# davidipse

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## Reputation Activity

1. davidipse got a reaction from lyonessrampant in Amended Reading List for GRE Literature Subject Test
Princeton Review has a useful prep book that also includes a practice test. The book lays out the simple but practical concept of evaluating what to read by "points-per-page." E.g. Keats Odes, taken together, are as likely to turn up on the test as is, say, Joyce's Ulysses, which means the points-to-page ratio of the odes is something around 1:10 where Joyce's p-to-p is 1:1000!!! So it makes much more sense to save time you would spend on works like Ulysses for works like the Odes.

I took 2 practice tests and the GRE itself, and all 3 had a question about Gray's "Elegy in a Country Churchyard." I also remember that most of the Chaucer questions were from the General Prologue. 2 had questions about Pope's Rape of the Lock. I also think they all refered to one or other of TS Eliot's famous critical ideas: his idea of the "objective correlative" and the theses laid out in "Tradition and the Individual Talent."

Good luck!
2. davidipse got a reaction from TeaOverCoffee in Amended Reading List for GRE Literature Subject Test
Princeton Review has a useful prep book that also includes a practice test. The book lays out the simple but practical concept of evaluating what to read by "points-per-page." E.g. Keats Odes, taken together, are as likely to turn up on the test as is, say, Joyce's Ulysses, which means the points-to-page ratio of the odes is something around 1:10 where Joyce's p-to-p is 1:1000!!! So it makes much more sense to save time you would spend on works like Ulysses for works like the Odes.

I took 2 practice tests and the GRE itself, and all 3 had a question about Gray's "Elegy in a Country Churchyard." I also remember that most of the Chaucer questions were from the General Prologue. 2 had questions about Pope's Rape of the Lock. I also think they all refered to one or other of TS Eliot's famous critical ideas: his idea of the "objective correlative" and the theses laid out in "Tradition and the Individual Talent."

Good luck!
3. davidipse got a reaction from queennight in Amended Reading List for GRE Literature Subject Test
Princeton Review has a useful prep book that also includes a practice test. The book lays out the simple but practical concept of evaluating what to read by "points-per-page." E.g. Keats Odes, taken together, are as likely to turn up on the test as is, say, Joyce's Ulysses, which means the points-to-page ratio of the odes is something around 1:10 where Joyce's p-to-p is 1:1000!!! So it makes much more sense to save time you would spend on works like Ulysses for works like the Odes.

I took 2 practice tests and the GRE itself, and all 3 had a question about Gray's "Elegy in a Country Churchyard." I also remember that most of the Chaucer questions were from the General Prologue. 2 had questions about Pope's Rape of the Lock. I also think they all refered to one or other of TS Eliot's famous critical ideas: his idea of the "objective correlative" and the theses laid out in "Tradition and the Individual Talent."

Good luck!
4.
Thanks for clarifying, and sorry for using obtuse language! 1-1 refers to how many sections you teach in a semester of a year. For example, I don't teach this year, but next year, I teach a 1-1 (one section in the Fall and one section in the Spring). The year after, I teach a 2-1 (two sections in the fall, one section in the Spring).

I'm still baffled; you'll really only be teaching for one year at School B? The reason I ask is that when you apply for jobs, you'll want to be able to show that you have strong teaching experience. Many job applications requirements ask for a teaching statement, and it's hard for me to imagine how one year of teaching at the university-level will help you build a strong, convincing teaching philosophy. Some jobs will ask for a syllabus that you created; others will ask that you have experience teaching a certain type of class. Since Top-10 and Top-5 are really in the same tier, based only on the info presented, I would choose School A, mainly because I'd get more varied teaching experience and the opportunity to grow as a college educator.
5.
It's hard to give advice without knowing the specifics of each school, your area of interest (poetry, no?), and eventual career goals. I understand though wanting to maintain some privacy on GC and I'm actually quite certain of the two schools you are talking about.

