astreaux reacted to irfannooruddin in At what age does your age become a disadvantage for top programs?
My point was there are insufficient data points for that to be a basis for your decision. I've served on admissions committees and on more search committees than I care to count. Not once did the candidate's age come up. EVER. That's not to suggest that some committee members didn't factor it into their analysis, but no sensible committee would discuss potential age discrimination openly.
And, (most) departments don't admit people based on place-ability, other than as indicated by the quality of ideas.
I'm not trying to minimize your concerns. Lots of biased people out there. Fortunately they're countered by lots of pretty well-meaning intellectuals who are much more interested in the quality of one's ideas than anything else.
astreaux reacted to irfannooruddin in At what age does your age become a disadvantage for top programs?
Who knows, who cares. Too little data to make valid inferences. If you want to study political science, apply for the PhD. A smart department won't care about age. Fwiw, in my cohort at Michigan in the fall of 1996, the median age was closer to 28. There were just 3 of us who had come straight from college. And at least two of us were well into our 30s.
astreaux got a reaction from TheAnonymousOne in At what age does your age become a disadvantage for top programs?
First year PhD student here who had multiple offers from top programs-- at twice the age of the youngest first year PhD students in my program.
If the fit, grades, scores, recs, and statement(s) meet the programs' expectations, your life experiences should enhance your application.
astreaux reacted to IRToni in Stipend negotiation?
I did it with my external fellowship, basically.
I would write whomever sent you the financial offer, in the following vein (and only if it really is one of your top choices, BTW).
"Thanks for your offer of admission, I am very excited to be learning more about your program. ... school is one of my top choices. However, naturally, I am also concerned with finances, as I will be committing to a program for 5 years. This program (preferably one that the school perceives at least as equally ranked/reputable, you probably won't get a better offer from Princeton when you show them your an offer from a T-25, e.g.) has offered me... in terms of funding. Is there any flexibility in your budget to match this offer? (It also might not help to identify certain things you'd like to have, e.g. provide me with 4 summers of funding/increase professional development funds?)."
Nice, respectful and honest seems to be the way to go here. They won't rescind your offer, the worst thing that'll happen is that they tell you they don't have the leeway to do that, or explain why their funding stretches further than you expect (e.g. health insurance)
astreaux reacted to esotericish in The Reality of Grad School
Something you should keep in mind is that people have thought this through. I, and many others, have a number of years of work experience outside of academia. I think a lot of us would rather do something we enjoy and risk the academic job market than work in a job we don't like. And here's something else: the non-academic job market isn't so easy either.
astreaux reacted to packrat in Think Tanks
I certainly wouldn't. Most of the top-tier think tanks in Washington require a Ph.D. for full research positions. And many of the top political appointees (especially in IR) are coming from those think tanks and have PhDs. Don't do a MPP unless you want to be a bureaucrat.
To answer the OP, I think it's somewhat taboo to admit, which is why nobody here is going to speak up. But on one of my visits to a T-5 program last week, this notion was openly discussed and there was a sense that working at a think tank would put your PhD to good use.
Not sure what else you're looking for in an answer here.
astreaux reacted to meowth in holy shit
Oh yeah, because I'm totally going into sociology for the money.
And I bet going to a non-top-20 PhD is totally worse than my current jobs - working food service part time and working nearly minimum wage at the library. If I go to grad school now, I might be, gasp, underemployed, like I'm not already!
I guess what I dislike about this post is that you're not providing any other options or advice. Not everyone has the credentials to get into a top 20. Really, very few do.
astreaux reacted to catchermiscount in Welcome to the 2013-2014 Cycle
I like the parts where, like, somebody says "hey, I got into Harvard!" and then everybody else is like "oh, man, that's great that you got into Harvard!" Or, like, the parts where somebody hasn't gotten in anywhere and has been depressed but then they get in somewhere and they're like "hey, I hadn't gotten in anywhere and had been depressed but now I got in somewhere!" and then everybody else is like "oh, man, that's great that you got in somewhere!" Or, like, the parts where somebody is like "Hey, should I mention my mother's pasta e fagioli in my SoP?" and then somebody else is like "YMMV, but I mentioned my mom's pasta e fagioli in my SoP last year and didn't get in anywhere, but this year I didn't mention pasta e fagioli and got in places, so by Mill's method...." Or like, I like the parts where people are like "Hey what books should I be reading next year?" and then other people are like "oh, you should probably be reading this book and that book" but then I'm like "you should probably be getting drunk with your old friends before you make new grad student friends that are bad drinkers."
