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EmmaJava

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EmmaJava last won the day on July 22 2017

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About EmmaJava

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    The Void
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    2016 Fall
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    English

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  1. That's cool. Fair enough. I thought it mattered originally that who you might go to for guidance would matter, but it's certainly true that regardless of the relevance I blew this one out of proportion, yes indeed. I don't think anyone likes being misrepresented, and I'm a human in that camp. Sorry for the distraction, I'll only come back here with research advice if I come up with anything good. I'm never disingenuous with "fellow academic" - wasn't before, wasn't now - and will wish you luck. Sorry again for the disruption.
  2. This is ludicrous. Point to where I said this - I guarantee you that I did not, and that I am not implying anything of the sort. I am actually quite aware of your point that non-PhD's can become and often do become professors. Yes, this happens when departments make appointments in the way of professorships. My point is actually shaping up to be more in agreement with you than I think you realize, which is that when and where this happens, it is really freaking cool and deserving of the accolade and title and acknowledgement of a professorship. In fact - and this is probably where we miss each other the most - I am rather sensitive to the fact that this happens so frequently in other fields besides mine as to make me, yes, a little bit jealous (I take this to happen more in vocational fields). In my field, as I stated quite clearly, becoming appointed as a professor, by title (and not simply by dint of holding some teaching post, whether as a graduate student or on a tenuous contract), is a very very huge accomplishment, much bigger than earning a doctoral degree. Fact, yo. Right here in the field-appropriate forum, no less. If you'll read what I actually wrote, I consistently point to the example of a graduate student - say, a doctoral student - who happens to teach, and that happening to teach is simply not the professorial appointment that can and does and should happen and be celebrated. And I'm extending this to all campus teachers who fall into this camp, whether adjuncts or lecturers or instructors or whomsoever. There is no hate against these fine teaching folks (I am one of them). But I don't call myself a professor for the simple fact that I'm not one, even though I teach on a college campus. The hallmark of a professor has been very consistent from the get-go: it is one who has been officially appointed to Professor by their department or institution. This would mean that the department itself and not just unknowing students are willing to call the person a professor in an official capacity - again, as a title. We've all been dancing around the typographical offset between a professor and a Professor, and I have let it slide because the sloppiness is, frankly, telling. My criteria? Professor, capital P. Appointment. Secure contract. Tenure? Maybe yes maybe no, depending on the title and contract (like, a Visiting Professor wouldn't have tenure, no, but would be a Professor, yes). You know, @rising_star, I have no doubt that in a literal interpretation of the word, you're probably quite distinguished in your way. I say that partly flippantly, sure, but also with enough sincerity to respect a fellow academic: you're distinguished, and apparently, you profess. Why not just go ahead and call yourself a Distinguished Professor? Do you meet your own criteria for such a title? Do you get the office, teaching load, etc., that goes with being a distinguished professor? Yet with your logic, why the hell not? I am not saying incorrect things on the internet, and you're being rude. Probably defensive, too, if what is going on is what I think is going on. I think we are writing past each other, yes, and I'll take some responsibility in that, but it's going to need to work both ways. You, I take it, are calling yourself a professor? Because you profess, but not because you've been appointed by your department as...ahem...you know...that thing? As I said before, you just go right on ahead with that. The thread isn't derailed when the relevant post to the OP was largely to do with precisely this issue. Shape up, mod. You should know better.
  3. No no no. What? What I'm specifically trying to say is that teaching simply does not adequate to being a professor. It just simply doesn't. At all. Not even a little bit. So yes, teachers outnumber PhD's. But teachers also outnumber professors...because they're not the same thing. A professor is a teacher but a teacher is not a professor unless that teacher is (wait for it)...A PROFESSOR. And I have no idea what my insistence on the PhD is. What insistence? Since I'm not insisting on anything other than not calling a teacher at a university a professor unless of course that person is in fact a professor, then I don't know what this means. Where's our disconnect here? If you think that someone is a professor by dint of them professing at the literal level, then I don't know what to tell you. I suppose you can believe it and abide by it, but, uh...alright. Keep going with that then.
