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Provincial Cosmopolitan

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About Provincial Cosmopolitan

  • Rank
    Caffeinated
  • Birthday May 18

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    New York
  • Application Season
    2013 Fall
  • Program
    Political Science

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  1. I don't have any particular advisor. That was actually one of the reasons some other schools said they didn't accept me: I didn't have a specific POI, etc. My current school has admitted me and has assigned a first-year advisor, who should then help me pick my PhD advisor next year. Given that, it seems that I shouldn't worry about changing subfields, based on what you've said. Thanks so much for relieving me of much worry!
  2. I'm not sure about the Boulevard's hours. Since I've only been there at night, I'm not sure if they are open during the day. I know some of the diners in Worcester are like that. But, since you aren't planning to go during the day, that shouldn't be a problem. If you're into good bars with good beers on tap, check out Green Street. (That's an actual street, not a bar name.) It used to be really scuzzy and run down - when I first started going there; don't know what that says about me - but it's changed a lot. There's a little bar - on the right hand side of the street if you're coming toward the bridge facing downtown - that has some good stuff on tap. And check out Hotel Vernon in Kelley Square, too. It's also a place that used to be really, really shady, but now is only partially so. It's got an odd mix of characters, from working-class locals to hipsters. And it's got a room shaped like a boat!
  3. Hey all, So I am an accepted PhD student who should be starting in the fall. However, I have a question. I was really torn between two topics and two subfields (both of which are political science) when I wrote my statement of purpose. I picked comparative politics and wrote up my research interests based on that. However, since then, a variety of things have caused me to think about changing to the other field, American politics. First, it seems like I might actually just be better at that. Also, I'm told that there are more jobs in the latter. Given that I've not started anything, is it unlikely that my department would be unreceptive to me changing my subfield? Do people do that? My undergrad professors told me not to worry, that everyone changes their research interest, but I wonder if such a radical departure would be acceptable. Any advice? Thanks in advance!
  4. I'm glad that you like my fair hometown so much. Your'e right in saying that it does have a lot of good restaurants. I know it's not near Clark, but I recommend the Boulevard Diner over on Shrewsbury Street if you want something to eat late at night. It's got a very authentic feeling. Also, the Vietnamese restaurants on Park Ave I'm sure you know of already.
  5. I'm wondering, are these numbers really accurate? What I mean by this: in undergraduate education, you apply and see what financial aid you get. Some schools, like Harvard, meet everything, so if you're dirt poor and get in, you pay nothing. Other undergraduate schools might have a lower price tag, but actually provide on average less financial aid or meet less of a person's calculated need than Harvard. In that sense, the cheaper school is more expensive in reality. I wonder if this is the same with MSW programs, and you really have no idea if you can afford a school until you're accepted and see your financial aid. Anyone know? I know that with undergrad, you can check the most basic websites and see what percent of financial need is generally met by a school. Something like this for MSW programs?
  6. Once again, thank you. As for location, how specific should it be? For example, my girlfriend and I are from close but different places: I'm native to Boston, and she to NYC. If she's going to a program in, say, Northampton, Massachusetts, would that be close enough to Boston and NYC to have a reputation in both places? I guess what I'm asking is, when you say put a priority on a nearby school, do you mean regionally, i.e. don't go to U of Michigan even thought it's top ranked if you want to live in the Northeast? Or do you mean make sure to be in the same metro?
  7. Thanks so much; that was extremely helpful advice! The most important thing, I guess, is that she go somewhere she likes and that is CSWE accredited? Do some schools offer better help in finding placement than others? Or do some make it easier to find the right adviser after the MSW? Thanks again!
