• Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Everything posted by maelia8

  1. DAAD 2017-2018

    Thought I'd start a new thread for this year. Is anybody else applying? My campus internal deadline is October 19th, so I'm already hard at work on the application. I may have found a discrepancy in the instructions ... for the research grant, the scholarship database states that the research proposal should be maximum 10 pages, while the checklist states that it should be maximum 5 pages. I'm not sure which is correct. Does anybody know?
  2. After the lecture today for the course I'm TAing this semester, I received the following email from a student: "Hi! Could you please not surf the web while sitting in the front row? Your screen is extremely distracting. I mean, come on. You're a grad student. You should know better." (No other salutation or closing) Laptop use is allowed during this large lecture (it's co-taught and the professor who isn't lecturing sits to the side and uses his laptop as well). I am not this student's TA (his section is taught by a different TA), so I don't know him personally. The sites I was "surfing" were for for time-sensitive grant submission, fact-checking during lecture, and work-related email - not social media or video streaming. I would never use my laptop for such purposes during a grad seminar, but this is an undergrad lecture in which I am already very familiar with the material and only take minimal notes. I found the email to be extremely rude in form, and as to the content, I don't see any reason to stop using the internet during lecture when such use is allowed by the professor lecturing. How should I write the student back? I want to politely inform him that it's 1) none of his business what I do on my computer, 2) he should check his tone when writing to instructors, and 3) if motion on screens bothers him, then maybe he should sit in the first row to avoid the experience.
  3. I take notes during lecture or discussion on my laptop in the (free) Evernote program so that my notes are completely searchable, taggable, and synced across all devices in the cloud. The program also has the ability to link to bibliographical information of works mentioned in lecture, and I often download and attach the lecture slides as well if they are offered by the instructor on the course website. I strongly dislike paper weighing me down (especially since I travel a lot, and paper notebooks tend to wear down with time), and have thus chosen to go fully digital with my life (aside from the most vital ID/medical/professional documents and my private diaries). i certainly think this is the most convenient and safest way to store and and organize notes, and makes looking through notes for research paper writing or exam prep a cinch (saves lots of time). However, I'm a person who types very quickly and hates handwriting, so I'm certainly biased in favor of digital methods.
  4. In my department, the website has a secure login for all students and faculty and we can update our own profiles whenever we want by logging in - even down to our profile picture and what we are teaching this semester.. I'd check with your webmaster and see if that is an option if you're concerned about the information getting outdated.
  5. Spending most of the stipend on housing?

    I agree with what's been posted previously - If you're in the Bay Area or New York, anything under $1000/month for a private room in a shared living situation is probably either a scam or comes with significant issues (very dangerous neighborhood, crumbling apartment, landlord renting illegally without a proper lease so as to avoid rent control, etc.). I pay roughly 65% of my annual income towards rent/utilities, and I have what would be considered a really great deal in a mid-tier Bay Area neighborhood very close to my campus. The only way to get something cheaper in regards to rent is to commute over an hour by car or (still not cheap) public transport, and it basically saves you nothing when the cost of parking in central downtown Bay Area cities is factored in. I think that shopping around if you're in a different market makes sense, but if you're in a market driven by insane demand, the competition is too tough to turn down places that aren't dirt cheap if you get someone willing to accept your offer on the place.
  6. Short Name vs Long Name

    My first name is incredibly unique, and, combined with a flowery-sounding last name, has led friends to joke that I should have been a romance novelist and am missing my true calling (seriously, my name doesn't even sound like a real name, it sounds like a nom de plume that somebody made up). That being said, there is no danger that I will ever meet anyone with the same name to compete with for publishing purposes. I'd never include the middle name or middle initial, as I think it would be overkill.
  7. GRE "Splitters"

    @lordtiandao I basically went into the GRE with a goal quant score beforehand, and promised myself that if I fell lower than another predetermined point that I'd retake it (in my case, my reach goal was to break 155, but my minimum was to break 150 or retake. I got 152, so I didn't retake it). As long as you pick a range that you are comfortable with and that is realistic for you based on practice exam scores and manage to hit it, then I wouldn't retake. It's not about the size of the gap between Q and V, it's about knowing your abilities and being able to accurately assess whether retaking the exam could conceivably result in a significantly higher score within the time that remains before you have to submit your application. If not, and you're not wildly off the acceptable range for your school, I wouldn't worry about it.
  8. What kind of history do you prefer to write?

