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Showing content with the highest reputation since 05/23/2017 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

    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.
  5. 8 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.
  6. 7 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.
  7. 6 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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!
  10. 6 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 5 points
    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!
  14. 5 points

    2018 Applicants

    Hi y'all! I'm applying for PhD programs as an 18th-centuryist, so shout out to others in that oft-ignored period! I'm also halfway through a 2-year MA program (there are so many of us here!) This summer is drafting my PS and editing my WS - and beginning work on my thesis of course.
  15. 5 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!
  16. 4 points

    Acceptance Thread

    Just saw this now - I accepted the offer from Syracuse!
  17. 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.
  18. 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!
  19. 4 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."
  20. 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!
  21. 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.
  22. 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?
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. 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!
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. 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!!!!"
  31. 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.
  32. 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.
  33. 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.
  34. 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.
  35. 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.
  36. 3 points

    2017-2018 Application Cycle

    There are plenty of applicants (and students and scholars!) that straddle the line between IR and CP. It's not a big deal to be slightly ambiguous in respect to those two subfields IF there is a obvious reason for it and you have a clear and concise proposed project in your SOP. You may also want to be strategic with respect to competitiveness. From past cycles, the comparative subfields were thought by many to be more competitive than IR in regards to available spots vs. applicants. I believe this fluctuates from year to year though. Might be something to think about when declaring your 'first' subfield.
  37. 3 points

    Acceptance Thread

    Got admitted to Syracuse last week, and also to McGill on Monday - almost June!
  38. 3 points

    Low GPA, but decent GRE Scores???

    Hey there! I was recently accepted into 2 (of 5) grad schools my first year applying and had a relatively low (3.03) overall GPA. My last 60 was close to 3.7-3.8, so I'm not sure if my situation applies. I was accepted to a school that has an interview process, and although it was stressful leading up to the interview, I had the opportunity to showcase my personality and explain the areas of weakness in my application. If it helps, I took about 8 years to finish my undergraduate degree and int he first year and a half of that degree I was suspended twice for poor grades. I never thought I would be accepted, but made an effort to gain relevant experience, have competitive GRE scores, and explain my low GPA in my personal statement. Don't avoid the subject. It may be wise to retake a few classes with low grades. You may find that being accepted may take a few years, but don't let that stop you if you can't imagine doing anything else. Let the admissions committee see persistence and passion instead of a low GPA.
  39. 3 points

    I'm finally going for it :)

    Hello! So, here's my story. I graduated high school in Florida. They have a generous scholarship program where if you get a certain SAT score and GPA, you get a full-tuition scholarship to any public FL college. I stayed local and attended a public FL college with a direction in its name. It wasn't until the end of my junior year that I learned I probably should've gone to a "better name" school. That's when I learned from professors and other students that it would be highly unlikely for any of us to get into a top graduate humanities program from my undergrad due to our lack of prestige. I should've persevered and gone that route anyway, since my heart was fully in my majors: English and philosophy. Fear of not getting into a good grad school and then not getting a job at the end of my PhD won out though. I gave up on that dream, despite it being the best fit for me. At that same time, I'd heard that law schools didn't care about undergrad prestige much, since they so strongly weighed the LSAT. So I took that, scored in the 99th percentile, and decided to go that route even though I had my suspicions from the start that it was the wrong fit. That was confirmed once I got there! I loathed it and became depressed. I did ok though, gpa in the middle of the class and all As in my legal writing course. This was at a top ten law school. Near the end of my second semester, I requested a leave of absence. My school was wonderful and granted it, said I could come back at any time. Not long after that, my mom was diagnosed with ALS. I was her primary caregiver for a few years until she passed away. At that point, I decided life was too short to do something I disliked. So I decided not to return to law school. I instead got my master's in English Education, since some of my strongest interests are learning and instruction. (I discovered this during years as a tutor and professional trainer.) I now have the guts though to go all the way and get my PhD in English so that I can teach at the college level. That's what my heart most desires and always has. Teaching and publishing my own work. I was scared for so long that it wouldn't work out, but I want to at least try! I come here for advice on where you think I should apply. I only want to apply to schools where I'd have a shot at full funding. I'd appreciate a heads up on the best schools you think I'd have a shot at. By "best," I mean the schools I'm competitive for that give me the greatest chance at landing a professor job when I'm done. -- My undergrad GPA was 3.65. I was also named "The Outstanding Philosophy Graduate" for my class. -- My grad GPA is 3.96. I graduate this month. -- I haven't taken the GRE yet. I took a practice test for the English part and scored in the high 160s. I haven't even attempted the math part yet because I've forgotten everything beyond fractions, it seems. I'll definitely need to study up for that big time! -- I have work experience in tutoring (writing, LSAT) and also in business (training, management). I currently live in Buffalo, NY and will be applying to University at Buffalo's program, but I wanted to check with you guys on where else I should include. I'll be applying this fall for admission in Fall 2018. Thank you for reading!
  40. 3 points

