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renea

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renea last won the day on February 12

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About renea

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    Fort Worth, Texas
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    Rhetoric and Composition

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  1. First I want to say that feeling overwhelmed or burnt out is not unusual even if it's *just your first semester.* It doesn't mean you're not cut out for graduate school. Perhaps your program isn't what you expected. It might also just be a very rigorous program with high expectations. I know my current program has way higher expectations/pressure in regards to coursework than my previous one, which has caused me to be very overwhelmed this semester- so you're not alone. While I am not taking any time off, I'm also on fellowship which helps with the workload. Is your graduate assistantship (if you have one) contributing to the stress? If so maybe reach out the WPA or advisor. If you could share your reasons for feeling burnt out (if you have a hunch of why), that might help us to give better advice, but without knowing this is what I would suggest. Talk to your DGS. If you are just feeling stressed or overwhelmed (perhaps there are outside circumstances that are adding to the stress- health issues, family problems, money problems, etc), they can help you with your options. Some programs allow for a semester leave of absence. I know our program had an MA who took a leave and is returning next semester. If a leave of absence isn't available, your DGS may be able to help you strategize for keeping up (guiding you towards profs who are not as intense, helping you balance your courseloads with thesis credits, or helping you to a different assistantship that might be more manageable). If you're not wanting to stay in the program... I would personally try to stay a full year, unless your grades are being affected (in which case it could hurt your chances of going to a new program). I say to stay a year, because it will look less unusual than a single semester at a MA program. It would also give you a chance to see if you adjust and to take a few more classes, go to a conference, and figure out your options. Unless you have a backup plan (for $$), I would try to stick it out until the summer, after which you could reapply. If you're already feeling burnt out from your coursework, I can't imagine you have much creative energy left for applications (since most of the work will have to be done before you withdraw). Asking for LOR will also be easier a year in vs one semester, I didn't really know any of my professors well enough one semester in. While I agree that the above statement from @Bumblebea may apply to some people, I don't think it's odd to feel burnt out in the first semester. We don't know all the circumstances or experiences that led to your first semester. Further, your feelings do not by any means imply that you are not passionate about higher ed. If you're not passionate that's totally ok too, don't feel bad about leaving. Further, don't feel like because at one point grad school was the plan that it's your only option. My husband took a 2 year gap between undergrad and graduate school and I know he felt a lot of guilt when he was questioning whether or not to go back to school (because for his family, not going to graduate school was a failure). All of this is to say that in the end you should do whatever you need to feel happy and healthy, being open and honest with your department is in my opinion the best way to figure out what your options are or how your choices will be viewed.
  2. Hey everyone, I'm curious- for those of you currently in a graduate program, what do you do for summer work? In the past I've worked in my writing center or worked in food service. However, my new institution doesn't do comp classes over the summer or really offer summer work/funding. I'd like to get an internship this summer for CV building, but it seems a lot of the programs I find are looking for undergrads not PhD students. I know it may seem early for applying to summer jobs, but a lot of internships seem to have fall/spring deadlines to apply. So... what type of work do yall do over the summer? How were you able to translate your research/coursework into job skills? *I should note that I'm not really interested in teaching FYW courses as an adjunct at a CC over the summer, although it's certainly an option if I can't find other work.
  3. Hey so the confusion might be that $22k is what they quoted me for the total "offer" so this is the combined costs of your stipend, tuition credits, and out of state waiver. The original stipend was around $15k, but the costs of fees and health insurance (which was not fully covered) was $4,249.66- so at the end of the day my fall/spring stipend was barely over $10k. If it was $22k I'd be fine that's on the upper end imo. Now I will say that the department has fellowships, and when I told the DGS that the stipend was the only thing keeping me from accepting she worked on getting me more funding (roughly $11k total in fellowships added to my 4 years of funding which she secured in one week). That was not near enough for us to justify the costs- but I do want to give a shout out to her because she made me feel totally comfortable being honest with her and she was very understanding about me not being able to accept even after getting me extra money (she was also just super nice). It's really not the department, the fees & insurance affects the entire university- they killed my husband's offer as well- our combined offers was actually less than what I'm making this year at my current PhD program alone. However- if you were an in-state resident already and didn't need health insurance (it's required by the university, but if maybe you were on a spouse's or parent's plan) the program could work (and does for many students!). It's an amazing program and the people I talked to seemed very happy. Like you so smartly said- everyone's needs are very different.
  4. I was accepted into FSU last year (rhet/comp PhD, but same department) and while they are fully funded, the stipend was on the low in and student fees were not included and if I recall either none or only partial insurance was included. It's a fantastic program and the cost of living is low, but for me and my husband the numbers did not add up even with several fellowships stacked on (the fees are just really ridiculously high).
  5. I'm not going to comment here on whether or not you need or don't need a PhD to get a job, but I will say that if you're wanting to do rhet/comp with these research interests Miami University (of Ohio) would be a very good fit for you. It might be better to begin reaching out to programs and ask if seeking a PhD would be a good decision. Most of us (on this particular forum) are in the process of attaining a degree or applying, so we probably haven't been privy to hiring committee processes, but the programs you apply to will and they would better be able to tell you if a PhD will help or hurt you.
