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SmugSnugInARug

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  1. Upvote
    SmugSnugInARug reacted to UndergradDad in Philosophy Graduate Entrants 2020   
    Well FearNTrembling, you are not too far off from hearing from Baylor- they usually send out their interview invites in the first week of February.
    Good Luck!
  2. Upvote
    SmugSnugInARug reacted to FearNTrembling in Philosophy Graduate Entrants 2020   
    First time PhD applicant.
    Applied to: Boston College, University of Memphis, University of Kentucky, Baylor University, Michigan State University, Marquette University, Saint Louis University, Purdue University. 
    Good luck to all
  3. Upvote
    SmugSnugInARug reacted to MtnDuck in 2020 Interview Thread   
    One school has released interview invitations today and several schools have switched to using interviews in recent years (Baylor, Boston, DePaul, Penn State, Chicago, Iowa, UC Irvine, Villanova).  

    Since last year folks wanted to talk with one another about what questions to ask and get advice, here is a thread for that! See also this post from @directingdirections(who in turn was sharing information from a previous year) with potential questions to ask.
  4. Like
    SmugSnugInARug reacted to maxhgns in Got a B+ during the first semester of my MA program, freaking out   
    My experience has been that B-level grades in graduate school are warning signs. They're not catastrophic, and unless your transcript is full of them, they won't scupper your chances at a PhD. Nor are they, as has been suggested, grossly unfair. They're just an indication that you need to step up your game in some way.
    (For my part, I'm a firm believer that it's fair game for instructors to use the full range of grades at any level. That said, I would expect graduate students to do better in general, because they've made it through a pretty selective process which is supposed to snap up the strongest students. But that doesn't mean that the students in question don't still have a lot to learn. You don't come to graduate school ready-made into a philosopher.)
  5. Upvote
    SmugSnugInARug reacted to maxhgns in Pivoting from Philosophy of Religion MA into general Philosophy PhD?   
    Unless you're black, in which case one of these schools (hint: the name contains two letters it doesn't share with either of the other two) is a bad idea for a PhD. Your welcome will not be very welcoming, once the PR efforts slow down.
  6. Upvote
    SmugSnugInARug got a reaction from historygeek in Pivoting from Philosophy of Religion MA into general Philosophy PhD?   
    Schools like Villanova, Boston College and Fordham would certainly be welcoming to this kind of background. Most of the Catholic Continental schools usually have space for students with your background and professors who would definitely be interested in math + religion (especially if your okay with it being stuff in the history of mathematics).
  7. Upvote
    SmugSnugInARug reacted to maxhgns in Learning a new language for grad school   
    Just make a note of the auditing in your letter of interest, and plug Greekinto your CV. That'll count, and should suffice. You could have a reference mention it, too.
  8. Like
    SmugSnugInARug got a reaction from Julian0813 in Can I get a second MA in philosophy?   
    So, one of the big issues with the GRE is that the analytic writing section is notoriously unreliable. This may (or may not) be true, but that is a commonly held perception. At best, higher writing scores usually correlate to higher verbal scores. As a result, the actual treatment of the AW is sidelined in favor of the more 'reliable' (at least apparently) verbal score. On average, graduate applicants to any program try to score a 4 or higher on the AW. A high verbal plus a 3 wouldn't necessarily hurt you, except in the more competitive programs.

    With respect to the verbal score, I will repeat advice I gave elsewhere in the forum: I have been explicitly told by members of committees that verbal scores are used in the sorting process and prospective students with particularly high scores have an advantage. Often applicants in the 98th percentile (varies by year, usually 167+) and above are given preferential treatment in the process (this varies from department to department, but is far more prevalent than reading this forum might suggest). This doesn't guarantee acceptance, but is quite helpful.

    While the writing sample is the most important, if you can afford it, a higher GRE score is a good thing and really does help. And, fortunately, repeated attempts at the GRE do usually lead to better results (fewer careless errors, a better understanding of the pacing of the test, etc.)
  9. Upvote
    SmugSnugInARug got a reaction from Marcus_Aurelius in Ancient Philosopher VS Modern Philosophy   
    Hi @MarcHarold, what exactly do you mean by specializing in ancient/modern? Is there a particular distinction at your undergrad that you are referring to (like, are they two different majors?) or are you thinking more generally about the kinds of classes you want to take? Fortunately, if you are thinking generally, in most philosophy undergrads you don’t really ‘specialize,’ you just take classes your interested in (and in some cases, take a language that will help you read those particular texts you are interested enough in that you want to read them in the original language).
    I tend to recommend to my students who want to go to grad school in philosophy think of it like this: 
    1. Get a good, well rounded education in philosophy. Take courses from every topic plus the ones that interest you the most. ‘Specializing’ in a field in undergrad doesn’t really exist except if the school has distinct majors, but I suspect even then they wouldn’t look too different to grad committees. And realistically your interests are going to change. I started off in undergrad doing analytic philosophies of language and now my focus is largely on continental readings of Plato.
    2. Learn a language you want to read that is related to philosophy you actually want to read (Ancient Greek, Latin, French, German being the big four). If you fall in love with Greek/Latin, consider double majoring in classics.
    3. Take at least two or three classes in a particular topic you are really interested in, to give you a few chances to produce a solid writing sample on a subject you’ve looked at repeatedly.
     
