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Tigla

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Everything posted by Tigla

  1. Tigla

    GRE Score Validity

    I would contact the programs and ask them directly. They will be able to tell you whether they will accept them or not. For your reference, here is what the ETS FAQ section says: For tests taken on or after July 1, 2016, scores are reportable for five years following your test date. For example, scores for a test taken on July 3, 2018, are reportable through July 2, 2023. For tests taken prior to July 1, 2016, scores are reportable for five years following the testing year in which you tested (July 1–June 30). For example, scores for a test taken on May 15, 2016, are reportable through June 30, 2021. GRE scores earned prior to July 2013 are no longer reportable. GRE scores earned in July 2013 are reportable until June 30, 2019. Note: It takes approximately five business days to process requests to send GRE scores. If you plan to send scores and the date at which your scores are no longer reportable is approaching, allow enough time for processing or your scores may not be sent.
  2. Tigla

    Venting Thread- Vent about anything.

    I had to fail a student today after months of trying to motivate them to do their work and engage with the class material. I know it's their fault for not doing the work, but it still feels like you failed them as a teacher. That feeling can jump off a bridge!
  3. I lived in Berlin for 2 years while completing my MA and frequently visited Vienna to meet friends and colleagues. Both cities are amazing and allow you to be whoever you want. I focused on the books and missed a lot both cities have to offer. There are a lot of impromptu performances by local bands, operas, and musicals that occur in both places. I "enjoyed" Berlin's public transport system more than Vienna's because Berlin's system allowed you to reach any corner of the city while Vienna's system has some gaps in it. Both are dated and need updating, but that is the case in every city I visited in Europe. Like most capitals in Europe, both cities are experiencing a rather quick increase in the cost of living. Rent in Berlin is by far the quickest expense that is increasing and you are receiving less and less for the rent. Meanwhile, Vienna is expensive in general, but I found going out to be the most expensive. A cup of coffee in the city would normally cost about 2-3 euros, but do not be shocked if you see 4 euro cups being sold. Despite these issues, both are great places to live once you get into the groove of a program and city. I suggest learning German if you want to really integrate (at least passable bar talk German until the drunk German or Austrian switches to English to practice) and make the most out of both places. Best of luck with your studies and feel free to PM me if you have specific questions!
  4. Just to further expand on SIgaba's great advice about housing and renting. I built homes in my teen years with my family and cannot emphasize the importance of checking pipes, electric outlets, and signs for termites/ants/insects. These three problems caused me the most headaches because the issue could be a one day fix or several weeks to month-long fix. If you have a piping issue, it could be something as simple as opening the trap and removing a bunch of hair from it (I'm looking at the women and super hairy men here) or it could be something as severe as a cracked pipe buried deep in the guts, which could force you to leave the unit for months. If you open the pipes and hear a rattling sound, immediately ask the landlord how long the water was shut off to the apartment. 9 times out of 10, the sound is merely air being forced out of the pipes, but it could also be a much worse/hidden problem. If you live in the Northern US, make sure to ask the landlord if the pipes ever froze shut. Today, most homes never experience their pipes freezing, but it can happen frequently to older homes, which may lead to problems down the road. As for electric outlets, make sure they are flush to the wall, secured in the wall (or to the wall, depends on the type of outlet), and the cover is not damaged. If the cover is damaged, ask to see the outlet itself to ensure that it is only a broken cover and not a broken outlet. Broken outlets can easily start fires for any reason, a simple surge could spark the carpeting, wooden framing, or the drywall. The last thing you need to know, this might be more of a post-move-in thing, is the layout of the house and the location of breakers according to the rooms. Overloading and causing a breaker to trip is normal and not a problem, but can become one if you do it on a regular basis. Termites/ants/insects are the worst problem, in my opinion. Here are the signs of termites. If there are any insects, leave immediately. You do not know if the insects just arrived or have been there for several years. If they have been around for years, then you can bet there is structural damage to some parts of the area they are in, mainly doors, windows, and wooden framing. Sure, you can fix the problem, but remember, you are renting, not rent-to-own or owning. I don't mean to scare anyone into not renting, but you need to be informed when renting. The rights of renters vary greatly across the US and you need to know everything about a potential space before signing your name. The absolute last thing someone needs in the middle of graduate school is a major problem with their home and no means of recourse because you did not point it out to the landlord before signing the contract.
  5. Tigla

    How can I strengthen my application to Oxbridge?