I really like this new thing where people are like "Don't be a jerk!" And they're all like "hey, one reason to not be a jerk is that coach said not to be a jerk!" As if they were going to be jerks if I hadn't said anything. I get to be a treatment in a Rubin model. It is very flattering, even if it is just pretend-mattering. Hey, that rhymed.
Apparently I also like typing with the comedic timing of Mitch Hedberg.
I do not like the heavy. This is probably related to the fact that I also am kind of sad that I won't get to be a dumb grad student next year; even though I will no more intelligent or accomplished or well-paid than I am now (which is nil on all dimensions), I will have to kind of pretend to be a grown up. It's kind of making me sad. I hope you guys will take advantage of getting to be dumb grad students. You won't have to iron or tuck in your shirts. You'll get to sit around and brainstorm and woodshop and spitball and mix it up and make it happen and stir the pot and take the time to really learn the deep, substantive meaning of the Lagrangian multiplier and reading Rousseau and saying "hey it would be cool to model the Lawgiver" because that's a fun idea that you get to have when you're a dumb grad student and maybe you'll even think you did something really novel and interesting only to find out that Abraham Wald did it a kajillion years ago or that Daron Acemoglu had six working papers on the topic when he was 12 and all of them turned into Econometricas and you don't know if that should make you feel good or bad or scared on a dimension so much deeper and more existential than regular fear that "scared" probably isn't the right word and next thing you know you'll be worried about your diction even though it is the least important part of any of this. I will be working on not swearing and not making jokes about Father O'Malley or "the old bestiality days." No longer will be I able to teach students about exogenous shocks by describing punching a guy in the stomach so hard that he poops himself. Allofasudden, I will have to be the good cop, and all of you guys will get to be the bad cops, skillfully trained in breaking down every argument, every research design, every set of assumptions, every data set. I already miss being a grad student.
It is also sad that the NIT games tonight were so bad that I found myself saying "hot damn! I wonder if Property Brothers is on." It was.
Not too many of you have met me, though I've been on here a long time. I suspect I will continue to come on even though I am old and grizzled and constantly crippled and lacking in hair. Some of the talk today was heavy and I didn't like it because I like thinking about rainbows and sunshine and whether the composition of an arbitrary set of correspondences is upper hemi-continuous. But one thing did kind of make me sad for other reasons. Those few of you that have met me could probably surmise that I think loyalty is cool or at least that I think effort put into my friends and colleagues and the department itself is not effort wasted. It's cool with your friends and with your colleagues and with your professors and with the younger grad students and even with the Pleges [sik] and with the secretaries and with the janitor lady that really gets glad when you take the time to ask how she's doing and even with the undergrads that try so hard on a daily basis to suck your brain from your skull and your soul from your heart. This is not a business that rewards loyalty, which is kind of a bummer. I am not trying to say that it is such a business, or even that such a business exists. It probably doesn't. You must be your own advocate, from supporting your own ideas in contentious advising meetings to writing in a clear, confident prose to choosing the best situation for yourself to being willing to negotiate politely and humbly and unjerkily. But in the course of your career you will make many decisions, and some will be good and some will be bad and some will not be entirely clear and I would like to think that some sense of community matters.
I should note that this ramble was written with an intentional style and was influenced only by the impeccable fixing-up skills of the aforementioned Property Brothers and perhaps also to the squawking of Mingus albums playing in the background. To the best of my knowledge all of the numerous subject-verb dyads above feature correct conjugations which should serve as an indicator of sobriety and attention to detail and craftsmanship. The aim here was to reduce the heavy, which to my eye has been done competently though inelegantly and self-indulgently. You all seem like good enough people to be willing to take on those costs in the name of humoring an old man finding himself being put onto an iceberg floating away to the icy sea. Did I say self-indulgently? I meant megalomaniacally.
astreaux reacted to BigTenPoliSci in High ranked masters vs. lower ranked PhD- What would you do?
