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  1. yticnineb

    New Haven, CT

    I'll be moving up to New Haven the first weekend in August or thereabouts. Are there any bicyclists around here? It seems like the city has a pretty active bike advocacy group (http://www.elmcitycycling.org/), which is exciting. I'm worried about the winters, though, coming from a warmer climate. Rory, I think the farmer's market is on the green, south of East Rock? I looked into getting a CSA share, but the timing was off, and I don't expect to be there in the summers. Yale has a community garden. I wonder if grad students can get involved in that? I'm trying to figure out fresh produce and herbs on a small stipend...
  2. If you really want a one-bedroom (or big studio) in the city for around 1000, look into "English basements," as well-- basement levels of row houses with separate entrance and kitchen/bath. Some of these are really quite nice, especially if the house has been recently renovated. Off Capitol Hill a bit, there's Eastern Market and Potomac Avenue-- both of these are stops along the blue/orange Metro line, both residential neighborhoods that might be a little cheaper than the red line corridor. Eastern Market is a wonderful neighborhood, with lots of coffeeshops, a great big dusty used bookstore, its famous eponymous market, some good restaurants, lots of trees. Potomac Avenue, the next area down, requires some street smarts, though gentrification starting up and there's an organic market going in, I think. These are good options if you're at GW and want to commute via Metro. If you'll be at American, maybe look for something in Chevy Chase/DC, or whatever the neighborhood is called way north on Connecticut, past the Van Ness stop. That area is off the Metro, but only like a 10-minute bike ride to campus. Bethesda is just as expensive as DC, so might as well stay in the city. If you're going to bike-commute to either, Columbia Heights is great; if you look a few blocks east of the metro stop, you can find some decent prices. Feel free to post/PM for more info. Craigslist is how I found both of my apartments, and I recommend using it, at least as a starting-point. DC is great! So beautiful! I am not so psyched about leaving this city for New Haven.
  3. Lenin, I hope I've been able to maneuver my way to a free MA while keeping my self-respect intact. I'm so grateful. Rising_star, you're a geographer! That's one of those amazing, interdisciplinary fields that I never really knew existed when I had my nose buried in modern literature and continental philosophy as an undergrad. Also, I'm starting to think that, for US citizens (don't know if you're one), FLAS funding is the way to go.
  4. Eve, thanks for the reinforcement. I was able to sneak out of work for a little while this afternoon, sit on a curb in the parking lot, and hash it out via cellphone with various concerned parties. I felt terrible about it, but I turned down the Stanford offer, apologizing and stressing that they should tell me if it would be a problem for them. They said OK, and I took Yale. I DO think that the MA at Stanford would have been great. J.W. in Political Science being out on sabbatical in 2008-2009 did give me pause, as his interests are closest to mine. The chance to really dig in and do a thesis/get recommendations over two years at Yale tipped the scales. It's kind of nice, too, to get settled somewhere for two years (I just calculated that I've moved 11 or 12 times in less than eight years), and Yale makes it a little easier to occasionally see my SO in Baltimore. The whole thing has left me feeling queasy and unsure, which is a shame, as I felt so great about my decision last night after I'd made it. But Yale was my first choice going in and my first choice after examining the programs and, while the bay area weather when I visited in February was absolutely seductive and the political science department at Stanford is extraordinary, given the paucity of my background in the field, I think this is the best choice. It better be, anyway, as it's all done now. I still feel so bad about the whole thing. I'll be writing a really heartfelt letter to Stanford soon, as they were great the whole way through the process. Thanks, everyone. It's rough finishing this and feeling kind of deflated.
  5. I'd probably take the latter. Who has the more "portable" degree, though?
  6. yeah, I agree. I know that second-choice had someone lined up to take it if I didn't. I am going to call now and ask them how much this hurts them, and if that person is still available. First-choice is giving extra time, so I can make sure second-choice can fill the space. Adding to the joy of the situation is the fact that, by taking second-choice, I was going to negatively impact a project with my employer, because it required me to start early. So I disappoint people either way. Suck. Bad karma.
  7. Ugh, slightly different problem. My second-choice school, an American school that is a signatory to the Council of Graduate Schools agreement accepted me and offered funding, but required a response to the funding offer on April 14 so that they would have time to find an alternate taker if necessary. After talking to my first-choice school (also an American university and signatory to CGS agreement) last week and determining that I wouldn't get money, I accepted the offer at my second-choice yesterday (April 14). About five hours before doing so, I e-mailed first-choice to say, "Due to financial reasons, I am planning to take [second-choice]." I knew about the April 15 agreement, but I was trying to play this fair for everyone else involved. This morning, first-choice e-mailed to say, "Actually, here is funding. Did you say yes to [second-choice]?" Can I legally/ethically back out of second-choice at this point? I know I can change my response on their online graduate schools admissions form, but I e-mailed a signed letter accepting funding late yesterday afternoon. I am so upset!
  8. ...and I just got offered Yale funding. Stanford asked for a reply by the 14th (is that allowed?), so I said yes to the scholarship yesterday. I am going to vom.
  9. You'll have better luck finding something in this range near American, I think, but I know there are a couple places downtown near GW with decent studios for about $1000. Are you talking about a one-bedroom apartment? Sharing a house, you can definitely pick up something nice for around $800.
