way. Some supervisors might be harder to click with. Depends on your personality and learn early to be prepared yet willing to learn and accept feedback. I had mostly positive supervisor experiences but I know others who didn't, with the same exact supervisors. 5) Yes. But this will depend on the setting you want and where you live. My state is in constant, desperate need to fill jobs and no one in my cohort who is staying in-state has had difficulty with getting job offers. One classmate in Portland though is having a heck of a time in the schools getting an offer or interviews. Too much competition. 6) This is all up to you. Take advantage of externships and try to get a variety. I had a pediatric outpatient clinic, a middle school, and inpatient rehab/acute hospital. Schools are way easier to get hired in but can be poorly paid and easy to burn out with paperwork. Hospital, depends on if you can handle medically fragile patients and can break into the medical setting (tough right out of grad school unless you had an externship there possibly). Not all my hospital pts were fragile but some of those were tougher with being sick, especially in the acute setting. Luckily, you're never tied into one setting. However, if you spend X years in schools and want to jump at some point to medical, it will be tough to break in because of the lack of experience. So get experience early or transition quickly if you start with peds and want to move to medical. 7) wait to choose until near the end. Many of my classmates switched interests, some didn't and are totally set into schools or medical, and a few of us like me were interested in multiple settings and haven't chosen one permanently. I'll see once I get a real feel for the job in my CF. I know I don't love voice or dysarthria a ton, but both adults and peds can be interesting to work with. Variety is nice.
  36. 3 points

    How important are friends/social life in grad school?

    @kaufdichglücklich Not everyone wants to talk at a bar, even twenty-somethings Some people aren't comfortable sharing/venting when alcohol is involved until they feel that a real trust is established. Others simply don't drink and choose not to go to bars, thereby missing out the conversations. If such people do some to the bar, often, they will listen, sip their drinks and say little. If there aren't other activities which these "grad bar night shy" people can get involved, then there's something amiss about the department grad culture. Nothing is more off-putting and frustrating than to deal with a huge clique who meet only in bars who can potentially support those students in their progress towards the PhD. Another thing to keep in mind, if getting together winds up being venting sessions, someone will walk away to avoid misery. I know of quite a few people who have done so and are happier. The best that any student can really do is, just try it out and see. If it doesn't work, then try again next year with the new cohort/returning dissertators. Cohorts change all the time, slowly changing the internal dynamics of the department graduate student body. Another good thing to do is get together with "grad bar shy" students for coffee or a meal, just to keep in loop. Make a little effort to invite them, it'll make them feel more welcomed and supported. I worry a little about students who choose not be active becauseicaretoomuch but I can only hope that they've found their niches elsewhere and have inner peace with the present department grad student culture.
  37. 3 points

    Loan Forgiveness

    What Jolie717 said. Right now I am trying not to bank too much on loan forgiveness programs, though I suppose I should still look into them. I fear they will either be eliminated or look drastically different by the time I begin paying back my loans. Such a shame.
  38. 3 points
    I really resent the implication by a lot of posters in this thread that "younger" grad students are some how less serious about their coursework and research, obsessed with "bar hopping" or clueless as to how the real world works. My department has a cohort of 10-15 each year, and I would say there is usually 1 recent grad, 2 thirty-somethings, while the rest are between 25-30. 25-27 is also really not that young, and it's a bit patronizing to act like people this age have little life experience and are obsessed with drinking. Lots of us in this age cohort are putting our lives on hold to get our PhDs, which is huge sacrifice and makes us highly motivated to get in, and out and move on with our lives. Just because I'm 27 and like to hang out with my cohort at a bar on Friday nights, doesn't mean I don't work my a** off seven days a week. That being said, in my department the social aspect is hugely important, and (with a few exceptions) people in coursework years who don't socialize within the department seem to really struggle. It's important to have people that you can vent to about professors and coursework, share bibliography, get advice on fellowships and generals, introductions to scholars, advice on ins and outs of certain archives, etc...... I guess my point is, if you don't cultivate some type of a support system *within* the department, the next 6+ years are going to be an uphill battle.
  39. 3 points
    I think you'll get several different responses because most likely every psych student does something different. Some of my classmates preferred to share the reading by dividing up the articles and then trading notes. That doesn't work for me so I generally just didn't read the whole article to save time. I read the abstract, methods, and results and took a few notes in the margins. If the week was exceptionally busy and it became clear that I couldn't read 5+ articles times 3-4 classes then I picked 3 per class to read using the above method and just read the abstracts of the others.
  40. 3 points