I would never go anywhere unfunded. Job prospects at the end of a PhD, no matter where you go, are so uncertain that taking on debt to do it is a bad bet.
astreaux reacted to CGMJ in Open House Impressions 2014
Hi all, as a current female student at UCSD, this report is troubling!
Assuming the PSR poster is real, I hope she brought this to the attention of someone she feels comfortable with (her hosts, the DGS or the Women in Political Science group); if not, I would encourage her to do so. Obviously, behavior like this is inappropriate and we would hope to prevent it.
Speaking from my own experience (n=1 of course, but I believe I'm modal!), UCSD in an extremely welcoming place where I feel supported and invested in as a scholar, despite the resource challenges that often face public universities. Both faculty and students (male and female) are attentive to and proactively working to address the gender imbalance in academia. Respect and encouragement have been the norm in my interactions with professors, staff, and fellow students. If that culture is not coming across to prospective students, we clearly have work to do---so please give feedback formally as well as online!
If anyone has questions or concerns, please feel free to PM me.
astreaux reacted to AmateurNerd in Considering switching to Political Science
As a former poli sci PhD student, I'd like to add to this discussion. In my experience as both a poli sci undergrad and grad, the difference between undergraduate political science and graduate/PhD political science is so great that, pratically speaking, the two are entirely different fields. At the undergrad level, poli sci is basically a mix of history, philosophy, and current events. Some institutions include a token course in "methodology" which is basically introductory statistics, but by and large quantitative training is entirely absent. In contrast, poli sci at the grad/PhD level is dominated by quantitative methods and formal theories. It bears zero resemblance to undergrad poli sci. To be successful in poli sci, a grad student is better off having undergrad training in economics, mathematics, and/or computer science.
I asked one of my grad school profs why undergrad poli sci programs tend to avoid quant, and his response basically boiled down to this: Many (if not most) poli sci undergrads are actually interested in law, education, or "politics" (not poli sci) as career fields, so were departments to add quant training at the undergrad level, they would lose lots of math-averse undergrads to the other social sciences and the humanities. Fewer undergrads = less funding = less influence/prestige.
astreaux reacted to IR IR IR PhD in Welcome to the 2013-2014 Cycle
I will say this. Right now I am waitlisted at a school that is absolutely excellent for what I want to study. It would be tough to turn down. That being said, I visited a program that accepted me with a good funding offer this past month and absolutely fell in love with it. The faculty, the town and my future cohort were all great. It isn't as specialized in what I want to study as the waitlisted school is, but it has other excellent opportunities. On April 15th, my decision, whatever it is, will be final because I respect the fact that for the next five years, a group of my future political science peers decided that I was worth their investment for 5 years. After April 15th they may not be able to extend that offer to someone else. It's simply not fair. (This is only assuming you are being offered funding).
astreaux reacted to Lamantin in Microfilm is The Worst
Microfilm is intimately related to grad school. All those old periodicals, books, and rare materials you need for your thesis? They're on Microfilm (or worse, microfiche). One project for an archival research methods course had us go through microfilms page by page and write evaluations on our findings. I actually like microfilm because it forces you to really deal with the material, to see what is where and how it's arranged, rather than miss what might be important by using other search methods. At least at my university, microfilm also comes with free printing, which saves me lots of money.
Embrace the microfilm.
astreaux reacted to IRToni in Open House Impressions 2014
Since the Open House season seems to have started, and I'm guessing a fair share of us won't be able to make it to them, I wanted to start this thread to collect information and impressions from Open Houses.
Those attending, would you be so kind as to share your experiences?
Thanks in advance,
astreaux reacted to Bdeniso in What do we know? A gathering of data on various programs.
I think this is a very dangerous statement. There is a great deal one can learn from qualitative analysis and I think the field (especially IR) is moving quite too far towards quant only and towards and economics standards which has been increasingly shown to not be as sound as once thought. I think multi-methodological is still the best approach and the quant only approach many are going for today I believe is making the field not as strong as it can.
astreaux reacted to humean_skeptic in What to do when the stress hits?
I've tried to stay as busy as possible: reading philosophy, checking TGC, writing philosophy, checking TGC, exercising, checking TGC, eating/watching TV, checking TGC, more philosophy, checking TGC, and so on...