  6. So I'm about to start the first year of my Phd, and I got my dog just one year ago (in the summer before the last year of my MA). The big things I've learned (as they've applied to me): Consider who will take care of your dog when you are at a conference or away. A weekend or day might not be that hard, but what about breaks? While my husband is around to take care of our dog, my program is about 16 hours from our family so Christmas break was rough, as almost everyone we knew well enough to watch our dog was also away. We ended up driving home and keeping him with our family, but it was a hassle. Most grad students are rent dependent, if this is true for you then be warned renting with a dog can destroy your savings. We managed to find a rental that only had a $200 deposit, but many of the places we're looking to rent this upcoming year charge a $200 deposit, $200 fee, and "pet rent" anywhere from $10-25 a month (obviously we know pets can be expensive, but this in particular is a burden) Think about your routine and how long you're away each day. When I was taking thesis credits, my dog was pretty happy, either me or my husband were home most of the time, but when I suddenly had classes nearly every day the next semester I think it bummed him out. Suddenly he was alone for 4/5 hours, 5 days a week. He's gotten much better, but when we first had him he was still potty training, learning to be alone, had very severe separation anxiety... it was stressful trying to decide each day whether I wanted to leave for just a one hour presentation or meeting. So on top of what @jrockford27 said about irregular schedules- also consider the guilt. With all of that though, I want to say that I'm so happy with my decision to get a dog. Our puppy was with a family previously who had too many pets and not enough time to properly train or take care of him. We may not have as much money or time as some people, but he still gets a lot of attention and we have a set budget each month for his food/toys/treats etc. He's basically a spoiled only child and we love it. In addition to providing me with company while I study and affection when I'm stressed- he's also helped me develop some better habits. We've started incorporating hikes, daily walks, and trips to the dog park into our routine. I'm forced to get up at a reasonable time to take him out. Plus, he "reminds" me (via begging and harassment) to play with him and take him out, forcing me to step away from laptop at least once an hour or so. Training has been terrible and getting up at like 4am to take him out those first few months was awful, but he just turned one and is starting to really figure stuff out (with a dog that is already trained, I'd imagine it being much easier). So, yeah- there are pros, there are sure cons, but if you love the dog, have the money, and can make a few small sacrifices, I think it's worth it. When we get settled in our next program, we're already considering adding a second dog to the mix so I guess it works for us.
  7. eh it really depends on what field you're in and what school you lied about. Most likely it won't come up again (generally speaking, I imagine professors have better things to do than talk to other people about potential admits). With that being said, I'm in rhet/comp and our field is smalllllll, when I went on school visits nearly everyone knew my current advisors and there were plenty of people who came up and asked me about certain people (to say hi or ask whether I worked with them). But our field is small and I'm at a well known program. If you mentioned a lesser known school or are in a much larger field it probably won't matter at all. I wouldn't address it as it will probably never come up again, but as you clearly know it's not the best habit to get into.
  8. damn. I don't think I could ever commit to eight years unless it was a tenure track job.... I hope that you find somewhere you love! I know I felt instant bliss once I realized I'd be moving somewhere that would make me personally and professionally happy. I think making the decision to wait to go somewhere that's right can be a difficult, but very brave. My husband took a two year gap to reapply after having a single acceptance his first round and had a much better application season this time. Better offer, better fit, and overall in a place where we can both be productive. I wish you all the luck!
  9. I'll be honest, this conversation really becomes: attend a Phd program this year vs wait and reapply. I'm the odd one out in that I think where you live can have a huge impact on your happiness and productivity levels. I know I'm currently in a medium size city (Lansing, MI) and I hate the town- there's nothing to do and other than the college not a lot of people our age. I went to college near a large metroplex (DFW area in Texas) and loved being close to everything. I could drive 40 minutes and be in a big city or hangout in my college town and still have plenty to do. My husband and I love going to concerts, theater, galleries, eating out- which Lansing has very few of. Now if we want to go to an event it's a 1.5 hr drive to detroit. We've managed and at the end of the day it's the quality of the degree that matters, but when it came to the PhD we seriously considered whether we would like where we live. We're moving back home to Fort Worth. Our campus is next to a zoo, lots of arts and music venues, and in an area where a lot of young people/families live. Those things don't matter to everyone, but for us we wanted to find a balance of affordability and amenities because 5 years is a long time (also not every urban area is as expensive as Chicago or NY, in Ft Worth you can rent a 2 bedroom apartment for $900, which our stipends can handle). However, those are things to really consider when you're choosing schools to apply to. I agree wholeheartedly with everyone here- choose a program that feels right to you and you will (probably?) be happy, but if you only have one option it's not about whether you'll be happy moving, but whether you'll be happy if you don't attend graduate school right now. Also, just curious, why 6 years? Most programs are only 4 years (5 max), if you're coming in with an MA you shouldn't need the extra coursework. Maybe if the time committment wasn't as long, it wouldn't be as scary to make the move. One of the biggest motivators for me living somewhere I didn't like was that it was a short amount of time (2 years). If you don't love Bloomington, just try to finish up in 4 years and move on.
  10. Officially accepted my offer at TCU's rhet/comp PhD program. Very happy to finally have made my decision. Good luck to everyone out there still trying to make a decision. It can be hard, but take your time, you've still got two more weeks
  11. Just turned down offers at Miami University, Florida State, Georgia State, and Virginia Tech. All rhet/comp. Hope this helps someone out!
  12. So I officially accepted my offer at Texas Christian University. For future rhet/comp ppl who are lurking or applying for their PhD next year, if you are interested in New Media studies, multimodal work, or food rhetorics I would highly recommend the program. I just visited last week and found the department to be very welcoming and the stipend is very competitive to the other offers I received. For anyone waitlisted, I'm declining offers today at Miami University, Virginia Tech, Georgia State, and Florida State. Hope this helps someone out!
  13. renea

