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a_sort_of_fractious_angel last won the day on July 18

a_sort_of_fractious_angel had the most liked content!

About a_sort_of_fractious_angel

  • Rank
  • Birthday October 15

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
  • Interests
    Contemporary (1940 - present); Anglophone; Global/Transnational; United States, Caribbean, Central America
  • Application Season
    2018 Fall
  • Program

Recent Profile Visitors

248 profile views
  1. Thank you, @klader!! I think gmail is a great plan and I look forward to talking with you all - this is exciting!!!
  2. That's a great way to put it, @klader If you need a peer-ear to bounce ideas off, feel free to holler my way! Congrats, @Keri - that's fantastic news!
  3. Thanks! @Keri - I appreciate it! I hope the group is feeling good, too! My SOP is not wildly out of control, though my WS is kind of like a shopping cart in desperate needs of 3 more wheels, so that's going to be the rest of July for me, lol.
  4. @punctilious, @klader, +++ I'm guessing we don't need to make a chat, just join an existing one? I've no idea how to do that but if there is anything I'm supposed to do, just holler. Thanks for tagging me - I really appreciate it!
  5. Hey, @aves - I'm a little late to your post and I haven't had success (yet) with applying to a particular region/area, but I'm going to be pretty geographically-oriented this application season myself so, if you ever want to vent/bounce ideas/chat about it, please send me a PM!
  6. Everything written so far is fantastic advice - I just want drop a quick line in case my experiences can further help you, @lit_nerd. I'm assuming you're applying to both PhDs and MAs (if I'm wrong, I apologize) - as others here have noted, the PhDs are going to want to see a dialogue between the two, but (from my lived experience) MA programs are less concerned with seeing a nuanced and rich dialogue between a powerful SOP and WS than with seeing two (perhaps not totally connected) pieces of writing that are strong and interesting and demonstrative of your growth potential. Case in point, I submitted for my 1st round of apps a WS on Joyce and psychoanalysis (weird paper) and a SOP that was vague everywhere except in its dogged love for the unfashionable field of literary trauma studies (even weirder than the WS), and I was accepted to two MA programs. While my materials didn't speak to one another in any sort of direct way and weren't strong enough to get me into a PhD, they did get me a step closer. And there's nothing wrong with taking the MA as time to continue growing - I'm so, so, so glad I did, and I can recommend a fully-funded MA program to look at (if you're interested.) I believe, too, that someone here (I'm sorry I can't recall who said this) suggested that if you REALLY love this WS you're submitting, you shape you SOP around it. I think that is a idea well-worth considering. If you know you can write intelligently and easily on a certain topic, it's sort of pragmatic to "pick" that topic to spend 5-7 years working on. I am not suggesting, of course, that you pick a topic that's not actually what you love. I'm more trying to say that, as a PhD, you'll be able to work with all the professors in the department (probably), freely apply to whatever conferences catch your eye, and shape your studies in a way that works for you. Thus, provided you speak a little toward your multiple areas of interest, you can perhaps make the bridge between these two areas during your studies (as opposed to within your application materials) - however, I'm not a PhD, so others here will know more about exactly how much wiggle room you'll have upon arrival. Finally, I think somewhere on here the question of submitting multiple papers appeared - my only advice for that is, if you do it, alert your LWs and make sure they know what paper is going where. One of my previous LWs spoke about my WS in her recommendation and I'm guessing other profs do that, too. It'd be super awkward to have a LOR bragging about Paper A when you submitted Paper B (I'm sure you've already thought this out, but I had to say it.) Finally, finally - there is a safety to sticking with a paper that someone else has seen (perhaps multiple times) - you might have more room to get more nuance, simply because you've been able to step away and come back more than you would with a brand new sample.
  7. @Keri and @klader - if y'all are still thinking of getting a PM group together, I'd love to join in as well!
  8. Hello, and thank you! You're absolutely right - it's part of their job and some percentage of them likely enjoy helping out. And your second point makes sense, too - it's always better to ask! Most importantly, congrats, @jackdacjson, on your acceptance to Michigan! I have a dear friend there now in the English program - I'm sure Michigan has answered all your questions, but if you find yourself wanting to know more, shoot me a PM and I can get you in contact. Thanks again!
