Jump to content


Popular Content

Showing content with the highest reputation since 05/27/2019 in Posts

  1. 8 points
    I don't. There's no point to them. There aren't any exams except quals, and those are their own separate thing (for these, I did 500-1000 word precis of each item), and in-class notes have no utility for any papers. I did have a notebook I'd write in for class, but that's because it's a way I think through a problem, not for later reference.
  2. 7 points

    History MA Programs

    The more seasoned posters here are probably tired of me banging on about languages for medievalists, but let's start there. Any PhD program of quality - and there's no reason to attend a PhD program which is not quality - will be looking for two modern research languages, typically French and German, in addition to Latin. They will have an abundance of candidates who meet this criteria. Exceptions to this rule usually come if an applicant has very good Latin but no French (everyone thinks French is very easy to acquire quickly), or if they have mastery of an unusual language (Greek, Arabic, Old Church Slavonic, whatever). These requirements exist for a very good reason: they are a starting place, and you will usually find you need to learn more languages as you continue your studies. Since my admission, I've picked up reading fluency in Spanish, Dutch, and Italian, for example. Without these skills, you can't get your head around the literature you need or do good work, nor can you work with primary sources. And that's why the requirements mark a program of quality - those who do not have the requirement are taking students who are not well-prepared to succeed. I say all this to highlight the point that language acquisition must be your primary goal before you apply to PhD programs, and that you should feel that you need to acquire not only Latin, but also German. Further, Latin is hard for most people to master. Even with 2 years of Latin in your MA, you will probably have to continue working on it as you go for your PhD. Finally, if you're still in the early stages of acquiring Latin, you can't really use it to work with primary sources, meaning you will have a weak writing sample. Consequently, I would advise that you take a year (or even two!) before you apply to MA programs working in the world and picking up the skills you need. To your specific question on which MA programs, UCBoulder, Fordham, UChicago MAPSS, and St. Andrews are good programs, and I know a lot of people who have graduated from them to continue on to PhD programs. I don't have a fantastic opinion of WMU's program, but it's not the worst. Avoid Columbia. I would add the following programs: UCLA (I think this still exists), Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard Divinity, Yale/Yale Div.
  3. 6 points

