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rising_star

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rising_star last won the day on June 18

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About rising_star

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    Travel, SCUBA diving, football
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    social sciences

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  1. rising_star

    Saying goodbye

    Dear GradCafe Community: We are writing to say goodbye, and give a short explanation of why we have decided to both step down from our official roles and leave the site entirely. On June 18, 2018, we learned that the site owner sold TheGradCafe. We strongly believe that the site should be a resource based in community––graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty helping prospective and current graduate students. After discussions with the new owner, we have concluded that we do not agree about the purpose of the site. We have watched the GradCafe community grow first as grad students, and now as faculty and postdocs. We all enjoy volunteering significant time each week to give back to the broader community. Rather than continuing on at TGC owned by an outside agency which we are not convinced has the best interests of the community in mind, we have opted to leave and focus our time and attention elsewhere. Best of luck to all of you in your journeys as applicants, graduate students, and beyond! Our alternate contact emails are below in case you need to reach us outside of the forums. Rising_Star (risingstarphd@gmail.com; Since 2006) Fuzzylogician (fuzzythelogician@gmail.com; Since 2008) Eigen (eigengrad@gmail.com; Since 2009) TakeruK (takeruk.grad@gmail.com; Since 2012)
  2. I sort of felt that way the first year of my MA (eons ago now). Then, I got some good advice from more senior grad students: your experience will be as challenging as you want it to be. If you seek out opportunities to go beyond the coursework, get involved in more research, learn to be a better teacher, etc., then your master's can and will challenge you. But if you don't do that and complain about the program, you really only have yourself to blame. Instead of saying you feel pigeonholed, seek out the things you think are cool, new, or interesting. Go to office hours to talk to profs about them. Read up on them on your own. See if anyone will take you on as a RA to focus on one of those topics. Your education in grad school is driven by you so make the most of it while you can.
  3. I would attend, especially if you're about to be applying for a fellowship. You want people to know you finished your PhD, are doing well in your postdoc, and where your research is headed next so that you can potentially find support for it. You don't have to go to every session or go all day. Be strategic about where and when you attend the conference.
  4. rising_star

    Loans in Grad School

    Right now, there are no savings accounts with an interest rate high enough to make this a good plan. You'll be paying 6%+ in interest on the loan and earning >1.2% on the savings account. My advice would be to either get a job now to save up money or find out how quickly you can get an emergency loan from your institution if something does come up and you need the money. I totally getting wanting to have a cushion but it's worth considering what the cushion will cost you to have. (Another option might be to apply for and get a credit card with 0% interest for X amount of time or a 0% APR on a balance transfer. If something happens, you could use the credit card upfront and then apply for, get, and use a student loan to repay the credit card balance. That gives you some additional flexibility versus taking out a loan and paying interest on it in case something happens.) Good luck!
  5. rising_star

    How can I strengthen my application to Oxbridge?

    @MotherofAllCorgis, as has already been said, funding might be the most difficult part of this. Does your college/university have a National Fellowships advisor? If so, you want to start working with that person ASAP. Look into all the (admittedly ridiculously competitive) funding options, eg Marshall Foundation, Gates Cambridge, Fulbright, etc., and start doing what you can now to make yourself a competitive candidate.
  6. rising_star

    Starting PhD in January?

    Pretty much all PhD programs start in the fall only. Is there a reason why you want to start in January rather than in the fall?
  7. Before planning on summer courses, I would check with the departments to see what is offered over the summer, if anything. Many graduate programs offer few or no classes over the summer because the expect students to be doing research or internships. FWIW, I took 12 credit hours while also having a GA position and it was too much at times. I would recommend taking 9 hours your first semester and then gauging your ability to do more from there.
  8. rising_star

    First gen undergrad student seeking some advice

    @psychiscool, don't just ask your faculty mentor. Talk to others on your campus and this summer during your internship about the application process, programs you should look into, ways to improve your application, etc. One of the keys will be finding a good research fit and clearly stating your research interests in your SOP. Also, don't take the GRE more times than you have to because it's expensive (also, look into fee waivers). Your best bet is to study hard and take it once and only retake it if absolutely necessary. Your fall will be busy enough with an honors project, courses, and grad school apps so don't unnecessarily waste time on the GRE. Good luck!
  9. rising_star

    How Important are Conferences?