  10. Upvote
    SmugSnugInARug got a reaction from hector549 in Ancient Philosopher VS Modern Philosophy   
    Hi @MarcHarold, what exactly do you mean by specializing in ancient/modern? Is there a particular distinction at your undergrad that you are referring to (like, are they two different majors?) or are you thinking more generally about the kinds of classes you want to take? Fortunately, if you are thinking generally, in most philosophy undergrads you don’t really ‘specialize,’ you just take classes your interested in (and in some cases, take a language that will help you read those particular texts you are interested enough in that you want to read them in the original language).
    I tend to recommend to my students who want to go to grad school in philosophy think of it like this: 
    1. Get a good, well rounded education in philosophy. Take courses from every topic plus the ones that interest you the most. ‘Specializing’ in a field in undergrad doesn’t really exist except if the school has distinct majors, but I suspect even then they wouldn’t look too different to grad committees. And realistically your interests are going to change. I started off in undergrad doing analytic philosophies of language and now my focus is largely on continental readings of Plato.
    2. Learn a language you want to read that is related to philosophy you actually want to read (Ancient Greek, Latin, French, German being the big four). If you fall in love with Greek/Latin, consider double majoring in classics.
    3. Take at least two or three classes in a particular topic you are really interested in, to give you a few chances to produce a solid writing sample on a subject you’ve looked at repeatedly.
     
  11. Upvote
    SmugSnugInARug got a reaction from maxhgns in Ancient Philosopher VS Modern Philosophy   
    Hi @MarcHarold, what exactly do you mean by specializing in ancient/modern? Is there a particular distinction at your undergrad that you are referring to (like, are they two different majors?) or are you thinking more generally about the kinds of classes you want to take? Fortunately, if you are thinking generally, in most philosophy undergrads you don’t really ‘specialize,’ you just take classes your interested in (and in some cases, take a language that will help you read those particular texts you are interested enough in that you want to read them in the original language).
    I tend to recommend to my students who want to go to grad school in philosophy think of it like this: 
    1. Get a good, well rounded education in philosophy. Take courses from every topic plus the ones that interest you the most. ‘Specializing’ in a field in undergrad doesn’t really exist except if the school has distinct majors, but I suspect even then they wouldn’t look too different to grad committees. And realistically your interests are going to change. I started off in undergrad doing analytic philosophies of language and now my focus is largely on continental readings of Plato.
    2. Learn a language you want to read that is related to philosophy you actually want to read (Ancient Greek, Latin, French, German being the big four). If you fall in love with Greek/Latin, consider double majoring in classics.
    3. Take at least two or three classes in a particular topic you are really interested in, to give you a few chances to produce a solid writing sample on a subject you’ve looked at repeatedly.
     
  12. Upvote
    SmugSnugInARug reacted to maxhgns in Ancient Philosopher VS Modern Philosophy   
    One doesn't really specialize as an undergrad, at least not at the schools with which I'm familiar. One can write an honours thesis, of course, which would then take you to the entry-point for an area of specialization. If that's what you're talking about, though, then unless you're entering your last year, there's plenty of time for a path to suggest itself to you, and I wouldn't rush it. When the time comes, you'll need an area that you find interesting, and a problem you can sink your teeth into. You'll have to ask some kind of open question, and research your answer thoroughly. Doing this work at the undergraduate level does not require special skills, beyond the ones you pick up as a major in the subject. Knowing the relevant language could help, since it would open up more research outlets to you, and allow you to read the original, but it's not required by any means. At least, not usually; it would be very silly indeed to require it for unpublished undergrad research.
    For readers who might be thinking of ancient vs. modern as a PhD topic, I suppose I should point out that the ancient market is small, but steady, and that the modern market is sort of booming at the moment (but unlikely to maintain that momentum for more than a few years, at best, at which point it'll revert to quite small and more-or-less-steady). At that point, you'll need to learn the relevant language(s). Modern scholars often have a harder time, though, since it's not uncommon for supervisors to demand proficiency in Greek, Latin, and French, and often German, too. 
     