  4. Oh sure. No doubt. Good work consolidating all that here. I'm aware of the contexts, but not too sure how helpful they are. After all, we're all "readers," as well, but certainly I wouldn't think to call myself a Reader if I were in the UK. I mean, it's not as if we just tend to colloquially profess as a mundane matter of course. What I'm saying is that the level of slippage inhering in these terms is something that we're all in great position to apprehend even as students may not be, which is another way of saying that the responsibilities regarding these terms lie with us, not with them. I also think you've done a pretty good job at parsing the issues that I am/am not speaking to, although I would probably align myself a little more closely to the adjuncts not wanting to be called Professor that you cite in your first hyperlink than you suggest (hence my line above re: professor being harder to actually achieve than PhD). As to your question, I only have tough love: call yourself whatever you want so long as it's not out-of-line with what has/has not been conferred in your name. I say that fully aware of the age/gender issues, too. They are good points and I am sensitive to them, but not so sensitive as to think that misusing the terms just a little as a sort of cushion is really an acceptable practice.
  5. I think I see what @CulturalCriminal is getting at, here, with this precautionary note: don't mistake the teaching faculty at large for "professor," and for a variety of good reasons. That said, I have also encountered the odd lecturer who will "respond to" "professor," and I have to say, that's total bullshit, "a mess of semantics" notwithstanding. Just as someone wouldn't pose as "Dr." without having completed the doctorate, posing as "professor" without a departmental appointment of professorship is equally as fraudulent, intentionally misleading, and abusive of authority as anything. There is no question as to what a professor actually is (it's a departmental title), and while it's true, as @CulturalCriminal says, that students may not have a good handle on the distinction, this is less a case of what is "communicated" to them and more a case of undergraduates simply not knowing how things work and the instructors in question not bothering to clarify (for dubious reasons). Any faculty page online will/should make clear the title of a given instructor: Emeritus, Professor, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, Visiting Professor, Adjunct, Lecturer, Instructor, TA, RA, Doctoral student, Masters student, etc. Now...it is also true that even where this is made institutionally clear online, undergrads still won't know what is going on and will address a doctoral student in the capacity of TA or instructor of record or whatever as "professor." Here's the moment where that instructor says, "hey, I appreciate the level of respect that you're showing by assuming such a lofty title, but I'm not a professor. You can address me as [fill in with accurate and desired moniker]." And since these threads abound with accounts of how much easier it is to become Dr. than Professor (that is, to graduate with a PhD than to land tenure track), this "semantic-mess" person in @CulturalCriminal's post is actually dealing in a logic that should probably cut the other way: call me whatever you want, just don't call me Professor, for heaven's sake, the hardest thing to actually achieve. In short, we shouldn't think of "Dr." as technical and "professor" as semantic; we should heed - as @CulturalCriminal says - the fact "that Professor does not necessarily equal PhD," but we should also and equally heed that PhD (or whatever other qualification) does not necessarily equal Professor. To let this slide would be completely dishonest and shameful. "Would be," I say, as if it's all hypothetical. Unfortunately, I see it along with @CulturalCriminal as something that actually happens, and sorry, but I've kinda had enough of it and felt like I should say something. Much more simply put: don't lie, cheat, steal, be an imposter, misprepresent, claim to be what you're not. It's not a good look. As to research! All good stuff, here. @Doll Tearsheet, it sounds as if the advice that you received from a favorite professor has you feeling a little overwhelmed: Sigaba reassures: "One doesn't need to read all to be very well versed in and engaged with the secondary literature. You can contribute to the scholarly discussion by splitting a hair." I'd say it's probably somewhere in between. What your professor is doing (as I see it) is giving you a course of action that is tough but probably worthwhile, although you can probably get to the level of "well-versed" without reading quite as much as is being suggested. I see this advice often, though, and it works to create some great habits: Get into the library, pull X amount of secondary sources, and dig in. After a day or two of crazy reading and note-taking, you could be 20 sources deep and ready to rock. Or (since every project is different), you may discover you need another day or two of the same. Or more. Or less. But the general idea is usually achieved when a professor tells a student to read everything there is and then the student rolls up the sleeves and hits it like a maniac. Which becomes really fun! Hard, but fun. You get to learn a bunch of stuff really quickly.
