Welcome to the GradCafe

Hello!  Welcome to The GradCafe Forums.You're welcome to look around the forums and view posts.  However, like most online communities you must register before you can create your own posts.  This is a simple, free process that requires minimal information. Benefits of membership:

  • Participate in discussions
  • Subscribe to topics and forums to get automatic updates
  • Search forums
  • Removes some advertisements (including this one!)


  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

About ThousandsHardships

  • Rank
  • Birthday 03/18/1990

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
  • Application Season
    2017 Fall
  • Program
    French Literature

Recent Profile Visitors

1,815 profile views
  1. What's your field? In the social sciences and humanities, most dissertations get reworked and published as books (often after securing a tenure-track position), not articles. In the sciences, it's common to publish an article by eliminating extraneous information and focusing on the more pertinent parts. But in those cases, the dissertation wouldn't have been considered an official publication. If you just submitted it via something like ProQuest, I'm not sure that's considered an official publication either (you can double check with your advisers), so I don't think that recycling would be a huge deal. If you do have an official publication in the form of a book or an article in a legit journal, though, then you should definitely not self-plagiarize. You can, however, cite your previous work when you decide to draw upon it. Your article should still be something original, not a duplicate of what you had previously published in the event that your dissertation had been in fact officially published. Your previous work would just be considered a resource like any other.
  2. As a former PhD student in an excellent science program whose adviser was chair of the program, I can say that your stats and research experience look very strong. But your field tends to get a lot of applicants, and you will have a lot of competition. Therefore, it's extra crucial that you don't skimp on your statements and letters of recommendation. Get killer letters from tenured faculty who've seen your research, know where you stand academically, know the standards and conventions of writing a decent letter, and who are known in the field or at least are active and well-respected in the community. And make sure to bring attention to your research in your statement of purpose. Provided that you work hard on your application and check your statements over with professors who've been on admissions committees in the past, I don't think you'll be denied admission based on your qualifications alone. The main issue is how many slots they have and how many are applying. I'd even venture to say that you might stand a better chance of getting into a more prestigious but larger program than a less prestigious but smaller program. I think you've got a good list and a good mix there. Good luck on your application!
  3. Even if a program is not a standalone department, it doesn't mean that you'd be required to take classes in the subfields. I don't think Berkeley (my alma mater), for instance, requires the sociocultural people to take classes in the other subfields. Honestly, I felt like Berkeley's anthro department has a very different culture in each subfield. The biological sector struck me as highly dysfunctional. People don't get along and/or have horrible attitudes, renowned faculty keep leaving, and their politics really suck, and from what I've heard, that includes their treatment of grad students. The archaeology and sociocultural anthropology subfields, though, had highly motivated and high-achieving faculty and grad students who seem to get along just fine and who're awesome to talk to and interact with.
  4. Most people I know in sociocultural anthropology do possess skills in another language. As @cowgirlsdontcry pointed out, however, it varies widely according to the program. Some may require it, while others may not. It's also very common to require it as a program requirement but not as a prerequisite (i.e. you might not need it to get accepted, but you may need it by the time you graduate or by the time you start your fieldwork). Which also brings me to a point -- many programs are flexible. What you need can depend on your research and where you do your research. If you take your fieldwork to Colombia, for example, it would be hard to get by without Spanish. If you do it in Portugal, Portuguese would be natural. If you do it in Indonesia, learning Indonesian would be a worthwhile investment. For the record, though, I think it's only fair to not require any more for grad student admissions than what is required of a typical undergraduate major in that field. I have a B.A. in anthropology, and the only language requirement we had could have been satisfied with a third year high school class or a second semester college-level class. Any graduate admissions requirement above that would seem a bit unreasonable to me, though knowing another language at a high level might give you an edge, especially if it's going to be relevant to your research. Sometimes they also take individual circumstances into consideration. If they have a prerequisite but your undergraduate school does not provide the resources to meet that prerequisite, then sometimes they will accept you anyway if the other parts of your application are strong and they believe that you're able to quickly catch up.
