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About tortola23

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    English PhD

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  1. I took a gap year between my BA and this fall when I'll be starting my PhD, and I couldn't get a technical writing job to save my life. They were all hiring older people with more experience who had been laid off. I applied to over 300 jobs and was interviewed twenty-three times: no result.
  2. I'm lucky enough to be starting my English PhD program this fall at the same school where my s.o. is in the physics PhD program. I'm certainly expecting it to be difficult just because we'll both be very busy, but I actually think it will be easier than this past year has been, when he was in grad school and I was working a boring full-time job. When we're both busy with the same types of things, it should be easier to understand about time constraints, schedule conflicts, and stress.
  3. I want to say thanks, as well. GradCafe has helped me through two extremely stressful rounds of applications now! Last year, as a college fourth-year completing my thesis project, I applied to eight schools and was roundly rejected by every single one. I was so confident that I'd get multiple admits, but once the last rejection letter rolled in, I realized that I had had no idea what I was doing and my confidence was beyond crushed. My professors had little time to help me with application materials because they were also teaching me classes and helping me with my thesis, and I had little time to commit to the applications for the same reasons. I used pretty much the same statement of purpose for every school. I harped on the irregularities in my transcripts (I attended three different undergrad institutions). I used papers from my second year as writing samples. I chose schools I liked the sound of without doing nearly enough research into their strengths, their faculty, and the types of students they admit. I applied to UPenn (one of the most competitive in the country!) and SUNY Buffalo (where my interests were a terrible fit!), and several other places that just CLEARLY wouldn't have worked. I felt like an idiot, and no one had the time to bother telling me what I was doing wrong. So I decided to figure it out for myself. This year, I was out of school and working a full-time job four days per week. Luckily, the job didn't follow me home (it's retail), and I was able to commit A LOT (seriously, A LOT) of time to my applications. I carefully researched many, many schools and selected eleven that were strong in my fields of interest. I contacted several faculty members, particularly at my top choice school, and even met with a faculty member at my top choice. I wasn't shy with any potential or former professors: I told them exactly what my goals were and straight-up asked for advice about what should go in my personal statement. All of them were remarkably helpful and none of them were put off by my boldness. I created a hanging file system for my applications, as well as a checklist for each one, and methodically completed them in the order that they were due. I wrote a completely new statement of purpose for each program. I carefully edited my best thesis chapter and used it as a writing sample. Disaster struck when, as the due-date for my first (and top choice) application neared on December 1st, I realized that one of my recommendation writers might not come through. She stopped responding to my emails about ten days prior, and never acknowleged receiving the packet of carefully printed, stamped, and organized materials I had mailed to her. I tried to have some faith, but decided that I HAD to err on the side of caution. I contacted another former professor and asked him to overnight me a set of letters for all of my schools. Eight letters. In less than two days. I felt like an absolute asshole. But he came through, and I got my first-choice application mailed the morning of December 1st. The materials from my first recommender never arrived, and I haven't had any emails or letters from her since. To my complete surprise, I ended up getting in to five schools, and was wait-listed at a sixth where I later withdrew myself from consideration to accept an offer from my #1 choice. I could barely believe it when I got my first admit, much less the subsequent ones, and I practically fainted both when I was wait-listed and when I was taken off the wait-list at my top choice. In one year, I went from nothing but form-letter rejections to mostly eager acceptances at awesome schools. Most importantly, do not give up if grad school is really what you want to do. And in the application process, never be timid or shy about asking for what you need; just ask for it straightforwardly and then thank everyone profusely. Congrats to everyone and GOOD LUCK!
  4. Just wanted to say CONGRATS to the eleventh-hour waitlist admit! I applied to Buffalo last year and was so disappointed to be rejected, but this year I know what it feels like to get the dream admit off of the wait-list! CONGRATULATIONS! I love how good it feels to be happy for fellow GradCafe-ers!
  5. For anyone accepting an offer at UW-Seattle: Declining my offer there was difficult. They are a great department and their DGS is one of the kindest, most helpful people I was in contact with through the whole application process. Enjoy the next several years there!
  6. The cattle heard what? I went to UF as an undergrad for a year, and while I left because I did not like it, it wasn't very much different from any gigantic public university. Pretty sure that was just a troll, but thought I should add that.
  7. Nothing was mentioned about the number of spots; the only similar bit was that fewer than 4% of applicants have been accepted. I have no idea how many applied. Good luck! And thanks for the congrats; I am very, very, very grateful and happy.
  8. I'm a Floridian and lived in Gainesville for a year attending UF; if you have any questions about things there, I might be able to answer. (I don't have work for a few days, so I'm just laying around reading, haha.)
  9. I just saw that there was a postal acceptance, but looking again I think they may have mis-clicked the drop-down menu? Hard to tell! Thanks, and good luck to you too!
  10. Are they postal mailing rejections AND acceptances? That seems weird. I'm emailing today to remove myself from the wait-list anyway.
  11. I'll be declining an MA in Professional Writing offer from Carnegie Mellon University with about 50% tuition funding,an MA in English offer from Claremont Graduate University with a 25% tuition fellowship,an MA in English offer from Georgetown University with as-yet-unsettled funding, andan MA/PhD offer from the University of Washington in Seattle with no first-year funding but with (very probable) full funding after the first year. I hope those spots go to people who would love to have them! Particularly UW; they are an amazing program with some excellent professors and I know that a lot of students would be very happy there.
  12. Haha . . . I worked in a bike shop. Seriously. In fact, I'm at work there right now. However, when I applied last year I was in the middle of my fourth year of college writing my thesis; when I applied this year, I already held my BA and I used my thesis as a writing sample. I think the biggest difference was doing a LOT of research and applying to schools particularly strong in my field, with a lot of effort put into the personal statements. I wrote a totally different, personalized one for each program.
  13. Thank you! I had to read the email a few times before I could believe it. Good luck to everyone. I feel like a living reminder that perseverance and hard work really can pay off! I had such a terrible application season last year, and such an excellent one this year. Don't give up if you really want it.
  14. I just got in. Kind of in shock, but so happy. I'll be accepting.
  15. I've been following up on both of my wait-lists. One DGS has been super responsive and helpful, the other pretty perfunctory. But I think it's good to express continued interest.
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