  6. I think this is worth thinking through: if the basis for scaling our so-called wide nets is situational and contextual, then this move toward subjectivizing and narrowing our wide nets precisely does nothing to mitigate the circumstantial obstacles that a wide net would be part and parcel of trying to overcome in the first place. Right? I mean, if the goal of an application cycle is to feel reasonable and healthy about the application cycle, then a grand scaling down or whatever else might just be the ticket, and I'm nobody to dispute that. However, feeling good about the process is the kind of thing that doesn't really require GC solicitation - that can happen on nights and weekends and holidays when our loved ones support us with loving arguments about our weird and flukey circumstances, and c'est la vie, it's a bummer that your net was necessarily curtailed, but hey, that's life and we love you and you're not a failure. Sure, I'm on board with that. But...let's say the goal is to get into a good (-fit) program. If that's the case, and I understand it as a rhetorical but also a sincere if - if that's the case, then our contextualizing of whatever a wide-net might be is just not going to help anyone to play their odds, it's...just purely not helpful in that regard. And if getting shut out of the 10-school wide net implies a fundamental problem with an application package in the social/hard sciences, let me please urge this thread not to think that way in the humanities, or at least in the literary corner of humanities, because that would be false and also not helpful to would-be applicants. Plus aren't there threads galore about seeking waivers to the application fees? I haven't looked but I seem to recall that it came up a bunch in the wake of "wide-net" discourse... I'm understanding the premise of this thread to be one in which we try to figure out how to help someone level an uneven playing field from the get-go. If that's not really the primary concern that comes with entering an application cycle tethered to another person, then my thoughts will be much less helpful indeed.
  7. Great post and this isn't so much directed at @positivitize as toward the general sentiment that I detect that 7-10-ish schools is somehow a "wide net." YES! Cast a wide net, please for the love of everything holy, cast that sucker far and wide! PLEEEEEASE! And: NO! 7-10 schools a wide net does not make! 7-10 schools is a net, average to kind of puny, to be totally honest. Widen that net, people! Widen it, baby. This probably isn't even the right thread. My bad, but hey, let it be known. Wide nets are wider than you think, yo. Just...more. Wide means more. Hit 18, 20. One very conventional and highly respected professor in a proseminar once told my entire cohort 20+, even 30 (I shit you not). Excessive? Well...let's look at placement rates then, no? More is more, not less, got it? Odds and so forth. It stresses me out to see all these applicants applying to 9 and 11 schools and stuff. Do yourselves a favor and WIDEN your NETS. Thanks.