    2019 Applicants

    Just applied for an apartment!
  4. 5 points
    If this statement accurately reflects your level of expertise, your GPA will not matter because your other application materials will reflect your skills. However, the statement itself is controversial. It implies that you think that know more the debates than established scholars who are participating in those debates. In combination with your proposed disclosure of your mental illness, the continued stigma surrounding mental illness in the Ivory Tower, and the unknowable experiences of departments to which you may apply, your self assessments of your skills may all combine to make you a less competitive candidate than you actually are. IME, established academics do not discourage undergraduates, aspiring graduate students, and graduate students from thinking that they're the bees' knees. Instead, they frequently give a slight nod, take a step back, and let the dynamic take its course.
  5. 4 points
    Your philosophy GPA matters a lot more than your overall GPA. Just have a letter writer address your Ws and diagnosis, and mention it in your cover letter, too. Mental illness isn't a shot in the foot, it's something that happens to a lot of us. I hardly see the point of taking three years of additional courses to bring up your GPA; we're always telling students not to take on debt for a degree in philosophy, and it seems to me that you'd be taking on a fair bit of tuition debt to do that. Just finish your degree and apply to a good mix of MAs and PhD programs. If you don't get in the first time, then work some more on your writing sample and letter of interest, refine your list of programs, and try again. And if that still doesn't work, well, you can always try again, but realistically you'll have dodged an employment bullet. Having said all these things, I'd be remiss if I didn't tell you that depression is quite common among PhD students, and a big part of why so many don't finish the degree. It's also incredibly common among people on the job market, because you're an excellent, stand-out candidate with tons of pubs and prizes, and you've worked hard to send out 100+ applications, and yet you still get zero interviews and don't know what you'll do for money come the fall. And I'm sorry to say that you're not exceptional in these respects. You will almost certainly struggle as much as everyone else does. And you'll probably struggle more than people do today, because the market's not going to be better in tennish years, when you're on it. So be prepared for the recurrence of depressive episodes. I'm not saying this to discourage you from trying the academic route, but just so that you've got some warning of the trials ahead.
  6. 4 points
    Yeah, this was my approach as well. I rarely take notes during a class, unless it's some particularly insightful point someone made or I want to say something down the road. @historygeek, I'd recommend reading with a heuristic tool called IPSO. It stands for Issue, Position, Support, and Outcome. I stole it from my friend, who uses it for reading/teaching. It's very useful for teaching undergrads how to break down a piece of dense writing into its constituent parts. It works like this? Issue: What is the research question? What is the author examining? Position: What is his/her argument or thesis statement? Support: What evidence does the author use to support the thesis? This includes not only data points, but secondary source scaffolding. Outcome: So what? If we accept the author's argument, what are the other avenues for research? I do realize that this framework seems a bit reductive and simplistic, but trust me, it's really helpful when you're reading scholarship that submerges the ideas. In my own field, it's helped me demystify Latour and Simon Schaffer.
  7. 4 points
    I have created a fb group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/713602925754603/ Search : eHealth MSc McMaster 2019-2021 to find the fb group Please join if you have officially been accepted.
  8. 3 points
    No. There are a lot of factors which determine one's acceptance or rejection into a program. If it was based on just x grades, only the top 20 or so students from the top 10 schools would be considered for grad school. A good working knowledge is good to have. However, I doubt very few full professors would go to say that have the "top 0.1% knowledge of specific debates" within their specific subfields. The brightest professors I know are still reading and digesting new information on a daily basis. Stating that you're in the top 0.1 percent implies that you don't need a PHD. It sounds as if you believe you're more than ready to contribute scholarly articles right now and become a leading scholar. A PHD is meant to help those who have a good fit with their program achieve this goal but it sounds to me that you wouldn't benefit from going through a PHD.
  9. 3 points
    This gives me so much hope! I have similar research experience & research product numbers!
  10. 3 points

    Taking time off after PhD

    In your 20s I see nothing wrong with taking a year off after a major achievement like a PhD (this is fine even after a Bachelor's in my opinion). You literally have plenty of time left to join the rat race, save for retirement, buy a house, etc. In your 30s or 40s a year would be excessive so maybe 3-4 months would be more realistic. It sounds like you know you want to take the year off and you just want someone to say your reasons for wanting to do so aren't crazy. Your reasons aren't crazy. Your parents won't be here forever and spending time with them now (while they still remember you and can move about) is never going to be something you regret. The year off can also be used to really think about where you want to live and how best to enter the job market there. If you so choose, you can also work on your stutter. You can also enjoy some of the things that 20somethings who were less productive than you enjoyed routinely........sleeping in, taking a road trip, doing something stupid just because, binge watching some random tv show, travel, etc. You can also engage in some hobbies you've always been curious about and just plain relax. Be sure to journal about your year so when you're old you can remind yourself of all the fun you had.
  11. 3 points

    I failed my thesis.

    Hello, just wanted to give some news to those who were worried about me: I am okay. My mental state is good, despite the circumstances. I do a lot of self-care. I want to thank those of you who have shown empathy towards me and remembered that I am a human being (instead of being paternalistic and judgmental or tried to "Dr Phil'ed" me on the Internet in assuming that I should not do a Ph.D which is a big LOL to me). My supervisor said that if the external examiner fails me again, we're going to appeal for sure. I feel better though because I know that I have a "recourse" or an option if something turns bad again. The news came out that I got the scholarship. I have received multiple hundreds of messages of congratulations. Not all of those people know about my thesis failure, but I feel encouraged by these people who actually know me IRL and are confident in my ability to succeed. I also have a third professor who has accepted to read and comment the revised version of my thesis, before we send it off to evaluation again. I feel less anxious than I did a month ago. I am going to do the best that I can, just like I have always done, and I know that in the event that something happens again, my whole department is ready to defend me in the case of an appeal (again, these are professors that have known me for years and are confident in my ability to succeed in academia). I also want to mention that I won't be coming here as much as I used to, because this place is not healthy for me. If you want to keep in touch, just PM me.
  12. 3 points