     
  13. Upvote
    SmugSnugInARug got a reaction from Marcus_Aurelius in Statement of Purpose Question   
    Sure.
    By sense of cohesion, I mean something like this: Does your AOI relate to courses you took in undergrad or an MA program? Can you give examples of this area consistently across two programs, or even from several years within undergrad? @Glasperlenspieler definitely put it in the right tone: show that your interests are stable, but without being too hyper-specific. (A balance you won’t strike on your first draft, it requires getting someone else to review your draft to tell you where you are in that balance.)
    You are not building a grand narrative that connects everything together, just a sense of definition or cohesion. Thing of it more like smoothing our rough edges than giving fine details. For example, if you have an MA is psychology, but are now trying to do a PhD in philosophy, you need to be able to explain why this MA would be an asset and you understand how they relate, and not that you are just jumping from one field to another. An area of interest at the intersection of the two fields would help immensely in a case like that.
    Mentioning specific courses you took that give a sense that you are prepared for your areas of interest is a great tactic. If you wrote papers on that topic specifically, great, mention it once or twice. Interested in Nietzsche and Kierkegaard? It would be good for them to know: you took a course on Nietzsche, and a course on German Idealism, you wrote a phil. of religion paper on Kierkegaard, and that you’ve taken German for two years (or whatever! Fill in your background). Don’t tell them that you started reading Nietzsche when you were 16. Don’t give reasons why one class led you to the next, the listing of them will suffice. This isn’t about how you ‘think deep’ or some story about how nietzsche moved you, its about making clear that you have real, material proof that you have done work that would prepare you for the next degree.
     
     
     
  14. Upvote
    SmugSnugInARug got a reaction from Glasperlenspieler in Statement of Purpose Question   
    Sure.
    By sense of cohesion, I mean something like this: Does your AOI relate to courses you took in undergrad or an MA program? Can you give examples of this area consistently across two programs, or even from several years within undergrad? @Glasperlenspieler definitely put it in the right tone: show that your interests are stable, but without being too hyper-specific. (A balance you won’t strike on your first draft, it requires getting someone else to review your draft to tell you where you are in that balance.)
    You are not building a grand narrative that connects everything together, just a sense of definition or cohesion. Thing of it more like smoothing our rough edges than giving fine details. For example, if you have an MA is psychology, but are now trying to do a PhD in philosophy, you need to be able to explain why this MA would be an asset and you understand how they relate, and not that you are just jumping from one field to another. An area of interest at the intersection of the two fields would help immensely in a case like that.
    Mentioning specific courses you took that give a sense that you are prepared for your areas of interest is a great tactic. If you wrote papers on that topic specifically, great, mention it once or twice. Interested in Nietzsche and Kierkegaard? It would be good for them to know: you took a course on Nietzsche, and a course on German Idealism, you wrote a phil. of religion paper on Kierkegaard, and that you’ve taken German for two years (or whatever! Fill in your background). Don’t tell them that you started reading Nietzsche when you were 16. Don’t give reasons why one class led you to the next, the listing of them will suffice. This isn’t about how you ‘think deep’ or some story about how nietzsche moved you, its about making clear that you have real, material proof that you have done work that would prepare you for the next degree.
     
     
     
  15. Upvote
    SmugSnugInARug got a reaction from hector549 in Statement of Purpose Question   
    Sure.
    By sense of cohesion, I mean something like this: Does your AOI relate to courses you took in undergrad or an MA program? Can you give examples of this area consistently across two programs, or even from several years within undergrad? @Glasperlenspieler definitely put it in the right tone: show that your interests are stable, but without being too hyper-specific. (A balance you won’t strike on your first draft, it requires getting someone else to review your draft to tell you where you are in that balance.)
    You are not building a grand narrative that connects everything together, just a sense of definition or cohesion. Thing of it more like smoothing our rough edges than giving fine details. For example, if you have an MA is psychology, but are now trying to do a PhD in philosophy, you need to be able to explain why this MA would be an asset and you understand how they relate, and not that you are just jumping from one field to another. An area of interest at the intersection of the two fields would help immensely in a case like that.
    Mentioning specific courses you took that give a sense that you are prepared for your areas of interest is a great tactic. If you wrote papers on that topic specifically, great, mention it once or twice. Interested in Nietzsche and Kierkegaard? It would be good for them to know: you took a course on Nietzsche, and a course on German Idealism, you wrote a phil. of religion paper on Kierkegaard, and that you’ve taken German for two years (or whatever! Fill in your background). Don’t tell them that you started reading Nietzsche when you were 16. Don’t give reasons why one class led you to the next, the listing of them will suffice. This isn’t about how you ‘think deep’ or some story about how nietzsche moved you, its about making clear that you have real, material proof that you have done work that would prepare you for the next degree.
     
