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About Metaellipses

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  • Gender
    Not Telling
  • Location
    East Coast
  • Interests
    early modern theatricality, art and aesthetics, post-colonial
  • Application Season
    Not Applicable
  • Program
    Earned PhD (English) in 2020

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  1. Yeah, I'm not referring to the placement record. Everyone has a bad placement record. I'm referring specifically to the cited lack of support and mentorship that graduate students received due to the size of cohorts and lack of official institutional professionalization on the latter end of the degree. Those were the conditions that graduate students at Columbia cited in their complaint and those are the conditions that leave students feeling isolated and hopeless when they confront the realities of the job market They also make it difficult to finish the degree, leading to higher rates of attrition, and also give students no help successfully translating academic skills into the non-academic world (which the realities of the job market require). I think it's important to distinguish between placement and a given institution's support for transitioning out of the academy (whether that's job support or other kinds of mentorship later in the degree).
  2. I'll chime in here as a newly minted PhD to congratulate you all (first of all) but also to say that another factor that isn't often discussed on these forums is professionalization. This includes both tenure track preparation (circulating packets of successful application materials, mock job talks, handholding during the drafting process through workshops etc.) but also alt-ac and alt-track support, which might include preparing you to put together a writing program application or identifying academic journals and internships and connecting you with alumni who have successfully acquired those kinds of jobs so you can tailor your professional resume to those positions. This kind of support isn't often thought of up front, but is absolutely crucial in the final stages of the degree. This is not only important for people who want to hazard the market, but also those who want to have the institutional scaffolding that you need to leverage your degree into another non-academic or academic adjacent job. I'd be very interested, specifically, in asking Ivies if they provide this kind of support and taking that into account, especially given what we all know about the situation at Columbia.
  3. Off the top of my head, I'd say that it's better to do requirements earlier rather than later. That way, you can stack more courses in your area of interest closer to when you're going to be doing exams. It takes a lot of the heat off that way, because you'll be able to cross off many texts on your exam list just from being in the class recently. Having to do required courses close to exams is (in my opinion) pretty stressful because it's additional reading that you can't double dip with on your lists. Especially if these requirements are versions of the classes/period that are appealing to you, that would be my recommendation. But I also agree that talking with your advisor is a good idea at this stage.
  4. I wouldn't worry about disappointing people. Sure, there will be one faculty member that is mildly disappointed they might not get the chance to work with you, but a lot of people switch what they're doing in coursework. Don't think of it as showing up and then having to publicly switch disciplines. Sign up for a Romantic class only if you want to, but make sure that you take every Modernist class that comes your way. When it comes time to do orals, then you can make it clear that you're going to be pursuing a Modernist project. Orals is really the time when people make decisions like that based on period, since it's really all about establishing period knowledge. Prior to orals, I wouldn't worry about it. Have fun in coursework and take the classes that appeal to you. Switch advisers to a Modernist whenever it makes sense (like, for example, if you hit it off with a Modernist faculty member after taking a class with them).
  5. I'll also chime in and say that I think this is spot on in my experience. I'm a student that took five years in between undergraduate and graduate for mostly financial and health related reasons. When I applied for graduate school, I contacted the one faculty member who I thought might remember me (he was my advisor) at the very beginning of the process. I ended up getting in contact with two other faculty and sending them copies of papers that I had written for them as an undergrad. I was able to mention that I was already being mentored by my former advisor (and that he had signed off on my decision to apply). So, yes, it was more difficult to build these relationships back up when they had lapsed, but it wasn't impossible. While applying, it didn't offer me any significant disadvantage. I would come home from work and work for a few hours on my applications at the end of every day, sending drafts to my advisor as I finished them. I mentioned vaguely in a subordinate clause of my SOP that I had researched and studied during the gap (I didn't give specifics). No-one asked me why I had taken the time off; no-one cared. I got the sense that as long as I acknowledged it like a banal fact and didn't make a big deal about it, that others would take my cue. I did exactly zero publishing and conferences during this time. I certainly didn't put non-academic work on my CV. I stuck to things I had done during undergrad, leaving all my gap year stuff off. So there was no opportunity for anyone to judge me for working in catering. It simply didn't come up. I think only Boston University asked specifically for a work resume, so that's the only exception. In grad school the gap has only been an advantage. As others have said, it gives me perspective; I've cultivated friendships and relationships outside of the academy and that helps tether me during times of stress or self-doubt. I have a better sense of how to prioritize my responsibilities and make time for my health and well-being. I also had a generally looser point of view on what I wanted to achieve in grad school rather than being tied to an undergraduate thesis project (which I saw sometimes happen with straight from undergrad people). That's only benefited me. This is just my own two-cents, but I think that sometimes because we know that the process is grueling and rigorous we want to impose rigor onto all aspects of it, even to aspects that the institution itself isn't rigorous about. There's no indication (in my experience) that anyone has to worry about the gap year.