    Advice for a first year PhD student

    About your dog: I think that depends entirely on you and your program. I am in a social science program where the majority of my analysis and writing can be done from home, and I prefer to work from home or from a library (as opposed to my cube in the windowless cube farm). When I was taking classes I was generally there from 9-6 or so, but now that my coursework is finished I am rarely at the school itself. I go for meetings, seminars, interesting kinds of things and I do most of my work remotely. My time is verrry flexible, and if my building didn't prohibit it I would get a dog in a heartbeat. Another thing to keep in mind: a dog can be a great comfort when you're all stressed out over graduate school. Advice? Age: -Don't feel like you have nothing to offer just because you are younger. I was 22 when I started graduate school. You got accepted to the program for a reason, and chances are you are just as equipped as any older students are to successfully complete the program, just in a different way. -Your older classmates may be just as terrified as you. Talk to them. You have a lot in common. You are, after all, in the same place. -You will feel like an imposter, like you don't belong, or like you are constantly behind. Or all three. It's normal. It will pass. (Well, sort of.) People of all ages go through this. Adviser related: -If you are lucky enough to get both research interest fit and personality fit perfect, congratulations! But sometimes, personality fit is more important than research interest fit as long as the research isn't too different. A great adviser is interested in your career development, likes you as a person, advocates for you, and wants to hear your ideas. Even if his or her research is quite different from yours, they may give you the autonomy to work on your own projects and just supervise you. A bad personality fit will drive you nuts, even if you love his or her research. Consider that when evaluating your adviser fit. (This will vary by field: research fit may be less important in the humanities, more important in the natural and physical sciences. Social sciences are somewhere in-between.) -Don't be afraid to be straight up blunt with your adviser when it comes to asking about your progress. Ask if you are where you should be both academic program wise and getting-a-job-after-this-mess-wise. -Be proactive. Advisers love when you draw up an agenda for your one-on-one meetings, come with talking points and progress to share, have concrete questions to ask, and have overall shown that you have been thoughtful and taken control of your own program. Of course, this won't immediately come easily to you, but in time you will work up to it. Every semester I type up my semester goals, and at the beginning of the year I type up annual goals. I show them to my adviser and we talk about whether they are too ambitious, or whether I need to revise them, and how I can meet them. -Don't expect your adviser to actually know what courses you have to take to graduate. They will know about comprehensive exams and the dissertation, but a lot of professors don't really keep up with the course requirements, especially if their program is in flux. Get you a student handbook, and find out what you need to take. Map it out in a grid, and check off things when you finish them. Show this to your adviser every semester. You may have to explain how such and such class fills a requirement. -Nobody loves you as much as you, except your mother. Keep this in mind as you take in advice from all sources, including your adviser. Your adviser is there to guide you, but that doesn't mean you have to do everything he says. Studying: -You will have to read more than you ever did before, in less time than you ever have before, and you will be expected to retain more than you ever have before. The way that you studied in undergrad may need some tweaking. Be prepared for this. -Corollary: you may find that your methods change with age or interests or time. I preferred to study alone in college, but in grad school, I prefer to study in groups. It keeps me on task and the socialization keeps me motivated. You may find that you shift from being a more auditory learner to a visual learner or whatever. -You will feel behind at first. This is normal. -At some point you will realize that your professors don't actually expect you to read everything they assign you. This, of course, will vary by program, but there will be at least one class where the reading is actually impossible to do in one week. The point is to read enough that you know the major themes and can talk intelligently about them, and then pick some of the readings to really dig into and think more deeply about. -For most programs, don't worry so much about grades. If you stay on top of your work and do what you're supposed to, you will probably get an A. How much grades matter varies from program to program. In some programs, a B is a signal that you are not up to par, and more than a few Bs will warrant a discussion with your adviser or the DGS. My program isn't like that - A, B, it's all meaningless. My adviser doesn't even know what my grades are. But at almost all programs, a C means you need to retake the course, and two Cs means you have to convince the DGS not to kick you out. Extracurricular activity: What's that? No, seriously: -A lot of your time will be unstructured. You will have coursework, but most grad classes meet once a week for two hours and you may have three classes. You may have meetings with your adviser every so often and some seminars or things to catch (like we have grand rounds and colloquia that are required), but a lot of time will be unstructured. However, since you have so much more work than you had in undergrad, you actually will have less free time than you had in undergrad. This may initially cause you great anxiety. It did for me. Some