    It may seem like I am beating around your question, but the truth is that there is no direct answer to your question. Some years, the committee will look for awards while other years they will emphasize research and related experiences. I did not win any awards and did not write a senior thesis, but I was still accepted into an MA program in Germany. If you are going to be applying to an MSt program and hoping to transition to an MPhil, then you will still need to check boxes that are not written on their website, which is why I dived into languages, theories, and subfields.
  6. Tigla

    How can I strengthen my application to Oxbridge?

    Grades don't mean squat once start applying and get into graduate school. Yes, they are important initial checks that applicants need to fulfill, but there is so much more to the process than grades. You check a lot of the boxes for acceptance, but there are a ton of unwritten/invisible boxes that you also need to check. It took me three cycles to learn that and I wish I had done so sooner. I'm not an expert on the transition from Early Modern to Modern history, but I would presume that you will need at least French, if not also German, to create a solid Ph.D. dissertation that lands you on your feet in the job market. @psstein and @telkanuru might be able to help you more with that aspect. As for the theories and historiography, you need to show knowledge of the field. From your brief description, it sounds like you will need to dive into theories of the state and state formation quite a bit. From there, you will need to choose subfields that interest you and read up on them. Historians no longer research on a topic and only teach within that topic. We must be able to sell ourselves to a wider audience than before, even more so if you get a degree from outside the USA. You will need to branch yourself out from the political and legal word to include other fields. Global history, the Atlantic world, ocean histories, empire and power, and even intellectual history are all aspects that could fit well with your interests. This is how you start checking those unofficial boxes (there will only be more if you do pursue a degree in the UK).
  7. Tigla

    How can I strengthen my application to Oxbridge?

    Ummm...okay, that leaves most of the field wide open. What is your time frame and region of the world? What subfields do you envision yourself fitting within? How does your work relate to the field in general? What theories do you subscribe to/use in your research? Do you have the necessary language skills to perform your research and engage with secondary literature?
  8. Tigla

    How to take notes- in history specifically?

    I don't take notes in seminar discussions. Instead, I mark up the given articles or books that we are discussing. I'd assume this can be done by printing them out and using a pencil, but it'll be slower and not searchable. I found having digital copies available with my annotations helped me more in seminar discussions than good old fashion paper and pencil.
  9. Tigla

    Ann Arbor, MI

    I have a quick question about housing. I found an apartment in Ypsilanti for August 1. I held the apartment and I'm waiting on the landlord to send me the rental contract, so I'm starting to get a bit nervous about not having a place come August. How easy is it to find housing in Ann Arbor or Ypsilanti in July for an August move in date?
  10. Tigla

    How do PhD students usually spend their summers?

    I'm planning on using my first summer to improve my foreign languages, do a bit of relaxing with family visits, and planning research trips for year 2 and 3. Luckily, I have summer funding in addition to my stipend so I can afford to do a bit more my first summer. I think it comes down your workload and what you want to accomplish outside of the chaos of the semester.
  11. I'm in the middle of turning my MA thesis into an article and have received feedback from a journal that is blind reviewed. The editor was extremely kind and helpful with some general advice on how to improve my paper. As for the comments from my blind reviewer, well... they were nasty and not helpful at all. While I can understand some of the theory and framing comments, there were a handful of comments that questioned my intelligence and commitment to my work. I figured that I still had quite a bit of work ahead, but I wasn't expecting to be told to go pound rocks. Without going into them, how does one handle these type of comments? How do you try to improve your work and stay motivated? Do you move your article to another journal without making some changes?
  12. @maxhgns, @PaulaHsiuling, and @MoynihanBreakerBurkina I have taken all of your advice and have steadily worked to try and improve the piece while also ignoring some of the harsher comments. After reading through it another time (I don't know what number I'm on), the reviewer does have valid points of criticism, but I still stand by my original statement that some are completely out of line for academia (my idealized version at least). Regardless, I learned to thicken my skin and prepare for the brutality of the peer review process.
  13. Tigla

    Archive camera recommendations

    I have used the camera on my smartphone for most of my pictures and the photocopying service of the archive for documents that I could not get a good picture with my phone. I also second telkanuru's advice about reading up on all of the archive's rules. I misread a paragraph about the use of phone cameras for one archive and broke a German copyright law from the 1970s. I ended up apologizing and paying the fee I missed, but I could have saved myself and the archivist a headache if I read the rules a second time and then disclosed the photos on my phone.
  14. Tigla