  8. Ah, so good to see a couple of replies to this one...I've been thinking about it as it lingered and languished here for a while, I suspect just because of how genuinely tricky this situation is. I was in a similar situation, and while I appreciate the other replies, I'd strongly suggest considering the prospect of taking turns with your degrees. Not a very sexy option, but it did work for me. My partner and I found the odds just too damn tough to deal with, even by focusing on similar schools and/or similar geographic areas; it was too hard not to envision the scenario in which one acceptance didn't align with the other acceptance - or the other non-acceptances - and in turn, that anxiety alone was too great to even begin us going down that route. By taking turns, you really turn the situation back into a one-step-at-a-time kind of approach. Granted, it is an early step, and it doesn't solve the later step of how to gain employment in the same geographic region. But that later step would be waiting for you in any case. If you're willing to take turns, one of you has to be willing to wait. That was me, the waiter, and I can tell you that it wasn't that bad. I waited 3 years, which gave me time to save up some money and really fine-tune my applications. Yes, there were times when I just really wanted to get moving on the process, but then again, I was moving on the process, if we spin things around to the positive light. In this way, one of the unfortunate aspects of higher degrees in this field, wherein one must be hyper-professionalized in order to gain entrance into a program that has traditionally been designed to impart the professional skills that one must already have, actually becomes an advantage: you get a crack at independent scholarship, and with a purpose and an end-game to boot. If you have a job, you also get money...the independent scholarship thus happens on nights and weekends, and so you don't really ever sleep, and viola! It's just like you're already in grad school with the silver lining that you're not totally broke! There are those who would see my optimism as forced or strained...the truth is, this is not an easy situation, and my proposed solution is not an easy fix. But it is a doable one. For those of a certain temperament, I actually think that it can galvanize two commitments at once, since you'd have to be truly in love with your partner as well as your scholarship to do something like this. And those commitments do get tested here - I view these as something like a long-distance relationship, which, for me, is like the last thing I'd ever want to attempt, or to wish on my enemies, yet sometimes there is simply a shortage of great options, in which case sucking it up and keeping the faith is about all you have to go on (in fact you can see through these comparisons that I'd rather wait on my dream than attempt long-distance from my partner, which in itself implies a hierarchy of my own personal priorities). But commitment is commitment, and if it's real on both counts, then you don't question it, you just do it. And hey, if it's not real on either count, then finding that out earlier rather than later is not such a bad thing, either. Whatever you choose, I wish you luck! Just know that it can work, and for my money one step at a time - literally - is what makes the difference. Both of you applying at the same time would literally be two steps at once, presuming you're a permanent unit who will go the full distance together, that is, degree, employment and beyond.
  9. Jumping back in after a long break because WT has always been the consumate GC poster and every once in a while our commonalities intersect - here is one such time. WT, I'm going to come at this one from a slightly different angle, not because I disagree with anyone here at all, but only because I have some personal experience with this, too. So how confident are you about your other two recommenders being outstanding/great/glowing/etc? Because if you have 2 amazing recs and 1 "good" rec, then there is the possibility that this can sort of stand-in as a substitute to trading out WS's. Me, I'd rather have the WS of my own choosing, the one I felt best about, the one most central to my SoP, and let the rec chips fall where they may. I don't mean for that to sound too passive (I'm not passive, trust me), but I think there is something to be said for the fact that the WS is entirely within your control in a way that your recs simply aren't. Sure, they both reflect on you, or are taken to do so, or whatever, but I feel better about retaining total WS control and conceding slightly on recs than vice versa. As for that personal experience, I'm fairly confident that I had one "good" rec and two jaw-dropping recs. I know that one was truly amazing because my mentor broke his or her own rule and shared it with me. I am pretty sure that one was good because I couldn't ever get a read one way or the other, but I know what he or she saw as my strengths and weaknesses and it made me cringe. And I have second-hand reason to suspect that the third one was pretty glowing based on a comment about it from an ad-com chair (incidentally, it was a comment that corroborated the goodness-not-greatness of another rec). Now, my WS...that was something that I took total control over, entirely independent of these recommenders, and out of my sense that it mattered more (in my case, only 1 of 3 recommenders was really a central figure in my area, and a bit of a dated one at that; the other 2 are fairly well-known and respected but certainly not rock-star famous, and what's more - not really in my area at all; my application's strength was simply not in recs. It was in tying a very good WS to a very tortured SoP). Of course, this could lead to many other subtleties - are the 2 great recs from well-known profs vs the other, or vice versa, or some other permutation? But here we have that great opportunity to remind ourselves not to overthink things too much. You're clearly a strategic applicant, well-versed in what to emphasize and how to make an application. It cannot be said too often that no amount of strategery can predict or indicate how your application cycle will shake out. The weirdest things will happen, most of it out of your control (again, this can be said with a mutual understanding that nobody here is being passive or resigned). A (non-recommending) professor once told me: "If you're good, you're good." Past that, not much you can do, and I've held onto that. And my guess is that you're good, so go with your gut and don't look back.
