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knp last won the day on November 1 2016

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  1. @Asperfemme If you like to have the eating kind of sensation, how do you feel about drinking liquids through straws? I wonder if that might be a "hack" at least for a couple hours at a stretch that would scratch the immediate itch (although I have no suggestions for the underlying problem). Personally, I drink a lot of water-with-lemon and iced tea (plain water is too boring and I forget to keep drinking). Both are minimal-calorie, and while they aren't great for your teeth, sure, neither are soda, snacking all the time (I think), coffee, etc. The "cleanse" thing of drinking only water with lemon and pepper (or whatever) is not great for you, but drinking a lot of that stuff between meals/snacks and also eating could be helpful.
  2. knp

    Language training

    Am I a bit late? But: your (written) English is [redacted] phenomenal. You mentioned repeating the process by which you learned English with German. All I can say is that if your language learning process works even almost as well this time, you will be absolutely stone-cold fine. I am a bit surprised by the Latin/German parallel, but after you made the point about your difficulties with grammar, I am inclined to think that they will both be about the same level of difficulty for you, given that they both have case systems and their gender systems are a bit more complicated than the one in French. Given those similarities, however, I would simultaneously whichever one you learn first will help you learn the other one more easily. I do second or third the idea that you should look at what kinds of sources you'd most like to read before you make the commitment to one or the other complete, though. Perhaps looking at the sources in the notes of your several favorite books or articles would be a good idea?
  3. @ExponentialDecay I think that's common in most fields, but I haven't seen it much in history: it and anthropology seem to be the two most lackadaisical about actual credits-in-discipline. I might have seen that requirement in one department, but most of the programs to which I applied did not have a credits-in requirement at all. I still marvel that they let me into my program when I had, depending on how you stretch the definition, either three or six credits in this discipline before I started this PhD. That doesn't mean that you don't have to have a lot of relevant knowledge or work, but that the definition of 'relevant' is a lot broader. For the applicant, this simultaneously provides flexibility and the potential for headaches acquired trying to understand what counts as 'relevant.' The most common move into history I'm aware of, for example, is for people to go from regional (or theme)/literature studies departments: from classics, from American studies, from Chinese language and literature, etc. @RDG1836 The three broad areas in which you'll want to evaluate your preparation, I think, are 1) region/period familiarity, 2) language skills, and 3) background in the discipline. First a bit of background on divisions of study, because I can't tell how familiar with the discipline you are. As far as I understand, history is divided up in professional chunks by region and period. 'Region' may be country or world region; you could say 'Russia' or 'central Asia' depending on the venue and focus, e.g.. I believe that the three divisions of period people talk about most are modern, early modern, and pre-modern (which might be subdivided into 'medieval' and 'ancient' but I may be out of date on that latter one especially). So basically all historians—although history of science jumps to mind as a possible exception—will identify in groups based on those two factors. Over at that table in the cafeteria are the historians of modern Latin America, and over there are modern Europe, and over there are early modern Europe. Of course we are all interdisciplinary and love global perspectives nowadays, but as an applicant you want to describe yourself as somebody who either fits into one of those identities—I study modern central America—or draws connections on one main dimension. (E.g., "I study the early modern Mediterranean and connections between Europe and north Africa" is very cohesive and no problem.) I worry I am over-specifying, but I mostly want to warn you away from "I study all of Asia over five hundred years." So when I talk about the region/period you want to study, this is the scale I'm talking about. 1) So, how can you get adequate familiarity with the region/period combination with which you will initially identify yourself (and probably be encouraged to break out of later)? Lots and lots of ways! Do you have any coursework on that region/period, especially coursework that involved research papers of 5+ and ideally 15+ page papers? If yes, that's great! That's why lots of people come into history from film studies or political science, etc.: if you want to study, say, post-war Europe, a background in studying either Czech resistance cinema or the economic origins of NATO could help you out! Have you gone to any libraries and read books? That's a start! More on that later. How did you decide this interested you? A side note: I don't suppose you've worked on any film or anything with a historical component, and gained some interest that way? I can pretty much guarantee you an acceptance to one or several master's programs if part of your story is, "my interest in the history of the incorporation of immigrant communities in the United States was piqued by having to do some research on 1960s Chinatown for that Bruce Lee movie last year, and I'm looking to come to your master's program to learn more about it professionally." Most accepted students obviously don't have this, but with all the tremendous historical work on mid-century America going on on TV this decade, I thought it was worth a mention on the off-chance. 