    Financial Aid/Funding for Dummies

    You automatically get $20,500 for the unsubsidized loan no matter what your situation is. If you need more, you can get the PLUS loan. The government checks your credit (mainly to see if you havent defaulted on loans and have a decent score), and the school determines how much you are eligible for based on the budget they create for you. You have to do a credit check and a master promissory note to actually get a PLUS loan in addition to applying for it. Call your school to assist you with that. You can use whatever financial means to pay for school, but at the end of the day the amount you are eligible for (government or private) is ultimately decided by the school. You can always try to get an assistantship depending on the perks your school offers for having one. You dont have to take everything the FA office offers you. If you need less than 20,500, you will be fine. If you need more, contact your school's FA for info on the PLUS loan, grants, etc. You can call the grad office for assistantship info.
  41. 3 points

    Tips for Applying to English Ph.D. Programs

    Your advisors don't need to be directly in your area of study (after all, you will probably have an outside reader for the diss!). What is important is finding faculty in field that you feel would support your own research--this is a different question than having the same particular interests. Your advisors are not there to direct your research so much as ensure that your research responds to and recognizably fits in with your area of study in general. I.e., if there are more than a few faculty working in the time period that you've chosen, and their methodologies are not directly opposed to what you want to do, you shouldn't worry about having no one to guide you.
  42. 3 points

    Hunting for a Program, I'm STUCK. help please.

    Honestly, I think that you should start by seeking guidance from your former professors. GradCafe is very helpful regarding certain aspects of the application process (GRE studying tips, SOP advice, Interview advice, etc), but not so much when it comes to something as major as choosing a field of study. Sure, we can list all of the best places to study political psychology, but we can't really tell you whether you should be studying political psychology or not. You should contact a professor who knows you and knows your work and have a conversation with them regarding your research interests and how to best pursue them.
  43. 3 points

    Starting personal statements

    I would focus on writing from the heart instead of what would make you sound like an ideal candidate. I feel like committees see right through that. When you write from your heart i think it is easier for the thoughts to flow. When you are done go back and make it sound more professional and make sure you hit the key points the other poster said in some form of fashion. Its all about making sure your passion has a rationale instead of saying "i want to work with/im good at working with/i love...". Speak from the heart and filter out the bs. It may be a process, but you can do it!
  44. 3 points
    None of that is going to happen. There are procedures for dealing with plagiarism and none of them would ever lead to the loss of a degree over one sentence in one paper, let alone three degrees. Not to mention the fact that it's entirely unclear how anyone would ever find this paper and want to pursue anything malicious because of it, and what university official would ever agree to entertain such a low-level complaint long after the degree has been granted. If it helps you, though, cases of very low-level plagiarism I've seen have involved nothing more than a reduction in grade in the relevant class for a first offense. Since you've actually gone to your TA, you also have a very good defense for having tried to rectify the situation in time and in good faith. Again, none of this is ever going to happen! You have done your best to deal with a mistake, and you've been told by the TA not to worry. Take them at their work -- don't worry! I understand that this is causing you anxiety, but you really need to put it behind you. You are causing yourself more harm with all this anxiety than an actual academic honesty procedure would. Technically any use of a source without proper attribution is plagiarism. That said, discussing commonly known facts is often done without citation and that's perfectly fine. Even if you did leave off a citation you should have had, this is such a tiny offense, and your TA has exercised their discretion and have decided to let it go, since it's a one-time incident and very minor. This decision sounds entirely reasonable to me, I would have done the same. As they told you, just don't do it again.
  45. 2 points
    Old Bill