people love unstructured time, though. (I don't.) -Because of this, you'll have to be planful about your non-grad school related stuff. -TAKE TIME OFF. DO it. It's important for your mental health. However you do it doesn't matter. Some people work it like a 9-5 job. Some people take a day off per week (me) and maybe a few hours spread across the week. Some people work half days 7 days a week. However you do it, there needs to be a time when you say "f this, I'm going to the movies." -Find your happy place, something that keeps you the you you were when you came in. I love working out. It gives me energy and I feel good. I stay healthy. I also love reading fiction, so sometimes I just curl up with a good book, work be damned. You have to give yourself permission to not think about work, at least for a couple of hours a week. You may also discover new hobbies! (I never worked out before I came to graduate school.) -Your work will creep into all aspects of your life, if you let it. This is why I hate unstructured time. You will feel guilty for not doing something, because in graduate school, there is ALWAYS something you can do. ALWAYS. But since there will always be more work, there's no harm in putting it aside for tomorrow, as long as you don't have a deadline. -You may need to reach outside of your cohort for a social life. None of my close friends are in my doctoral cohort. I've met master's students in my program, master's students in other programs, and I know a few non-graduate students I hang out with, too. Go to graduate student mixers. (If your university doesn't have any, organize some, if you like planning parties.) Join a student group that doesn't take up too much time. I had a doctoral acquaintance who kinda laughed at me because I joined some student groups other than the doctoral student one, and I was usually the only doctoral student in those groups, but I met some close friends (and future job contacts) and had a good time. -DO NOT FEEL GUILTY FOR WANTING A LIFE OUTSIDE OF GRADUATE SCHOOL. This is paramount. This is important. You are a well-rounded, complex, multifaceted human being. NEVER feel bad for this. Everybody wants some kind of life outside of work. Yes, you may loooove your field, but that doesn't mean you want to do it all day long. Some other doctoral students, and perhaps professors, may make you feel bad about this. Don't let them. Just smile and nod. Then disappear when you need to. Career: -This is job preparation. Remember that from Day One. Always be looking for ways to enhance your skills. Read job ads and find out what's hot in your field, what's necessary, what's in demand. For example, in my field statistics and methods are a hot commodity, and they're not a passing fad. I happen to really like statistics and methods, so I have pursued that as a concentration of mine. -Don't be afraid to take on volunteer work and part-time gigs that will give you skills that will be useful both inside academia and out, as long as it's not against your contract. Your adviser may be against it, but he doesn't have to know as long as it doesn't interfere with your work. -If you want to work outside of academia - if you are even *considering* the possibility - please please definitely do the above. Even if you aren't considering it, consider the possibility that you won't get a tenure-track job out the box and that you may need to support yourself doing something else for a while. You will have to prove to employers that you have developed usable, useful skills and this is one of the easiest ways to do it. But don't overdo it - get the degree done. -For more academic related ones - always look for opportunities to present and publish. Presentations look good on your CV. Publications look better. When you write seminar papers, wonder if you can publish them with some revision. Write your seminar papers on what you maybe think you may want to do your dissertation on. Even if you look at them three years later and think "these suck," you can at least glean some useful references and pieces from them. Discuss publication with your adviser early and often, and if you have the time and desire, seek out publication options with other professors and researchers. But if you commit to a project, COMMIT. You don't want to leave a bad impression. -If you can afford it, occasionally go to conferences even if you aren't presenting. You can network, and you can hear some interesting talks, and you may think about new directions for your own research. You can also meet people who may tell you about jobs, money, opportunities, etc. -Always try to get someone else to pay for conference travel before you come out of pocket. Including your adviser. Do not be shy about asking if he or she can pay. If he can't, he'll just say no. Usually the department has a travel fund for students, but often it's only if you are presenting. -If you are interested in academia, you should get some teaching experience. There are two traditional ways to do this: TAing a course, and teaching as a sole instructor. If you can help it, I wouldn't recommend doing a sole instructor position until you are finished with coursework. Teaching takes a LOT of time to do right. You should definitely TA at least one course, and probably a few different ones. But don't overdo it, if you can help it, because again, it takes a LOT of time. More than you expect at the outset. If you are in the humanities, I think sole instructor positions are very important for nabbing jobs so when you are in the exam/ABD phase, you may want to try at least one. If your own university has none, look at adjuncting for nearby colleges, including community colleges. (I would wager that the majority of natural science/physical science students, and most social science students, have never sole taught a class before they get an assistant professor job. At least, it's not that common n my field, which straddles the social