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About timetobegin

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  1. timetobegin

    Question about statement of purpose to letter writers

    Choose the school you want the most, and send your LoR that statement. They don't need to tailor their letters as specifically as you - they just need to know, in general, what you're interested in and where you plan to go. If your statements WIDELY vary (like you're applying to study faunal archaeology at one school, but human variation at another), then you might want to actually talk to your LoR about that.
  2. timetobegin

    2018 Interviews and Results Thread

    I've joked with friends that applying to PhD programs has been the weirdest dating game of my life. I thought interviews with POIs would feel like job interviews, but instead they felt more like "Do we have compatibility?" first dates. Meeting my POIs lab members felt like meeting the family-in-law, to see if they like me. Leaving my current supervisor and school for another program felt like breaking up with them (and I felt weirdly guilty applying to other programs and having the interviews in the first place). ...and then you go from a "first date" to a 5-year commitment. It's just all around weird.
  3. timetobegin

    So... what now?

    Since I accepted my offer in February, I've pushed aside any 'PhD thoughts' and am focusing solely on completing my Master's thesis. I'm still in email contact with my PhD supervisor, but just some light emails about interesting articles being published, stuff in the news, etc. It does feel a bit like limbo, especially after working so hard on applications AND Master's work, but I don't want to shift focus until I've finished this last step. As soon as I defend (in 12 days - ahhh!), I'll start selling my things in preparation for the move. Selling/donating everything seems like such a daunting task, so I've also made tentative plans to go camping/hiking with friends and let off some steam during those few weeks. I'm planning to move at the end of May. Then I'm mostly going to take the summer off, for the first time since... high school, I guess. Over the summer I'll probably start reading some theory/background to my PhD work, have some meetings with my supervisor about the project/grant applications, meet the lab, etc, but I plan to keep it light. I want to take the time to get settled and get to know my new city, and just ease into the PhD world.
  4. It sounds like the new professor is already working on how to incorporate you into their research and their work life -- that's fantastic. Just because they're young and new does not make them incapable. It just means you're both navigating new waters, and you'll have to create your own path for how your Supervisor-Student dynamic is going to work. You'll need to be able to speak up for what you want and remind them of things you need from them, since there's no prior knowledge, and mistakes will probably be made by both of you along the way. The good news, however, is that a young supervisor likely knows how to navigate the Modern PhD World better than any established supervisor, because they just (successfully) graduated and veered into an academic career. It also gives you a chance to explore new research with them and start brand new projects, which can be exciting. And, since you'll be their first PhD student, they'll probably spend more time with you, because... well, that's exciting for them, to have students! I could be wrong, but I feel with a young/new supervisor, you're going into your PhD as more of an (unbalanced) team, rather than a defined "My supervisor is just my supervisor" kind of dynamic. You'll be relying on each other more, as the stakes are on: first time supervising, and first student that sets the stage for others. You don't know that your supervisor is going to leave the university, and therefore there's no reason to bring it up in any conversation with them. If it happens, it happens. If your dynamic is established by that point, you may pack up and leave with them. It's a non-issue, in my mind. On the other hand, an older supervisor brings to the table all of the experience. They know the academic world better than anyone else (but they won't know your academic-job market situation nearly as well). They'll have network connections and clout that could help you in the long run. Just because they're busy and in great demand doesn't mean they're a lackluster supervisor - you would have to speak to their current students and see how much emphasis s/he puts on supervising. However, it does mean that because they're established, you'll probably be entering their already very established research - this could make the learning curve smoother, but it could also put you as just a PhD student on their research, and not on your own path. You would need to speak to them and see what they have in mind for you. I would just go with the research that most interests you, and the advisor you most get along with. If you end up with the new supervisor, you might want to put an older faculty member on your committee, or befriend them as a mentor to you as you navigate academia. If you choose the more established supervisor, you might want to get to know the older PhD students, or befriend a younger faculty member who can mentor you on the job market. Find your balance.
  5. Eh. Before GradCafe there were other forums, and before that, there was Word of Mouth - like asking people already in the program (including professors you may know) to help you with your application. People have been trying to game the system for years, and I don't think sites like GradCafe will give them any advantage. All they really do is tell you what the average person is writing in their application - not the ones who were accepted, mind you, but just those applying. And while some of the advice here can be useful, I personally feel like a lot of application advice on this site isn't helpful, so it's definitely a 'grab-bag, buyer beware' situation. I like this site better for the ranting and emotional support. > Do you think this has affected where prospective grad students apply, and what information they consider most valuable on their applications? Maybe. I was actually speaking to an Admin from my university a week ago, who told me that he's seeing less and less diversity in both SoPs and backgrounds for our Master's program. Our admissions requirements for the SoP are purposely vague to invoke creativity, and yet most of the applications apparently sounded very similar. That could easily be a result of GradCafe or similar sites, since the program I'm in has a thriving community on this forum. But at the same time, social trends happen all the time, and it could be a result of word-of-mouth, or the direction this Program is moving in. Who knows. (I also have a feeling a lot of it has to do with blitzing Master's programs and sending out 10+ applications, which I think is a more recent trend). Side note, but: Sites like this are interesting as a Canadian, because our graduate school is different than the US despite following the same 'educational systems'. We go through the same Bachelor - Master - PhD system... but our applications to graduate school are different. Generalizing within the program I applied to, but: a Canadian SoP for a PhD has a much different style than the US - you need to secure a supervisor who agrees to work with you before you even apply, and have an interview with them long before writing an application. Then you write a quite-detailed SoP based on your supervisor's research; it's very objective and says little about you as a person, beyond short opening and ending paragraphs. You basically rely on your LoRs and your POI to speak to your character and personality. However, the SoPs I read here from Americans are almost like stories, starting off with their interest in the subject as a young child, and weaving their way into what they want to study now, and why they love that research interest. They're less 'research proposal' and more conversational, and you hope for an interview to come out of that SoP (if I'm correct in this; I've never applied to a US school). That type of writing would not fly in Canada (at least for the area of study I'm in), yet I see Canadians writing with that style for Canadian programs all the time. It has to be learned from sites like this, because you wouldn't hear of that within Canadian circles. So the American influence on GradeCafe on international communities is an interesting thing to consider. People assume applications between the US and Canada are the same, but a lot of the advice here doesn't translate well to Canadian programs. Yet it affects Canadian programs nonetheless.
  6. timetobegin