  10. Also, meant to say that Arthur Kroker at University of Victoria (BC) is in political science but has pioneered ctheory.net and would be a perfect bridge to those other theory-heavy disciplines that you mention. Their English department, for example, offers a "special concentration" in Cultural, Social, and Political Thought (CSPT): http://www.uvic.ca/interdisciplinary/cspt/, which is one of the main reasons I applied there. Kroker does a lot of McLuhan-type stuff, and so the potential media studies focus that you mention is strong.
  11. I'm not your target audience (sorry) but can't help wondering: would it not be an option for your gf to get a visa independently? And also, is she really "dependent" in the legal sense if you're not married? And even if so, wouldn't that be subject to all kinds of variables, tweakable upon your decision? You could be way out ahead of me on these things, but your post seems to assume certain things that I'm not quite ready to go with just yet! Good luck.
  12. Wait, this is twisting things. You began by saying you didn't understand, and now you have several perspectives from which to draw understanding, but which you still reject. And your rejection may even be on grounds that I think most of us can appreciate. I know I can. But nobody is looking askance at creative writers who decide to opt out; rather, isn't it you looking askance at those who decide to opt in? Splitting hairs? I don't think so, especially if I'm to take your cues. I don't think this is a matter of not understanding on your part so much as an unwillingness to depart from a personal ethics. Which, to me, is totally fine, but entirely different. This personal ethics of yours: to each their own. Certainly you'll find sympathies critiquing a corporate and exploitative university system, as it were (or, as it gets dubbed from within itself). But I think those sympathies may dwindle when you take aim at students and their motivations, especially when you bemoan the game that you - having no choice - lamentably play. Funny how everyone who begrudgingly decides to play the game is also, simultaneously, above the game. All the funnier when those with whom they spar don't begrudge anyone or anything and simply go about their business. I detect a self-serving sleight-of-hand here. I don't read you as being preemptive by admitting to being selfish, but rather as one who tries to hide a double-standard. You want to both raise and lower the bar, ethically, and I call bullshit on that. You're as free as anyone to opt out, "creative" or not. Or, appreciating my perspective for half a second, understanding that "'creative' or not" doesn't even exist, or at the very least, that it may not work for the prospective students in question. I repeat my first post in reply to you, Romanista: creative scholarship and scholarly creative writing are both totally fair. And they are! I've also written this, in reply to others: fairness is a tough deal, isn't it? All of that said, I did enjoy your post, Romanista. I think it's safe to say that you bring a unique perspective and the reaction you're getting reflects that, surely. I admit to having a little trouble following you at times, and there's a big part of me in solidarity with echo449's paraphrase of something profoundly odd about the aesthetic judgments that you seem to be making, but odd is not bad (again, to me), and I take no issue with differences of opinion on [the production and reception of] literary art...since it's these differences of opinion that are precisely we are all of us are (ostensibly) expressly engaging. But part of this game that you hate so much is being able to say, "yeah, no, good point, ok" when something is actually valid. Right?
  13. Hey, Romanista, I love the passion, and I hear you all the way through. In fact, I think I mostly agreed with you and validated you where I didn't agree. Did I not? And I admitted that I'm in a weird minority carrying around a strange sensitivity, so I think we can all agree that I'm the weirdo, here. Guilty! But with all of those concessions made, didn't I give a reason and a motivation that can be appreciated, even if it is a super weird minority position? What I articulated wasn't based on personal comfort or self-importance at all, and (giving the benefit of the doubt), I don't think Anghellix is coming from a place like that, either. Going back to your original opener - you " don't understand why some people want to be creative writers and think that the next step is to get an MFA or PhD in the same subject." So all I'm doing is suggesting a way to understand this, as I do. The "some" in question here - indeed, likely to be a very small "some" - might just matter, and I think this understanding (to say nothing of compassion) is possible. I think you can do it if you try.