    Institutions don't just make up P&T guidelines out of thin air... So I'll just say that we borrowed heavily from what our peers from a standard comparison group of 150+ similar institutions were doing. But sure, if folks just starting a PhD want to discount what some potential employers might want, by all means they should. It'll improve the odds for others, which can't be a bad thing for those folks. More broadly, I think you're assuming that I have zero familiarity with English PhD students or English PhDs on the market. *shrug* Let's just hope for the sake of everyone reading this that you're always right and I'm mostly wrong. Also, if co-authoring helps someone see and understand the process and build their confidence to publish, then I'd say that it's more than valuable even if not all R1 institutions will recognize it as such when on the market. FWIW, I've seen a lot of students be hesitant about putting their work out there but be much less so when given the chance to write or publish with someone more familiar with the process. In the sciences (social, natural, physical), this is common and part of one's training. In the humanities, it isn't, which may affect publication rates. I know there are other factors affecting publication rates but, from successful* CVs I've seen, there are many folks who have one co-authored pub early in the PhD and then several solo authored ones later. *Successful = got on the long list for Skype/phone interview and/or made the campus visit list
  10. rising_star

    How Important are Conferences?

    I think you misunderstood what I meant or I wasn't clear. What I meant is that going to conferences gives you a chance to have coffee/tea with a prospective advisor and discuss your interests in person rather than over email. I highly doubt that person would even hear your paper (my PhD advisor certainly didn't bother with that). Still, you can learn a lot in person that you can't learn via email about a person's personality and you can ask them if they think your interests are a good fit and gauge their reaction. I found that to be really valuable when I was applying to PhD programs (granted, I got lucky and several of my POIs were actually speaking at department colloquiums so I was able to arrange brief meetings with them). YMMV obviously. There are ample articles being published in the humanities about how problematic the lack of co-authorship is, which it would behoove anyone headed to a PhD program to pay attention to.* There's also edited book volumes that one could be invited to (which again have varying value based on career aims). OP, in terms of future collaboration, you want your name and work to be one that people recognize when they think of people working on that topic or in that subfield. The only way to do that is to publish your work. Your publications will be stronger the more feedback you get, even if some of that feedback is self-serving as people ask questions to show off their own intelligence. It's also worth thinking about those you serve on a panel with as people with whom you could form a writing group to get feedback on your work before you submit it for publication or to your PhD advisor as part of your dissertation. Building such networks as a grad student will give you a base of support if you begin a TT position and need to publish more without an advisor and committee to always run your ideas and work past. *I work for an institution where the P&T committee does value co-authored pubs in English, philosophy, and religion (among other fields), so I wouldn't make a blanket statement that they don't count much. The P&T guidelines were actually revised two or three years ago to value collaboration in all disciplines, not just in the sciences and social sciences.
  11. rising_star

    Funding the move

    Another option is to look for a credit card with 0% interest for as long as possible (18 months or more) and use that to fund the move.
  12. rising_star

    How Important are Conferences?

    I would think beyond the WS about reasons to attend conferences. Here are the main reasons, imo. You get to meet with potential advisors in person and discuss your interests with them. This also gives you a chance to learn about their personality and get some insight into whether that personality is compatible with yours. At the graduate level, your class papers can be the background for your conference papers. The conference papers, in turn, can form the early stage of your publications. Thus, the feedback you get in a conference presentation can help you refine your ideas for future publications, which will make them stronger. You might also learn the names of people who you can suggest as referees when you do send it out. If you have any interest in becoming someone who does co-authored publications, going to conferences is a great way to meet others with similar interests who you might be able to write or organize panels with in the future. It's a great way to stay current on what's going on in your field and subfield. It'll help you learn what is up and coming and where the field is headed. The way you become a better presenter is by presenting. And ultimately you'll have to present your work to finish your degree and get your work out there. Sure, you can hate the term "professionalization". But, if you aren't willing to engage in some, then you may want to reconsider your plans.
  13. Take the job. Use the experience you get to help you refine your interests for a future PhD program.
  14. rising_star

    Art History & History

    Agreed with @OHSP. I would also check the program requirements to see what possibilities there are for you to take courses in another department. It could be that you need to or are able to, which would give you an opportunity to take courses in the history department at the university you'll be starting at to get a feel for whether history is really the field you need to be in to pursue your interests.
  15. rising_star

    Looking for the perfect department! Fan Studies

    I don't have ideas about departments, other than to suggest you like at Communications, Anthropology, and English departments as possible options. That said, wanting to start in Spring 2019 puts you off the traditional US graduate admissions cycle for a PhD program, which make both being admitted and getting funding much less likely.
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