    I'm more of a themes person - I look at a time period of two decades or so and examine how the way that that theme was addressed changed during the aforementioned period (in my case, reproductive policy and travel journal propaganda in 3rd wave colonialism). It's a bit source-based too (why are these journals representative, and what about them indicates certain flavors in the editing process for publication as thinly veiled propaganda?), but what really gets me going is themes and change over time.
  9. PhD foreign language reading requirement

    Most of the Americanists in my program took the exam in Spanish since it meant minimal work (brushing up on what they'd already learned in high school), except for those who had a legitimate need to use another language in their research (for example, 18th and 19th century Western diplomatic history requires some knowledge of French, even if you are an Americanist historian). One person who focuses on Western Canada/Alaska learned Russian, as that's the most useful for studying that region in the early 19th century. Play to your specific interests, or take the simplest way to filling the requirement if you're not sure you need any further languages.
  10. 10 years from now

    1) with a job that values my academic qualifications and makes me enough money to support a family without extreme hardship 2) owning a dog! this means finally living in a house with a yard 3) well-traveled beyond Europe (goals: East Asia & Central America) 4) In a healthy and successful partnership that has produced creative and intelligent children 5) Reach Goal: owning or co-owning property
  11. GRE "Splitters"

    I attend a public R1 institution, got 168 V but only 152 Q, and was accepted. At my school, I don't think there are any humanities-wide graduate fellowships for people with high overall GRE scores - everyone I know who got a special fellowship on top of the normal package got it thanks to special status (i.e. first generation college student, ethnic minority) or special history of community service/activism. I was told by the history dept. admissions officer that as long as you didn't totally bomb quant, they didn't really care how well you did on it, all that mattered was high verbal.
  12. I'm in the humanities and over 90% of the people in my department have Macs (pro or air). My partner is in the sciences and most folks have HPs, Acers, or Dells, though more folks are starting to get the Windows Surface or Huaweis. I have a 13-inch Air and it's perfect for my needs (portability, compatibility) as I travel a lot.
  13. How important are friends/social life in grad school?

    I absolutely agree with this. I just passed my quals, but three people in my cohort are dropping out (two decided in the last two months not to take the exam, while the third took it but already wanted to leave before he took it). The one thing that these three people have in common is a strong disconnect with other members of the grad student community. They never attended colloquia or stuck around for wine and cheese afterwards, didn't attend meetings of the History Grad Association, and didn't talk to other students about the pitfalls of choosing your orals committee, taking classes in x outside department with x professor (who other grad students know). Two of them had very strong social lives outside of grad school, and the third isolated himself and really developed no connections in the city at all. As a result, all three of these folks missed out on very useful information, or struggled needlessly to plan or prepare things that would have been much easier if they had been in the loop. Although your major professor knows many things, other grad students are often very valuable sources of information when it comes to navigating university bureaucracy, meeting deadlines for things like funding applications and teaching certifications, and telling you about how to navigate setting up committees or informing you where to go for more information. If you don't take the initiative to get to know people in the first year, you could find yourself shut out of a valuable network (especially involving graduate students in years above you who know the system and are often happy to give new hands advice). I have no doubt that in the case of these three who departed, feelings of confusion and isolation contributed directly to their dissatisfaction and fear about taking their qualifying exams, ultimately persuading them that the Ph.D. was not a happy place for them. I'm not saying the result was inevitable, but their lack of support and connections with other graduate students definitely contributed. Just as professors collaborate and dialogue with each other on a regular basis to make their work easier, Ph.D. students have a better time of it when they network with each other and collectively support each other professionally and academically.
  14. Research Year Tips

    This is a really, really helpful thread, folks! I'll be leaving for a research year in September and am still pretty unsure about how I want to manage my time and my documents, and, in addition, have some concerns about self-motivation/regimentation in a place without any colleagues or graduate students monitoring me or working with me regularly. Some of you have touched on this, but how did you motivate yourself to work when no one was watching, and keep to a set schedule with less appointments or performative aspects than usual? As an extremely social person in a grad department that facilitates frequent colloquia and panels, and encourages grad students to work together in a shared space on campus, how did you get used to working alone and setting your own schedule (without getting lethargic, unmotivated, or even depressed)? This is one of my biggest research year fears, as it was a problem for me when I did summer research a year ago.
  15. Just wanted to say how inspiring all of you are to me as I face my oral qualifying exam next week ... I'm only halfway through this process and you folks are finishing, but you really make me feel confident in keeping with it to the end! You folks were old hands when I got here three years ago, and I've been so happy for all of your advice throughout this time. I hope all the good karma you have earned through your kindness on grad cafe is reciprocated on the job market!
  16. Why Grad School is Fucking Awesome

    I agree with @Cheshire_Cat about the ability to make your own schedule and to be as flexible as you'd like! Another thing I love is the amazing access to all kinds of talks, trainings, resources, books, discounts, counsel, advice, support, camaraderie, etc. If you want to, there is a club or organization or committee or office to help with anything you need under the sun, and all you have to do is ask and be tenacious. In normal life, often all you have as a resource is the internet and friends you know who may have expertise. At a large university, so many people are experts in their field, whether librarians, administrators, professors, theater directors, etc. that you'll always have access to the best of the best, if not the most vibrant examples of cutting edge thought and engaged community.
  17. Spouses and Jobs

