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maxhgns last won the day on May 4

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  1. No. Yes and yes. You're low on his priority list. Reading and preparing substantive comments can take some time, and it gets scheduled after the things that seem more pressing (your advisor's grading, conference deadlines, resubmission deadlines, refereeing deadlines, etc.). So it'll take your advisor longer than a few days. Give it a few weeks, unless you're coming up against deadlines yourself. It's not OK for advisors to take a very long time to give you feedback on your dissertation work, but it's also not at all uncommon. Until my last year, when my dissertation was in its final stages, it often took six months or more for me to get feedback. (That's too long, for the record. But you shouldn't be expecting a turnaround of days or even a week or two.) Yeah, you don't need to seek his permission every time you want to change something in your dissertation. Just do it, and if it works, great. If it doesnt, then you can always go back to a previous draft and start over. Part of this process is learning to do and manage these things for yourself, without someone looking over your shoulder at every juncture.
  2. maxhgns

    I failed my thesis.

    Good luck!
  3. 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.
  4. maxhgns

    How do PhD students usually spend their summers?

    The first few years, they don't usually end up doing much, although they talk a good game. The last few years, they're working frantically but not very productively on the dissertation. The last summer, they're working frantically and productively to meet the final deadline. Things are a little different--and a little more productive--if you in disciplines with labwork and fieldwork. Summers are for fieldwork, and watching the algae bloom in the lab.
  5. With no other information (and on the understanding that disciplinary norms differ, and may make this less useful to you), it actually sounds to me like this is more of a signposting complaint. In other words, they're claiming that you haven't yet done enough to make those connections explicit. Fixing these sorts of problems is relatively easy, and just requires you to explicitly articulate the links, rather than leaving it to the reader to see them and draw the connections. So, for example, the end of your introduction should say what you're going to argue: "In §2, I argue.... In response to the objection that x, I argue in §3 that... Finally, in §3 I argue that the evidence shows us that... etc." And then, at the beginning of a new section, give a one-sentence reminder of what you argued in the last section, and explain how this coming section relates to the last one. And so on and so forth. Just take opportunities to refer back to what you've argued before, to your theoretical frameworks, etc. If your evidence supports a particular framework, or poses problems for it, tell your reader, and guide them through it. There are lots of decent guides to signposting online. Harvard's Writing Centre has one here, and Birmingham has another (better) one here.
  6. maxhgns

    Self-Employment or Academia?

    Generally speaking, the academic route means relatively low pay and little to no choice over where you live. Depending on the field, it might mean a long series of temporary posts all around the country/world, with little to no benefits, and no real prospect of a TT job at the end of it. Self-employment is risky, since you're the one in charge of building your business. If you're in the US, it also means that you get no benefits (including healthcare, which you'll have to provide for yourself). Generally speaking, my understanding is that people who go the self-employment route usually need a few years to build up their client base so that the work can pay the bills. Many start their businesses part-time and on the side, while they rely on something else for proper income. On the plus side, though, self-employment means total control over where you live.
  7. maxhgns

    Can I get a second MA in philosophy?

    It does happen, although it's unusual. More often, it happens because someone with an MA is accepted to a PhD program where MAs are awarded as part of the progression to the PhD (this is normal in the US, but not elsewhere). It's also relatively common (though I'm not sure it's a good thing!) for citizens of one particular southern European country to do a second PhD (!) in philosophy at an Anglophone institution, in an effort to break into the international job market. So this kind of thing does happen. I don't know whether an American/British/Australasian/Canadian MA would help you get into PhD programs in the US. I'm sure it wouldn't hurt, and it probably would help, but I don't know whether it would help more than spending all (or even a fraction of) that time on your writing sample and letter of interest would. Certainly, it wouldn't be worth paying for an American MA. There are so many applicants for PhD programs that I wouldn't draw too many conclusions from your results the first time around. You made a waitlist, which is fantastic. That's a success you can build on, and an encouraging sign. If I were in your shoes, I'd forgo the second MA and just try again next year, with a stronger, better-informed application and a more carefully selected list of schools.
  8. Sure, it's acceptable. It's not ideal, but nobody is going to lose any sleep over you. As for your future admissions chances, nobody will ever know except people working in that department. They may remember for a few years, but eventually they'll forget, too. They certainly won't communicate with any other departments about it. On transferring: yes, it can be a little harder, because the standards for a transfer are higher. You have to make the case for your transfer, after all, and that requires you to be pretty sure about why you're not a good fit where you are--and "it's ranked too low" just won't cut it. It's also hard because you have to ask for letters from faculty in the department you're leaving. That said, transfers happen all the time. I know dozens of people who've transferred, many of them when they were quite far into their original PhD program.
  9. maxhgns

    Funded MA philosophy programs

    In the US, consider NIU, GSU, UWMilwaukee, Houston, SFSU, Virginia State, Western Michigan, and CSULB. If memory serves, those all offer full funding (though perhaps not to all accepted applicants). In Canada, most of the universities with PhD programs also have good MA programs, and several without a PhD offer a great MA. Full funding is easier to come by if you're Canadian, but international applicants can also get it. You could start by considering Simon Fraser, Victoria, Concordia, Toronto, Western, Queen's, Calgary, and UBC, although there are plenty of other great MA programs around. It might be easier to give you a list of suggestions if you said a little more about your interests in philosophy.
  10. maxhgns

