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About cgking

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    Ancient History PhD

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  1. I'm finishing up the first year of my PhD program, and I cannot for the life of me decide which of these two options I should do this summer: 1) take an intensive class in one of the languages I need to learn. If I don't learn this language this summer, I'll need to either wait until next summer or make room in my schedule during the school year (definitely possible, but not ideal). I came into the program with less language experience than is recommended (although my program is obviously aware of this), so I'm a little anxious about fulfilling my requirements in time. 2) get field experience abroad doing something related to, but not required for, my degree. I've been really wanting to get hands-on experience doing this for years, but it hasn't been financially possible until this particular opportunity arose. I'd get more face time with certain professors I'd like to work with in the future if I choose this, plus some much-needed time away from my university. My advisor is pushing me slightly toward staying here and taking the language class (if he were more adamant, the decision would be made). My mom and friends are pulling pretty hard for option #2 because I'm more passionate about it-- but then, they're not in academia. I really need to make a definite decision. Strangers on the internet, do you have any advice?
  2. Just handed in my first 2 (of 3) 20-page papers, and I've decided the worst part of first semester is not knowing how hard my professors grade. At least I learned a lot?
  3. This is probably a stupid question, but I shouldn't be freaking out about one of my recommenders forgetting to sign the back of the envelope with my recommendation inside, should I? Good luck, everyone!
  4. Yep, I'm going to jump onto this question. Do they expect letters of recommendation from past institutions? I hate to bug my undergrad advisors for even more letters, but I can't imagine that any of my new professors are familiar enough with my work to write anything solid.
  5. cgking


    I was a History major at Tufts undergrad, and while it's a great department filled with really wonderful people, I never got the impression that it was especially flush with resources (for funding or for fancy research). If you're in Middle Eastern history, though, it might be worth it just to get a chance to work one-on-one with Ayesha Jalal.
  6. cgking

    New York, NY

    I have an apartment! Whew! Now I just have to figure out how to move... does anyone have experience moving from the Boston area to Manhattan? Any advice? Will I regret trying to bring my (decent, but still) Ikea bedroom furniture with me? Thanks!
  7. Yes, please do join, if you're out there!
  8. It's made out of real wood, so it's not super light-- but it's made out of Ikea wood, so it's not horribly heavy. I think I'll just end up getting a U-Haul and bring all my bedroom furniture (including the desk), so it'll work out. It's a nice, solid desk, and looks much more expensive than it is.
  9. FYI, I have that desk now, and I love it! Trying to figure out how to bring it with me to school
  10. cgking

    New York, NY

    Unfortunately, if you want to be able to walk to Columbia, their grad housing seems to be the best deal around. You can find some cheaper rents further uptown, but it gets a little less safe/nice the further up you go. It'll be really hard to find rents under $1000/person (with roommates) in Manhattan at all. You can find cheaper stuff in the outer boroughs if you're willing to commute to school-- some neighborhoods in Brooklyn (Williamsburg, Greenpoint) are popular for students because they have cheaper rents, aren't that far from the city (it takes about 40 minutes to get from Williamsburg to Columbia), and are fun neighborhoods with lots of creative, young people around. Parts of Queens can be even cheaper, but a little less young and hip. I'm planning on just accepting my poverty and doing Columbia housing, at least for the first couple of years. Living in NYC is all about compromises: housing costs vs. location, size vs. amenities, etc. For me, being close to campus in a safe, clean apartment is the most important thing. I'll eat ramen
  11. I'm reading Graduate Study for the 21st Century: How to Build an Academic Career in the Humanities by Gregory Colon Semenza, and finding it really useful. He includes a timetable describing how to pace yourself so that you don't end up writing your dissertation for 10 years, practical advice for how to deal with department politics, and things like that.
  12. My 3-year-old MacBook is getting old just in time for me to start grad school in the fall. I'm a Mac devotee, and can't go back to a PC-only environment or I'll go crazy. Right now, I can think of two options: 1. Get a new MacBook (probably a Pro, because I need something sturdy if it's my only computer) 2. Get a new desktop iMac as my main computer, and keep my current MacBook running for as long as possible (and then replace it with something cheap like a netbook) I think my top criteria are: 1. Ease of reading/writing-- my current 13" MacBook feels a little bit too small to stare at all day, every day 2. Portability-- I need to have SOMETHING, even if it's not my main computer, for travel/class notes/library 3. Price-- this is grad school, after all What do you think? If you have a desktop, how do you like it? Is synchronizing a desktop and a laptop/netbook too much of a hassle?
  13. cgking

    Offer Accepted

    I accepted Columbia's offer already (actually, a week ago). Embarrassingly early, but whatever.
  14. I've only seen one apartment, but it was really nice and just a block or two from campus. Morningside heights is a pretty safe area, and Columbia's bought up a lot of the apartment buildings around campus for grad students. I'm worried about having to spend all of my stipend on rent, so I got in touch with the housing office to ask if I could request an apartment below a certain amount, and they said that if I mention that on my housing application, they should be able to accommodate me. I'd guess that they can do the same for people who want to live with kosher roommates. I think you can live in a dorm your first year and then move out-- I considered it myself-- but apparently very few grad students live in the dorms, and it's kind of a crapshoot (you might end up in a really nasty and/or loud dorm).
  15. Maybe not dumb, but wishful thinking mixed with not enough coffee-- I've talked to plenty of people in the department and no one said a word about free housing. I've been planning to pay, so whatever-- it's still a great package! Congrats on getting in, by the way! Maybe I'll see you around campus in the fall.
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