    Rangel or Pickering 2019-2020

    Just a few pieces of advice/my opinions: your grades GPA and gre scores are not that important for the fellowship so don't put so much emphasis on it. I know some people want certain things for the grad school program but for the fellowship it's more about your experiences and crafting them into a well written essay. If I were you I would spend more time on the application essays and reaching out to mentors early to help you vs spending more time and money on the GRE UNLESS you wanted a certain score for a program in case the fellowships didn't work out. Again take it with a grain of salt just my opinions.
  13. 3 points
    I finally found a mobile vet who put her down on Friday. She had lots of banana and I held her for about 30 minutes before she was put down. At this point, she couldn't even really hold herself up, but still had her personality and wanted to eat banana and give me kisses. She fell asleep while eating banana and then vet put her down, so it was very peaceful.
  14. 3 points

    Grad. School Supplies?

    After reading through all 23 pages, I think I've managed to compile the most salient (at least for me) and still relevant pieces of advice as far as grad school supplies Laptop - While most people have a laptop, it was recommended by several people that folks in a new laptop (unless yours is less than two years old) and make sure you get an extended warranty (one that will hopefully last the entirety of your program). Note: look into funding opportunities for laptops within your department. Some will finance a new laptop for incoming grad students! Desk - L-shaped came highly recommended, given the extra space. While i love my little desk, I may invest in a larger one by year 2. Chair (Desk) - Investing in a good chair was stressed many times. You will likely be spending many hours hunched over a desk. get one that will be comfortable for your back, but won't put you to sleep. Chair (Reading) - a separate reading chair was recommended for those hours upon hours where you'll be reading. a comfortable chair or couch was recommended. Printer - there was some debate regarding the pros/cons of a printer. In an increasingly digital age, I don't think a printer is completely necessary. ESPECIALLY because so many universities have printers available and printing costs included within stipends. But this will depend on the person Scanner OR File Cabinet - One person had recommended getting a file cabinet and regularly organizing it so as not to fall behind (if you are someone who likes having physical copies of everything, then go for this option). HOWEVER, someone then chimed in to say screw a file cabinet. just get a scanner. and i thought that was an excellent idea! just scan everything you need and chuck the physical copies (unless its like your birth certificate or something) Coffee - Coffee maker, coffee carafe (to keep it warm for those days of marathon working), french press. you get the idea. ALTERNATIVE: electric kettle for tea drinkers Large Water Bottle - lets be sustainable folks! Snacks - for those long days Wall Calendar Dry Erase Board Noise Cancelling Headphones External Hard Drive Dongles - actually didn't see folks write about this, so I'm adding it! Dongles/adapters are constantly changing based on your device. Get the one that is specific to your computer to HDMI and VGA, and you should be set for most campus systems! Paper shredder - unless your campus has a shredding removal service like my current one has. I'd say take advantage of that Travel - Luggage, toiletry bag, international travel adapter/converter, etc. You will presumably be traveling a bunch! Get the right travel accessories if you can Desk accessories - post its, highlighters, pens Notebooks - it seems like everyone has been unanimously pro-moleskine notebooks on here. mmmm I'm not! What *EYE* recommend is going to your local art supply store, and buying sketchbooks from there. They are usually so much cheaper. And most art stores have artist and student memberships available, so you can get major discounts. I just showed a sale and got all my notebooks and pens for less than $30. Just my opinion Software - Just some of the software that came highly recommended and that I felt like was still relevant today: Evernote. Zotero. Scrivener. CamScanner. Nuance. iStudiez Most of this is hella obvious. But some of these I hadn't even considered! And its nice to think about these things early so you have enough time to save up or search the internet for deals. I curated an Amazon wishlist based on the information i listed above. Let me know if you'd like me to post it here and make public! And remember: 90% (if not all) of this is OPTIONAL. Let's not make academia seem more inaccessible than it already is. You will excel regardless of whether or not you have these things. There's always borrowing. lending programs through your university. free services through your libraries. There are options! Hope this is helpful to those reading this post 8 years later! It was certainly helpful for me. Aside from curating a great list of things i want, it also helped distract me from decisions this week ://////
  15. 2 points

    Dear 2020 applicants...

