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Sigaba last won the day on January 4

Sigaba had the most liked content!

About Sigaba

  • Rank
    Cup o' Joe

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  • Gender
    Not Telling
  • Location
    Southern California
  • Application Season
    Not Applicable
  • Program
    History, ABD. Working in private sector.

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20,743 profile views
  1. A person made a mistake. It happens. Lessons should be learned and corrective actions should be taken. Does focusing on the mistake get one closer to one's goal? (Has the aggrieved applicant taken any action? If the aggrieved had been accepted been among those cc-ed in an email would the applicant have the same concerns?) The comments I've offered may sting some, but they're not unkind. They're based upon experience in the Ivory Tower and in the private sector working on projects for private and public universities, as well as on this BB. Graduate school is a competitive environment. There are going to be set backs. Sometimes your fellow graduate students will come at you. Sometimes professors will use you as chew toys. When you work as a T.A., some undergraduates will pounce on any mistake you make to question your qualifications to evaluate your work. When you are at your lowest point during your qualifying exams, your professors will offer comments that are especially cutting. The skills and habits you are developing now, the words you choose to express yourself, will be crucial in determining how much help is offered and how much support is withheld. Arguably the most intelligent classmate I have ever had earned his Ph.D. and PNG in record time. What did he do wrong? He complained about the professional competence of members of the department. He could not take set backs in stride. He argued when he got beneficial guidance from faculty members. Hey, @histofsci, I would very much prefer not to get into a spat of name calling. If you feel the need to travel that route, send a PM and we'll work it out.
  2. @whatkilledthedinosaurs, while you can certainly take what ever tone you please to express your dissatisfaction, it is more than "just venting on a grad school forum," not the least because you've provided identifying information about yourself on a BB that does not allow for the deletion of posts. What you are doing is developing a habit that may not work as well for you as a "this is only a temporary set back / the good of the profession is good enough for me" take it all in stride comportment. ICYMI, @AP has a Ph.D. in history and is a faculty member. A part of the big picture that you may be missing is that a critical mass of professional academic historians are not particularly fond of interacting with undergraduates. (Which is why the history fora are among the busiest at the Grad Cafe, season after season.) When you bring snark to the table, "mostly tongue in cheek" or not, are you helping to build a dynamic that encourages experienced members to stay and continue to help? Or are you sending a message that you're going to argue when you're given guidance you don't like? To be clear, no one is asking you to be inauthentic or to genuflect. But there's something to be said about giving respect to BTDTs to get respect. Returning to @AP's comment. You most certainly can argue what you "obviously know" or you can dial it down and understand the information you're being given. The path of an academic historian is strewn with obstacles and rejections. Between now and the time you are presented with a Festschrift , you're gong to experience people telling you "no, not what we're looking for/not good enough" even when you're damn sure that the answer should be "hell, yeah!" Feelings of frustration, disappointment, sadness, depression, anger, bitterness (not me, never), are understandable. However, the choices one makes when dealing with feelings are pivotal in the personal professional development of an aspiring academic historian. You have spent valuable minutes and intellectual energy "venting" and then defending your venting. You have sent a clear message to experienced members of this BB that you would rather be right than to receive information that will help you make choices that will get you where you want to go.
  3. Sigaba

    Irvine, CA

    Congratulations on your admission to UCI. The main streets in Irvine, like in much of the OC, are raceways to freeways. The traffic lights are timed accordingly. IME, when driving in the area, oncoming cars are all moving much faster than one would expect--unprotected turns require extra caution as do lane changes. FWIW/FYI/ICYMI https://www.cityofirvine.org/transportation/bicycle-safety-tips https://www.cityofirvine.org/irvine-police-department/bicycle-safety https://www.ocregister.com/2019/05/10/at-least-14-road-cyclists-were-killed-in-orange-county-traffic-accidents-in-2018-but-there-are-ways-to-reduce-the-bloodshed/ If you do attend UCI, I work in the planning department of an employee-owned consultancy that may be looking for interns this summer. We have an office in OC. No promises or warranties offered, but if you throw your hat in the ring, there's no limit on how far an intern can go. (Be advised, the work will be hard in a "wax on / wax off" kind of way and also intellectually challenging.)
  4. I am not sure why @ken5566 got dinged for voicing a dissenting opinion. The post is not disrespectful to the OP. Moreover, given @ken5566 's background, the view expressed may be informed by experience. Is the dissatisfaction centered around the word "ruining"? If so, consider the context. The OP writes of "saving" a GPA and of receiving a "failing" grade. Why does one member get dinged for hyperbole but not another? (The point I'm attempting to make is that graduate school is an intensely competitive environment in which dissenting views play a vital role in one's growth. Developing an argument in opposed to a stated opinion is going to require you to lean forward and make a case. And after class, you will have a coffee with the person with whom you disagreed and continue the debate.) What choice would you make if you knew that you were going to be admitted into a program? Which will AdComms appreciate more: an applicant's minor (and GPA therein) or her proficiency in a language?
  5. Sigaba