2) Do you know the languages of the region/period you want to study? If you want to study primarily Anglophone parts of US history, you might want to lazily start doing Duolingo French or something, or brushing up on whatever high school language you had, but you don't really have to worry about it. If you study a region with a higher language barrier from English, but you know many or all of the relevant languages pretty well—whether that background is heritage, academic, or other—you might look up whether there are any other languages all the other scholars in your region/period seem to use, but otherwise don't worry about it. If you want to study China or classical Greece or something else where there are several languages and/or the language(s) are really hard, and you know them poorly or not at all, it's time to hold your own feet to the fire and start learning the relevant languages as intensely as possible. 3) You do need to become familiar with some of the academic conversations to which you'd like to contribute in history. Are you? You'll basically only be already if you have more courses in the discipline or have spent more time in the library reading academic monographs than you seem from your first post. You don't need to be a master of all your questions, but only by reading real history from the last 10, maybe 10-15, years are you going to find out what kind of questions we are all occupied with now. Luckily, this really doesn't need an academic background in it! The library and academia.edu, as well as any alumni online access you may have from college or JSTOR's three free articles are all valuable ways to get started. I am tired and have written a lot tonight, so I will not give any more advice on this, but I just wanted to say that in history's case, familiarity with the relevant history is perhaps most productively conceptualized as a question that follows familiarity with period/region.
  4. It also depends on the conservatism of the field. In accounting, you might have problems. In anthropology, almost definitely not. All of you who've posted so far are in English or literature, right? There might be a greater range based on institution for you all: although at most colleges, you will be fine, a lot of the smaller, more conservative colleges that I don't have to think about because they don't have anthropologists do hire professors in English, and that's just a milieu I don't know enough about to characterize their norms of personal presentation. That's farther down the line, though: I'm pretty sure there doesn't exist an English graduate program in the country where tattoos are per se a problem.
  5. I have no idea about Spanish PhD programs, but for most of the humanities, in most departments, it seems that writing sample is either the most important factor or closely follows the SOP. The program that interviewed you would, I'm pretty sure, be very unusual in having it be the sole consideration, but I heard about at least one application where writing sample was my deciding factor. I think that's a bit unusual, though: although I can't generalize to Spanish for certain, in the humanities I believe the most common model is for SOP to lead, followed by writing sample, rather than the other way around. Letters of recommendation are always a few steps of importance down the scale, and GRE and grades are basically only negative factors. (Places may have bars you need to clear, and the height of those bars varies tremendously, but once you've cleared them, a 3.85 GPA will prove no more helpful than a 3.75.) But although I assume your interview was based on a different writing sample than the one you used for your Spanish applications....isn't it a phenomenal sign about your writing that, in at least one case, you literally did just get an interview based on your writing alone?
  6. @BlackRosePhD, while I agree that level of fit is important to figure out before you accept an offer, I don't think it's critical to have as an applicant. (For me personally, it turns out that although UX has a master of my field whose book is approvingly cited by all the scholars I like, I haaaaate that book, so good thing I didn't go there!) While I applied, I was living somewhere and in a place in my career that I did not have any educational access to books or scholarly articles beyond those that were posted on academia.edu—bless that website—or were on JSTOR. On the latter, unaffiliated scholars can read three articles a month, but frustratingly, most of the journals I needed weren't listed. I don't think my not doing a lot of that work before my apps were submitted made a difference to where I applied or went (I dumped UX with Dr. I Hate Your Book for unrelated reasons before I applied), for which I am happy. I agree that fit calculation is work you pretty much must do to make a wise decision where to go, and I'm sure it gives you a competitive edge if you have done it by now. At the same time, I am glad that for all the stupid, retrogressive barriers academia throws up to PhD program entry (e.g. the fees), selecting only for applicants who have current access to a research library seemed not to be one of them.