     
     
  16. Upvote
    SmugSnugInARug got a reaction from trolleyproblem in Statement of Purpose Question   
    I found that the more important thing is a coherent narrative about yourself, to emphasize @maxhgns its not the number but rather that you convey a sense of cohesion between the AOI you mention and your personal background.
    They aren’t looking for sincerity or authenticity, but rather more that you have a sense of what you are interested in, and that the level of focus you have is appropriate to where you are in the process (if you have a BA going for an MA it should be more open, going for a PhD should be more refined, and with an MA into PhD it should show even more specificity and a clear narrative connecting your BA and MA experience into those exact AOI). 
  17. Upvote
    SmugSnugInARug reacted to juilletmercredi in Advice for a first year PhD student   
    About your dog: I think that depends entirely on you and your program. I am in a social science program where the majority of my analysis and writing can be done from home, and I prefer to work from home or from a library (as opposed to my cube in the windowless cube farm). When I was taking classes I was generally there from 9-6 or so, but now that my coursework is finished I am rarely at the school itself. I go for meetings, seminars, interesting kinds of things and I do most of my work remotely. My time is verrry flexible, and if my building didn't prohibit it I would get a dog in a heartbeat. Another thing to keep in mind: a dog can be a great comfort when you're all stressed out over graduate school.

    Advice?

    Age:
    -Don't feel like you have nothing to offer just because you are younger. I was 22 when I started graduate school. You got accepted to the program for a reason, and chances are you are just as equipped as any older students are to successfully complete the program, just in a different way.

    -Your older classmates may be just as terrified as you. Talk to them. You have a lot in common. You are, after all, in the same place.

    -You will feel like an imposter, like you don't belong, or like you are constantly behind. Or all three. It's normal. It will pass. (Well, sort of.) People of all ages go through this.

    Adviser related:
    -If you are lucky enough to get both research interest fit and personality fit perfect, congratulations! But sometimes, personality fit is more important than research interest fit as long as the research isn't too different. A great adviser is interested in your career development, likes you as a person, advocates for you, and wants to hear your ideas. Even if his or her research is quite different from yours, they may give you the autonomy to work on your own projects and just supervise you. A bad personality fit will drive you nuts, even if you love his or her research. Consider that when evaluating your adviser fit. (This will vary by field: research fit may be less important in the humanities, more important in the natural and physical sciences. Social sciences are somewhere in-between.)

    -Don't be afraid to be straight up blunt with your adviser when it comes to asking about your progress. Ask if you are where you should be both academic program wise and getting-a-job-after-this-mess-wise.

    -Be proactive. Advisers love when you draw up an agenda for your one-on-one meetings, come with talking points and progress to share, have concrete questions to ask, and have overall shown that you have been thoughtful and taken control of your own program. Of course, this won't immediately come easily to you, but in time you will work up to it. Every semester I type up my semester goals, and at the beginning of the year I type up annual goals. I show them to my adviser and we talk about whether they are too ambitious, or whether I need to revise them, and how I can meet them.

    -Don't expect your adviser to actually know what courses you have to take to graduate. They will know about comprehensive exams and the dissertation, but a lot of professors don't really keep up with the course requirements, especially if their program is in flux. Get you a student handbook, and find out what you need to take. Map it out in a grid, and check off things when you finish them. Show this to your adviser every semester. You may have to explain how such and such class fills a requirement.

    -Nobody loves you as much as you, except your mother. Keep this in mind as you take in advice from all sources, including your adviser. Your adviser is there to guide you, but that doesn't mean you have to do everything he says.

    Studying:
    -You will have to read more than you ever did before, in less time than you ever have before, and you will be expected to retain more than you ever have before. The way that you studied in undergrad may need some tweaking. Be prepared for this.

    -Corollary: you may find that your methods change with age or interests or time. I preferred to study alone in college, but in grad school, I prefer to study in groups. It keeps me on task and the socialization keeps me motivated. You may find that you shift from being a more auditory learner to a visual learner or whatever.

    -You will feel behind at first. This is normal.

    -At some point you will realize that your professors don't actually expect you to read everything they assign you. This, of course, will vary by program, but there will be at least one class where the reading is actually impossible to do in one week. The point is to read enough that you know the major themes and can talk intelligently about them, and then pick some of the readings to really dig into and think more deeply about.