So far, I've managed to actually slow down the passage of time quite considerably. Not sure if March will ever actually arrive at this point, even if there's a satisfactory solution to all of Zeno's Paradoxes.
astreaux reacted to sylark in Welcome to the 2013-2014 Cycle
I saw "Texas A&M" in my new unread email this afternoon, and thought, dread. I know this program has yet to send out rejections, so I knew it was the day of reckoning.
Well, I was wrong, it was an acceptance letter. I just now read it another time just to be sure. I literally can't believe this. I'm not even happy or excited yet, I am just in disbelief since this was my top dream program, and I never thought I had a chance. (Okay, it's starting to sink it, and thus, the happiness and excitement!)
Looking forward to meeting everyone else who is A&M-bound next Fall!
astreaux reacted to juilletmercredi in Advised by an assistant professor?
I am a social science PhD student who has been advised by an assistant professor. He was in his third year when I began and is up for tenure this year. It has been a phenomenal relationship for me. He's an excellent mentor; he cares about me and makes time for me; our personalities are a great match and his advising style meshes really well with the way I work (I'm extremely independent and he does not micromanage me - indeed, he doesn't have the time to micromanage me). Moreover, he's been well-funded in the past few years since he has to get grants in order to get tenure, so he always has money for equipment here or a trip there. Plus he's hungry, you know? He needs publications and grants to get tenure, so there's always work to be done and data to be analyzed.
Here are my tips:
-Try to see if you can figure out when your assistant professor arrived at your department and at what point you will be in your program should he get denied tenure. For example, assuming a 6-year clock I figured out that my adviser would be beginning his third year when I began my first year, and thus if he got denied tenure he would have to leave following my fifth year (assuming a terminal year). That's not actually the way it worked out at all - I don't know whether he got his clock delayed or whether this university just has an abnormally long cloock - but given what I knew about academia it wasn't a bad estimate. I figured him leaving after my fifth year wasn't so bad, because I would be either done or so close to done that it wouldn't matter where he was.
-If an assistant professor is the best person to advise you, choose a department in which there are tenured professors who could also advise you in the event that your assistant professor leaves. Likely, if you are far enough along your assistant professor can still advise you from wherever he goes, but you will need someone to formally serve as your dissertation sponsor.
-Adopt a tenured/senior professor who can be your secondary or informal mentor. I am lucky in that my hybrid PhD program actually has that as a formal setup, so my secondary mentor is an esteemed senior full professor in my secondary department. Full professors/senior people can offer you things (connections, networking, clout) that junior people cannot. Example 1: I overslept through a take-home exam once and a word from my adviser to the professor teaching the class fixed that problem. (He laughed and said it wasn't a big deal.) Example 2: A word from my full professor adviser turned a long fight with financial aid into a non-issue. Example 3: I visited a postdoc that my Full Professor just happens to teach summer classes at...and was offered it without formally applying. See?
But, on the other hand, Full Professor does not always have data to be analyzed or extra grant money lying around for equipment or trips. Full Professor also served as chair for a while during my time here and was in a different administrative position before that, and had copious sabbaticals, so Full Professor was a bit distracted (although still completely excellent).
I definitely agree, though, that sometimes tenured professors have more time for you. While I can always meet with Junior Professor adviser when I need to, I have to get myself on his calendar a week ahead of time at least (and 2 weeks is best). JPs in their mid-tenure-track years (years 3 to 5) tend to be particularly unavailable because they are off trying to establish a national reputation so that people outside the university can say good things about them. Full Professor is generally around, in town (when not on sabbatical, lol) and held open a weekly slot for me to wander in if I needed it, and I could generally ask him for a meeting the day before if necessary.
astreaux reacted to Kamisha in hating grad school
I’m sorry that you are having such a bad experience. I obviously don’t know you, but I’m going to try to give you my honest impressions of why these things might be happening based on what I’ve observed of your communications in this discussion post. I am not a psychologist, so take it for what you will. I will say that there are a couple of people in my department who are going through similar problems and I’m seeing a similar trend.
