a_sort_of_fractious_angel

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a_sort_of_fractious_angel last won the day on July 18

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About a_sort_of_fractious_angel

  • Rank
    Decaf
  • Birthday October 15

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Female
  • Location
    Philadelphia
  • Interests
    Contemporary (1940 - present); Anglophone; Global/Transnational; United States, Caribbean, Central America
  • Application Season
    2018 Fall
  • Program
    English

Recent Profile Visitors

402 profile views
  1. Schools and Controversies

    I tend to fall into this school of thought - I did my MA at UVA and, while I didn't enjoy living in Charlottesville and don't agree with Sullivan's/The University's statements on recent events, that's not my reasoning for not applying to UVA again. "Fit," as @cowgirlsdontcry notes, is key - if a department is misaligned enough with my academic or personal requirements, I'll pass on them. Looking past that and toward the university at-large is, while certainly worthwhile, definitely challenging - I'd guess many big policies are problematic in some sense. It's a good thing to be aware and to be ready to demand change, though.
  2. Making myself a better candidate

    This is a great point - I need to think more about my metaphor, because @Doll Tearsheet - you're spot on. I think the SOP can be brought down swiftly by too much Intellectual Stuff (if that makes sense) and the WS absolutely needs to be at a professional level of scholarship. I perhaps meant more that the WS shows "hey, I can produce the kind of professional scholarship that is required at the doctoral level" and, for me, that more how I envision work versus show, but this is also totally semantics and not important. The important points are, as @Doll Tearsheet notes, the SOP should speak plainly and clearly on its goals and the WS should prove your academic abilities.
  3. Making myself a better candidate

    Hi! I hope your MA experience is amazing and best of luck with your first semester! If I could sum up some of the things that I learned from my MA (in a way that is hopefully helpful to you), I would say - (1) Be open and engaged with professors; they're (obviously) some of your strongest allies in the application process. Getting to know them and asking their opinions on best practices towards applying during that first semester will (a) give you a network of awesome LWs and advisers and (2) help you figure out what adviser style works for you. Hitching your wagon to a superstar is great, but you risk detaching somewhere in the troposphere if the adviser is misaligned with you in a holistic way. It's a weird way to put it, but I hope I'm at least sort of clear. (2) Be open and engaged with your peers; they're your second line of defense in PhD apps. Finding good friends means (usually) good and honest eyes who can read your SOP and WS. Moreover, I've some of my best app/scholarship practices from friends (and from reading their work.) (3) Focus on creating a great WS by keeping things simple. There are many opinions on what the WS is; I would say that the WS is the "workhorse" of your application - its primary goal is to prove that you can create and sustain an intelligent and engaged academic argument for 18ish pages. It's also good to explore a bit in your field, but the WS doesn't need to be the "showhorse" that the SOP (with all its ambition and intellectual acrobatics) needs to be. I learned this in a lovely convo with a peer today, so - hey - friends are key. (4) Reach out for help if you need it - there are lovely folks on here willing to talk. There are lovely folks at your program (in the English department and elsewhere) likely willing to help. It sounds like a platitude because it is, but it takes a village (in some sense) to make this whole PhD app thing work. FWIW, I haven't stuck the landing yet in terms of apps, so please - take my advice with a lot of salt (well-intended, not Salty Salt), ignore whatever doesn't work for you, and PM if something does stick out. Best!
  4. Once More, With Feeling; Or, The Joys of Revisions

    GOOD LUCK! That's so exciting and I hope that Monday schedule (that is a lot!) helps power your week forward in exciting ways! And thank you! I'll be sure to keep you in the loop!
  5. Once More, With Feeling; Or, The Joys of Revisions

    Thank you! Oofda, that makes me feel so much better. I hope all is well with you and that settling into your new home and program goes well (it's like SOON right? 8/1?)
  6. Once More, With Feeling; Or, The Joys of Revisions

    These are great ideas - the physical (electronic?) clearing of the slate. I like that a lot. Also, I think you're spot-on with cutting; that may be what's bugging me now. I'm good at seeing what can go but as I don't have something immediate to put in its place, I don't want to cut the old stuff. I'll keep chugging along with separate documents. ALSO! That's a great way to run comments alongside one another (from different people) - I've always been very confused as to how one does that without getting lost in the comments, but I really like the idea of putting opposing ones together and figuring them out that way. Far more efficient than sending out drafts to one person at a time. I'm getting thwapped in the face by branches but also this paper reads like some prime Kanye West lyrics, so off to a friend it goes.
  7. I'm slogging through my W.S. rewrite and have realized that my usual tricks aren't getting me where I'd like to go - so, instead of moping around, I figured I'd shoot a message out to you all. Are there any useful techniques you use when re-approaching work? Any weird habits that work really well? I'm struggling with revising without starting something new - I've had the wonderful (but also horrible) experience of discovering work written on the stuff I'm working on that was written AFTER I'd produced this paper. As such, I'd like to reorient and incorporate this scholarship, but I also don't want to end up writing an entirely new paper in response to it. I'm also focusing too much on details; instead of moving forward with larger revisions (like paragraph argument-flow & sentence-level corrections ), I'm trapped by single words. It's probably procrastination manifesting as a dogged pursuit of a synonym for the word "aim," but it's been 3 days and I gotta move past the "ew, ugh, why did I write tHiS, I canNOT lEt tHiS mONstRosity ExIsT?!" feeling and just get on with it. Me and my stitched-together monster of a paper would appreciate any and all tricks y'all have. and thanks in advance!
  8. MAT or MA in English before getting PhD?