  8. Hey all, I've just enrolled at a college in the Amherst/Northampton area. My girlfriend is doing a second Bachelor's degree at our alma mater in NYC, so she has to stay here for another year or so to get that done. However, she said that, after deciding against law school - we have a professor who is very honest in her opinions against law school, and has statistics to support - she wants to pursue a Masters of Social Work. I think this is the best choice for her, because she originally wanted to go to law school not to make money, but as the only thing she knew of where she could work face-to-face with people who are down on their luck and help them out. I know this sounds like something that would obviously point to an MSW, but for people like us, who are first generation college students, we have to kind of stumble around trying to figure out the best programs, degree options, etc. As a sidenote, I should say that this forum was extremely helpful guiding me along my own path towards graduate study. In any case, my girlfriend is pretty excited about an MSW and says that she is planning to pursue it in either NYC, where we are both now, or come up to Massachusetts/the Massachusetts area. I told her that if she would like to do that, I would probably move with her if she is somewhere close enough that my commute wouldn't be more than an hour or two each way. (Boston, Amherst, etc. I don't mind driving, and if it would mean she is closer and also happy...). She's asked me to look into programs a little bit for her, given that she's still working and taking summer classes and is, therefore, quite busy. One thing that confounds me is how to determine whether a school is good or bad, aside from the rankings. I know many people say that "rankings do not matter" or social work programs, especially in clinical programs, where her interest lies. Is there any advice that you all have? Of course, given that I'm in the area, I've already put Smith on the list of suggestions, and she seems excited about that. How hard is it to get in? This is one question I have. I know that in PhD programs, where you get in has everything to do with your "fit," i.e. how much professors are interested in working with you/in your area of research. You could get rejected from some fourth tier school and still get into Harvard. How is it with the MSW programs? Is it like that? Or is it more like, if she's a really good student, she can get into Smith based on her academics and volunteer experience, etc.? Also, some of the programs in the area are ranked low, but if rankings don't matter...how does she know what is good? For example, Westfield State University is inexpensive - and some say go where it's inexpensive - and close, but is it a bad school? The same questions go for Springfield College. Also, financial aid: I know that in PhD programs, you generally get a tuition waiver and a stipend, while there is very little funding for Masters students. Is that the case with an MSW as well? Sorry! We're both full of questions. She's planning, I think, to make an account here, but I want to support and help her out and get information as soon as possible, especially since she's been incredibly supportive of me
  9. This is a great thread, and I'm glad to hear the stories of everyone else on here. I have a weird class and family background, I guess. During my childhood, my family was definitely not poor. My father had a nice little paint and wallpaper store that did quite well for a while. He treated his customers well, and they were loyal, meaning that my family, though not rich, had a good upper middle class existence. My father had a store as did his father before him, and I think my grandfather as well. My mother's side was poorer: she grew up in the projects (Irish Catholic near Boston in the 1950s) after her father, my grandfather, passed when she was a little girl. My father dropped out of high school to work at his father's store and then open his own; my mother dropped out to work in the factory to help support her family, my three aunts on her side and my grandmother. My father was more oriented toward business, in the sense of thinking it was a good idea to try to start my own; my mother was always the one who really pushed me to complete college and get the degree she never had the chance to get. In a bit of class irony, the factory in which my mother worked was in something of a valley between two hills. On the top of one of the hills was a prestigious liberal arts college, the kind of school that the factory owners' kids would go to. She really thought that college would open doors for me (and it did: now I'm accepted into an exciting grad program) and both she and my father pushed me (she because she believed in it, my father because of my mother). Unfortunately, given that none of my family had gone to college, none of us realized how exceedingly awful my high school was. At one point, we had enough money to send me to a private Catholic high school, but we were told that the local school system was "just fine." My father didn't want me to go to a private school and take on an upper-class, holier-than-thou attitude, I think, as well. Consequently, I went to public high school in my hometown, then a declining mill town. I did really well there, was ranked 17th in my class, and was even part of the National Honor Society. We had no idea of which colleges were better or worse, so I applied to three local ones and got into all of them. I had no idea how little my high school taught me until I started college: everyone was so far ahead of me in terms of reading and understanding material that I was completely left in the dust. This was quite a change from high school, where I had been at the top. No one understood why I did so poorly when I first started college because we all assumed I had an educational foundation equal to everyone else's. My mother demanded I try harder, and I wondered why that wasn't working. None of us realized that I could have gone to the writing center or something of that sort for help! I eventually realized that the wealthy suburbanites surrounding me had a better education; this became all the clearer when I found that my city was mentioned in the then-just-published book Savage Inequalities by J. Kozol. My family became poorer by the time I started my undergraduate education as well, as the city's economy went sour - and Home Depot moved into a nearby suburb. My father lost his business after running it for a quarter of a century. My mother, who had started working as a teaching assistant - at first out of boredom, and then to help make ends meet - also lost her job due to budget cuts - and then passed away after a brief illness during my first year of undergrad. This caused havoc with my schooling, of course. After more than a decade, I came back and finished my BA in political science, and now I've been accepted with funding into a graduate program. The program is actually at a university I toured with my mother and father during my search for an undergraduate institution, when we were desperately trying to figure out the differences between schools. Being first in your family to attend college is a bit of a handicap, as there is no parent who has any idea of what doing a PhD means, nor do any of my hometown friends. (On funding: What do you mean they pay you to go to school? It's a trick!) But if you've gotten through your undergraduate years and you're accepted, you've got what it takes to complete the program. Probably, you're more likely to have the tenacity to complete, given that you've likely had to overcome a number of hurdles to get to the program. I think being from the working classes instills a certain set of values that are helpful in education. For example, the work ethic: I started working when I was maybe 11 years old - first a paper route, then at my father's store, and then, as soon as it was legal, a job at a supermarket, etc. - and now feel guilty when I'm not working or getting things done. That value really helps to get assignments done. A professor of mine at the college where I recently received my BA remarked on this. She just came here (I'm using the school's library right now) from an expensive private institution. According to her, the students there were rich and lazy. She was surprised to hear professors here talk about how much they "loved" their students, but said she came to do the same here, because the students, many of whom are poorer, realize that they/we actually have to work to get through undergrad. Also, I'm looking forward to TAing. Aside from getting my PhD, I really hope there is at least one student that I can recognize as struggling in the same way I did during my early undergrad years and offer them some helpful assistance. I'm sure this story is boring to everyone who isn't me, so if you've come to this point, thanks for reading, and I'll look forward to hearing yours.