  14. Quite respectfully, I'll attempt to offer another perspective, and it's not that I entirely disagree with you, Romanista, so much as I do understand "why some people want to be creative writers and think that the next step is to get an MFA or PhD in the same subject," and also that I'm not quite with you on "the types of work that can only be done on a campus." I would think that I wasn't entirely alone in that what got me into lit studies was actually more a creative impulse than a scholarly one, at least to start...but, that creative impulse came with a longing for it to be situated in a scholarly way. This is totally fair. There are some creative writers out there who do not and should not care how their creative output gets categorized and critiqued, but there are those who do and should, and for those who do and should, these degrees might be necessary. I took a workshop with one of my heroes who openly mocked me for this desire, and I get that, too. He came from a school of thought very much echoing your post, Romanista, and encouraged all his students to put all thoughts of the tortured, starving artist out of mind in favor of pay-day genre-driven rapid output. Which is all kinds of hypocritical given that he's got a PhD and is making beautiful, tortured art (although his output is rapid, that is true). Here's another thing about "scholarship" vs. "creativity" - or rather, scholarship "vs." creativity: There is no "vs." For me, anyway, I found through my advanced degrees that my scholarly writing must precisely be creative. This will likely set off one hell of a debate, as the non-creative scholars (if such a thing actually exists) hate this, in my experience. I've been told straight up, "no," by many a "scholarly" professor, but I'm sorry, I simply disagree with that notion. So, someone entering this way - with creative impulses but the scholarly longings to situate whatever is happening in their creative worlds - might well find that their creative media are actually "scholarly" writings, or vice versa. I myself identify with this completely. And finally, while it is certainly not going to draw much attack, prima facie, the idea that scholarly work needs to happen on a campus and that creative work doesn't is just one of those things that isn't true, as independent scholars and in-between degree-ers can attest. Now, of course it helps to have an affiliation and all the access and resources that come with an affiliation, sure - but then so does a degree from the Iowa Writer's Workshop help an aspiring creative writer in remarkably similar ways. And certainly there is a rational cost-benefit analysis waiting for anyone who needs to take finances into account, sure. I want to reiterate that I'm not out-and-out disagreeing so much as pointing out that an understanding of this desire and even some praxis behind it isn't totally nuts...in fact it makes a ton of sense for at least one sort of temperament. ...but it is interesting, and I think the decision must largely be driven by individual circumstances and personal honesty, as I'm always banging on about. In that same workshop that I referenced above, I also had a close relationship to a classmate who always insisted that there were not really any meaningful technical skills that we were going to get out of this workshop, that "creativity can't be taught," yada yada. And that's all valid, too, sure! This far into my journey, I don't actually believe that any workshops or seminars have truly augmented my own creative juices or flavored my poetics in a way that will satisfy Romanista. But you know what? They satisfy me, because I have a need that most can't relate to, which is the need for a scholarly self-critique of my own attempts at creativity. If I set out to create this poem or that story, I very much want and need to say, "this is an attempt at ----------". Fill in the blank however you want, but for me, that blank is probably going to have a very "scholarly" word or phrase in there, and when I write my essays, I will be reappropriating those same words and phrases in a poetic vision aims to transcend what I consider to be silly and limiting, like "secondary" or "knowledge production," or whatever. I'm not anti- those things so much as I don't relegate them to only that (which would depress the hell out of me), for they should, if done properly, contain ideas and images and material interactions in the exact same ways as literary art. To Anghellix, I don't have excellent advice for you other than I know there are some joint MFA/PhDs or else PhD's in creative writing and that these seem to focus on that scholarly/creative interplay in a way that I would clearly appreciate more so than a straight MFA...although that said, I have some anecdotal info regarding what I have seen as very valuable in the way of an MFA where I got my MA (classmate testimonies, in other words)...I'll let others provide the name-branding. But I'll say too that you'll probably encounter a lot of Romanista's viewpoint and that you should weigh it carefully. I'm just a wee bit sensitive, falling into weird minority status on so many issues as I do, so wanted to stick up for the idea itself. You're not crazy or misguided whatseover...but you sure as hell better be honest and sure. *edited: embarrassing typos and some philosophical clarification.