    So . . . what are you wearing (to recruitment weekends)?

    Anthropology is a super casual field; almost everyone wore dark jeans and a sweater or button down at my recruitment day (at a top school). A few people wore casual dresses/skirts with booties, like you'd wear if you were going out for a weekend meal. Casual, but still put together.
  7. I don't believe in safety schools, so going under the assumption that all schools you applied to have value to you and are good schools (in areas you wouldn't mind living in), my decision would go by: 1. Fit with a supervisor ALONGSIDE a base funding offer. If I'm going to spend 5 years working towards a PhD, I want some level of comfort that I get along with the prof, and that I won't have to leave a program halfway through due to lack of financial support. 2. But, if you reasonably get along with all your POIs, and you at least have a base funding offer... I'd mostly consider fit with the rest of the faculty and the students. Community is important to me, and I feel that networking during your PhD is as important as the research you conduct. If I only get along with my supervisor and don't feel a connection to the people in the program, I might reconsider. If the program is really small, or stagnant, or in an area that doesn't have lucrative networking connections, or a current student tells me to run...I might not go there. I would absolutely choose a lesser ranked school if it gave me a stronger sense of community and I saw more opportunity there.
  8. timetobegin

    What are your 4 dream jobs? Are you qualified for any of them?

    1. Some kind of journalist/writer/blogger within my field. Journalling, interviewing, writing about whatever topic tickles my fancy that month. Knowledge translation of my field to the general public has always been a goal of mine. A TEDtalks would be the ultimate dream. I just want everyone to love my field as much as I do! 2. A professor - fieldwork-related research, but a strong emphasis on teaching. 3. Museum curator. Or teaching at museums. Or anything to do with museums. Museums are great. 4. Professional coffee taster.
  9. timetobegin

    How much "hand-holding" for 100-level class?

    You'll come across students all the time who don't care about your class. They don't show up, only hand in half the assignments, and are fine with their D-grade, as long as they pass. They're adults, and it's their choice. I only e-mail them if they've missed a major assignment or test (~20% of the overall grade). I focus my time on the students who DO show up and put in the effort, but aren't receiving good grades.
  10. I just had a ~feeling~ that I would hear something that Friday. I have no idea why, but I was so nervous that I was up until 4am before finally passing out. I woke up at 9:30am, having slept in, and started a mad scramble to get ready for work because I needed to be on campus at noon. I was about halfway through my routine when I remembered to check my email... and there was a letter from my POI, asking me to give her a call. I panicked hard, because I figured she would have said something over email if I was accepted. So I phoned her, assuming me the worst...and she told me I was admitted! I was so excited that I just kept saying "Thank you so much!" in various tones, haha. Hopefully they're used to that. And then I TA'd for four hours with a giant smile on my face. My students probably thought I was nuts (especially since they were writing a midterm...), but it was a great day.
  11. timetobegin