and natural sciences.) -Always look for money. Money is awesome. If you can fund yourself you can do what you want, within reason. Your university will be thrilled, your adviser will be happy, and you can put it on your CV. It's win-win-win! Don't put yourself out of the running before anyone else has a chance to. Apply even if you think you won't get it or the odds are against you (they always are), as long as you are eligible. Apply often. Apply even if it's only $500. (That's conference travel!) Money begets money. The more awards you get, the more awards you will get. They will get bigger over time. If you are in the sciences and social sciences, you should get practice writing at least one grant. You don't have to write the whole thing, but at least get in on the process so that you can see how it's done. Grant-writing is very valuable both in and outside of graduate school. -Revise your CV every so often. Then look and decide what you want to add to it. Then go get that thing, so you can add it. -The career office at big universities is often not just for undergrads. I was surprised to learn that my career center offers help on CV organization and the academic job search, as well as alternative/non-academic career searches for doctoral students. In fact, there are two people whose sole purpose it is to help PhD students find nonacademic careers, and they both have PhDs. This will vary by university - some universities will have very little for grad students. Find out before you write the office off. -It's never too early to go to seminars/workshops like "the academic job search inside and out", "creating the perfect CV," "getting the job," etc. NEVER. Often the leader will share tips that are more aimed towards early graduate students, or tidbits that are kind of too late for more advanced students to take care of. This will also help you keep a pulse on what's hot in your field. It'll help you know what lines you need to add to your CV. And they're interesting. Other: -Decide ahead of time what you are NOT willing to sacrifice on the altar of academia. Then stick to it. I'm serious. If you decide that you do NOT want to sacrifice your relationship, don't. If it's your geographical mobility, don't. I mean, be realistic, and realize that there will always be trade-offs. But you have to think about what's important to you for your quality of life, and realize that there is always more to you than graduate school. -If you don't want to be a professor, do not feel guilty about this. At all. Zero. However, you will have to do things differently than most doctoral students. Your adviser will probably never have worked outside of the academy (although this may vary depending on the field) so he may or may not be able to help you. But you have a special mission to seek out the kinds of experiences that will help you find a non-academic job. Test the waters with your adviser before you tell him this. My adviser was quite amenable to it, but that's because I told him that my goal was to still do research and policy work in my field just not at a university, AND because it's quite common in my field for doctoral students to do non-academic work. If you're in a field where it's not common (or where your professors refuse to believe it's common, or it's not supposed to be common)…well, you may be a little more on your own. -Every so often, you will need to reflect on the reasons you came to graduate school. Sometimes, just sit and think quietly. Why are you doing this to yourself? Do you love your field? Do you need this degree to do what you want to do? Usually the answer is yes and yes, and usually you'll keep on trucking. But sometimes when the chips are down you will need to reevaluate why you put yourself through this in the first place. -To my great dismay, depression is quite common in doctoral students. Graduate work can be isolating and stressful. Luckily your health insurance usually includes counseling sessions. TAKE THEM if you need them. Do not be ashamed. You may be surprised with who else is getting them. (I found out that everyone in my cohort, including me, was getting mental health counseling at a certain point.) Exercise can help, as can taking that mental health day once a week and just chilling. Don't be surprised if you get the blues… -…but be self-aware and able to recognize when the depression is clouding your ability to function. Doctoral programs have a 50% attrition rate, and this is rarely because that 50% is less intelligent than, less motivated than, less driven than, or less ambitious than the other 50% that stays. Often they realize that they are ridiculously unhappy in the field, or that they don't need the degree anymore, or that they'd rather focus on other things in life, or their interests have changed. All of this is okay! -You will, at some point, be like "eff this, I'm leaving." I think almost every doctoral student has thought about dropping out and just kicking this all to the curb. You need to listen to yourself, and find out whether it is idle thought (nothing to worry about, very normal) or whether you are truly unhappy to the point that you need to leave. Counseling can help you figure this out. -Don't be afraid to take a semester or a year off if you need to. That's what leaves of absence are for. Lastly, and positively… …graduate school is great! Seriously, when else will you ever have the time to study what you want for hours on end, talk to just as interested others about it, and live in an intellectual community of scholars and intellectuals? And occasionally wake up at 11 am and go to the bank at 2 pm? Sometimes you will want to pull out all of your hair but most of the time, you will feel fulfilled and wonderfully encouraged and edified. So enjoy this time!
  41. 2 points