  15. So, I have been conflicted on this one. I don't disagree with anything that's been posted here, but I will feel like a little bit of a hypocrite if I don't reply, since I literally did what you're asking about, and it has worked well for me. I hasten to add that just because I'm offering this perspective doesn't automatically make it good advice (I'm sure it's not, in the technical sense), which is another way of saying that ExponentialDecay, for example, is probably more right than I am. But I also read these boards and often recognize that what is typically really great advice tends to be really great advice for some law of averages, or some disembodied hypothetical, and once you add some flesh and blood and context, you often get a really different picture. As a point of reference, I graduated in 2002 with a BA in International Affairs. I then went on to do an MA in International Studies overseas (graduating in 2005). I then came back and launched a career, sort of, and by 2009 realized that I could never be happy in the field I was in, so decided to give the ol' PhD a shake, and here's where shit gets real. It took me applying to PhD programs in international studies, where I already had 2 degrees, to realize that it was the wrong field for me. That's a side story. Keeping us on point for reference, I discovered through the PhD application process to international studies that I should switch fields, to English Literature. I had a small sprinkling of English classes on my BA transcript (2 or 3), and was fortunate enough to be working in the same area that I graduated with that BA, so what I did was this: I re-enrolled as an undergrad at that same institution and declared a double-major, so in essence it was like going back to "complete" a double-major that hadn't existed at all until I declared it nearly a decade later. But this worked wonderfully, as I literally ended up majoring in English while also applying to an MA in English at that same institution. So...everything all happened at once. I shored up my recommenders at the same time as I got my feet wet and just redirected everything in one expensively swift motion. Then I got into the MA program and just kept going from there. I had to take a 2-year hiatus while my spouse completed a degree (and therefore before I could gear up to apply for English Lit PhD programs), and just stayed active in that interim, writing like a maniac and working on the CV, publishing a little as well. You can see why I'm hesitant. There is a 14-year gap between when I graduated with a BA and when I'll start a PhD in English Lit. In that intervening time, there are 2 MAs and a failed PhD application cycle to the wrong field, and a double-major getting declared and finished. This isn't the financial route that should be advised, and even I can look at the trajectory and see that I took a wild leap of faith. But guess what? I'm headed to UVA with a passion burning just as hot - no, hotter - as when I made my decision in 2009, so it couldn't have been a miscalculation, either. I'll be in my 40s when I emerge with my cred. Nobody ever said this was the way to go, and again, no disagreement from me... ...Unless... ...Unless you are 100% positive that this is what you want to do, in which case you'd be crazy not to do it. I am being very mindful of my own language and yours as well - and only saying this in light of your language: you say that you have a "pretty urgent desire," and you know that this can be a "financial head-ache." Check and check, if those are both true then you're where I was in 2009. I'm relating all too well. Now the question is, have you got the talent, stamina, and resources? It is unfortunate how snooty that will inevitably sound, and I don't like it one bit, but I genuinely believe that the answer to that question is the difference between checkmate and stalemate. And let's face it - here I am saying that I had to have had talent, stamina, and resources, but I also needed some damn good luck (especially as I got in off a waitlist). So, you'll need to keep "urgent desire" and "financial head-ache" very much at the forefront of your thinking as you decide whether you want to jump off a cliff, and do remember that this is coming from someone who is in one important sense still plummeting, as I haven't even entered my program yet. So, think very hard, and answer very honestly.
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