  9. My undergrad was comparable to yours, I think - I got my BA at at small, undergrad-oriented university (we had a handful of MA programs, including a small one in English, but no PhDs) and all but one or two of my English courses were 100% discussion-based. Those experiences were useful during my MA, as those classes were also primarily discussion-based. Speaking articulately (and sometimes on the fly) in a group setting is (arguably) a requirement for successful graduate work. In terms of breadth and depth and whatnot, my undergrad wasn't grad-level rigorous and the "jump" during my MA was a little rough, but it wasn't any fault of my department - I think a lot of universities demand that undergrad students fill those first 2 years with requirements and that leaves less time to get that breadth you're looking for. My advice would be to continue to speak with those professors - they don't have to offer to write you LORs and if they are, that's great. You might also express your concerns to them - I'm sure they can recommend some seminal texts in your areas of interest that you could read and then discuss with them later. It's possible (and normal) that your sense of perhaps not being unprepared enough is "right" - I wasn't, and while my BA professors strongly supported my PhD applications, I didn't get in my first try. I didn't get in my second try either, however, even after far more rigorous MA coursework at a well-known department. All to say that coursework isn't everything, especially if one cannot take that knowledge and use it to produce original and interesting thought (which is why those discussions come in handy!) But if you have profs in your corner who are supportive, that is (almost) everything because they can lead you toward work you may not know about and they can read your responses and thoughts.
  10. Thank you! That's a more low key approach - I appreciate it!
  11. Hey, all - apologies if this topic has been discussed before (I looked through a few pages in the forum and didn't see any super recent titles like this.) Are there any tips or tricks on reaching out to potential LWs after you've been out of school for a brief period of time? FWIW, I plan to ask 3 former professors from my MA program (I graduated in 2016) to be LWs for this upcoming round of applications. Two wrote for me when I applied during my second year, and all three are really nice folk, so I don't anticipate them having totally forgotten who I am. I plan to reach out September 1ish with a polished application ready for nuanced critiques - I am hopeful that an early (and hopefully strong) "reintroduction" will reflect well on the time I've taken off and give us time to reconnect. While I'm out of state from the program, I'm not super far and I figure if I get "OKs" from all three, I'll negotiate the "can we talk via phone or I can come down for the day to discuss my application materials" aspects. I'd appreciate any advice on the process, however, since I feel a little weird and awkward and kind of queasy about it since I'm no longer a current student. Also, a related concern - do any of you recommend or advise against asking the more pointed "can you write me a strong letter" approach? I've always assumed (perhaps incorrectly) that if a professor doesn't feel comfortable writing strongly on your behalf, they just won't write. Should I clarify for a "strong" letter, however, and if so, should I open with that in my introductory email? That seems a little aggressive, but what do I know. Thanks in advance
  12. Hi - any grad students (PhD or MA - my mistake in the title) on here? I'd love to chat. PM me if you are! Best,
  13. Hey! I didn't attend Alabama or Purdue, but I do have an M.A. And I agree that "rank" is only useful so far as it gets you - it's mostly an illusion, I think. I have a friend from a no-name M.A. program (a school that doesn't have a Ph.D. program in English or a reputable undergrad degree) and they are now at UPenn. I, conversely, got an M.A. at a school that has a great Ph.D. program, found myself a "big name" mentor while there, and had no luck getting into Ph.Ds last year. In short, rank doesn't matter. What matters are things such as: (1) is my program progressive or prescriptive? (2) is your future mentor going to support you decisions (academic, non-ac, alt-ac) in a strong way? (3) and, as cheesy as it sounds, how does the program make you feel? Additionally, geography really matters. I'm from the northeast and I went south - I had culture shock. In doing so, I also went from a super small undergrad to a big ol' grad program. These changes influenced my work, some for better and some for worse. I liked the culture change because I learned things. I didn't love the program change because I realized that I don't function well in a social environment that is intimately related to academics. This may not bother you, but it's worth thinking about. I think you're leaning towards Alabama, and if that's true, I think you should go with your gut. You'll learn a tremendous amount while there - and you always have GradCafe to lean on if you feel that you're not progressing. Conferences, papers, exploration - these are key (I think) for successful work in academia, should you choose to go forward with that particular path.
  14. Hallo, new frands. I'm returning for my third and final shot at academia. So, if anyone starts to experience that largely unpleasant "oh no, not this again" feeling, I'm happy to chat through/around/over it because I'm very likely feeling it myself. ~The Plan 3.0~ March - continue getting comfy in my field; eyeball W.S. and P.S. lengths; be aware of POI-related articles/texts (a.k.a. read everything I haven't yet read and read again the things I've already read.) April - revise chapter 1 of my M.A. thesis and make it palatable. May - produce a new writing sample that is equally palatable; scope out a conference panel or two that are related to said samples (and hopefully see what the three people in the audience and my co-presenters world has to say about it at a later date.) June - debate if the GRE and/or the GRE subject test is really worth taking again & do so if necessary; contemplate the joy that is the Personal Statement. June - edit, edit, edit the W.S. and P.S.; compile logistical application stuff. August - reach out to letter writers; pray the work I've done isn't totally wonky; edit everything. September - reach out to academic friends and see what their reactions are; edit everything again. October - do some more heckin' edits. November - evade that Threat Level Midnight feeling; tie those metaphorical bows on my applications with a confident flourish of the wrist. December - sing holiday songs Very Loudly; pet some dogs. I'm glad to be on board with you all!