    When I applied to PhD programs I found Grad Cafe forums extremely helpful. I suspect that many of us do come back because we feel like we want to give back as much as we can to continue passing on what we’ve learned. I know there are many others here, like myself, who used Grad Cafe in the past and are now settled into our PhD programs. So, I just wanted to give a few tips from my own experience in case it’s helpful for others. This isn’t new information, it’s just what I found most helpful, you’ll find much of it repeated elsewhere and some of it might not apply. So, with that caveat… I’ll keep it short and answer questions, and hope this also encourages others who are already in programs to join in and add their thoughts. Finding a Topic/Theory/Approach/Region You can’t pick a program or a supervisor, or write a statement until you’ve figured out what you want to do. Not exactly what you will study, but what it means to you TO STUDY. Does it mean doing library research? Does it mean 1 year of fieldwork, 2 years of fieldwork? Do you want 2 years of classes? How do you want to do your comprehensive or qualifying examinations? 1 test that your department produces and gives to you? 4 tests that you design yourself? These details matter. You also need to know what area of the world you want to study and what kind of anthropology you want to do. Identifying a Program The programs you apply for might be limited by where you need to live because of family or a spouse, or what country you want to be in, or what the department specializes in, or where you can use a special scholarship. So first pay attention to those limits and find all the programs that fit inside that group of limitations. Next, within those programs you must identify the ones that have at least 3 professors that you REALLY want to work with. You need to be able to draw on more than one person in the department. One of them will be your main contact, your POI or your potential supervisor. But the others are important. You want several people to be excited about your application so that when the department sits down to look at the applications, you have more than one person arguing for yours. I did this by emailing everyone in the department whose work I was interested in. A simple short email that said where I was studying, what my interest was, what I liked about their work that I had looked at, that I was interested in a PhD in their department and then asked if they were accepting new students for supervision. Finding a Supervisor/POI Once you’ve emailed everyone of interest you’ll have a great sense of what your options are. Some will write back excited to hear from you telling you all about the program. Some will say: “Apply, I’ll see your application, and don’t email me again.” Some faculty really want to talk to you, some don’t want hear from you at all. Some will tell you to email the graduate student advisor in the department, some will send you to the web site. This will tell you a lot about their personality and about how the department works. You’ll quickly figure out whether you really want to work with this person for 5-8 years. If you develop a good correspondence with someone, keep them updated. Let them know you’re applying, ask if they’d be interested in seeing what you are writing for your statement. Sometimes they’ll offer to edit it, to give you sources to cite. Sometimes they’ll tell you what to say about particular things in order to improve your essay. All of these things happened to me. Don't forget to ask for email addresses of current students they would reccomend you speak with about what it's like to study there. Especially ones they are supervising. Then go over to Academia.edu and look up students yourself and reach out to them so that you talk to other students, not just the ones that they reccomended. I ruled out schools very quickly when I spoke to many students in a prestigious, highly ranked program and they were all miserable. Writing a Statement All of my statements were well received and resulted in offers to several fully funded programs as well as a few prestigious scholarships. I used a simple formula. Sure, you can try to re-invent things and stand out, but my opinion is that people on admissions committees are actually happy to find that you’ve followed a clear outline so they can more easily read through many essays. Here’s what I used. Same for all of them, but tailored to that specific program. I DID NOT simply change the last paragraph, the whole statement was written specifically for each school, based on the long email conversations I had with potential supervisors. Paragraph 1: First sentence saying briefly and straight to the point: This is what I plan to study, broadly. Second sentence clarifying and giving more detail Paragraph 2: The following scholars have looked at X, (citation, citation, citation). The following scholars have looked at Y (citation, citation, citation). Studies around the issue of X and Y have tended to look at them like this… (citation, citation, citation). Paragraph 3: However, this literature has not yet looked at how XY affects A, B, and C (this is where you insert your topic, from the first sentence, but in the context of existing scholarship, the point is to show how you want to contribute to knowledge). Paragraph 4: By looking at XY in terms of A, B, and C, I want to open up new questions about XY such as: New Question 1; New Question 2; New Question 3; etc. By exploring these questions my project will use theory D, theory E, and theory F in new ways to address XY through ABC. Paragraph 5: The University of (Insert name here) anthropology program is the ideal place to do this work. The department focuses on X and Y, and these people work on ABC, and their use of theories DEF are interesting because… Professor H’s work on A and X is relevant to my work because… Professor I’s work on B and E and Y is relevant because of the way she… While studying at University of (insert name here) I will draw on expertise in…
  42. 2 points
    Ramen. Lots of Ramen.
  43. 2 points