  5. I can't speak for your field, but I've been through two graduate programs and will be starting a third, so I'll just talk about what my experiences have been. For me, I feel that the stress is rarely due to the classes themselves. One key thing I've found is that in order to succeed, what you do in the program needs to match your goals for going into the program. What I mean by that is, those who start grad school to improve the world may be discouraged to find that the chances of truly making a difference are minimal. Those who want a PhD just to teach may suffer when they discover that research isn't their calling. Those who start a program with a tenure-track faculty position as their only goal may stress when they find colleagues struggle in the job market. Most of us know how to write papers and take tests, and sometimes we think we know what we want because we've read about it somewhere or talked to someone. But book learning doesn't always transfer as we get more in-depth into the field. As we begin to experience the uncertainty and the not-so-fun parts of grad school, we sometimes begin to question what we're really in it for and whether it's worth it to keep going, whether our goals really match the reality of the program. The hard fact is that very rarely do we get exposed to the types of work we're required to do as a grad student, and for those who've never been through grad school before, we end up discovering more about us and our discipline than we'd care to know, things that really don't come up on our radars until we're actually in it. Grad students can also get sucked up into departmental politics. You can no longer avoid the professors that didn't like you. They will know exactly who you are, and they will talk to their colleagues about you, and if you don't have someone who's got your back in the event of a conflict, one person's opinion can spread through the entire department and they can make your life hell. Many grad students are also at that point when they are starting a family. Imagine taking three classes, spending 20 hours a week on teaching duties, and trying to prioritize research and attend conferences. If you add on a toddler and a nursing infant to the mix, all while getting paid less than $1500 a month, no wonder these people are stressed out! Some students also say that they don't feel that their advisers support their goals, so that's another source of stress sometimes.
  6. 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!
  7. I agree with the above poster. In the end, they could just as easily find another well-qualified student to take on that position. And even if they can't, they're at no great loss. The only person that staying vs. leaving really affects is you, and you need to listen to your heart. I left my previous PhD program as well, for very similar reasons. In my experience, it's incredibly difficult to apply yourself when you've come to loathe the work. If you keep going and being miserable, there's a good chance that you'll end up leaving anyway. Might as well do it early on, keep your good relationship with your department, and move onto something you do enjoy.
  8. Will message you shortly about my own experience and some of the things I've heard from friends. I don't want to expose too much in these forums.
  9. Hahaha! I agree with @TakeruK. Time for a revenge prank!! On a side note, that explains why said scammer knew what location/organization would make sense for your research interests.
  10. First of all, anxiety about your program is completely normal. Nothing to worry about, and certainly not a sign that you've chosen wrong. And second of all, as someone who did go to into a graduate program and later found that it was not my thing...it's not the end of the world. In fact, the moment you know that you want to give up is the moment you no longer care about giving it up. And if you won't worry about it when it comes, then why worry about it before it comes? Sometimes it takes a bit of self-discovery to figure out what you want to do, and even if that discovery comes later, it's better than nothing. Never think of self-discovery as a waste of time. It's merely one of many steps that you must take to reach your ultimate goal, whatever it may be. As far as work/life balance goes, it is what you make it out to be. Grad student stress is nothing new, but there are plenty of grad students with spouses and kids who are active in the campus and academic community. I think a part of life is that if you're serious about what you do, whatever it is (and pretty much all grad students are), you'll feel stressed at some point. But there's no need to make that stress debilitating. Take part in activities in your department. Spend time with your friends and family. Treat school like a 9-5 job. Work hard when you're there, but one crucial thing that we all need to learn as we transition from students to professionals is how to leave that work behind when we get home. Good luck!
  11. Write a killer statement, get awesome recommendations and good GRE scores, and get in touch with the programs you apply to beforehand so they don't throw out your application before they've had a chance to look it over in more detail. I mean, obviously don't use that as the reason for contacting them. Contact them to find out more about the program and stuff, but do hint at the fact that you have a lower GPA but how you've gravitated toward your field and how serious you've become about your schooling and future direction during your time in the work force. The hard fact is that a lot of universities expect a 3.0 minimum and many programs use this as their initial screening protocol. If you can get past this hurdle, your application will be much more likely to be examined in detail, allowing bright spots to shine. Make sure that your application gets attention, and the only way I can think of to do so is to contact faculty before you apply.
  12. I know many people who've gone back to school after a long hiatus or after changing career plans and intellectual interests. Some have gone back to school even after already obtaining a PhD. If I were you, I wouldn't worry too much about the relevance of the professors in the department you work with. The general rule of thumb is that the longer you've been away from school, the more you could afford to have your recommenders be less relevant (if that makes sense). If you've been out of school for ten years, it'd come as more of a surprise that you don't use a letter from a current or at least more recent supervisor/colleague than that you do use one. I would 100% go with one of the faculty you work with right now, and then one of the art history professors that you mentioned, and if you can't get a decent letter from your undergrad adviser, then go for the second art history professor. Has any of your work with the art historians been relevant to philosophy or demonstrated your background in philosophy? If so, then I'd forgo that undergrad adviser. If the only thing that person can say about you is the grades you've gotten in your classes, then you're better off not having that person write, even at the expense of relevance. Getting someone who can speak to your recent relevant work is best. And if you can't, I feel that in your particular case, you might be better off with the recent. Research and writing skills in the humanities is applicable across the fields. Whether it's philosophy or not in particular