The first thing that stands out to me is your statement that your negativity is not a choice. Truth be told, negativity is always a choice. It’s hard to battle through it and sometimes you just have to have negative days, but a positive attitude will do wonders for you. If you genuinely feel like you can’t control it, that is a problem in academia--not because your problems are your fault, but because personal negativity shines through in every situation and, for many people, is a deterrent. It is likely that your professors and colleagues see this negativity and, as a result, take issue with you. It’s also likely that you don’t recognize that your negativity is coming out. A girl in my problem can’t seem to understand why no one (faculty and students alike) have bonded with her or taken an interest in her, despite the fact that she is very intelligent, but the faculty talk about her negative attitude behind her back and it’s going to affect her in more ways than class discomfort; she will have a hard time getting letters of recommendation, etc. Again, I say this not to come down on you, but to try and allow you to see what it is looking like from an outsider’s perspective. My advice would be to go to your DGS or a faculty member or even another and ask them to genuinely tell you how you come off in the department and how to improve upon it.
Truthfully, the comments on this board responding to you have been a little harsh and I realize that you’ve been put on the defensive. That being said, your comments were equally harsh and brutal. You are asking people you don’t know to take an interest in your life. When they respond negatively, it is hurtful; but try to think about why they are responding negatively: is it something in your tone? Is it your attitude toward them?
For me, your tone from the very first post (and remember, I recognize that I don’t know you on a personal level; this is purely perception) came off as very self-depricating, defensive, and self-entitled. If you want to garner sympathy, you need to cultivate a tone worthy of sympathy. I’m going to point out a few lines that may have contributed to the poster's negative perception of you:
“...m cohort is kind of crappy to me,” “both professors seem to have something against me,” “both of these professors had clear favorites,” “both of these professors appeared to be sexist,” your narration about the male student who came into your class, "I get so upset about it and feel like there's no point... I might as well run away, get a job (seriously, even in retail they treat you better than this) and read on my own. The terrible thing is that I had a pretty crappy life before this" I’m not invaliding any of your experiences in this post, but the way in which you present your story makes it sound as though you feel like you are an innocent victim in all of this and that you are entitled to better treatment. That may be, but there is no evidence here of internal reflection. All of the blame is placed outward and little reflection is given as to why people might feel the need to treat you this way.
In your other posts (wherein you obviously felt as though you were being attacked) you were extremely sarcastic and came off as very bitter. Even though I disagreed with the comments others were making to you, I found myself feeling absolutely no sympathy for you because the way you frame things makes you sound very petulant and unpleasant:
"So I guess as long as I have been unhappy before, I must be unable to perceive anything normally. Maybe I'm also getting paid $5000/month and my attitude is making it seem like less? Maybe the reason crappy things happen to me all the time is people like you, who blame me whenever I suffer and who think that the fact that I am suffering is evidence that I'm full of s***." Your response was worse in tone and cruelty than the original response.
She is generally pretentious and mean to people all around. She particularly makes fun of one guy's english (he's not a native speaker, and neither is she, but her english is better) and really made him feel bad for a while. For some reason people seem to like her a lot despite her weird behavior. (I think part of it is that she is really good at acting. e.g. she laughs 'genuinely' at jokes she doesn't get or find funny.) This post makes you sound petty, jealous, insecure, and cruel. I am not saying you ARE these things; I’m saying that is how it comes off.
"She also tried to correct my english in front of a professor one time, which was weird because she's not a native speaker and I am (and not surprisingly, her 'correction' was wrong)." This post sounds not only ethnocentric and somewhat condescending, it again makes you seem insecure and angry.
"I haven't talked to the other girls about sexism, so I'm not sure what they think. What I can say is that most of the girls don't talk much during class. I talked more than the others and as far as I can tell, got punished for it. The guy who came in an hour late (an hour! not 30mins) is in my cohort, so he actually doesn't have more experience than me. I really don't know how he could have had fabulous insights on a book he hadn't even begun to read." Again, this feels like a lot of displacing guilt and blame. Rather than saying “I was punished for talking” and making it sound you were a victim, take responsibility for talking in class. That can be a disruption. Also, it really feels like you are devaluing your male peer’s intelligence here. Just he was late doesn’t mean he hadn’t read and, even if he hadn’t, you shouldn’t be so concerned about him. Also, just because someone doesn’t have more experience than you doesn’t mean that they aren’t able to offer valuable insights.
Yeah, we can still use the libraries, but I don't think that justifies $2000. Again, the cynicism here is off-putting.