    Hey, @jc_63 - I have a few peers who have thought through these kind of questions and done various things, so I wanted to drop a quick note. FWIW, my BA and MA are in English, so I can only really speak to those areas in a "legit" way - everything else is pretty much anecdotal or the result of a quick website scan. That being said, if your end goal is "professor of education [educational leadership and policy] at a top research university," the English Ph.D. won't get you there - you'll be trained to be an English scholar and then professor (in that order), not a education professor (as rising star points out above.) Moreover, as has been noted above also, the job market for English profs is extremely unstable at this time. However (!) there are both MA and Ph.D/Ed.D programs that would help you get to where (I think) you want to be. From what I can piece together (again, I'm not actually in the field so I could be wrong), a MAT will be useful to you if you want to do secondary education; if you want to end up ultimately in higher education, however, an MA/Ph.D/Ed.D in student affairs or administration or policy would be likely the best option. Now, I have NO idea about how higher ed Ph.Ds feel about MAT degrees, but I anticipate that there are translatable components; perhaps, when you start your MAT program, the DGS or an adviser could suggest how you shape a path into higher education. UVA's Curry School of Education, Vanderbilt's Ed.D Higher Ed, or UPenn's Graduate School of Education might be web pages you could look at as you suss out what you'd like to do. Best of luck in your studies, wherever they take you!
  9. 2018 Applicants

    Thank you, @klader!! I think gmail is a great plan and I look forward to talking with you all - this is exciting!!!
  10. 2018 Applicants

    That's a great way to put it, @klader If you need a peer-ear to bounce ideas off, feel free to holler my way! Congrats, @Keri - that's fantastic news!
  11. 2018 Applicants

    Thanks! @Keri - I appreciate it! I hope the group is feeling good, too! My SOP is not wildly out of control, though my WS is kind of like a shopping cart in desperate needs of 3 more wheels, so that's going to be the rest of July for me, lol.
  12. 2018 Applicants

    @punctilious, @klader, +++ I'm guessing we don't need to make a chat, just join an existing one? I've no idea how to do that but if there is anything I'm supposed to do, just holler. Thanks for tagging me - I really appreciate it!
  13. Applying to only one geographical area?

    Hey, @aves - I'm a little late to your post and I haven't had success (yet) with applying to a particular region/area, but I'm going to be pretty geographically-oriented this application season myself so, if you ever want to vent/bounce ideas/chat about it, please send me a PM!
  14. Writing a new writing sample

    Everything written so far is fantastic advice - I just want drop a quick line in case my experiences can further help you, @lit_nerd. I'm assuming you're applying to both PhDs and MAs (if I'm wrong, I apologize) - as others here have noted, the PhDs are going to want to see a dialogue between the two, but (from my lived experience) MA programs are less concerned with seeing a nuanced and rich dialogue between a powerful SOP and WS than with seeing two (perhaps not totally connected) pieces of writing that are strong and interesting and demonstrative of your growth potential. Case in point, I submitted for my 1st round of apps a WS on Joyce and psychoanalysis (weird paper) and a SOP that was vague everywhere except in its dogged love for the unfashionable field of literary trauma studies (even weirder than the WS), and I was accepted to two MA programs. While my materials didn't speak to one another in any sort of direct way and weren't strong enough to get me into a PhD, they did get me a step closer. And there's nothing wrong with taking the MA as time to continue growing - I'm so, so, so glad I did, and I can recommend a fully-funded MA program to look at (if you're interested.) I believe, too, that someone here (I'm sorry I can't recall who said this) suggested that if you REALLY love this WS you're submitting, you shape you SOP around it. I think that is a idea well-worth considering. If you know you can write intelligently and easily on a certain topic, it's sort of pragmatic to "pick" that topic to spend 5-7 years working on. I am not suggesting, of course, that you pick a topic that's not actually what you love. I'm more trying to say that, as a PhD, you'll be able to work with all the professors in the department (probably), freely apply to whatever conferences catch your eye, and shape your studies in a way that works for you. Thus, provided you speak a little toward your multiple areas of interest, you can perhaps make the bridge between these two areas during your studies (as opposed to within your application materials) - however, I'm not a PhD, so others here will know more about exactly how much wiggle room you'll have upon arrival. Finally, I think somewhere on here the question of submitting multiple papers appeared - my only advice for that is, if you do it, alert your LWs and make sure they know what paper is going where. One of my previous LWs spoke about my WS in her recommendation and I'm guessing other profs do that, too. It'd be super awkward to have a LOR bragging about Paper A when you submitted Paper B (I'm sure you've already thought this out, but I had to say it.) Finally, finally - there is a safety to sticking with a paper that someone else has seen (perhaps multiple times) - you might have more room to get more nuance, simply because you've been able to step away and come back more than you would with a brand new sample.
  15. 2018 Applicants

    @Keri and @klader - if y'all are still thinking of getting a PM group together, I'd love to join in as well!