    Questions regarding TAship

    If you're not a student at JHU, then you're highly unlikely to get the TAship. For most fields, TAs aren't expected to be experts, no. They're expected to have basic familiarity with the field, but not necessarily with the particular subfield. It's normal, OK, and expected that you'll be learning along the way. That said, some TAships do require more and more explicit competency with particular things than others. This is especially true for formal subjects, so I imagine there are areas of biomedeng where it's true, too. In those cases, TAships just won't be assigned to someone who doesn't already have the required background.
  11. The short answer is that they probably won't be publishable, because you won't yet be sufficiently familiar with work in the area to generate a new piece of scholarship. That doesn't mean you shouldn't try, just that you shouldn't go in expecting too much of yourself. As a new PhD student, you're still just learning the ropes. Now that all that's out of the way: in order to do this, you'll need to explicitly set out to do it, and that means choosing your paper topics with care. You'll need them to make an original contribution, and that means having a good grasp of the relevant literature, and doing a lot more independent research for the papers. You'll need to start them early, and revise, revise, revise. Revise. And you'll need to have a good sense of where to send them, what the norms are for that journal, etc. And all that is a lot of work, especially for a new student who's still in coursework. So don't beat yourself up if you don't get around to trying to publish them for a few years. Coming back to the topic with fresh eyes and more experience will make it much easier to see what work still needs to be done, or even whether it's a worthwhile cause in the first place. So I'd advise you to take a long view. Try to come up with interesting and original ideas for your papers, and do your best writing them. Then try to present them at conferences. The feedback you get there will help you to determine whether it's worth pursuing publication, and will give you a sense of what you need to do to get there. Plus, it'll help you do some of the other stuff you need to do as a grad student, and get you started on networking.
  12. No, it won't. Unfortunately. Referees are nasty all the time, and not just about genuinely weak papers. Anonymity lets them take on all kinds of unwarranted airs of superiority. My discipline's blogs and social media spaces are chock full of the absolutely unforgiveable things referees have said, and not just to new members of the profession. I can point to several people who are the top scholars in the world in their respective subfields who still get referee comments like "this is garbage, even for an undergraduate; does the author even work in [our discipline]?". Such comments aren't OK under any circumstances, let alone when directed at perfectly fine pieces of scholarship. Hell, I submitted one of my papers to a T20-30-range generalist journal which took four times its average review time to get back to me, and when it did I got twenty words of comments telling me the paper was unpublishable in any journal in the discipline. I immediately sent it unchanged to a T10 journal which accepted it in under a month. So: the moral of the story, I think, is that you ought to ignore the cutting remarks as much as possible. Make whatever changes you need to in order to avoid getting similar complaints, but ignore the nasty commentary. If a referee is altogether too nasty, then ignore them entirely. (And yes, I agree with PaulaHsiuling that one should strive to submit work that's more or less complete, and not use the peer review system as a means of getting feedback on drafts.)
  13. maxhgns

    Preparations for the Fall

    They're full of shit. People in grad school are always posturing about how hard they work, but that's all it is. They've got some screwed up idea of what the perfect grad student is, and they constantly fail to meet it, and it wreaks havoc with their brain chemistry. Being a good student really isn't inconsistent with maintaining a healthy work-life balance. I was a great grad student: I published two papers in top specialist journals, presented at dozens of conferences, won awards, networked like hell, audited all kinds of classes, TAed every semester, applied for hundreds of jobs, etc. It didn't require me to give up on any hobbies or other fun stuff. And I'm not at all exceptional in that respect. Take the time to do your own thing. It'll help enormously with all the negative crap. Just don't let yourself get too distracted from your end goal! As for making time for reading, I do most of mine on public transit, or for about an hour in bed at night. I often read during the day, too, but that's mostly down to how I feel in the moment. One word of advice: breaking your tasks down into smaller chunks and spreading them over time is way more effective than putting in whole days at a time. Read just one article a day, and by the end of a month that's a whole course's worth of reading; write an hour a day, and after a year you've got a draft of a dissertation, or after a few weeks, you've got a paper to send to conferences and journals; and so on. The trick is to be consistent, and not to overload yourself with just one task. I try to write for about an hour a day (some days I get excited and it's more, and some days I lose the thread, but on the whole that's pretty much what it averages out to). I do that relatively early in the day, and then it doesn't matter what else I do that day; the pressure's off. I can take an hour or so to read a paper, too, and then that's two big things down. After that, the rest of the day is boring admin work, emails, course prep, whatever. And fun stuff.
  14. maxhgns

    Preparations for the Fall

    I know that wasn't entirely serious, but be careful. Thinking this way is a big mistake, and leads to frustration and depression. Make and keep making time for your hobbies, and for fun reading. FWIW, I've been relatively successful, and I still read about a novel a week, go to the gym five days a week, go on regular hikes, go to the cinema, play computer games when I feel like it, etc. Grad school in philosophy is your job, not your life. I'm also a lot happier than your average job marketeer, despite being in one of the hardest subfields to find a job in (and it's certainly not because I'm killing the market).
  15. maxhgns

    Preparations for the Fall

    Honestly, I think that the most important thing you can do is start professionalizing yourself, especially if you're starting a PhD. Everything else will come during the course of the PhD itself. So, for example, start familiarizing yourself with the best journals in your subfield, and with the top generalist journals, and what kind of work gets published in which journal. Start developing a sense of how fast the turnaround is in various journals (the Cullison/APA list is helpful for that). Create an account on PhilPapers, and sign up for conference and publication alerts. Start looking at the CVs of grad students, postdocs, and assistant professors at a wide range of departments. In particular, look for people working in your inteded AOSes. Get a sense of what they're doing, and how it seems to have worked out for them. Figure out what the important conferences and associations are in your subfields. Start following the gossip on the main philosophy blogs. Start reading through the Job Market Boot Camp on the Philosophers' Cocoon. Start paying attention to what goes on in the forum over at the Chronicle of Higher Education. That sort of thing.

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