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About urbanfarmer

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  1. I agree with much of what @Rootbound said, as someone who is also at an institution with a really strong, active union. Not only has my union worked tirelessly to push for our best interests (and insure that, each year, we receive fair pay-- among other things), but it's been a huge part of enabling me to really understand how and to what extend the faculty in my department are on the side of the graduate students. The ways in which they support union activity full-heartedly and without question has made it clear that the faculty really see us as workers deserving of fair and equitable treatme
  2. The program I'm in takes between 6-8 students a year, and I think this is the perfect size. It's large enough that there can be a real community of grad students (in your own cohort, if you're lucky enough to get along, and in the department generally)... but it's not so large that professors don't know who you are, or have to split their time among too many students (especially for bigger-name profs, who are asked to be on a lot of people's committees).
  3. What I hear you saying is: school A is a better fit for me, but I'd really rather live where school B is (and going there won't tank my academic life). A lot of conventional wisdom points to school A. However, I don't think I can stress enough how emotionally and mentally hard being in a PhD program is. I'm happy with my school, program, advisors, cohort, work, etc etc. I have (very close) friends outside of school that I see regularly, I eat well and work out, my physical health is solid, and I have no chronic mental health issues. I like where I live, for the most part. Even with all th
  4. I know someone who applied there this year and was rejected-- but they got an exceptionally kind email. Maybe your email rejection got lost, if you're only seeing this on their portal or whatever.
  5. I'm sure this other list has a lot of good questions, but here's some other-- potentially not as obvious-- things to ask that (in no particular order): 1. Where do students live? (esp important for bigger cities-- get an idea of what neighborhoods you should scout for housing) 2. Ask students what professors' reputations are. Not academically, but as someone to work with. For instance, I have a friend who's chair is infamous for disappearing for weeks and weeks at a time (not literally-- just not responding to emails, or being really hard to meet with). My friend likes the hands-off
  6. Also, as a general piece of advice, you might want to apply to some MA programs first. It sounds like you're still in the process of totally figuring out what you want to specialize in, and MA programs are great for that, since you get some more time to develop the depth, etc. that you say you feel like you're currently lacking. Good luck!
  7. @karamazov I'd guess that most of your professors are probably thrilled you're going to be attending grad school, and will happily accommodate your absences. So talk to them first! Give them the days you'll be missing, and tell them why, and why it's important to you to go. They'll probably say something like, "congratulations! Have fun!" But if it turns out to be a problem (if, for some reason, you have a professor that says, "if you miss one more day, I'll dock your grade!"), then you can adjust your plans accordingly (maybe, say, only going to the visiting days for the PhD programs you're i
  8. Here's some tips for people freaking out about interviews: 1. Know that they're trying to get you to talk about things, not trying to trip you up. As such, be prepared to talk about your research, but don't feel like it's a quiz. 2. As someone else said, feel free to admit that you haven't read something/don't know much about something. However, the best thing to do is not let that "I'm not sure, I haven't read that" end the conversation or question. Instead, try to turn the conversation back around into something you either DO know, or turn it into a relevant question. i.e. "You kno
  9. I think any professor will be (or should be!) understanding of financial issues-- no matter how decent your stipend is, there are very few stipends that are good enough that no one needs to be mindful of money. In all the seminars I took, there was always (or almost always) a number of different editions present. Whether it was newer/older, or a different publisher of the classic, etc etc-- it was sometimes annoying, but no one thought it was a big deal. Also, I know a few people in my program who are really on top of checking things out of the library, either at the school, or from one of the
  10. Hey, I made a very similar switch between my M.A. and starting my PhD. I've continued to have a foot in the door in terms of the earlier period, and my project will in some ways be influenced by that earlier period. A few pieces of advice: 1. What @WildeThing said about making it seem like the logical next step in your research is correct. Make the question you're asking so compelling that committees can't help but agree that it is important that you continue moving forward in time. Don't just say "I've used x y and z to examine Keats, and now I want to use those to look at W. H. Auden"--
  11. As everyone is getting settled into a decision, exciting but also anxiety-inducing among all the talk of a collapsing job market, I thought I'd share this really lovely piece that celebrates some of the great things about grad school: http://avidly.lareviewofbooks.org/2012/11/13/love-in-the-ruins-or-should-i-go-to-grad-school/
  12. The awkwardness of these visits is probably good practice for how awkward a lot of academic events are-- it might eventually be easier once you know some people, but you're still expected to talk to strangers and mill about with small talk (think guest lectures or seminars, round tables, interdisciplinary events, conference meet n greets, etc etc). Anyways, the best advice I can give you is just to completely fake it (until you make it? hopefully? I'm a bartender and this worked eventually). Everyone likes people who are friendly and who seem interested in them, so even when you have tha
  13. You can definitely take a conference paper and eventually expand it into an article. The article can later be modified/changed/etc into a book chapter. None of this is necessary, of course (a conference paper might be only ever that), but once you get to know someone's work well, you'll see that most scholars are often working through ideas in this way. It makes sense-- you often might not get an idea quite right on the first try, but will get it to the form you want as you keep working at it. Alternately, if you're working on a theoretical problem, you might see someone using different texts/
  14. UIC also has a "program for writers" in their English department-- I think (although don't quote me on this, as I'm not a creative writer myself) their program is fairly heavy on critical stuff.
  15. As someone whose popped into this forum from time to time, and gotten invested in y'all's decisions, I'd love to see someone make a "final decisions" thread so we can all see where everyone is ending up!
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