isn't as important. As for your papers, I would read through them and see if viewed through a new eye, they're still as good as you thought they were. There's nothing wrong with using old papers. The only issue with undergrad is that sometimes the papers you write are not always research papers and do not always show your ability to engage scholarly research and articulate your own research using a variety of primary and secondary sources. They can still be great papers, but if they're not as useful if they don't show the type of work expected of you in grad school. Of course, I'm speaking more generally. For all I care, you papers could have been excellent research papers, in which case I don't think it'd matter too much whether it's old or new. But if you do want to write a new paper or edit your existing ones to engage more recent literature in the field (and maybe even cite a couple of your potential faculty mentors), that certainly could not hurt. One other thing that I'd like to mention is that you should for sure get in touch with someone in your prospective departments (maybe a prospective research adviser) before you apply. A sub-3.0 GPA often puts students on the automatic reject list for graduate programs...unless the department has a reason to give your application a second glance, which would be the case if you're in touch with the department and are open about any difficulties you've faced such that they're willing to move your application onto the next step.
  13. Only insofar as you make an effort to obtain relevant research experience and better know yourself and explore your research interests even if your master's is a non-thesis one that does not require a specialization. As far as your actual application goes, I agree with @fuzzylogician. There is no way I could have anticipated where my interests lie nor even what drew me to my discipline before the final year of my master's, and I certainly wouldn't have been a strong applicant to PhD programs if I had started as soon as I considered it. Once I started considering it, I made sure to tailor my research papers in my graduate courses to my potential research interest, but that's pretty much it. I didn't start preparing my application (or even admitting to my recommenders that I wished to apply) until late August, four months before my applications were due.
  14. I don't think that your job will affect you negatively at all. Assay research and data analytics sound incredibly relevant to chemistry, and it's looked very favorably upon to have experience working professionally, even if it's unrelated to your intended research direction. As far as your manager is concerned, I wouldn't stress too much about it. If he's any sort of a decent person, he would not use your move as an excuse to hold a grudge. He should understand and respect your goals. If he doesn't, he needs to make that clear from the very beginning and urge you to choose a different recommender. The best tip that I can give you with regards to your application is to get into contact with any potential PI's you might want to work with for your master's/PhD. Stronger students can often get into great programs without being in touch with any faculty members beforehand, but your GPA would not make the cut if you didn't have someone in the program explicitly pulling for you. Many programs put applications with a sub-3.0 GPA on their automatic reject pile without even looking at the rest of the application. This is because most schools I know of require a 3.0 GPA minimum. This isn't set in stone, and certainly many students get in without it, but it makes things complicated for the department/program, and they need a really good reason to put in that extra effort to convince the university to let you in or to risk the university rejecting you after they've already invested time and resources on your behalf. Other than that, you may want to mention the sources of your difficulties in your statements. Don't give excuses and don't make them the entire focus, but you may want to explain your difficulties and show how you've managed to work through them to get to where you are today and how they've shaped your interests for your field. Getting a few publications out certainly couldn't hurt either, and make sure you have very strong letters of recommendation. If you have the financial resources and really want to start your program as soon as you can, it doesn't hurt to apply this year. If all else fails, just apply again the following year. The worst that could happen is that you get rejected and have to apply again the next application season, which you'd have to do anyway if you don't apply this season. I was asking myself the same question last year. I didn't have a good relationship with the faculty in my M.A. program and was debating whether to let things mellow out for a few years before expressing the desire to apply to PhD programs in their field. I decided to give it a go anyway, and I got in. Sure, interpersonal relationships might have cost me some very good schools I could have gotten into otherwise, but I do get to start my PhD at a school I'd be happy with, with a very responsible and involved mentor, and I'm no longer stressing over whether this road would be closed. As for your master's vs. PhD question, maybe you can apply to PhD programs and indicate on your application that you'd like to be considered for the master's program in the event that you were not deemed to be a good fit for the PhD? I know some schools that do that. Check with the programs. Good luck!!
  15. I have a B.A. in anthropology from Berkeley. For those working in biological anthropology who are faced with or potentially face a similar situation but are still interested in Berkeley, Tim White (integrative biology) and Katharine Milton (ESPM) are potential faculty members that you might be able to TA for and possibly even work with as faculty mentors, as their work is basically within the field anthropology even though they are no longer in the department. In fact, they both left the department because they didn't get along with the department and the other faculty members. Tim White actually specifically mentioned problems with grad student funding as one of the reasons he didn't like the anthro department. As an undergrad, I didn't have a lot of insight into the departmental politics. From what I saw, it definitely felt like the biological subfield was somewhat dysfunctional. The other subfields seemed a lot better off though.