    I recommend layers and a light backpack / tote bag into which you can put layers as you shed them to dump heat. (And to store securely your cell phone so that people won't have the experience of seeing you swiping left while they're trying to talk you into accepting the admissions offer.) I also recommend cash. At least, enough to buy coffee, some mints, hand sanitizer, and parking. Some writing tools to take some notes the old fashion way (analog). To belabor the point. When you go on the visit, please consider all the advantages of leaving your phone in the trunk of your car or in airplane mode on your person. No one will ever think less of you for being an attentive listener. (Unless you're my boss or an ex, but I'm not bitter.)
  6. @HistoryMan1001, this is the kind of question that sends a message one doesn't want to send, especially when it is asked in the clear, if one's objective is to be known for tact and discretion. (And asking the question privately is not, IMO, a sustainable tactic.)
  7. If you are going to be a graduate student in a history program, you need to define yourself as a historian, identify which trajectories of historiography you want to address, and how you anticipate your work will move the needle in each trajectory. Your emphasis on critical race theory and black studies may need significant reconfiguration. You want to avoid a situation in which you're proposing an approach that is increasingly accepted as something that is cutting edge. You might also benefit from displaying a firm understanding of the appropriate balance between the needs of the profession and one's own political agenda generally and also within each department you would like to join as a graduate student. (Eventually, the quality of your work as a historian will be more important than you dedication to a cause, no matter how important it is.) You want to assure the Powers That Be that you understand that you have some catching up to do and that you're committing to doing it. You will also want to communicate to decision makers that while you may use the tools and some of the sensibilities of other disciplines, that you are, in fact, a historian who is loyal to the House of Klio. That is, while the craft of professional academic history may benefit from the use of X from Y discipline, history should not become Y discipline. (If you seek a program where you straddle two disciplines with one being history, you will likely want to send a different message.) Also, at least for history, leading with your stats likely puts you at a competitive disadvantage right away. Academic historians talk about history and historiography much more than their GPAs and what not. The names of institutions and professors are used as an elegant shorthand to compress schools of thought into a few words that support a focused argument. So "I went to Happyland University and studied under Professor Biles" isn't about bench marking or measuring johnsons, it is saying "So far, my analysis of X centers around A, B, and C." Additional guidance and resources for applicants to graduate history programs are available in the history fora, but especially at Lessons Learned: Application Season Debriefings Rejection Advice What type of writing samples did you submit? Crucial Theory for Historians #HTH
  8. Sigaba


    This depends upon how you perceive yourself and how you want to be perceived by people who will have an extraordinary amount of power over you until you get a tenure track job. You can be blunt ("This program is my third choice.") You can be indirect ("This program is among my top choices of the X offers I've received.") You can be vague ("I can very easily see myself here next fall...") You can be specific. ("I am intrigued by your generous offer, but I am concerned about X, Y, and Z...") The questions can be about funding or about requirements or about housing or about resources (including opportunities to do course work at a nearby school and/or have a professor from that school sit on your committees.) The one thing I would recommend that you not do is to come across as entitled. Hint: Do not say anything along the lines of "I'm trying to figure out how [enter department name here] fits my interests." Do not ask if you can bring your dog to class. Do not ask you count as an employee.
  9. Can you take the class pass/fail or pass/no pass?
  10. In the event you get information that addresses the questions @ashiepoo72 raises, be careful not to make a snap decision one way or another. You don't want to throw your hands up and say "This won't work for me" nor do you want to say "I can do this!" without additional information. As A72 suggests, you will want to talk to the combatant professors' graduate students. You will want to find a mix. Those who successfully navigated the tension, got their tickets punched, and got jobs. Those who are still figuring out the tension. Those who made changes to their committees. And those who ended up so discouraged that they walked away (temporarily or permanently). If you phrase your concerns diplomatically, you can also talk to the DGS and/or the professor who serves as the departmental rock. Another course of action is to do the research to answer the question "What's at stake?" Is the conflict essentially personal in nature or is a critical historiographical debate at the heart of the dispute? If it's less the former and more the latter, figuring out ways to navigate the human terrain may be akin to walking through an intellectual minefield during the most challenging years of your life so that you can have a reputation for walking on water after you get your degree.
  11. The people competing for spots today are the same people the same people who will be competing for grants, jobs, and awards for years to come. Right now, at this moment, at least of those persons is in tremendous pain because of the uncertainty. That person is pushing through the pain and finding a way to focus on an essential work -- an article, maybe even a monograph. And that person will do it again tomorrow, and then the next day. That same person is eventually going to get in somewhere and go on to make contributions to the historiography of modern Europe. Why can't that person be you?
  12. Sigaba