    Worried About Reapplying

    To add to my previous post, I would also recommend having a stellar letter of intent and be sure to have a good relationship with the professors who will be writing your letter of recommendation. Don't be afraid to talk about you lower scores in your letter (Not GRE though). In my letter I never made excuses for having lower score at my community college, but instead pointed out how and where I improved. For example, I stated how when I started finally learning about the field I was passionate about, my grades soared up. I also pointed out how a became an academic personal trainer to help students who also had a difficult time with the transition from high school to college. I had a great relationships with the people who wrote my letters of recommendation and I am sure those letters had a lot to do with my grad school acceptances. The GRE is such a minuscule part of your overall application. It is important, but shouldn't be your everything. Hope this helps!
  44. 2 points

    2018 Applicants

    Good luck on the GRE everyone! I took mine in May. It was tough, but I felt so much relief when I got a decent score after all the studying. You can do it!
  45. 2 points

    Need Help Understanding

    Sorry for the delayed response. I've been traveling with no internet access for 2+ weeks. I'm only going to respond to this because you're doing a common thing, which is taking anecdotal evidence based on your experiences and extrapolating from that to denigrate an entire discipline and draw conclusions about how that field should be changed, without actually informing yourself about the training MSW students receive. I've interacted with clinical psychologists who tell LGBT persons that the issues are all in their head but that doesn't mean that I think all clinical psychologists are that way. Have you conducted a systematic evaluation of the social workers you've met, which includes factoring in their training? If not, then I'd suggest that you avoid making such broad, sweeping statements.
  46. 2 points

    Low GPA, but decent GRE Scores???

    Ayyo. I got into a handful of schools with a low GPA. Even my last 60 weren't great. I'm gonna level with you - your GRE isn't stellar. It's okay, but in my experience, you have to make up for your low GPA in some numerical regard, not just by being a standout human being with lots of experience. I'd retake the GRE, but study your butt off to ensure some numbers go up. This is an easier number to boost than your GPA, for obvious reasons, like your GPA has 100+ credits factoring in. Adding a handful of As won't necessarily help. Another tip, and probably the best advice I got during the process, is apply smart. Don't apply to Iowa or Vanderbilt. Look at edfind, find schools (all over the country. don't get picky) that take lower GPAs, look at places that legitimately share your interests, and apply to a bunch. I applied to 15. I do not think this was too many. Of course, with a low GPA, the rest of your application has to be near perfect. That's okay. Get good recommendations, write your LOR, then have 5 people smarter than you edit it. When you mention your low GPA, do so, but briefly. Then explain that you're on an upward trajectory, and you're even more motivated to kill it. Don't focus on the bad. Good luck, let me know if I can help more.
  47. 2 points

    How to Deal Problem Students as a TA

    The one trick I've learned (mostly through analyzing why I respect some professors despite being subject to their scathing criticism) is to be honest and confident and deal with the behavior like a boss, but to never judge or make assumptions about the student's personality, motivation, or abilities. Instructors who get the best results: Might tell the student that his/her behavior comes off as [insert negative thing here], but will never say that the student is A or B or that they think the student is A or B. Might say why they took points off and where the problems are in a certain paper or assignment, but will never generalize the performance on that single assignment to make negative assumptions about the student's performance overall or question the student's effort or abilities. Keep personal feelings out of it. Treat each situation as something separate - once a conversation is over, let it be over. Don't let your attitude cloud your other interactions with said student or with other students. If they don't bring up the topic of a past unpleasant interaction with you, you don't bring it up first. You smile and treat it as if nothing happened after the fact. Also, it's okay to clue in the instructor of record if it gets too absurd. As a TA, one of the worst interactions I've had with a student involved that student being aggravated by a not-so-great grade on her essay and was trying to get points that I couldn't give her. She yelled at me during office hours, refusing to believe that her answers weren't correct and telling me that she didn't think I understood how much money and effort she put into her education, that I didn't care because I wasn't paying nearly as much as her, and that I wasn't qualified to teach and probably didn't even read the textbook. I ignored any attacks on me. I told her first of all that I didn't question her ability or effort - there were specific things we were looking for and she didn't have it; it didn't mean she was a bad student or that I graded on a whim. I also explained the answers to the questions and the reasons her answers didn't express them adequately. I then told her that she was welcome to go to the instructor for a second opinion (which she was going to do anyway). After she left, I followed up with an email recapping what I'd said, BCC'ing the instructor, and I met with the instructor later that day to talk more about the incident. When the student sent in the essay for that second opinion, the instructor and I went through it together, and the fact that the instructor was on my side about the grading helped the student come to terms with her grade, and she ended up apologizing for her attitude. Honestly, I have to really thank this student. She gave me a killer answer to a really common and hard-to-answer interview question!
  48. 2 points