    The Positivity Thread

    Applied to only one PhD program, and was accepted into that program! Woooo! (although omg, the stress was unreal. Applying to at least one other school would have made it more manageable...)
  12. I've always reached out to students in the program during the application process, both when applying for my Masters and my PhD (two separate schools/fields of study). I'd usually email 2-3 students with a few questions about the program, keeping it short and sweet. The reply really depends on the person: some students never responded to me. One wrote me a vague one-line reply of 'good luck', but didn't answer any of my questions. But there was always at least one that wrote me back, and they were pivotal in helping me better understand how the program works and the environment. One even talked to me about my research interests and what I want to do with the degree, and gave great feedback on how to better frame my research question for the SoP. My main advice would be not to e-mail them because you think it'll give you an In (ie, they'll tell your POI how involved and active you are in applying, and advocate for you). They won't. But if you choose to e-mail them, limit your questions, and make sure you're asking them something that you can't necessarily find on Google or on the website. Ask them how the interview process went for them, if they're willing to share. Ask about the lab environment, the community, the type of work or worth ethic - maybe this will help you phrase your questions and responses for the interview.
  13. timetobegin

    Why shouldn't I get a PhD?

    A PhD is a decision you need to make because you're genuinely driven by the topic and the research. It isn't a 'I'm doing this to upgrade my life' degree - you can manage that with a master's program, here. And there isn't some big 'moneymaker' job at the end of it, like going to medical school (so it's not a 'if I tough this out, I'll be making 400k a year' career path). It's a long 3-7 years of your life; you do it because you want to, and come to terms with the fact there's no guaranteed high-paying job at the end of it. So IMO, you shouldn't do a PhD if you: Are only doing it in some bid to upgrade your life (unless you've always worked in academia/research and the PhD is actually a way for you to 'level up' into a job you want). But in terms of just wanting it for the prestige, maybe think it over. Aren't into research, or writing long, often tedious proposal applications. Aren't interested in dealing with a highly competitive job market, or a not-steady career into your 30s. You'll probably move more than the average person, and change jobs. Most of your non-PhD friends will be getting raises, buying houses, etc, while you're still a student. Your income won't be a steady salary year-to-year, if you stay in academia - and the pressure to publish is ridiculously high. I don't think PhD-jobs are your 'typical' 9-5 job (again, YMMV), so it's something to think about before heading down that path. If you don't need one. If the jobs you enjoy don't require a PhD, then don't waste your time or money. There can be social pressure to get a PhD in research-based careers, but if you're happy where you are, then ignore what others are saying.
  14. timetobegin

    Let’s just TALK about it...

    Same. I had to take two days off from school in order to drive across the border for an interview; I had to tell my supervisor, my boss, and a few coworkers (who are part of my Master's program) since I was going to be missing a day of class and work. I thought they would keep it on the down-low, but when I got back... everyone in the program was asking me how my interview went. It's nice to feel their support, but it causes a whole new type of pressure if I have to tell my entire cohort and professors that I was rejected. I also made the mistake of telling my mother about my applications. Within a few weeks, everyone knew -- all my relatives, everyone at home, etc. I know she's excited, but she doesn't seem to understand that I'm not a shoe-in for anything. I asked her to stop telling people, and she agreed... and then over a Christmas dinner, a family friend asked how my program was going, and my mother jumped in with "Oh, Time is applying for PhD programs now!". ...Thanks, mom. It's tough, because you want the support of friends and family when you're writing these applications. And, as you basically disappear from your social scene when trying to write multiple SoPs while juggling school and work, people end up finding out about your applications. But it's a double-edged sword, because TOO many people knowing causes all kinds of added stress.
  15. A CV is as long as you need it to be. I don't think there's a limit. Mine was 3 pages. You don't want to pack your CV with explanations of jobs/skills/tasks like you would a resume, but you should be explaining just enough so they understand the scope of your work. This holds especially true if you're leaving one faculty/domain and looking to enter another. Font size 11 or 12; I used Times New Roman for my content and a different font for my header/subheadings. As long as your font is consistent and looks clean, then any will do (Calibri, Times New, Arial, etc). I would find a template! Make your CV look nice, and don't just write something into a Doc, bold some words, and call it a day. You can search for templates online; just make sure you're looking for clean, traditional templates (meaning no colours, not busy, no pictures, no 'marketing' or 'media' job-seeking CVs). You're really just looking for the slightest embellishments and alignments that make your CV easy to read. If 'academic CV template' doesn't work on Google, maybe try searching for 'minimalist CV' or something to that effect. I wouldn't include references; they know your references already. My CV subheadings were: Academic, Awards, Research & Presentations, Experience, Volunteer, Other (which included journal clubs, affiliations, etc).

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