I have gotten two strains of advice relating to this, but it mostly boils down to this: go where you get the most possible time in fellowship (i.e. without teaching responsibilities) because you will be able to make the most of graduate school as a period of uninterrupted intellectual growth and you will have the time to publish and become the best researcher/scholar you can be. The only exception to this is if you have your heart set on a small teaching-focused university for eventual employment in which case an argument could be made for more teaching. In this case though, you might be better off in a program where you designed and taught your own courses which doesn't (to my knowledge) happen in the top 10. Regardless, with these options, you can't make a wrong choice (everyone keeps reminding me this and it is strangely calming).

What I've said is an argument for School B. Proflorax is right, of course, that less teaching could potentially be a liability on the job market although I don't think it is at this particular school because of the more robust support structure and the history the graduates have with getting jobs.  Best of luck with your decision!
6.
Hello again. Thanks for including the real identities of the schools. I was actually mistaken about the identity of school B and I definitely understand your caution.

Unless you feel like school B couldn't support your project, then I would absolutely urge you to take the offer with more fellowship time, especially since you do get to create a syllabus of your own and get three quarters of teaching experience. This is nothing against school A. In fact, i think it is a wonderful school and program as well. But the way I see it, if your goal is becoming a professor at a school with a quality graduate program then much of your career will be spent trying to balance responsibilities of teaching, research, and service. While one could argue that you might learn how to balance them better at School A, I think nothing is as invaluable as uninterrupted research time to better yourself as a writer/scholar. Indeed, later in your career you will most certainly be applying for external or internal awards (e.g. guggenheim fellowships) so that you can be released from your teaching/service obligations in order to focus on your research. I'm sure some will disagree and I don't think this advice is applicable to students across tiers, but it rings true for me in your case. Good luck!
7. davidipse got a reaction from zabka in Waitlisted
So, I was (as you might remember) in a similiar pickle recently. I asked around a lot and most professors and grad students seemed to agree that only one year of teaching might put you at a serious disatvantage on the job market. But Princeton would let you teach more if you wanted (and I think they even pay you extra for any teaching you do in addition to what's required).
8. davidipse got a reaction from Nyctophile in Waitlisted
So, I was (as you might remember) in a similiar pickle recently. I asked around a lot and most professors and grad students seemed to agree that only one year of teaching might put you at a serious disatvantage on the job market. But Princeton would let you teach more if you wanted (and I think they even pay you extra for any teaching you do in addition to what's required).
9. davidipse reacted to Nyctophile in Waitlisted
Mostly just that they might think you aren't as committed or serious about their school, which might as you said, sour the relationship a little. It mostly depends on the person that you're talking to anyway, some might take it as a personal affront while someone else is going to understand how stressful and overwhelming this all is and that it is an intensely personal and important decision to make. I'm pretty sure the DGS at X is of the latter category, he's been pretty amazing whenever I've needed something so far.
10. davidipse reacted to zabka in Waitlisted
Ah the dreaded wait list. Are you positive you prefer that school to your other options? Have you spoken to them about what your chances are at this stage?

I am in a similar situation. I have decided not to ask for an extension. The school I am wait listed at assumed (correctly) that I have other offers and is doing their best to get an offer to me by the deadline. I'm not sure what ill do if a spot comes through after the fact.

If I were you, I would decided among your current choices, decline other offers, and then wait until you get word from the wait list school. Most of the time, they make an effort to let you know either way before the deadline. If they are still unsure as of Tuesday morning, then get excited about your current option and accept/ask for an extension. The wait list is a necessary evil but it is definitely tough to navigate. Fingers crossed for everyone still waiting!
11. davidipse reacted to ProfLorax in Waitlisted
I don't see the harm in asking. I really don't. You aren't demanding, you aren't assuming. As long as you go in knowing the DGS could say no, what is the harm in asking? Honestly, the program will take care of itself. If extending your deadline 24 hours will cause them any inconvenience, the DGS will say no.

Dear DGS,

Thank you for providing so much information for your program! I apologize for not informing you of my decision yet. I am still waiting to hear back from one program, and I want to talk to my family and investigate all my options before making a final decision. Could you extend my final decision deadline to April 16?