    -For most programs, don't worry so much about grades. If you stay on top of your work and do what you're supposed to, you will probably get an A. How much grades matter varies from program to program. In some programs, a B is a signal that you are not up to par, and more than a few Bs will warrant a discussion with your adviser or the DGS. My program isn't like that - A, B, it's all meaningless. My adviser doesn't even know what my grades are. But at almost all programs, a C means you need to retake the course, and two Cs means you have to convince the DGS not to kick you out.

    Extracurricular activity: What's that? No, seriously:
    -A lot of your time will be unstructured. You will have coursework, but most grad classes meet once a week for two hours and you may have three classes. You may have meetings with your adviser every so often and some seminars or things to catch (like we have grand rounds and colloquia that are required), but a lot of time will be unstructured. However, since you have so much more work than you had in undergrad, you actually will have less free time than you had in undergrad. This may initially cause you great anxiety. It did for me. Some people love unstructured time, though. (I don't.)

    -Because of this, you'll have to be planful about your non-grad school related stuff.

    -TAKE TIME OFF. DO it. It's important for your mental health. However you do it doesn't matter. Some people work it like a 9-5 job. Some people take a day off per week (me) and maybe a few hours spread across the week. Some people work half days 7 days a week. However you do it, there needs to be a time when you say "f this, I'm going to the movies."

    -Find your happy place, something that keeps you the you you were when you came in. I love working out. It gives me energy and I feel good. I stay healthy. I also love reading fiction, so sometimes I just curl up with a good book, work be damned. You have to give yourself permission to not think about work, at least for a couple of hours a week. You may also discover new hobbies! (I never worked out before I came to graduate school.)

    -Your work will creep into all aspects of your life, if you let it. This is why I hate unstructured time. You will feel guilty for not doing something, because in graduate school, there is ALWAYS something you can do. ALWAYS. But since there will always be more work, there's no harm in putting it aside for tomorrow, as long as you don't have a deadline.

    -You may need to reach outside of your cohort for a social life. None of my close friends are in my doctoral cohort. I've met master's students in my program, master's students in other programs, and I know a few non-graduate students I hang out with, too. Go to graduate student mixers. (If your university doesn't have any, organize some, if you like planning parties.) Join a student group that doesn't take up too much time. I had a doctoral acquaintance who kinda laughed at me because I joined some student groups other than the doctoral student one, and I was usually the only doctoral student in those groups, but I met some close friends (and future job contacts) and had a good time.

    -DO NOT FEEL GUILTY FOR WANTING A LIFE OUTSIDE OF GRADUATE SCHOOL. This is paramount. This is important. You are a well-rounded, complex, multifaceted human being. NEVER feel bad for this. Everybody wants some kind of life outside of work. Yes, you may loooove your field, but that doesn't mean you want to do it all day long. Some other doctoral students, and perhaps professors, may make you feel bad about this. Don't let them. Just smile and nod. Then disappear when you need to.

    Career:
    -This is job preparation. Remember that from Day One. Always be looking for ways to enhance your skills. Read job ads and find out what's hot in your field, what's necessary, what's in demand. For example, in my field statistics and methods are a hot commodity, and they're not a passing fad. I happen to really like statistics and methods, so I have pursued that as a concentration of mine.

    -Don't be afraid to take on volunteer work and part-time gigs that will give you skills that will be useful both inside academia and out, as long as it's not against your contract. Your adviser may be against it, but he doesn't have to know as long as it doesn't interfere with your work.

    -If you want to work outside of academia - if you are even *considering* the possibility - please please definitely do the above. Even if you aren't considering it, consider the possibility that you won't get a tenure-track job out the box and that you may need to support yourself doing something else for a while. You will have to prove to employers that you have developed usable, useful skills and this is one of the easiest ways to do it. But don't overdo it - get the degree done.

    -For more academic related ones - always look for opportunities to present and publish. Presentations look good on your CV. Publications look better. When you write seminar papers, wonder if you can publish them with some revision. Write your seminar papers on what you maybe think you may want to do your dissertation on. Even if you look at them three years later and think "these suck," you can at least glean some useful references and pieces from them. Discuss publication with your adviser early and often, and if you have the time and desire, seek out publication options with other professors and researchers. But if you commit to a project, COMMIT. You don't want to leave a bad impression.

    -If you can afford it, occasionally go to conferences even if you aren't presenting. You can network, and you can hear some interesting talks, and you may think about new directions for your own research. You can also meet people who may tell you about jobs, money, opportunities, etc.

    -Always try to get someone else to pay for conference travel before you come out of pocket. Including your adviser. Do not be shy about asking if he or she can pay. If he can't, he'll just say no. Usually the department has a travel fund for students, but often it's only if you are presenting.

