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Everything posted by rising_star

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. @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.
  5. 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?
  6. 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.
  7. @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!
  8. 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
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Take the job. Use the experience you get to help you refine your interests for a future PhD program.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. I would also recommend Proposals that Work, which has great advice about writing your thesis/dissertation proposal.
  16. Getting It Published, How to Write Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day, The Invisible Gorilla: How Our Intuitions Deceive Us, How Professors Think... For methods, SAGE publications are my go-to standard. Cresswell has some good volumes. I also like Mixed Methods Research: A Guide to the Field by Clark and Ivankova.
  17. Honestly, if that's all you're moving, I'd ship the boxes (Amtrak, Greyhound, USPS, etc.), sell everything else, and buy new/used things when you get to DC. Between the truck and the fuel, that would be way more cost effective.
  18. We all have regrets when we make a big decision like this one. No one can tell you if you should've made a different decision. If you want, you could contact the major American competitor and see if they still have a spot for you, especially given the external award. They may say yes, they may say no, but you won't know unless you ask.* That said, money isn't everything. I took a less financially secure PhD offer because I had confidence both in myself and in the people I'd be working with that I'd become a better scholar if I went to that program. Was it a gamble? Yes. Did it work out? Yes, because I made it work out. I'd be lying if I didn't admit that there were times when I wished I had the extra money but a PhD is about far more than the money you receive while doing it. You have to think long-term about all of this and make the best decision(s) for your future. Before you go chasing the money, use a cost of living calculator to make sure you truly understand the difference with the higher cost of living. And keep in mind the negative experiences people had and whether that would also be your experience. Extra money may not help much if your program is full of people who are unhappy about being there. *If you do go that route, I'd see if they're still willing to offer you the original funding or if you'd be relying solely on your Canadian award your first year.
  19. I wouldn't try to get all of this done as a writing sample to submit in December. Having one strong chapter is better than having three parts which are weaker. Your introduction should definitely include historiography, as @WhaleshipEssex has already said. If you can't show knowledge of the extant literature on and related to your topic, then your writing sample will definitely fall into the weak category, regardless of whether you engage with primary sources elsewhere. (This background should be a part of your introduction as it lays the groundwork for understanding why you're doing the project you're doing and how that project fits into what has already been done.) Two more things: 1) If you haven't already, I strongly recommend reading some MA and undergrad history theses so you can get a better sense of how they're constructed and what elements you should include. 2) Is there any chance you will be drawing on Italian language sources in your introduction/historiography? These don't need to be primary sources but showing that you know the relevant scholarly literature in Italian would strengthen your writing sample. Good luck!
  20. There aren't a lot of outside scholarships for MA programs unfortunately. Good luck!
  21. Definitely not done in North America, in part due to EEO/nondiscrimination policies. I would not do it. You can include a photo on your website and put the URL for the website on your CV.
  22. I think we agree on this @Bumblebea. My point was that someone interested in Irish literature shouldn't apply only to programs in Ireland just like someone interested in Southern literature shouldn't apply exclusively to programs in the South. Thinking about exam fields (which correspond to survey courses you might teach) is something ALL applicants should consider, even those who aren't sure they want to go into academia.
  23. This can definitely be tricky to navigate. One thing to consider is whether you would (apply for and) take a one-year or multi-year VAP position in the spring/summer if you haven't found something. Personally, that's the route I took when I was completing my PhD. I didn't love that institution for a variety of reasons but, I also didn't see it as a place I was stuck at (whether as VAP or TT). I had a multi-year VAP so I had a lot of security and the ability to be selective on the market (as @as72 talked about above), which I used to my advantage. I'm now in a position I like more but which still isn't a perfect fit. I don't see this as a dead-end because I know I can (and will) go on the job market (in academia, sure, but probably beyond it too) again if and when I need to. YMMV obviously but, if it helps for context, I was making these decisions as someone in a long-distance relationship with a partner still in grad school but with no non-four legged dependents. I was definitely worried about ending up unemployed since I didn't have a partner to rely on but, I also prioritized my own happiness. Once I realized I wasn't happy in the VAP job, I went back on the market. I actually turned down a position while a VAP because I didn't think it would improve the things I disliked about my job. Being able to be choosy is a great position so hopefully you can find a way to position yourself that way some time soon. Hope this helps!
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