  7. I mean, reading books helps! But I hope you don't worry about it too much: I spent more time on webpages and academia.edu profiles. When I applied to my current program, myself, I had in fact read the book of the faculty member with whom I hoped to work. But why had I done so? Because when I showed up to get coffee with this person the August before I applied—they were visiting my town—they asked me, "You've read my book, right?" No, I hadn't, so they loaned me a copy, as long as I finished and returned it by the time they left town two days later. Research interests change, so if you're current on what they've got in progress (to the degree that you can be from publicly available information, mostly their webpage), you should be fine.
  8. @shell Are you looking for a master's or a PhD? All PhD programs in anthropology that are about as good or better as Edinburgh should offer all their students full funding. Or, do you mean, research assistantship rather than teaching assistantship? That will be significantly more idiosyncratic, and I doubt I can help you. More MAs aren't funded, and I have no idea of the lay of the medical anthropology master's programs out there, so I defer to other posters who actually know things. Are you applying for this year? Most PhD deadlines for anthropology are December 15 or were on December 1; I think MAs tend to be later, but span a broader range, too. What are your goals with your degree?
  9. I'm also a first year and I'm very self-conscious about not reading enough. Reading is my least favorite of the main academic tasks: research (various components), writing, reading, and teaching. I do like it under some conditions, but having only reading to do is getting me down. At the same time that I say that I don't like how reading is monopolizing my time right now, I'm weirdly looking forward to exams: when I have periods to learn things by myself, I can structure my reading time so much more efficiently and pleasantly. Moreover, the more I know about an academic topic, the nicer it is to learn more things about it. Right now, being very new to my field, all the books I'm reading are citing, between them, literally thousands of books and articles I've never heard of. Some these are cited lightly, and sometimes surprise Heidegger! So I'm hoping and somewhat expecting it to get easier as I actually find my footing in the scholarship.
  10. Yeah, I'm not sure how much you'd have to change your topic to work with someone else. Is there really nobody else in your department with even mediocre subject knowledge who could serve as your advisor? If you're very, very alone in a small department—working on Old English in department where literally every other faculty member besides your advisor studies the twentieth century, and nobody even did a comps field in medieval literature—I see your point about having to either change your project or drop out. But don't faculty advise dissertations on topics quite far afield from their own research like, all the time? It sounds like your old advisor is bad news, I agree, but I'm not understanding why the new advisor would require starting your research over on something different. Even if you work on something really particular, I would hope you could get a broad base of curious committee members at your school whose research even has a tangential connection to your own, and then seek out an outside committee member on the Particular Thing. (But are outside committee members universal? Here, they're encouraged, but I suppose I don't know if every department allows them.)
  11. Yeah and I'm waffling there now, on two conditions: if you have research reasons to disclose in the application process, go ahead if you have someone wise and smart from your academic past you can talk about your framing with; or in diversity statements, as one of but not the main theme. Otherwise yes, full steam ahead, and I hope you start feeling better soon!
  12. I'm glad I was helpful! One thing, though, is that I would encourage you to register. Unfortunately, I can't guarantee that using accommodations won't create a challenge of some size (whether big or small) for your career—although I would hope that medical anthropology would be understanding, as a field—but I've never heard of a case where having them made things more difficult. Registering should let you activate them more quickly and seamlessly if you decide it would be helpful, so I encourage you to do that. I worry I stated my case for not disclosing your condition too strongly. It's not that you shouldn't disclose at all? It's not DADT. Once you're in your program, I think my emphasis wouldn't be on not disclosing but on not apologizing. I've briefly brought up some personal challenges with some of my professors, because when you have to miss class, you have to miss class: but I have tended to do so rather briefly and with a focus on what I need. They need to know you need advance notice, but I'd just be a little careful about giving all the background of why. (This is my philosophy for life in general, actually: rather than, "Oh, gosh, I don't want to bother you, but I'm feeling chilly, you know I have an odd metabolism and my blood sugar isn't so high right now, could we close the window?" to moving straight to, "would you mind if we closed the window?" Need communicated, backstory omitted.) Moreover, there may be diversity statements where it would be relevant—personally, when asked about that, I did the rhetorical equivalent of flashing a giant neon sign that said "none of your business!", but I have been talked into revealing some more of my challenges in grant applications this year (although it felt like pulling teeth). Additionally, depending on what you're researching, anthropology may actually be one of the few fields in which a careful disclosure of this in a statement of purpose or research proposal would be acceptable—if you're not researching anything about anxiety, don't, but if it involves your research, a brief mention would be increasingly acceptable. I don't have the background to walk you through exactly the line to walk here, but it's possible: e.g. Bipolar Expeditions.