All the best,

So and so
12. davidipse reacted to Nyctophile in Fall 2014 applicants??
I hesitated to respond but I know that crappy feeling and I just in general have a difficult time keeping my mouth shut, so here goes!

From my stats this season I have no reason to complain, 3 accepts/2 waitlists and from great schools. However, when I got my Stanford rejection I was incredibly disheartened. It wasn't about wanting one more acceptance, it was about my dream school. I'm really lucky to have the options I do but it has been a long time coming. In high school I worked my butt off b/c I desperately wanted to attend college on the east coast. My over protective parents put an end to that idea and instead I worked my way through a no-name state school. During my last two years of undergrad I went through a hell of a lot of emotional/family crap leading to depression and almost getting kicked out of school for failing grades. I also met my ex-husband (which was its own kind of disaster). That turned into almost 10 years of putting my dreams on the back burner for someone who had no direction (and as it turns out, no morals). Once I saw that there was no saving us I went back to school to get my credential so I would have a means of supporting myself. By this point I had almost completely given up on my dreams of a PhD. I thought no way could I be out of school for so long, with such a lackluster undergrad record and still get into a graduate program. Who would want me? What could I possibly have to offer?

I took some time to just review where I was and what I wanted, what I absolutely had to have. Then I came up with a plan to get there. I knew that I couldn't walk straight into a PhD program, my only chance was to get an MA first and to somehow effing rock it. This would be challenging b/c based on my past academic record, the only place I might get into was another no-name state school. I was so embarrassed, I was supposed to be this great brain and here I was 30, trying to finally do what I should have been doing in my 20s. After meeting with the grad advisor (who was not very optimistic) and figuring out a way that I could be admitted despite my low undergrad gpa I applied and got in. Here I am, three years later having met the cohort of my dreams (they really are like family) and some amazing professors who have my best interests at heart.

The point of all of this is to tell you that a setback is just that. It's a temporary pause. YOU decide how to respond. What do you want? What can you absolutely not live without? Look at how many times I messed up and got in my own damn way! The things that held me back weren't even outside things, they were my own stupid decisions. That Stanford rejection felt like death when I got it but after taking a step back I can see my way again. This is all my long-winded way of saying don't give up. Rejections are the freaking worst, let yourself feel that and don't feel guilty about it. Just know that 1. obstacles can turn into blessings, 2. if you want something you can make it happen. I believe in you.

If you ever want to vent off-thread, feel free to PM me. Also, if there's anything that I can do to help you if you decide to apply next year, let me know. I feel like I got some incredibly good advice from the professors in my department and it's worked out well for me. Another classmate who has applied this round also got into several great schools, I'd be happy to share the advice we were given.
13.
wait, i'm confused. so is it better to be smarter, or is it not?
14. davidipse got a reaction from mmorrison in Wait, you mean I have to make a decision eventually...?!
Maybe we could talk about tactful ways of gratefully turning down offers—methods (phone? email?), language, absolute no-no's, etc.

Do you tell them where you've decided to go? What if you haven't decided where to go but know you won't be going to this certain school? Do you give reasons for not going here, and for going elsewhere?

Is it okay or obnoxious to ask them to profess a desire (if it's genuine) to "stay in touch"? Any other suggestions as to how to keep the relationship open and ongoing, so as to not preclude future research opportunities, student exchange programs, post-docs, or a job at the school you're turning down?

Is it obnoxious, gratuitious, or kind to say (if that is the case) that the tipping factor was greater funding and a lighter teaching load (which would buy one more time, allow one to be more productive as a scholar, publish more, finisher faster, and have a better stab at the job market)?

What are more neutral verbs for "reject" or "refuse" or "turn down" (an offer)? Am I right in finding "to pass up" dismissive, "to let go" melodramatic? One could say "decided to accept an offer elsewhere," but what if (as I mentioned) one's not made that decision yet?