  10. Thanks, everyone! I am definitely not under the impression that I'd be able to just turn in a mediocre application with a brand name on my CV and waltz into a PhD program. Eve, my undergrad major was English and I did a creative writing thesis (yikes), so while I have high grades and strong recommendations from there, they're pretty much not applicable to what I hope to do now. Yale would be great for the opportunity to make lots of faculty connections and get a great writing sample finished, but I think what I'll do is work really hard at Stanford and use the freedom that comes with no loan obligations to get a great work/research experience and work on my applications in the year following the program. Stanford just offered summer language funding, too, which helps, as I'll have an easier time with the language classes next year if I get a leg up on them this summer. Penelope, I'm glad to hear a recommendation for the interdisciplinary MA. I've been having a great time combing the course bulletin and realizing that fields I never considered are engaged in the issues I want to study. I clearly had no conception of what Anthropology entails, for instance. Soooo, Stanford it is. yay!
  11. Thanks for the input! I guess the nice thing about a year-long program is that even though I won't be able to apply to PhDs this coming fall, I could take the 2009-2010 year to work or research in West Africa. Peter, I almost applied for the MA in POLS at Columbia, but then the Stanford money came through and I figured it was going to be down to Stanford or Yale-- and I'm not 100% sure I want to do political science, but I am sure about my regional interest, so I thought I'd try an interdisciplinary approach.
  12. Something I've learned from living in DC is that if you're willing to live a 10-15 minute walk from a Metro station, you'll get a lot more apartment for your money. Sometimes this means living in sort of up-and-coming neighborhoods (try the Atlas District, for example, or east of the Columbia Heights station). If that's not your preference (understandable, especially if you expect to be coming home late at night) areas like the far reaches of Connecticut Avenue are great. I live across the street from one of the city's best bookstores and have a beautiful, vintage apartment at a good price. It's a 12 minute walk to the Metro and I'm about half a mile from the closest supermarket, but the neighborhood is quiet, leafy, and very very safe. Also, most places not serviced by Metro are on major bus routes. The bus is unpredictable, but you can figure it out-- and major routes run constantly at busy times of day. Finally, if you're at all inclined toward bicycling, DC life is perfect. It's so easy to just hop on your bike to get places, and the weather is lovely much of the year. I am going to miss DC so much. This is such a beautiful city. Feel free to ask questions! Silencio, commuting from Frederick is a pain, but you can do it. Many people do, though I'd recommend using the commuter train rather than driving, unless you're coming into the city off rush hour. I haven't been to Frederick in a long time, but I understand that it's a growing exurb with reasonable housing and an increasingly-cosmopolitan atmosphere.
  13. Hi all, I really hate to dedicate a thread to my own dilemma, but I find that, looking at other people's decision-making, there's often a clear best option. I am pursuing an MA in African Studies, with hopes of eventually pursuing a PhD in Political Science (I'm open to other fields, as well, and I might consider law). I didn't major in Poli Sci undergrad, but I do have four years of work experience in a range of development and international law settings. I hope that the MA will help me contextualize my work experiences, offer an opportunity for language study, and guide me toward a discipline for my terminal degree. My options: Yale Council on African Studies-- I love this program. I had a great, very encouraging visit, and I know I could figure out my research interests and write thesis in two years at Yale. Lots of faculty doing work that interests me. However, I have no funding for the first year. I think I stand a decent chance of second-year funding, based on a conversation with the director this week, but it's not guaranteed. Stanford MA in African Studies-- Stanford is a great school and I could draw on some phenomenal departments (global justice, political science, anthropology). However, this is a new program, and it's only a year. I worry that it just isn't enough time to clarify my research interests and really benefit from the resources at the school. I likely wouldn't have time to write a thesis. This could be a good experience, or it might not benefit me at all. They are offering full funding plus a small stipend, so I won't lose anything except a year of my life if it doesn't work out. SAIS (JHU)-- Dark horse? I am not interested in policy, really, but the director of African Studies here is an awesome match. Does SAIS prepare people for academic PhDs? Seems like they don't. No funding, too expensive. My SO will be at Hopkins in Balto for med school this coming fall, which is the reason it's still in the running. I have no undergrad or other debt, but I don't have a lot of money, either. Is it ever worth it to take out loans for an MA just because it's a dream program? Is it stupid to turn down a fully-funded MA? Help. And thanks!
  14. Console, You can definitely find housing in DC late in the game. My SO and I first moved here in late August/early September in 2006 and didn't have any trouble. We moved a second time in early June. It's a big enough city that the academic calendar doesn't rule, and apartments and rooms are always opening up. There's also a glut of condos that are just now being completed in some great neighborhoods, and I think a fair number are going to be changed to apartments or else bought by people looking to sublet them while the housing market seesaws. Planning late sucks, but it is eminently doable here. I'm in a similar situation. I'm down to two schools, but my SO is a a bajillion med school waitlists, and he could hear anywhere between now and August. We're both going to just wait it out until we know where we'll be/if we'll be together/who's going to hold onto all of our furniture until we live together again. Ugh. I got back from Africa two years ago and with every material possession I acquire, I feel weighted down. (Who's going to take the damn food processor?) I miss being able to carry all my worldly goods on my back. Good luck!
  15. yticnineb

    New Haven, CT

    Thanks for the suggestions! That document on the Yale site was super helpful, actually. The Duncan Hotel looks really promising for location and price, but it's full the night I need it. Definitely will keep it in mind, though.
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