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About slouching

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  1. Worth reading: https://www.chronicle.com/article/The-Great-Recession-Was-Bad/248317?cid=wsinglestory_hp_1a.
  2. Facetime tours are becoming common. My partner and I are moving in May (though not for grad school), and have been preparing for the likelihood that in-person apartment tours may not be possible in many instances. If you're looking to move in somewhere several months from now (like late summer/early fall), you could always consider putting a pause on the housing search for now and seeing if conditions improve.
  3. slouching

    Chicago, IL

    This is a good point. I loved living in Hyde Park, but it's a pain if you have any reason to regularly be traveling any further north than the Loop. When I lived there, I was making frequent trips to Logan Square via public transit to visit my partner, and it felt like it took forever. I also know some UChicago students opt to live in other parts of the city and commute to campus, which would be a lot easier with a car. If you're fine with mostly spending your time in Hyde Park, you should be totally fine without a car, but if you think you might want to live elsewhere, or make frequent trips to the north side, then a car may be something to consider. Yeah, I would guess that it would be a challenge to find a decent studio in most parts of the city for less than $700-800/month. But I would prepare for a lot more listings to pop up as your move-in date approaches. Every time I have to look for apartments in the city, things don't really start opening up until about a month before the move-in date, much to my chagrin. If you haven't already, you might also want to consider looking at sublets--they're fairly common here, especially in areas like Hyde Park where there are a lot of university students.
  4. This. A gift card to a favorite local coffee shop, book store, etc. is a great option, and the recipient may be able to redeem the gift now, depending on the route you take (restaurants still doing delivery/take-out, shops still doing online orders).
  5. slouching