I think it would be helpful for everyone if veterans who've been lucky or illustrious enough in the past to get to turn down offers would weigh in. Danke danke danke.
15.
I personally didn't say "stay in touch" unless it was to a POI that I had been in contact with.

I sometimes told them that I would be declining their offer and that it was a difficult decision and that I was honored to have been accepted.  Often I would describe what I particularly respected about the department.  I normally didn't give a reason unless they asked, which they often do.

Sometimes they will simply ask which school you've decided on, and other times they will ask you about your financial offer.

I also do not think it's bad form to say you chose based on the fellowship offered to you by another school.  I know for a fact that sometimes schools use these reasons as evidence that they need to allocate more money to graduate students.
16. davidipse got a reaction from Ozymandias Melancholia in Best books on literary theory?
You can read M. H. Abrams' "The Deconstructive Angel" for free on Jstor. Abrams, basically, disagrees with deconstruction (esp. J. Hillis Miller's brand of it, though he addresses Derrida and even Bloom), but he's a very sympathetic summarizer. Famously pluralist, he really puts on the shoes of whatever critic he's agreeing or disagreeing with, always doing his best to summarize and present the best case for any theoretical standpoint before going on to critique or comment on it. The essay's a better and shorter introduction to several threads of theory than a lot of introductory books I've come across.

http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/1342932?uid=3739560&uid=2129&uid=2&uid=70&uid=4&uid=3739256&sid=21103563571587

Jonathan Culler's Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction is also very concise and useful.

http://www.amazon.com/Literary-Theory-Very-Short-Introduction/dp/0199691347/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1393729249&sr=8-1&keywords=oxford+introduction+culler

Culler also wrote On Deconstruction: Theory and Criticism after Structuralism, which I haven't read but is apparently *the* book to read on the subject. Another *the book* that I haven't read is Terry Eagelton's Literary Theory: an Introduction. Eagleton is, in the very least, a very funny writer, in a curmudgeony way.
17.
I also want to say that while the official information on eligibility for consortium classes specifies that something be "necessary," anything that is related to your field of study (or your methodology) fits that description. I have never known (nor have I heard) of anyone having an issue taking classes in the consortium. The only time I'd say that it becomes problematic is when there is a professor at your home school teaching a course in the same or a related topic. Even then, I've seen exceptions be made. For example, one of my friends wanted to take a class on contemporary photographic theory and we had a class offered here on 19th century American literature and visual culture that included a section on contemporary photography. She ended up taking a Princeton class that focused exclusively on photography and had no problem justifying it to her advisor. The Princeton student in my class right now is taking it because it's in his field (Literatures of the New World) and a class in that period wasn't offered at Princeton this semester. You may also state that you want to work with a particular scholar.
18.
Hey!

It's very common for students in the consortium to take Rutgers classes. Last semester, one of my classes had a Columbia student. This semester one of my classes has a Princeton student. From talking to other people in my cohort, there are at least two other Princeton students in Rutgers English classes this semester. We also collaborate in other ways. Princeton and Rutgers have joint graduate colloquia that feature a graduate student conference restricted to the two schools. There's an early modern one and a 19th century one (although there may be more for other periods I don't know about). I hope this answers your question!
19.
I just read the Semenza book, and would recommend it.  A few of his suggestions might be slightly outdated, and some will not work for everyone (ie he assumes you will be getting an MA and then a PhD rather than starting the PhD right away), but overall the book was very useful and relevant and I think I will be returning to reread sections as I move through grad school. I especially appreciated the sample materials included at the end of the book.

I have also read "On Writing Well" but I did not find it extremely useful, since it is not specific to academic writing and that's really what I want to master. I think it would be more useful for a pre-undergrad student or someone working to master basic prose writing.

Edit: by pre-undergrad I mean an undergrad. Someone gave that book to me before college and so that's my association with it.
20.
Most of them are. And if they're not, they should be.