    As a born and bred Bay Area native, I can concur, the words "San Fran" make me cringe big time. The proper ways to refer to San Francisco beyond its actual name are "SF" or "the City" (I know, New York people say that too, but bear with us, that city is far enough away that there's no confusion. Maybe it has something to do with crossing a bridge to get there?)
  18. I'l be leaving in September for a research year overseas, and I'm trying to get my ducks in a row beforehand. i live in a shared apartment with two roommates, but our lease bans subletting, so I'm going to lose the apartment when I leave. There's a good chance that one of the current roommates will be moving out in another year for their own overseas research period, but it's not guaranteed. I do have a verbal promise of first dibs on any room that becomes free when I get back if I desire it. I am trying to figure out what the best plan is for storing my stuff and negotiating my return. I have a long-term partner who I'd like to move in with when I come back, but just on the off chance that something goes wrong in the relationship during a year of long-distance, I'm a bit leery of storing all of my things at his place and planning only on the outcome that I will move in with him when I get back. I was thinking of leasing a storage unit with a couple of other grad students going overseas and splitting costs, but as I said, I could probably store it for free with my partner or parents (if I'm willing to drive it six hours in a u-Haul). Anyone who's gone through this process have any advice, tips, etc. for putting your rental life on hold during the year you're gone, or how to slip relatively painlessly back into your old spot when you get back?
  19. DAAD 2017-2018

    @hbfisch00 pretty sure it means you're funded, or at least, that's the consensus on the forum! Like you, I've held off telling anyone officially, but I think I may have to on Monday.
  20. So this funding cycle turned out really well and it looks like I've been offered two prestigious 10-month overseas research grants. They cannot be used at the same time, but I might be able to defer one a bit and use them back to back. If so, should I do it? I know that in my department this does not mean that I get to add a year to normative time, and I'd be leaving my home department for relative isolation for quite some time and be expected to have a great deal of writing done before I come back. That being said, it's a whole lot of funding and freedom that I'm looking at here. Anybody who's done this want to weigh in on their experience, or whether it was worth it? This would be for archival research, not time in a lab.
  21. Actually TakeruK you understood perfectly - option two is not allowed (or at least, not allowed unless I receive conditional funding during sixth year for a seventh year, which can't be determined any earlier). Year two abroad would not be a side project, merely a continuation to deepen and strengthen my dissertation with more evidence and also to take advantage of having the archive right next door to check/expand as necessary. In year two abroad I'd be expected to write just as much as if I were home (about 2-3 chapters).
  22. @TakeruK this would be part of the dissertation - the pay would be exactly the same whether I was in the US or abroad, since my department tops up any outside fellowship to the amount that they deem necessary for maintenance. So basically, if I go for one year I'd research the whole time and then start writing when I get back, while if I went for a second year I'd be expected to start writing while I was still abroad (but still have access to the archives right there in case I needed more info or if the direction of the dissertation changed). Normative time to degree would also not change. In short, it would help my research/dissertation prospects, but probably hurt my departmental connections, teaching experience, and personal life (I have a long-term partner who can't accompany me).
  23. How to Present Yourself (Superficially)

    Dress in what makes you feel comfortable and confident. If you are wearing heels and a slip and stockings but don't have experience wearing them, it will be very obvious that you're outside of your element and you may come across as stiff. On the other hand, if putting on clothes like that has traditionally been your "battle armor" and makes you feel like a badass, then go for it, as your confidence will shine through
  24. Taking care of one's mental health

    After 3 years of PhDing, and now planning to take my quals in two months, my best advice is as follows: Don't try harder, try different. and Your best is good enough. As mostly high-achieving undergraduates, we are are generally taught that if we just try a bit harder, work a few more hours, put a bit more detail into that review, or polish that outline with a few more quotes, then everything will be better, and that if we aren't doing those things, then we aren't trying our hardest and achieving the standard that we should be able to. Well, in graduate school, sooner or later, you will hit a point where you realize there aren't enough hours in the day to "try harder" without compromising your relationships, your physical/mental health, and even your professional future (working too hard causes burnout, and 6-7 years is a marathon, not a sprint). Instead of always assuming that the answer is to work a bit more, try to learn ways to work differently - to use time more efficiently, to set strict time limits on how many hours or days you devote to preparing a specific something (a lesson plan, for example), and to take breaks at set intervals and not get caught up on finishing that little thing that makes you skip cooking dinner and thus miss eating a quality meal that could raise your spirits. It's the little things that count - getting enough sleep, eating regularly, and spending time with friends on a consistent basis. Instead of going to bed thinking "man, I should have just stayed up 45 minutes longer to polish that review," say to yourself, "I did my best for today and it's 11pm, so I'm going to go brush my teeth and call it a night." Doing your best does NOT equal doing your hardest, if doing your hardest means detracting from your happiness. As long as you gave it your best effort and put in your time as scheduled with focus and dedication, you've done enough and you deserve to eat/sleep/cuddle/go to the park on Sunday for a few hours. Since I started prepping for quals, I look in the mirror every morning and say to myself "your best is good enough" at least once. I know it's cheesy as hell but I need the reminder, and it's helped me a lot.
  25. DAAD 2017-2018

    @kasskart I don't think you need to worry, German universities' timeline is very relaxed. If it's not due until June you're solid. I'd even wait for the official award letter from DAAD before you apply as you can provide it as proof of funding in your application.