    Chicago, IL

    Former Hyde Park resident and Chicago native here. For most people, having a car in the city is more trouble than it's worth. Parking is outrageously expensive and often hard to come by, and the CTA can get you pretty much anywhere you need to go. In Hyde Park, you'll have easy access to the red and green lines, the Metra, and lots of buses. It's easy to get around the neighborhood by foot/bike/public transit, and the Loop is a short bus ride away. Hyde Park is on the south side of the city, so getting to neighborhoods that are further north can be a bit of a hassle, but it's certainly doable. When I was living in HP, I was paying $700/month to live in a two-bedroom apartment with one other person in a great area close to campus. When it gets closer to the summer or the start of the school year, I would browse Craigslist to get a sense of what's available.
  6. I think a lot of people find themselves feeling this way during or after grad school, myself included. For what it's worth, I'm a recent graduate of a master's program that I attended primarily because I wanted to become a more competitive applicant for PhD programs, and by the end of it, I was having a lot of conversations with professors and with myself about my conflicted feelings on moving forward within academia. I'm not currently applying to PhD programs, and am unsure if I will do so in the future. Some of the advice that was given to me: - There are a lot of really valid reasons not to go into academia. Financial concerns are a valid reason. Wanting to choose where you live and work is a a valid reason. Wanting a job that doesn't so easily consume your entire life is a valid reason. Giving up on academia makes a lot of sense for a lot of people, and if you're having doubts about continuing on the path that once felt right for you, listen to those feelings, take them seriously, and be kind to yourself. Choosing to leave academia does not make you less of an intellectual, or less impressive, or anything of the sort. - As you rightly point out, there are lots of careers that are a good fit for people with backgrounds in history, and that do not require a PhD. Think about the skills that being in grad school is helping you to strengthen or cultivate--how are they transferable to other kinds of work? If you haven't read it already, I'd recommend checking out this book, which is geared more toward people coming out of PhD programs, but has lots of great suggestions that are relevant to people with MAs, too. Finally, since you are still fairly early on in your grad school experience, and you specify a number of different career options/interests, I would recommend continuing to think about ways that you can use the remainder of your time in school to take advantage of opportunities that will provide you with further insight on what it might be like to pursue any of those paths. Keep in mind that opening up new doors for yourself does not mean you have to close the door to academia completely if you're not ready to. But if you do feel like there are other career paths that may be a better fit for you, know that needn't feel guilty for considering or pursuing them.
  7. These are important things to consider, because the experience of attending grad school is one that, for many people, involves a lot of stress, possibly relocating, and dealing with changes to one's lifestyle. If navigating those kinds of things is difficult for you, that's a totally valid feeling to have. I would encourage you to really consider what the experience of grad school might be like for you, knowing that these are things you struggle with, and whether that's a risk worth taking. As others have suggested, you may find it helpful to talk through these issues with someone who is trained in dealing with mental health issues, so that if you do decide to pursue graduate studies, you will be equipped with tools to help you manage the aforementioned emotions and experiences. Keep in mind that you do not need a PhD to do these things. There are plenty of career paths that could provide you with opportunities to write and do research in your field, and that may be a better fit for you, given the struggles you have mentioned.
  8. If your applications are due in the winter, you'll want to ask professors about writing LORs for you as soon as possible. It's common practice to ask them about this a few months in advance. Ask for letters from people who can attest to the quality of your academic work, and can make a strong case for you to be admitted to the program(s) of your choice. People who know you and your work well should be the ones to focus on. If those people are professors in your intended field of graduate study, even better. When I was applying, once I had confirmed who would be writing my letters, I sent all of them a spreadsheet with useful info on the places I was applying to (university, program name, deadline, etc.), and supplied them with other materials as needed. Since they were doing me a favor by writing letters on my behalf, I wanted to make sure I had those sorts of things organized and taken care of early on, because I wanted the process to be as easy for them as possible.
  9. You have the extra space, why not use it? I'm in a different field, but experienced the same thing when I was applying, with lengths for the SOP varying by program. This prompted me to create a couple different templates for the SOP: what I considered the 'full' version, for programs that allowed for slightly longer documents, and a shortened version for those requesting something maybe half the length of the original. I found this to be a helpful exercise, actually, in revising my SOP, as it really forced me to look at it over and over again in search of things I could cut, or ways to rephrase things to make the writing more concise. Of course, even after all those revisions, I found that when I was allowed the extra space, there were still things I really wanted to add because I felt they made the document stronger, but I felt fine about doing so because I knew I'd given a lot of thought as to whether or not those additions were really necessary.
  10. A few things: If you're concerned about your GPA, you might consider trying to raise it by completing some relevant coursework as a student-at-large at a local university or community college. Graduate schools often require a 3.0 or higher undergrad GPA, so I would look at the admissions requirements for programs you're interested in and see if this is something worth considering. If there's a scenario in which you're able to complete some graduate coursework without enrolling in a program, that might be a good opportunity to both raise your GPA and demonstrate to an admissions committee that you're ready for grad school. For example, before grad school, I worked for an institution affiliated with a university, and received tuition remission as part of my benefits package, which enabled me to take a graduate seminar in my field essentially for free. It's not necessarily an experience I would recommend if you have to pay any significant amount of money to do it, but I did find it to be a helpful way to transition from undergrad to grad-level work, and it certainly didn't hurt me in the admissions process. With regards to the GRE, again, I would look at the admissions requirements for programs you're interested in. Some programs don't require the GRE anymore, or have made it optional. Some programs won't be all that interested in your math score, or maybe even your GRE scores to begin with, but the graduate school more broadly may require you to meet a certain score minimum for admission, or to be eligible for certain funding opportunities. So, if you have to take the GRE, study, do the best you can, but definitely do some research first on programs you'd like to apply to before deciding how much to worry about the test. Finally, keep in mind that while GRE scores and GPA do matter to an extent, there are other areas of your application that arguably matter more, and that you still have some control over: your statement of purpose, your writing sample, your letters of recommendation. Focusing on crafting a strong SOP and writing sample, on obtaining strong letters of recommendation, and making sure you're applying to places that are a good fit for you will all be important aspects of your application.
  11. First, this kind of thing has been a frequent topic of discussion on these boards, so I'd encourage you to look around and read some older threads where this has been addressed. 1. Your financial situation in grad school depends a lot on things like location, lifestyle, and how good your funding package is. Before grad school, I lived in one of the most expensive cities in the country, made barely over minimum wage, and barely scraped by. As a grad student, I make about as much as I did before, but I now live somewhere with a significantly lower cost of living, so in a lot of ways, things have improved. But there seem to be somewhat varying levels of financial security within my cohort, for a variety of reasons--for example, I'm the only one without a car, which saves me a lot of money, but is also an inconvenience. Think about your priorities, what you're willing to sacrifice, etc. When you're deciding where to attend, you'll want to compare funding packages and really consider how livable those amounts are for each place you're considering. 2. Plenty of people have maintained healthy, happy relationships with their partners while in grad school. Does it present some challenges? Sure, but part of being in a relationship is figuring out how to navigate challenges together. I think this is one area in which it helps to approach grad school as a job. Because it's not a 9-5 job, and because it's a job in which we tend to tie our success to our self-worth, it can be easy to get sucked into toxic ways of thinking, like feeling guilty for spending time on anything that's not work. But it's critically important to give yourself time for other things, whether that's hobbies, seeing friends, or spending time with a partner. If being together is a priority for you both, you will find ways to make it work. It may take some effort to figure out how to best manage your time, but lots of people can tell you that it's doable. 3. Again, if traveling is important to you, there are ways to make it happen. It also doesn't have to be wildly expensive. For example, some grad students will do a program like WWOOF during summer break. You might also have opportunities to receive funding through your program to do travel that's related to your studies (for example, to attend a conference)--not exactly a vacation, but still. 4. I don't have experience with this, but again, many others do, and lots of them will tell you it's possible.
  12. Professors will sometimes tailor the letters to each program, and that was true in my case. How much time that took them, I'm not sure. But the actual process of uploading is usually quite quick--I would sometimes get strings of email notifications sent within minutes of each other, letting me know that different schools had received a letter from someone.
  13. This has also been my experience with all the grad school applications I've ever done. What I would usually do was open the application a couple months before the deadline, fill in contact info for my letter writers and other similarly easy stuff, then just save that and return to the application later to add documents I wanted more time to work on (SOP, writing sample, etc). That way, my letter writers had the link accessible to them early on, so they could upload a letter when convenient for them. But I did have a couple of schools where the links for LORs wouldn't be sent until the whole application was actually submitted, so maybe look out for that. Honestly, I don't really understand the value of using Interfolio for LORs, especially since some schools don't even accept it.
  14. I'm sorry to hear that this transition has been difficult for you. If you are not doing so already, I would encourage you to speak with a professional about the issues you are facing. It seems like you would benefit from speaking with someone who is trained to help you manage your depression and anxiety, and who can help you sort out your feelings about the situation you're in. Exploring the counseling services within your university might be a good place to start.
  15. This article on how to read for grad school might be helpful.
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