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nhhistorynut last won the day on July 23

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About nhhistorynut

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    New England
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  • Program
    History PhD

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  1. Reading tips for graduate students in history programs

    2-3 hours for me. Sometimes less if it's a shorter book (under 250 pages, for example). I'll read the intro/conclusion, the preface if there is one, any sort of epilogue if it exists, and then skim all the other chapters. Yes I always feel like I have enough. As long as I know the argument, why the author thinks its important, and where it fits in the historiography. I also like to pull random tidbits from the text that I found sort of interesting. I've never had anyone say "in the sixth paragraph of chapter 5, the author talked about [insert obscure example here]" and then expect everyone to know exactly what they're talking about with all the details. In my first reading class of my PhD program this semester, the professor actually told us which parts to read lol. "Read the intro, read the conclusion, skim sections 1 and 2, and then choose either section 3 or section 4 to also skim."
  2. Approaching first semester of PhD and feeling overwhelmed

    @telkanuru thanks for the laugh lol. I love the onion. Definitely feel some imposter syndrome creeping up, but I'll do what I can to keep it at bay!
  3. Approaching first semester of PhD and feeling overwhelmed

    @cowgirlsdontcry I apologize for not specifying; I am married and my husband works full time and is quite supportive. But I do like your idea of including them in something like making dinner, eating together (which we do anyways), etc. I think that will help a lot. I am still her "primary caregiver" so on days I don't have classes I will be getting her to and from school, which is fine, and on other days she will go to an after school program for an hour or so. Also, I appreciate your comments about the anxiety of "not knowing" and that is definitely where I'm at, I think. I hope, like you, once I do it, I will be far more confident. @gsc and @Sigaba I appreciate your advice. I've gotten quite good in my MA program at getting through books quickly. I can read a book in 2 hours usually (obviously not cover to cover). I think after a few weeks I will have it figured out about what to do when, what to prioritize, etc. It's all a little overwhelming going in; it almost feels like the cold feet some people get before their weddings (I didn't, but I did suddenly feel like I was going to throw up as soon as I got to the front...). I'm grateful now for the department's culture. I met quite a few existing grads yesterday and they were ridiculously friendly. Laid back, happy, lots of questions and advice, jokes about professors, etc. They all offered reading lists and books and so on. Several have kids and it was made explicitly clear by both faculty and other students that kids are more than welcome and if I'm in a bind I can usually drop mine off in the TA room and whoever is hanging out in there will watch her lol. Which is great and put me at ease. I think it's just a bit intimidating viewing a syllabus with SO many books (and these are all books, not journal articles) listed for each week (1 primary, the other supplemental). All of your comments have really helped me feel better about this and realize that I can handle it and will work it out. So thank you.
  4. How important are friends/social life in grad school?

    @SarahBethSortino did the email include all current grad students, or just the new incoming cohort? In my new cohort this year, I am definitely the oldest, the only one with a kid, the only one married, etc. However, when we all went into the TA room to meet the other grad students I was pleasantly surprised to find numerous, maybe almost half, of the other grad students are either close to my age or actually older. 4 are in their 40s or 50s. I think 5 of us have kids/families. You might find something similar once you get in and meet everyone. If not, that's okay, too. Be friendly as best you can, maybe you'll make better friends with an associate/recently graduated professor.
  5. Hi everyone, I've completed my orientation and registered for classes and am starting to feel sort of overwhelmed. I'm worried about managing the readings class (which looks like it might require something like 7 books a week), a research class, and my "how to teach college history" class (which only meets twice a month) while also leading 3 discussion sections of 15 students. Time management is starting to become a concern for me, as well as my ability to maintain a work/life balance, as I do have a family including a school-age child. Does anyone have some sage advice to calm my nerves and help me figure out how to juggle everything?
  6. Drop in Graduate School Applications

    The school I am going to said the drop between the 2016 and 2017 cycles was almost 50% and the DGS said he wasn't entirely sure why. That said, I don't necessarily see this as a bad thing, because the issue we've seen in the discipline in recent decades is that more PhDs are being awarded than jobs being created for PhDs. So perhaps the lower number of applicants will mean the system is starting to even out? Or maybe I'm just being hopeful lol.
  7. GRE Date

    FWIW, my quant score was 145, so...
  8. Project Proposal portion of SOP

    It's a bit of a difficult balance, I think. You want to let them know that you have an idea of what you want to do, but you also don't want to focus in so narrowly that they think you aren't flexible with it, especially since dissertation projects won't start for 2+ years after starting the program and sometimes ideas/interests change a great deal in that time. For me, I talked about my style of writing and researching and the project I was doing for my MA thesis. I then briefly discussed a very general theme/idea for my PhD program, saying that I want to focus on mid-20th century US race relations, but that I was flexible with the topic beyond that. I think the best thing to do is illustrate your ability as a historian with your WS and your discussion of yourself as a historian in the SOP, rather than focusing in on a narrow topic. Because if you go in and say "I want to study XYZ and have found these sources and these archives" and so on, they might pass you over for someone who is a bit more flexible going forward. This is just my experience, of course, and I'm sure a lot of this depends on the area of specialization and the specific schools to which you're applying.
  9. Life Reeked with Joy

    I can't stop laughing http://archive.wilsonquarterly.com/essays/history-past-life-reeked-joy totally worth a look, fellow historians!
  10. How long was your master's thesis?

    The variety is really interesting. I'm curious why some programs (like mine and some others) require such substantial projects/lengths and others don't...
  11. How long was your master's thesis?

    Wow that would have been a lot easier lol that's about how long my MA program expected seminar papers to be (well, 20-30)... That said, I plan to take some of my chapters and rework them a bit and submit for publication, so hopefully I'll get something out of my effort! If nothing else, I figure I'll have experience doing a big project, which will hopefully help me when dissertation time comes.
  12. How long was your master's thesis?

    I was looking around on here and couldn't find a thread on this. I'm curious just because my program says "between 100-200 pages" but other people have told me theirs was only something like 80 pages. I'm in crunch time now because I want to finish all the writing before my PhD program starts at the end of August (I will technically be dual enrolled this fall because I plan to defend in October and confer in December) and I still have 2 chapters to write (albeit the easiest; one is based on a paper I already wrote so I can borrow a lot from that, and the other is just the conclusion). Anyways, I just wrapped up chapter 3 today and the document put together right now is 90 pages. I'm thinking it'll be around 140-150 when it's done. So, how long was yours? Just curious
  13. What kind of history do you prefer to write?

    @VAZ I'd venture to guess that it's likely the other way around; how medieval history and theories apply to post-colonial and race theories. It's pretty interesting, actually, when you think about it, because many race-based laws and institutions were founded on (and defended by) the interpretation of religious texts.
  14. What kind of history do you prefer to write?

    I'm a themes and theories person. I had a hard time picking just one lol. I specialize in race relations, so theme-based and theory-based research/scholarship are equally relevant and useful. I'd add, too, that I avoid "great man" histories because they don't really interest me very much.
  15. Marxist Departments?

    good advice above. I'd also add that you can look to (semi-recent) books that you've read and enjoyed. Then, google the authors to find out where they teach, research the institutions a bit, and then reach out to them from there.