    -If you are interested in academia, you should get some teaching experience. There are two traditional ways to do this: TAing a course, and teaching as a sole instructor. If you can help it, I wouldn't recommend doing a sole instructor position until you are finished with coursework. Teaching takes a LOT of time to do right. You should definitely TA at least one course, and probably a few different ones. But don't overdo it, if you can help it, because again, it takes a LOT of time. More than you expect at the outset. If you are in the humanities, I think sole instructor positions are very important for nabbing jobs so when you are in the exam/ABD phase, you may want to try at least one. If your own university has none, look at adjuncting for nearby colleges, including community colleges. (I would wager that the majority of natural science/physical science students, and most social science students, have never sole taught a class before they get an assistant professor job. At least, it's not that common n my field, which straddles the social and natural sciences.)

    -Always look for money. Money is awesome. If you can fund yourself you can do what you want, within reason. Your university will be thrilled, your adviser will be happy, and you can put it on your CV. It's win-win-win! Don't put yourself out of the running before anyone else has a chance to. Apply even if you think you won't get it or the odds are against you (they always are), as long as you are eligible. Apply often. Apply even if it's only $500. (That's conference travel!) Money begets money. The more awards you get, the more awards you will get. They will get bigger over time. If you are in the sciences and social sciences, you should get practice writing at least one grant. You don't have to write the whole thing, but at least get in on the process so that you can see how it's done. Grant-writing is very valuable both in and outside of graduate school.

    -Revise your CV every so often. Then look and decide what you want to add to it. Then go get that thing, so you can add it.

    -The career office at big universities is often not just for undergrads. I was surprised to learn that my career center offers help on CV organization and the academic job search, as well as alternative/non-academic career searches for doctoral students. In fact, there are two people whose sole purpose it is to help PhD students find nonacademic careers, and they both have PhDs. This will vary by university - some universities will have very little for grad students. Find out before you write the office off.

    -It's never too early to go to seminars/workshops like "the academic job search inside and out", "creating the perfect CV," "getting the job," etc. NEVER. Often the leader will share tips that are more aimed towards early graduate students, or tidbits that are kind of too late for more advanced students to take care of. This will also help you keep a pulse on what's hot in your field. It'll help you know what lines you need to add to your CV. And they're interesting.

    Other:

    -Decide ahead of time what you are NOT willing to sacrifice on the altar of academia. Then stick to it.
    I'm serious. If you decide that you do NOT want to sacrifice your relationship, don't. If it's your geographical mobility, don't. I mean, be realistic, and realize that there will always be trade-offs. But you have to think about what's important to you for your quality of life, and realize that there is always more to you than graduate school.

    -If you don't want to be a professor, do not feel guilty about this. At all. Zero. However, you will have to do things differently than most doctoral students. Your adviser will probably never have worked outside of the academy (although this may vary depending on the field) so he may or may not be able to help you. But you have a special mission to seek out the kinds of experiences that will help you find a non-academic job. Test the waters with your adviser before you tell him this. My adviser was quite amenable to it, but that's because I told him that my goal was to still do research and policy work in my field just not at a university, AND because it's quite common in my field for doctoral students to do non-academic work. If you're in a field where it's not common (or where your professors refuse to believe it's common, or it's not supposed to be common)…well, you may be a little more on your own.

    -Every so often, you will need to reflect on the reasons you came to graduate school. Sometimes, just sit and think quietly. Why are you doing this to yourself? Do you love your field? Do you need this degree to do what you want to do? Usually the answer is yes and yes, and usually you'll keep on trucking. But sometimes when the chips are down you will need to reevaluate why you put yourself through this in the first place.

    -To my great dismay, depression is quite common in doctoral students. Graduate work can be isolating and stressful. Luckily your health insurance usually includes counseling sessions. TAKE THEM if you need them. Do not be ashamed. You may be surprised with who else is getting them. (I found out that everyone in my cohort, including me, was getting mental health counseling at a certain point.) Exercise can help, as can taking that mental health day once a week and just chilling. Don't be surprised if you get the blues…

    -…but be self-aware and able to recognize when the depression is clouding your ability to function. Doctoral programs have a 50% attrition rate, and this is rarely because that 50% is less intelligent than, less motivated than, less driven than, or less ambitious than the other 50% that stays. Often they realize that they are ridiculously unhappy in the field, or that they don't need the degree anymore, or that they'd rather focus on other things in life, or their interests have changed. All of this is okay!

    -You will, at some point, be like "eff this, I'm leaving." I think almost every doctoral student has thought about dropping out and just kicking this all to the curb. You need to listen to yourself, and find out whether it is idle thought (nothing to worry about, very normal) or whether you are truly unhappy to the point that you need to leave. Counseling can help you figure this out.