    I whole-heartedly agree with this advice. I am U.K based and came into philosophy through an untraditional route but completed a conversion MA at a PGR school here, achieving a distinction in the process which is equivalent to GPA of 4.0. I applied to four schools (UCL/KCL/Oxford/LSE) but I was only accepted onto LSE's MSc and rejected from the other MPhil/BPhil programmes. Emotionally I was distraught after the flurry of rejections as I had hoped to get into one of the former research degrees. I personally knew many others who had gotten onto the programme at UCL, some of whom didn't even meet the minimum entry criteria and others who had seemingly very poor applications (one international student's personal statement demonstrated an incredibly low literacy level) and this made the whole experience even more frustrating and objectionable. Overall, the process was pretty negative for me but it did inspire some new work on procedural fairness, work which I will now be presenting at conferences across Europe this summer. In this sense I managed to eventually galvanise myself but I think it's right that people talk about how to handle the process and rejections emotionally, as I was in a pretty dark place for a while and because I think that it is something that we can actually shine a light on effectively. My advice here would be to try to expect to receive a rejection from each programme you apply to, and somehow balance this negative expectation with the positivity that is required for completing good applications. Even though it's a top school for Political Philosophy, the LSE programme was my safety option because it wasn't a research degree and as such, I put my application together in about 10 minutes by just regurgitating what I had used for my other applications - weirdly this was the one that worked whereas the hours that I spent agonising over my Ox application turned out to be worthless. For sure, there is a lot of luck involved in the process, not just because you have no idea concerning how you are to be assessed by each institution but also because you may not have very helpful tutors, or because other applicants have some "insider knowledge" regarding your chosen programme. In my case, my tutors were incredibly unhelpful - lazy in producing statements (leaving them close to the deadline and unwilling to correspond much with me on them), unwilling to take a look at personal statements or writing samples etc. - unfortunately there is nothing much I could have done about that. Ultimately, most of us have no idea why we were rejected, references are submitted anonymously and feedback or a reason for rejection is rarely ever provided. Before applying I felt like I had done so much research online and prepared as well as I could have done given the circumstances but for whatever reason, it just wasn't enough. Despite this, if there is anything I could advise, it would be to echo what others have said - make sure your writing sample is as good as it can be. I used a slightly refined excerpt from my dissertation and I totally regret it. At the time I thought it was wise as it was a piece of work that scored a high mark on my MA and I had received some particularly positive feedback on it. I was worried about rewriting it or coming up with a new piece of work because I thought, at least with this sample, I knew where it stood academically. In hindsight I should have developed a totally new piece bespoke to the programme I was applying to, one that fitted the desired word length perfectly and perhaps also aligned with interests of the tutors at the school (in a more obvious way). I decided to take up my place at LSE in the end as I figured it can only help my chances moving forwards and because there are a lot of great tutors there that I am actually pretty excited to work with given my areas of interest. I will be applying to PhD programmes at the end of this year with the hope of moving on directly from my second Masters. I just hope that this time I manage to navigate the process more successfully! I also hope that the conferences I am doing this summer will bolster my academic C.V and help me to further refine the paper I am working on which will probably end up being my dissertation at LSE. I think I will apply for PhD/DPhil's at Cambridge/Oxford/LSE later this year, I know most of the people here are based in the U.S but if anyone else is looking at these programmes/has applied to them previously then give me a shout.
  16. 2 points
    I think a big part of it is whether the school will let you do a field placement at your current employer, because field placements are not usually available outside of work hours. This means, of course, that it's probably impossible to work full time while getting an MSW if you work somewhere completely unrelated to social services.
  17. 2 points