  13. Oh, sweetie! No, you're totally right: you need to be doing the opposite of this. You don't have a whole lot of time and space to experiment, I realize, but can you try reverse outlining your chapters? Write summaries in your own words—I am comfortable enough with my material to allow some quotation, but for really difficult readings, I only let myself paraphrase. There's lots of other tips and tricks you can try, but you want to force that extra step of comprehension, not just remembering. Is there a study skills center you can go to through your university? That sounds about like my attention span, so don't worry about it. If at all possible, try to make those breaks good breaks, though. Go divert your attention into something else—look out the window, do some stretches, make yourself a copy and try to think about other things—for ten or fifteen minutes, so that you can come back a little refreshed. (Getting exhausted and then clicking around the internet for twenty minutes as a 'break' will do much less for your renewed attention span.) I'm sure other posters will have more thorough advice, but you can do this!
  14. I can't tell the roots of my incomprehension here—and I could come up with a lot of hypotheses—but, what? The level at which posters here want to attach explanations for doing poorly (and I don't mean to pick on you, this is a pattern beyond this thread) is way higher than makes sense to me. For many reasons, my calibration on this metric could be way off. But I'm an anthropology PhD who did quite well in my admissions cycle, and the only comments I received on my ~3.75 undergraduate GPA after admission—and my 'major GPA' and my 'final two years' GPA' were both lower than that!—were two tangential remarks that my grades were "really good!" So, for a single B among a sea of As, are you sure you need to attach this extra explanation at all? Maybe it's different in English, but I don't think the difference between "a lot of As" and "all As" will actually make any difference to how anyone reads your application. Some assumptions I applied under were: 1) professors at PhD-granting institutions are viewing applicants as future researchers. 2) To gauge applicants' research projects, SOP and WS become the heart of the application. 3a) Maintaining a 4.0 doesn't actually correlate that well with research ability, so 3b) professors look for academic records that demonstrate that you will do well enough not to have problems getting through coursework, but that 4) its irrelevance to your work as a scholar means that as long as your previous GPA(s) is good enough, you won't see added admissions benefit from slightly higher numbers there. You could contest any of these assumptions, I'm sure, and although I had a second major in English I never looked into graduate school in the field, so maybe it's different here. But if my premises apply, I would not submit an extra statement to any school about the grades you've listed above: your reasons for having the dip are very valid and real, and I'm sure it's frustrating to know that you could have done better at another time. Since one B in a slightly peripheral class is completely respectable, however, even if the only reason you got it was that you didn't get along with the professor, I would worry that attaching any explanation would make it seem like you think the point of graduate school is coursework, rather than research, therefore doing more damage to your chances of admission than you get benefits in return. You really do want to make sure they're envisioning you as a researcher, not a coursework-years student.
  15. @eternallyephemeral Just FYI, most people in PhD programs in cultural studies—history, art history, regional studies, anthropology, sometimes poli sci, English literature of the non-US, etc.—will end up spending a lot of time in the region they study by the time they graduate. This does produce a classist effect for anyone lower class who wants to study a region to which they a) don't have family, regional, or cultural ties, b ) have no work experience in and c) go to unsupportive PhD programs that only provide support for a few months' of work abroad, you're right. There may be ways to ameliorate that further, but because you can't be an armchair researcher of other cultures any more (i.e. studying it without leaving your metaphorical house), somewhere between most and all cultural studies PhD programs support their students getting significant experience in whatever region they're studying. You're right that you do, in almost all cases, need experience working in that region to get an academic job...but it needs to be professional experience, which most PhD programs should be designed to give you. Personal experience often helps, but you can also acquire personal experience with a culture even if you start doing so past age 18.
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