    2018 Acceptances

    Finally got my acceptance letter from Georgia State (quite frankly very late in the game as I have already accepted elsewhere) so warning to future ppl who apply they sent out notifications very late.
  14. renea

    Campus Visits

    I'm curious, about how long do programs usually take to reimburse for your travel costs? Has anyone already received their reimbursement for a recent visit? Combined my husband and I are waiting on about $1000 of reimbursement. Most programs told me it'll take about 2 weeks, but so far I haven't received anything in the mail and I don't want to pester secretaries about it. Also, and this is going to sound bad, but I feel awkward declining an offer and then asking about a reimbursement. Does anyone have experience with this? Have you ever heard of a department not reimbursing a prospective student after the visit?
  15. Honestly... I wouldn't do it. There are enough programs out there that do fund for MAs that I personally wouldn't accept an unfunded position. You don't want to add to your debt when you could have taken a funded position at a lesser known program (I say lesser known rather than lower ranked, since in Rhet/Comp ranking is so subjective). I'll share a few reasons why I wouldn't do it: An MA from a top program is helpful when applying for PhD programs, but it is no guarantee that you'll be accepted into a PhD program (top or otherwise). I have witnessed first hand this season great applicants from top programs get no or few acceptances even though they went to a "top program." Not having funding can hurt your overall performance. Will you do just as well in grad school if you have to take on more work? Will you attend conferences if you're having to pay out of pocket for them? Additional school debt can change your career path. I have friends who are not able to take a gap year because they can't afford to start paying their student debt. I know people who are having to accept their only offer instead of reapplying for this reason too. You can't predict the job market. Rhet/comp does have more job openings than other fields, but there's no way to know 6 years down the line what the job market (or economy) will look like. You might change your mind. There are lots of folk who decide that academia isn't for them after going through their MA. There's nothing wrong with that, in fact that's why an MA is so great- it lets you test out grad school without the PhD committment, but once again- is the debt worth the risk? I personally would wait it out and see if you get off the waitlist or get funded at the other program. MA funding isn't great, but any funding is better than no funding. Additionally, many people (lots of ppl on GC in fact) go to lesser known places for their MA and get into top programs for their PhD. If you don't end up with a funded offer you can always reapply the next year or see if you can secure funding over the summer (then decline if you don't) sometimes funding opens up after April 15th. I will give the disclaimer though that this is coming from someone who has no college debt and will not be taking any on in my PhD, so maybe some people with more experience with loan repayment could weigh in on the pros/cons.
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