    Writing a new writing sample

    Ten is ridiculously low, and I'm guessing they expect to receive sections of longer papers...unless they're one of those programs that tacitly prefers applicants with B.A.s, in which case more applicants will have recent work of that shorter length. But if the program is otherwise a good fit for you, then sending a selection of a longer paper probably makes the most sense. "About 15 pages" probably means 14-16, but I would hesitate to go much longer. 12-16 is more practical, I think. This is why 17-18 pages (technically 18.5, though I use a slightly larger font than Times New Roman) seemed like a good number to me; first of all, it felt like the right length for my WS in general (I'd expanded it from a 12-page paper), and second of all, I could justify that length for programs that wanted 20 pages, and could cut it down a bit (but not too much) for those that wanted 15 or fewer (of which there was just one that I applied to). As usual, there are many variables involved, so this might not work for everyone. I think the key is that it's your "best" writing, in light of the interests you propose in your SOP. For what it's worth, I always find it easier to add material than cut, though I got a lot better at the latter over the course of my M.A. -- one of those subtle skills you pick up along the way in graduate work. I just used one, though I did give a lot of thought to using two...mainly because my initial plan was to use a different sample which would have positioned me in a slightly different subfield (still early modern poetry and drama, but a different perspective/methodology). Of the three professors I vetted (all of my letter-writers, incidentally), only one thought that I should use the paper I had initially planned on using...and fortunately, my advisor encouraged me to revise a paper I had written for her a year prior -- a paper I loved, on a topic I loved, but one that only received an A-, which made me think both the paper itself and the topic it explored weren't quite up to snuff. I'm immensely grateful that my advisor brought up that paper (with an amusingly cavalier "oh, I give most student papers A-minuses" when I mentioned it), because the revision process proved rewarding in its own right, and obviously bore fruit in terms of Ph.D. acceptances. Personal digression aside, what I'm trying to get at in a roundabout way is that your sample should generally match the overall focus as expressed in your SOP. If you have a couple of different potential interests, and have found program matches for both, then by all means -- draft different SOPs and WSs that best fit each program. It's more work, and you will need to make sure your LOR writers know what you are doing (lest they write to program X about your impressive work on topic Y), but I've heard second-hand that it has worked for some.
  46. 2 points
    Unless you're doing a lot of heavy work (intense video editing, modeling), it's very unlikely that you need a Pro, and that a MacBook or MacBook Air would suffice. IMO, most people overestimate how much "computer" they need for their work.
  47. 2 points

    undergrad grunt work?

    The conversation would be for you, not them. You've only just begun but you've already developed some very strong feelings about what goes on in this lab. A conversation with someone in charge might help you get some perspective on the training process that they perhaps didn't do a good job sharing with you at the outset. As others have said, you've only been there what amounts to less than a week full-time, so it's not at all surprising that you haven't been assigned any interesting duties yet. But it might help you to understand what the longer-term plans are, so you understand why you're being asked to do grunt work now. (Though frankly I think it's pretty clear, and I think that your negative attitude, comparisons with another RA that you know nothing about, and general approach to things, aren't something that this lab can or should be responsible for changing. I hope you're seeing someone for that, it's not good for you or anyone around you.)
  48. 2 points

    Starting personal statements

    Start with a brain storm. Some things to help: -why you are interested in the profession -experience you have in the profession -why the specific school you are applying to interests you -your professional and personal goals -how the school will help you receive your goals after brainstorming, start to piece together the information into an essay. Once you have a solid draft, I would suggest handing it over to a professor, SLP, or experienced writer to look over it.
  49. 2 points

    Starting personal statements

    Four score and seven years ago.....
  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?