    My recommendations are these. Before the weekend Obtain a list of the people who are scheduled to attend. Obtain a schedule of events. Ask, via email, for any documents, materials, or talking points the department wants you to have. Download, read, and study all available documents related to the graduate program, especially the graduate student handbook. Read and study the requirements for the program as well as the expected roadmap/time table for reaching various waypoints. Familiarize yourself with the faculty roster, their fields, and their interests. The closer in time and space you are to the faculty member, the more refined your knowledge should be. Select one or two (but not more than two) issues/activities immediately related to graduate life and study it. (For example, health insurance but the library system is safer.) Budget a reasonable amount of time to the tasks above. Coordinate your efforts with like minded students. Optimally, each person will understand who knows what. During the weekend When asked a question, answer it to the best of your ability. If you are not certain about the answer, indicate so. If you don't know, refer her to a colleague who is present at the event or that you'll get back to her with an answer ASAP. If the question is about graduate student life, restrict your answer to what you do to address an issue or concern. "During the winter, I wear a down jacket by Arcteryx" as opposed to "You're going to need a down jacket by this company made by this company with this kind of fill." Exercise the utmost discretion when answering questions about personal safety. Instead, have handy the department/program that will provide information related to on campus safety. If the question is about degree requirements and progress or other matters of policy, I recommend that you caveat answers with "It's my understanding that..." or "I believe that..." or "According to document so and so..." The surer you are of the answer, and/or, if you phrase the answer based upon your understanding of how the requirements apply to you, the fewer caveats will be needed. The objective of such "CYA" language is to protect you and the department from risk. The objective of the exercise is to provide admitted students with information, not to be a SME who is providing recommendations. When talking about the program, the professors, and other graduate students Make sure that you're offering a perspective based upon your experience and your experience only. Do not share inside information. Do not offer information that is confidential or was provided in confidence. Do not pass along gossip or scuttlebutt. Be very careful about offering any assessment about the level of difficulty provided by any task, class, or requirement. Most of all, do not, under any circumstances lie, stretch, fib, embellish, or exaggerate with to a prospective student. If you don't know, you don't know. If you don't agree with an assessment of a person, policy, or requirement you don't have to fall on your sword, but do not go along with the consensus view. You can just say "this topic is a matter of some controversy" and move on. After each event Write down quick notes on answers you owe and/or need to double check. After each day/or the weekend Document to the best of your recollection what you were asked and what you answered. (Who asked the questions would be great to add to your notes, but the names may be a blur by then.) My recommendations are centered around risk management because you are being instructed to function as a representative of your school and your program but you are not being provided training on how to fulfill the required tasks. (And this isn't good.) My recommendations are aimed to position you both to succeed at providing a potential student reliable information and to avoid being in a situation where anything you say gives that student a reason not to attend. ("I'm picking another school because @Balleu told me I had to buy an Arcteryx jacket and I cannot afford one...") [Can you tell that I work at a consultancy on projects with varying amounts of risk?]
  13. The obstacles you faced included: Graduate degrees in education are not highly regarded outside of schools of education (and even in some departments in schools of education) Your field (as described) may still be too "traditional" for the current gate keepers of the profession. You have what can be called a check list approach to graduate admissions. A challenge of such approach is that, with few exceptions, most applicants are competing against others who have check lists that are just as good. A second challenge is that the check list approach puts one in a competitive disadvantage against applicants who approach graduate school admissions as part of professional training. Going forward, I recommend that you do more to comport yourself as what you are: a historian. Put more effort into reading, thinking, studying, speaking, thinking (again), and writing as a historian. From this perspective, your grades matter less, who edited what matters less, who wrote your LoRs matters less.** What matters more and more, what other historians notice and remember, is how you contribute to conversations about the past and will make increasingly refined contributions with training, experience, and support. ________________________________________ ** It doesn't matter who writes your LoR if the letter doesn't speak candidly about your potential as a historian. Knowing what's being said about you in a LoR is a potential warning flag that it isn't written with as much candor as one needs.
  14. Sigaba


    When asking these kinds of questions, please keep in mind that being told that you may do something differently may be unattached from guidance about the challenges that may follow. Too few historians are going to sit you down, walk you through the options, and make sure you understand the potential long term consequences for picking the wrong door. Fewer still are going to keep you from getting in your own way. Instead, most professors will listen with mirth shining in their eyes as you fox yourself into this hole or that one. Later, you'll have a good laugh when you say "Oh, so THAT'S what you meant...!"
  15. Sigaba


    IME, ABDs who have had some time to recover from qualifying exams offer better / more balanced guidance than first and second year students who have not been asked to bury any skeletons (to say nothing of sodden burlap sacks that may or may not have something moving inside). Of course, I'm kidding. The sodden burlap sack will definitely have something still living inside. Because why else would you be asked to bury something other than so it could become a skeleton. Duh.
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