    Fulbright 2017-2018

    I hope all of you have written to your congressional representative about getting the award. If you haven't done so, please do, especially after reading this: http://www.chronicle.com/blogs/ticker/what-trumps-proposed-2018-budget-would-mean-for-higher-ed/118577 "It would also cut spending in half on Federal Work-Study programs, slash the budget of the National Institutes of Health by a fifth, eliminate programs that foster foreign-language study, and reduce spending that supports international-education programs and exchanges, such as the Fulbright Scholar program, by 55 percent."
  49. 2 points
    I would check out an English grammar website and make sure you read over some of the more basic rules. This is not intended to be an unkind criticism of your writing, merely, there are several obvious errors and places where the phrasing is awkward and clunky. Secondly, answer the question. Your conclusion says it all really; "universities should make a vast number of electives available for students". This is the closing statement for an essay throughout which you have justified a certain view. Unfortunately, whether or not universities should make a vast number of electives available for students was not the question. The question was Universities should require students to take courses only within those fields they are interested in studying. Not, should students only take courses in their major, nor, should the university provide a wide range of electives. My major may be economics, but I took a series of advanced mathematics courses and an elective in economic history because I was interested in studying those. They were outside of my 'major'. However, a course on modern political discourse is outside of my major, was an offered elective, but was something I had no interest in studying. So I didn't. The university did not make me. So what is the counterfactual to the question above? Universities should require students to take courses only within those fields they are interested in studying? Well, can you think of a circumstance in which the university should require students to take courses outside of those fields they are interested in studying? Note, no mention of majors is made in the question. What about concerns over merit goods? Students may not place value on certain courses, but the university may feel they know better than an eighteen year old student what is good for them. In this case they can behave paternalistically and require a certain number of core credits. It isn't about studying inside or outside of majors - after all, students can double major, take minors etc. The question is whether or not there is any benefit to forcing students to study things that they are not interested in studying. Perhaps students do not wish to challenge themselves? Perhaps they only wish to study those things they are good at? Perhaps the university wishes to force these students to display a basic competency for many disciplines. Perhaps a basic advanced math component should be mandatory, because those wishing to go on to grad school in a STEM subject or the social sciences must have this, but incoming freshmen may not know that, or may not yet know whether they wish to do so? Perhaps the university wishes to prevent students only taking introductory classes in many disciplines, and graduating with a 4.0 for which they have not had to work very hard. If I was marking the essay my first impression would be that you have some interesting ideas, but had in fact rewritten the question in order to answer the question that you wanted to answer.
  50. 2 points

    Need Help Understanding

    This strikes me as taking an elitist "my discipline is the best discipline" approach to thinking about who conducts therapy. Would you say that only those with training in psychology are qualified or could those with a background in nursing or other medical areas be qualified? Ultimately, why is it that you think only specific courses can prepare someone to counsel others? (And also, what good is writing a master's thesis for someone who wants to be doing therapy, counseling, or other hands-on work? What would they gain from devoting extensive time to research, rather than to field experiences?) Because your question made me curious, I googled the MSW curricula for two schools: Florida State University and the University of Georgia. I won't link to FSU because, for whatever reason, the link isn't secure. But the UGA revised curriculum requires courses on human behavior, working with individuals, working with groups, and psychopathology. Even their old clinical curriculum required those courses. Are there specific course requirements you take issue with? Is there really only one "proper" way to be trained to be a counselor?