    -Don't be afraid to take a semester or a year off if you need to. That's what leaves of absence are for.

    Lastly, and positively…

    …graduate school is great! Seriously, when else will you ever have the time to study what you want for hours on end, talk to just as interested others about it, and live in an intellectual community of scholars and intellectuals? And occasionally wake up at 11 am and go to the bank at 2 pm? Sometimes you will want to pull out all of your hair but most of the time, you will feel fulfilled and wonderfully encouraged and edified. So enjoy this time!
  18. Downvote
    SmugSnugInARug reacted to spectastic in Favorite podcasts ?   
    great thread!
    JRP's probably my favorite. He's a great interviewer. I thought howard stern was able to get people to get people talking, but Rogan is WAY better.
    I'm also subscribed to a few other ones that only really curb to my interests, like star talk, bigger pockets, jocko willink (that dude's intense..) or something like that. 
    friend told me about jordan peterson's podcast. if I ever listen to him, I'd have to not be doing something else, because it takes me some more processing to really absorb what he's talking about. but damn he speaks some good truths.
  19. Like
    SmugSnugInARug reacted to Cheshire_Cat in Venting Thread- Vent about anything.   
    I finally found a mobile vet who put her down on Friday. She had lots of banana and I held her for about 30 minutes before she was put down. At this point, she couldn't even really hold herself up, but still had her personality and wanted to eat banana and give me kisses. She fell asleep while eating banana and then vet put her down, so it was very peaceful.
  20. Like
    SmugSnugInARug got a reaction from ComradeAbeille in Typical Week of Philosophy   
    I think its worth putting out a word of warning about this kind of conversation regarding the question of mental health.

    Graduate programs are extremely stressful environments and philosophy is no exception. Unfortunately, the mental health of graduate students faces a few serious challenges:
         1. First there is a the problem of over-identification with one's discipline. As the work/leisure distinction has collapsed over the past few decades (see, for example, the Google model & playbor), it can be hard to separate one's personal work from free time. Strangely enough, philosophy was a discipline that precisely began in leisure time, and yet with the professionalization of philosophy (and the subsequent corporatization of the academy), philosopher students are often trapped in the bind of over-identifying too much with their profession and as a result it makes it extremely difficult to maintain the work/leisure division that is necessary for mental health.
         2. One of the byproducts of this is that many philosophy students derive their 'self-worth' from their perceived academic standing in their peer groups. As the divide between work/leisure collapses philosophy students consistently treat their social time with other students as in this nebulous space, often feeling a need to overstate how much work they are actually doing or accomplishing. This is particularly common when students inevitably compare themselves to others in the field/profession and as a mode of compensation they often self-describe in ideal terms (which are usually unsustainable amounts of work). [Here contemporary articles that draw on Lacan's Mirror Stage and Imago re: instagram/social media would be helpful.] Of course, because this is intellectual labor, down time is extremely necessary. As the environment spirals into students comparing themselves with others purported clams about the amount of work they accomplish, it benefits absolutely no-one.
         3. As a result of this kind of setting, answering the question about how much effort and time people spend on their work each week becomes a question loaded with psychological stakes that I'm sure the author of this question didn't intent to invoke. It is not a neutral question and the answers we give to it are not neutral. They are directly related to the mental health of our fellow cohorts, our fellow students, and even our potential fellow co-workers or interlocutors.

    In a certain way my answer to the original question is something like this:
    With respect to time management, I would echo @hector549, make sure you are not treating work as the sole criterion for how to organize your time. Make sure you organize your life, with clear distinctions between leisure and labor. I work full-time as an adjunct professor, but I still manage to take my dog to the park every day for an hour or so. And if you want to read three other books that have nothing to do with classes you are taking, or prepare ahead of time for something, go ahead and do that, but recognize that you are doing so on your own leisure time. Not on your work time. And you need to be very careful to separate the two.
  21. Upvote
    SmugSnugInARug got a reaction from vitad2 in 2 Questions concerning the GRE   
    I’m gonna just try to run a bit against the grain, if only because you mentioned BC and Continental programs.
    The short version is this: I know for a fact that some members of continental program acceptance committees DO use the verbal GRE score in deciding whether your application goes to a single professor to read, or to every professor.
    A high score doesn’t guarantee entry, but it can drastically increase your chances when you are being reviewed by several professors rather than one.
    I have been specifically told by faculty who work in these committees that top verbal scores are absolutely important. Regardless of how indicative they actually are. The recommendation I received was to try to get a 167 or higher (depending on the year).
     