  10. I wouldn't buy anything at a Goodwill anymore. I used to do it years ago, but now that the bed bug epidemic has come to America, I'm scared to do so. I generally take the precautions; I just don't want those to all be for naught because I put my stuff in a UHaul that is infested...
  11. So, I'm currently a New Yorker looking forward to moving Amherst, Massachusetts. As a New Yorker, I've been bombarded over the past few years by news stories about bed bugs turning up everywhere and I've become paranoid. I have to rent a moving van to bring my stuff from NYC to Amherst, but I'm worried about the potentiality of the van being infested with the horrible insects. Does anyone have any advice about how to ensure that I don't pick up the pests either on myself or my property in the van?
  12. I spent a while living in Miami, and it's a great city, perhaps my favorite or second favorite in the U.S. (second only to Boston). I don't know much about Coral Gables, but a lot about North Beach and the area in general. Miami, aside from a few areas, like South Beach and Brickel, is a very affordable city. I had a nice, big apartment a few blocks away from the beach for only $700 each month. This is entirely affordable on $20k per year, and if you look around, you can surely find something cheaper than that. Maybe be a little careful in certain areas of the city/Miami-Dade County. There aren't that many weird zombie guys, but the area still does have a high crime rate in comparison to other U.S. cities. Still, as long as you take care you should be fine. There are some areas to definitely avoid (anywhere near Pork and Beans projects), and there are some areas with a terrible reputation but that are worth visiting. For example, Little Haiti, despite a bad reputation and a crime problem, has a vibrant cultural life that provides arts and music and foods that you simply can't find anywhere else in the United States. Each year, there is Miami's Carnivale, which takes place in Little Havana in and around Calle Ocho. There are a bunch of other street festivals as well - they are fun and, like much in Miami, unlike anything elsewhere in the U.S. Get used to Cuban coffee; it's omnipresent in Miami, and, I found, easier to come across than your typical Starbucks coffee. Cuban coffee is basically espresso with a very large amount of sugar, served as a very thick beverage in tiny little cups. You can buy these cups - about the size of the containers you get cream in at a diner type restaurant - for 50 or 75 cents at a ventanita, i.e. a store window/counter. You can also buy a colada, which is a larger size cup of the coffee meant for serving several people, for a dollar or two. If you're like me, you'll start out buying a cafecito here and there, then routinely, then serially. Eventually you'll end up buying coladas to drink yourself several times each day. Also, what the commenter above said about the city seeming like another country: this is absolutely true. The culture of Miami is nothing like anywhere else I've been in the U.S. It's a very Latin American (Cuban, Venezuelan, Argentine, especially, not so much Puerto Rican or Mexican) city. If you don't know any Spanish you could have some trouble, so it's best to try to practice that. Enjoy the salsa music and the generally laid back and happily chaotic lifestyle. Enjoy your studies at FIU, but don't seal yourself off. Miami is too good of a city to spend half a decade in and not really come to know and explore. Congratulations on getting accepted and going to Miami!
  13. What kind of stipends do you have that you can start and IRA or a CD with three times your weekly income!?
  14. I gave up on CUNY and accepted somewhere else. Really don't want to be part of a department that is so incredibly disorganized.
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