If schools really wanted the best, they're going to compete for the best. Keep this in mind: When a school pays you so they can have the chance to woo you, they're not only saying they want you, but they're also saying we have MONEY. While it's always nice to be loved, it's also a universal truth that all god's children need money.
21.
on the contrary, theory and journal articles are the easiest to read quickly. those pesky novelists tend to hide their greatest insights in the most innocuous scenes, whereas in your average journal article, you can get away with reading the introduction, conclusion, noting down who was namedropped, and improvising the rest. the other day, i gave an hour presentation on the multicultural politics of seyla benhabib while knowing nothing but what i read in a 2-page book review.
22.
or you could just translate chaadaev.
23. davidipse reacted to ComeBackZinc in Perspective on Success
Since fit is always discussed most often when people talk about SOPs and writing samples, I figured I'd copy and paste this from an email received by another poster by the DGS:

I think this is a useful way to think about fit-- it's not a static quality. It can evolve from year to year based on the internal movements of faculty within a department, and is dependent on the particular advising load for particular faculty members. As usual, the process serves the needs of the departments first. Just food for thought. (And more reason that you shouldn't beat yourself up about any given rejection-- there's just so much you can't control.)
24.
From a later-grad student perspective, I found Semeza to be both helpful and problematic for the reasons other people have described here. It's good that he demystifies grad school and tells you what exactly is expected of you in the seminar room, at the academic conference, on the job market. And his own background as a "working class" (as he puts it) grad student is especially useful for those who come from a similar background.

For people who are coming straight from college, I think it's a good primer for knowing how to behave in grad school--like, no, it's not just an extension of undergrad; you're expected to do all the reading (or behave that you have), attend all classes, attend department functions and talks, and basically treat grad school like a job. This may seem self-evident for most, but I see new grad students every year who just don't know what's expected of them, or that their professors are holding them to much higher standards than they do undergrads (and judging them harshly for not speaking up in class or arriving on time).

I personally found the book really helpful for the way it lays out your teaching responsibilities. He makes the point that you should value teaching and seek to do a good job but also minimize the amount of time you spend agonizing about undergrads. I've applied a lot of his advice about keeping "teaching stuff" confined to a certain part of the day and using the rest to work on research. I don't have the book in front of me right now (and it's always checked out of our library), but I believe he offers some really helpful tips for minimizing email interactions with students and with encouraging use of your set office hours (rather than allowing student demands to dictate when you come to campus or answer your emails).

I also found the exam chapter and "two-page-a-day" dissertation recommendation to be really useful.

What I found not useful--Semenza's micromanaging attitude toward personal habits. Like, I don't need to know how to organize my files or my bookshelves, thanks. I also don't need to be told how to manage my personal life. YMMV, I guess, because some people do find that kind of thing helpful. What I also find really annoying is his suggestion that you just "work harder" to balance the various aspects of your life, even to the point of sacrificing sleep. I know that "just work harder!" is the order of the day in a capitalistic society, but I can't stand the way Semenza piles on. It's like he espouses this sort of ridiculous Ben Franklin-esque work ethic. I'm surprised that he doesn't include charts about how he structures his day, or his own errors or temperance, industry, frugality. I almost expect him to say something like, "Eat not to dullness, drink not to elevation" or "imitate Jesus and Socrates."

The whole "women over 35 have high-risk pregnancies" also seems outdated and sexist to me--especially that we now know that women's post-35 fertility isn't quite as doomed, and that men also have a "biological clock" too.

Minor things I find super-annoying: the idea that one must never be ill in graduate school. Seriously, if you're sick, stay home from seminar. No one expects you to come to class with a raging fever. A minor cold, yes; pneumonia or flu, no. I also hated the fact that he says he puts so much stock in numeric teaching evaluations when looking at job candidates--right after trashing the whole idea of teaching evaluations. He definitely needs to make up his mind about that.
25. davidipse reacted to mikers86 in Fall 2014 applicants??
But don't spend too much time crafting that email. Make sure you at least acknowledge the offer the day it's made. (Found this out the hard way. Talk about awkward phone calls)
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