  22. Upvote
    SmugSnugInARug reacted to HopOnMyCrates in 2 Questions concerning the GRE   
    Someone developed a site that worked off of data from GradCafe that listed average GRE scores for different institutions/programs/years. Unfortunately I never bookmarked it, however somebody else may have a link. Suffice to say, many of those who were offered admission at PGR top 30 programs regularly scored correspondingly higher (165+). That being said, due to the high level of competition in admissions several people with such scores were also denied admission. Speaking personally, my scores were 159Q 162V 4.5W iirc and I was lucky enough to land in such a program (waitlisted at one other, fwiw), so you're likely on the right track, if not fine where you're at. Are your scores from an official test, or one of the practice ones? Additionally, if you have the funds, I don't think it would hurt to take the test twice (if you haven't already), especially if you've targeted weak spots and improved upon them in practice. I took the SAT twice in high school and did something like 180 points better the second go around, but with the GRE I only improved by about 3 points (1Q, 2V). YMMV
    I was able to speak with a chair who said that his program specifically (other institutions may vary) used it as a preliminary quasi cut-off for how critically they'd look at applications: higher scores got put into a "make sure to give these people a good read" pile, while average-to-lower scores were left together. Part of the rationale was to identify top applicants early on in order to give them offers earlier than other schools, hoping that they bite. Every application, he assured me, certainly got read with some care. I might add, when I attended one institution's prospective students' event the professors with whom I spoke who also happened to be on the committee immediately remembered my WS or my LORs when I introduced myself. These things give you personality that the GRE simply can't convey, which is why the GRE holds a significantly lower (though still necessary) importance in the application. As Hector remarked above, so long as your scores are not alarmingly low there is no reason for a program to reject you if the rest of your application is competitively strong.
  23. Upvote
    SmugSnugInARug got a reaction from HopOnMyCrates in 2 Questions concerning the GRE   
    I’m gonna just try to run a bit against the grain, if only because you mentioned BC and Continental programs.
    The short version is this: I know for a fact that some members of continental program acceptance committees DO use the verbal GRE score in deciding whether your application goes to a single professor to read, or to every professor.
    A high score doesn’t guarantee entry, but it can drastically increase your chances when you are being reviewed by several professors rather than one.
    I have been specifically told by faculty who work in these committees that top verbal scores are absolutely important. Regardless of how indicative they actually are. The recommendation I received was to try to get a 167 or higher (depending on the year).
     
  24. Like
    SmugSnugInARug reacted to maxhgns in Preparations for the Fall   
    They're full of shit. People in grad school are always posturing about how hard they work, but that's all it is. They've got some screwed up idea of what the perfect grad student is, and they constantly fail to meet it, and it wreaks havoc with their brain chemistry. 
    Being a good student really isn't inconsistent with maintaining a healthy work-life balance. I was a great grad student: I published two papers in top specialist journals, presented at dozens of conferences, won awards, networked like hell, audited all kinds of classes, TAed every semester, applied for hundreds of jobs, etc. It didn't require me to give up on any hobbies or other fun stuff. And I'm not at all exceptional in that respect. Take the time to do your own thing. It'll help enormously with all the negative crap. Just don't let yourself get too distracted from your end goal!
    As for making time for reading, I do most of mine on public transit, or for about an hour in bed at night. I often read during the day, too, but that's mostly down to how I feel in the moment. 
    One word of advice: breaking your tasks down into smaller chunks and spreading them over time is way more effective than putting in whole days at a time. Read just one article a day, and by the end of a month that's a whole course's worth of reading; write an hour a day, and after a year you've got a draft of a dissertation, or after a few weeks, you've got a paper to send to conferences and journals; and so on.
    The trick is to be consistent, and not to overload yourself with just one task. I try to write for about an hour a day (some days I get excited and it's more, and some days I lose the thread, but on the whole that's pretty much what it averages out to). I do that relatively early in the day, and then it doesn't matter what else I do that day; the pressure's off. I can take an hour or so to read a paper, too, and then that's two big things down. After that, the rest of the day is boring admin work, emails, course prep, whatever. And fun stuff.
  25. Like
    SmugSnugInARug reacted to Duns Eith in Shut out   
    I am sorry to hear. It is quite heartbreaking.
    I know you'll already be asking yourself over and over what you need to fix and improve, or whether to invest in applying again.
    Let me say this: whatever your choice for next year, remember your worth is not bound up in decision letters. You're more than your grades, recommendations, written samples, or standardized test scores. Your anxiety over the process is normal and legitimate. Your lack of offer does not mean you are incompetent. You can still love philosophy as a professional or as an amateur/well-invested hobbist, even if someone else did not choose to invest in you this time. Don't settle for a life that you know you cannot live with. You can face another round if you really want to; shut-outs are not uncommon.
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