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Sigaba

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Sigaba last won the day on September 20

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About Sigaba

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    Cup o' Joe

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    Southern California
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  • Program
    History, ABD. Working in private sector.

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  1. I had in mind the above more than the below. An additional benefit can be that a reader may trace development of a historian's views on a topic can be traced through her reviews. FWIW, in my areas of specialization, reviewers get to address works in their wheelhouse. At times, it seems that reviewers are picked for this very reason.
  2. ^A point that is made season after season on this BB. While there are exceptions to the rule, applicants are generally better served by LoRs by professional academics who can write authoritatively to your performance and your potential than big names/"rock stars" who could not pick you out from a lecture hall. Also, for the sake of one's own peace of mind, applicants need to understand that some professors are going to produce LoRs at their convenience. In (far too many) cases, this will mean professors will wait until after the eleventh hour to write a word. And until then, many of you will hear nothing but silence. In these situations, do what you can to not freak out. Yes, pay attention to how you feel, and don't let those feelings get the better of you. The unfortunate fact of the matter is that professional academics have priorities that often don't center around students.
  3. Do what you can to find points of connectivity among your interests. Consider the value of using 3" by 5" index cards. Use different colors for different themes. Write on the card one or two topic words. Try sorting the cards geographically and temporally. (Rows for geography, columns for time.) At first glance, the arranged cards may look like a smile with missing teeth. As you think of ways to bridge the teeth, you may spot unifying patterns and themes. If you use a journal to record your steps, attempt not to lose sight of the task at hand -- defining the part of the forest that is at the periphery of your historian's vision and imagination. Getting too wrapped up on the writing may slow down the process by which things come into focus. (If things do come into focus, then you may profit from jotting down everything in that "aha!" moment.) What ever you do, avoid the eighth dimension...
  4. You don't need to make a decision now. Continue to give yourself opportunities to develop both of your interests with the understanding that you may well find a "sweet spot" that enables you to pursue both interests. For example, you may encounter a geneticist or a topic in genetics that has not received adequate coverage from historians. Or, you could come across an enduring historical concept/school of thought that is based upon an anachronistic understanding of the underlying science. Or you could encounter a historical figure who was inspired by an understanding of genetics and a better/fuller understanding of that figure and her contributions require a deep dive into the field. (FWIW, one of the most capable historians I've known dual majored in math and history as an undergraduate. After graduating, he decided to get a doctorate in history. He secured a TT job even though he competed for that position against historians who had made a choice much sooner than he had. Is he an exception that proves the rule? A statistical outlier? Or is he an example of what one might achieve if one navigates by one's own ambitions?
  5. I think that it is important to give aspiring historians materials that will enable them to make informed decisions to reach the goals they define. While our individual experiences (both the ups and the downs) absolutely should inform the guidance we provide, I don't know if it is particularly helpful to privilege our own experiences. No one reading any thing ever posted in this forum will face a tougher job market than the women and men who redefined professional academic history in the previous century. The ongoing crises of the profession will remain unresolved if we actively seek to discourage/dissuade/divert others. The $0.02 of a member who was told over a coffee You might have gotten [an academic] job if you were born in the 1950s...Maybe. YMMV.
  6. I missed this thread the first time around. Questions for the OP @AP what did you learn about yourself (that you're comfortable sharing)? Did the significance of the lesson shift as you prepared and defended your dissertation and got on the job market? Were you given a free hand to redesign comps/quals what would you change, if anything?
  7. Try expanding your search to include "humanities." https://www.pacificu.edu/academics/research/undergraduate-research/get-involved-students/campus-summer-research-experiences/arts-humanities https://humsci.stanford.edu/prospective-students/preparing-graduate-school/conducting-research-graduate-school/hs-summer https://ugradresearch.uconn.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/323/2013/11/External-Research-Opportunities-Arts-Humanities-SS-Updated-11_2015.pdf As soon as possible, define your areas/regions/time periods of interest. When you apply for graduate school, you'll be competing against students who have had an idea of what they wanted to pursue since they were freshmen and sophomores. Identifying your areas of interest will allow you to search for internship opportunities that may kill two birds with one stone. As you work with this professor, do what you can to understand how the research you do helps to answer historiographical questions in at least three contexts; to read between the lines of what he says to you; to work your tail off; and to spend as much time as you can in the stacks.