  6. At Rutgers, the teaching and fellowship years are split. You're on fellowship for your first year. You teach comp as a solo instructor your second year (1/1 course load). In your third year, you do a mentored TA for an introductory lit class in the fall and either teach Comp again in the spring or hope that you get assigned to another lit class (I was the TA for my advisor's Shakespeare class that semester) - you're also reading for exams this semester. In your fourth year, you do a 2/0, usually a mix of stand-alone Comp and Lit classes (double Comp if you're unlucky or if you already got a stand-alone during the previous summer). So in the spring semester of that year you're not teaching. Fifth and sixth years you're on fellowship again (sixth year you can choose to take a fellowship or a TAship, but most people take fellowships). You teach another 2/0 in your seventh year. The administration encourages us to do 2/0s our two teaching years after orals exams, since it gives us more time to write in the second semester. You can request a 1/1 however if you really want it. I'm in the second semester of my fourth year, and I really like this system. If you can switch a 1/1 to a 2/0 and you're the kind of person who would benefit from that, it might be worth doing. I find that teaching is such a strain on my time and mental resources that I'd rather do it all in one semester and pick away at an article or a chapter I've already written, then do all my serious work in the spring with no other responsibilities. I wouldn't worry about teaching. I got tossed into a classroom first semester of my second year with maybe a weekend of Writing Program pedagogy training? It's fine. With most introductory classes, the syllabus is designed for you and you're given a selection of texts to teach. You develop pedagogy skills by being in a classroom and using them, so you'll become a much better teacher by the time that first year is over! It's also worth contacting Writing Program folks (who know so much more about this stuff than we do and are actually properly trained) and they can put together a list of pedagogical resources for you. I also get a lot of of reading Composition and Pedagogy journals (many of which are open source and available online).
  7. I think it would depend. In my case, I had a workshop with two other students from my undergrad. We all read each others' drafts and gave verbal feedback. We were also all getting feedback from the two professors who put the workshop together (generally written feedback). I would say that you should get as much conceptual and compositional feedback as you possibly can. But I think the important distinction to make here is that all the work has to be your own. Having professional researchers and editors look at it and give suggestions is valuable, as long as it's still all your work (I'm not quite sure what 'pimping' implies, but to me it evoked pay-for services where professionals rewrite your essay to improve it. I'm sure you didn't mean it this way, but I'm just distinguishing for others). TLDR: solicit any and all suggestions from people you respect who have done academic work at or near this level (taking the useful suggestions and discarding the ones that aren't useful). But the implementation should be all you.
  8. If only I could wave my magic wand and get all you great GCers acceptances!
  9. Also, just to reassure - almost every English PhD program has some representation in post-colonial, and Anglophone literature from South-East Asia is one of the most popular regional literatures represented in it (probably because the field as a whole was largely responding to British decolonization). I'd start by looking in English departments for sure, since you're more likely to poco scholars there who work on Indian anglophone (Comp Lit would probably combine Indian anglophone literature with readings in Hindi or Urdu). Also keep a look out for departments with strong representation in "World Literature," and "Global Anglophone" as those are the hot fields right now. Indian literature in English is represented strongly in both. Poco as a theoretical framework isn't as popular as it used to be, but the literature that Poco brought into the canon is still being studied from the perspective of world and global lit.
  10. Ack! So envious! A student this past semester took away my chili pepper from the semester before. I didn't know it was possible, but apparently the chili pepper is awarded as a ratio of total students or something, so if a reviewing student chooses not to assign it to their eval, it can be taken away.
  11. Just popping in my head to congratulate @Wyatt's Terps on his acceptance! This is so well deserved. You've been such a constant compassionate and intelligent presence on these forums.
  12. I think this probably depends greatly on the perceived size of your undergraduate / master's institution. For some people, there isn't really an option to choose professors who are of the opposite gender, because there's only an opportunity to work with a limited number of professors. I was a female applicant with all male professors as recommenders, but I came from a small liberal arts college (2k students). There were only two professors in my discipline and both of them were male. My third recommender was the only professor outside my discipline with whom I had taken more than one class. Come to think of it actually, I didn't take a single English class with a woman the entire time I was in undergrad... So just to those from SLACs who may be inclined to fret over this - I wouldn't worry about it. The admissions committee will know that you were working with a much smaller pool of faculty members. I think it's only an issue if it's perceived as intentional. But that only makes sense in larger programs (or those perceived as larger). If anything, I will say that it's sometimes good as a female applicant to have female recommenders. I've had issues with letters written by male faculty in the past (not necessarily by recommenders, but in other academic and professional environments). Not because they weren't positive and professional letters, but because they used gendered language. This immediately stands out as "icky" to me - and I'm assuming to other people on committees.
  13. By describing your project, you're already telling them what you'll be contributing to their program. You don't need to explicitly say "this is how I'll be contributing." Since most of your SOP is dedicated to outlining your future scholarship (and connecting it to what you've already done), they'll read that as your prospective sense of what you'd contribute. YMMV of course, but this is my sense of it.
  14. Hey! I'm from Rutgers. Feel free to PM! I'll do my best to answer questions. Edit because you're in the Comp Lit. acceptance pool. I can answer questions about SAS in general, and about the English Dept. But for Comp. Lit questions, you're probably better off talking to someone from that dept. who will be better informed.
  15. Hey, another Rutgers student here (hi Kurayamino!). As far as I know, establishing residency is for those people who live in New Jersey already. A lot of people live in New Jersey and attend, but never get around to registering to vote or doing other things that establish state residency. As a result, the department actually ends up paying high tuition rates for people who have been living in-state for years. If you're not living in-state, that should be reason enough. I've never heard of someone being required (or even strongly encouraged) to declare residency when they're currently living out of state. It's more of a courtesy to the department so they can free up more money for fellowships. It's done on a completely voluntary basis. As for modernism and Latin@ literatures goes, there are two students in the department in that area of study, one that focuses mostly on Mexican and South American literatures and one interested more in Latin@ and Caribbean literatures. We also have a new faculty member who specializes in Latin-American modernism, specifically BolaƱo. His faculty page is here: http://english.rutgers.edu/department/faculty/3993-lawrence-jeffrey.html.
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