“What it amounts to is that I had a really horrible childhood which was mainly the fault of my parents, and as a result I have problems with almost every other kind of interaction in my life. But I've tried so hard to get help, and all I get is hurt worse. For example, a few years ago I saw a psychotherapist who started to help me, I got really attached to him and then he cut me off because there was a session limit at my university. I'm still, years later, dealing with feelings of abandonment and worthlessness because of him." I’m sorry that you had a miserable childhood. You anger toward your parents is likely justified. That being said, you are blaming your therapist here for doing their job and meeting their professional requirements rather than focusing on the fact that you are unable to accept the professional boundaries. You say that you are still “dealing with feelings of abandonment and worthlessness because of him.” It’s not his fault; he is a therapist and was doing his job. He can’t continue to treat you always when the university has a limit. Again, this is displacing blame and your tone is very harsh and condemning. It doesn’t garner sympathy.
"If it's not a contest, why are you telling me what happened to you? Why do you think I would care? It seems like you're saying that your difficult childhood justifies your unkindness to me. It doesn’t." Quite honestly, this is hypocritical and flat out mean. You are asking a group of strangers you don’t know to give you insight and advice about your life and are claiming that you are justified in certain behaviors because of your negative life experiences. How, then, do you possibly justify a cruel response like this? I lost all sympathy for you after reading this line.
"You're known to come off as an asshole? Maybe it's becaue you are an asshole... just a thought worth considering." Wow. This is very harsh? Have you ever wondered if people think that you come off as an asshole? After reading this, you definitely did to me. Maybe you should also take this comment as a “thought worth considering?"
"I regret posting here. You know how I said that seeking help always comes back to bite me? I guess this is yet another example of it. I was only asking for help. Like it or not, you made me feel worse. There is no good outcome here. Do you really enjoy doing this to people?" Again, condescending and self-depricating. How do you expect others to treat you kindly when you come at them with negativity and cruelty?
Like I said, I don’t know you personally and can’t effectively comment on your situation. I can, however, say this: if the attitude you put forth daily (even subconsciously) is what it appears to be from this discussion board, I can honestly understand why you aren’t having a lot of professional and personal success in your program. Try to consciously think about your tone and attitude and worry yourself less with the actions and opinions of others. If you feel like you can’t do that, it may be in your best interest to leave academia--a field which is entirely dependent upon having thick skin and persevering despite terrible odds and biases.
I wish you the best of luck and hope that you read this message knowing that the intention here is to help and shed light, not attack or criticize.
astreaux reacted to Kamisha in Cellphones in Class! ARGHH!
I subscribe to the idea that the more “hardline” you are, the less students respond to you. Don’t get me wrong, I think you should have very clear policies and procedures in your syllabi and that you should enforce them. But, like toasterazzi says, you really have to pick your battles.
This is my classroom policy regarding cellphones: "You may bring your cellphone to class with you, provided it is on silent and does not become a distraction. Electronic distractions may result in a loss of participation points."
If someone is using their phone to much, I shoot them an email and let them know. Problem solved. In my four years teaching, I’ve only ever had to take participation points away form two students for cell phone usage, and that was when I was teaching high school.
Anyway, that’s my two cents. I hope someone found it helpful.
Edit: I just re-read the original post. If a student routinely ignores you, I’d dock their participation/attendance grade and insist they come in and talk to you about it. If they are hostile toward you or continually act out (and if you are teacher of record), you can always bounce them from your class. If you aren’t teacher of record, you could ask your supervisor how they would prefer you to handle it.
astreaux reacted to hashslinger in Cellphones in Class! ARGHH!
I have the most draconian anti-cellphone policies of anyone I know. So far this semester, most students have been respecting the rules. A few haven't been. I haven't really gone off on those who still like to diddle; I'd like to, but I worry it would just derail the whole class, the vast majority of which is paying attention and learning, and I don't want to wreck that by ratcheting up the tension.
So I just quietly mark them down.
It's sad to say, but when I first started teaching about 4 years ago, it was MUCH easier to control cell phones. Now it's become part of the culture to the extent that people feel a need to check their cell phones every where they go and can't fathom why they shouldn't just scroll through it in class. It really is a losing battle