  8. How much storage space does this BB's server have? I will limit the list to a top (bottom) five. While applying to graduate school, I sat down with my transcript and identified the choices I made in every class I took that lowered opportunities to get a better mark in the course overall. These choices included going to see a ball game the night before a midterm, not attending lectures in a class that would have been an "easy A" had I got to the lectures because the exams were 100% lecture based. I didn't lean in while preparing my honor's thesis. The thesis itself earned a very good mark but I didn't maximize the opportunity to develop my skills or my relationships with the supervising graduate assistant and professor. I failed to grasp and to embrace the importance of debates within my discipline. My approach to course selection prioritized short term advantages over long term needs. I don't like taking timed exams (especially finals) so I consistently picked courses that didn't have any. While preparing for quals as a graduate student, I had many opportunities to gain an increased understanding of how badly I'd screwed up developing the skill of writing to beat the clock. The application for Happyland University's graduate history program requires a book review. My dismissive approach to the debates in my discipline helped contribute to my picking arguably the worst possible book to review. When I didn't get in, a mentor, who'd gone there and had contacts in the department, asked around and charitably told me that it was "politics." But the bottom line was and is, I neither worked smart enough nor hard enough to deserve serious consideration for admission. @desertwoman this is at least the third thread you've started in which you share this unfortunate experience. This is an issue that you're going to be struggling with for years to come. I recommend that you focus on the feedback you've received, especially from @lkaitlyn here. https://forum.thegradcafe.com/topic/120033-has-this-happened-to-anyone-before-lor-problemrelationship-with-professor-damaged/?do=findComment&comment=1058706873 I also recommend that you figure out a way to understand that in addition to factors beyond your control, your choices played a role in the undesired outcome. The better you understand those choices, the sooner you'll be able to accept responsibility for those choices. Then, you'll be in a better position to make different choices down the line. My $0.02.
  9. This question may gain better traction in the history forum. Also, there are multiple threads over the years in that forum dealing with similar questions. IMO, your thesis advisor is positioning you to achieve three objectives: increase your writing skills, produce a more attractive writing sample for graduate admissions committees, and to produce an article that you might publish sooner rather than later. By contrast, the POI is suggesting that you select the lower hanging fruit that will (in her view) require less work. What is not being said is that not every member of an admissions committee is going to read every word of every applicants' writing sample.
  10. It is never too early... ...to start managing one's expectations. Academic departments generally and (maybe) history departments in particular are black boxes inside of black boxes inside of boxes. The great fit/perfect match on paper can end up being a soul crushing career killing pairing that one does not see clearly until one is preparing for qualifying exams. Please keep in mind that Southern Cal is sorting out a number of scandals in addition to "varsity blues." IMO it is incumbent upon applicants to do a thorough due diligence. This process should include asking persons of interest and points of contact tough questions that are diplomatically phrased. What steps are the department, college, and university taking to assess the impact of these scandals on the reputation of the USC "brand" in the academic job market?
  11. Well done. Try to ask for guidance on how your writing can be improved. Professors telling students that their work is "excellent" can be a tactic for educators to not teach their students the methods that will take them to the next level.
  12. I strongly and respectfully recommend that you step away from the frame of mind in which you're comparing yourself to either your former self or to other applicants. Instead, I urge you to focus on [1] who you are now, and [2] the journey you've taken to get to your here and now. How can you tell a story about [1] and [2] that will convince readers that their department, the graduate program, the profession, and you will all benefit from your participation? Also, please purge from your mind any comparison between "the real world" and anywhere else. The Ivory Tower frequently grapples with social and cultural and economic issues years, if not decades, before they are experienced on Main Street. This isn't to say that there aren't significant differences, experiences, risks, and outcomes. This is simply to say that a "real world" vs not "real world" mindset will not help you too much as an applicant. A big piece of everyday life is about jumping through others' hoops gracefully, even when the hoops are moving, in flames, and contrived.
  13. Similarly, I would perform research on potential advisors and decision makers in doctoral programs of interest. Did they write master's theses? (Because professional academic historians are often drawn to the familiar -- academic pedigree, fields of interest, paths traveled.)
  14. I think that in the specific case of the OP, a thesis could send a signal of intentions and capabilities as the other option centers around teaching -- an activity that many (arguably too many) established academics consider inferior to researching and writing.
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