    2019 Canadian SLP Thread

    Just got my acceptance into Dal SLP (well, my recommendation to FGS) off the waitlist!!
  18. 2 points
    FWIW, my thought is that for each student, there's a sweet spot between taking effective notes for class (if not for each class) and preparing for qualifying exams. And by preparing, I mean writing coherently while thinking deeply. (And if one is going to write one's exams by hand rather than using a computer, writing quickly and legibly.) If you're already good to very good at taking notes, I recommend doing all you can to avoid reaching the conclusion that taking notes is of limited to no value in graduate school. With no disrespect to @telkanuru, You may find yourself working for a professor as a teaching assistant in class where most of the grading is based upon tests that draw almost exclusively from the lectures. You may find yourself taking graduate classes in the history department or in your outside field that do have written, in class exams. You may find yourself in an archive where you cannot bring anything but paper and pencil. You may find yourself attending lectures or job talks where a lot of information is being shared but you don't realize until much later how useful the information is. You may find yourself working in the private sector and the ability to take notes like a historian adds value to project work. If you find yourself in any of these situations and a very perishable skill has deteriorated due to lack of use or indifference, you can have FML moments that are avoidable. (Or so I've heard.) Also, if you ever study under professors who are phenomenal lecturers and you get to see their notes, it may very well be that they're using notes they took when they were graduate students themselves. Penultimately, I've come to the conclusion that some very accomplished senior historians have, through the course of their careers, published articles that are informed by their graduate course work. How would such work be possible without good notes? Finally, I think that every aspiring academic historian should assume that one is going to do work vital to her field and, some day, will bequeath one's papers, notes, and letters to a research library. So taking good notes is an opportunity to serve the profession. #$0.02.
  19. 2 points

    2019 MPH CANADA

    hey two of my friends heard back last week from global health. hopefully you do as well! good luck!
  20. 2 points

    Plan B

    No, I don't have a TEFL/TESL! I'm in Spain and if you're from the US, basically the only way to work here is through getting a student visa, which means it's easiest to come with a program. I'd recommend BEDA (which is what I'm with) or Auxiliares de Conversación through the Spanish ministry, though there are several other programs too. But I know that there are a lot of opportunities to teach English abroad (and I've got several friends who've done so in Japan, China, South Korea, and Thailand), and if you're still in university it could be worth applying to the Fulbright ETA program (quite prestigious if you get in). Most programs require you to apply anywhere from a year before to a few months before, but perhaps with a TEFL/TESL and depending on where you're trying to go, you could get a certificate now and look for a job in the fall.
  21. 2 points

    History MA Programs

    Until you try Merovingian Latin, you are yet still a sweet summer child ☠️
  22. 2 points

    Academic Writing Samples

    I would not send in any application materials that don’t meet requirements! Personally, I took an 8 page paper over the summer and expanded it to 15 by incorporating new sources and delving more deeply into a couple of pieces of the original that were especially interesting to me but not fully developed. The professor whom the original was for thankfully offered to look over the new version prior to me sending it out with my applications, which was really helpful, as sometimes it was fairly challenging to see where the new pieces fit into the old, etc. Good luck!
  23. 2 points

    2019 Applicants

    The reading list for the What is the Contemporary? course currently looks like this: Teju Cole, Open City; Don DeLillo, Cosmopolis; Mohsin Hamid, Exit West; Barbara Kingsolver, Flight Behavior; Jamaica Kincaid, Lucy; Ruth Ozeki, A Tale for the Time Being. I haven't read any of these novels before, so that's exciting! And that it's almost all POC!
  24. 2 points
    I personally don't consider this as an issue as long as people do not post inappropriate comments on schools/departments.
  25. 2 points
    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!


Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.