    Laptops for Historians

    I'm currently looking for a new laptop to replace my oldish laptop (2 years). I abused my laptop during my MA and it needs to be replaced before I begin my PhD this August. At the moment, I'm debating between a classic clamshell, 2-in-1s, and a Chromebook. After googling, it seems like a lot of discussion focuses on the sciences and art/design fields. So, what kind of laptops are current graduate students, postdocs, and professors using in history programs? Personally, I am leaning towards a 2-in-1 laptop. I have a custom built desktop at home, which I will be upgrading come November. It does everything I could feasibly want a computer to do, so the laptop I purchase will be for library sessions, office work on campus, archival trips, and general browsing while not at home. After reading a ton of reviews on Chromebooks, I feel like one would not adequately support a young academic, especially when WIFI is not accessible or painfully slow. Lastly, a clamshell laptop tends to be heavier and more costly than a 2-in-1 laptop without a significant increase in efficiency and power. While a 2-in-1 has its own issues, I think they might provide the versatility, price effectiveness, and longevity I'm looking for at the moment.
  15. Tigla

    Laptops for Historians

    Yes, but with a bit more oomph. Some 2-in-1s are starting to have specs that are similar to typical clamshells, which is why I am debating buying one. Having the ability to type a paper on a keyboard, read articles/papers/books on a 13/15-inch screen, and switch to a tablet for annotations, note-taking, or traveling draws my interest. In general, do your departments offer discounts or additional funding for the purchase of laptops/tablets for research and writing? I found my department will offer candidates a small amount of money to replace old laptops as long as you buy a university approved laptop and can show a need for a new laptop (no clue what this exactly entails, but its there).
  16. Tigla

    Applications 2019

    Vienna is a beautiful city and in a great spot travel within Europe. Also, I know a couple of the PhD students at CEU if you ever consider doing a PhD there or just want to meet other graduate students. Best of luck with your MA!
  17. Tigla

    Ann Arbor, MI

    You are better looking outside of AA. I found a few apartments in Ypsilanti that meet your requirements. You need to be willing to take public transit, which is not bad in comparison to the rest of the US.
  18. Tigla

    2019 Visit Days/Decisions

    @TMP and @psstein have been hammering the writing aspect pretty hard for a very good reason. We need to uphold our end of the contract (TAing, exams, research, etc.) and the university needs to uphold their end, too. I also recommend reading the fine print in both your funding letter and acceptance letter. You will learn how the funding will change according to a change in tuition, and even how/why your funding may be pulled - plus a boatload of other small, but important facts about your program and contract. The fine print will be in legal terms, but read it and take it to heart. For example, I learned that my funding will be adjusted to inflation only if the annual inflation rate jumps over 3.5%, which it has not done in almost 40 years. Anything below 3.5% is considered as a big old LOL. So, my funding seems like it increases every year, but that is highly dependent on the state of the economy, not my overall progression through the degree.
  19. Tigla

    Applications 2019

    Honestly, no. You have a PhD offer and they are extremely hard to come by. Even if you complete a highly competitive and prestigious MA, you could still not receive a PhD offer because POIs move, lack of funding, cutting down the size of cohorts, etc. Your current offer may not be from a crème de le crème school, but you have 7 years to mold your research interests and skills, network at conferences, teach your own lectures, go on research trips to different countries, and so on. Instead of going backwards on a maybe, I suggest that you go forward and make the best of your PhD offer.
  20. Tigla

    Applications 2019

    I accepted my Michigan offer today and withdrew my application from NYU. Michigan's offer is too good to turn down in my opinion. With my name off the wait list, hopefully, someone from here will get that acceptance.
  21. Tigla

    Applications 2019

    With the cycle in full swing and the first wave of decisions rolling out, is it appropriate to reach out to a POI or the department and ask about the status of my application? I have a solid offer from a school that would be an excellent fit. However, School 2 is an excellent fit, too, but a lot depends on their offer and whether I'm on a wait list or not. Is this a situation where one should bite the bullet and wait it out or can you reach out and ask about the status of your application?
  22. Tigla

    How many times to apply?

    Unfortunately, no one can answer your question for you. You need to think long and hard about what you want to do with a PhD and if it is necessary. Also, you need to ask yourself if you're ready to give up on a PhD and move on. It sucks to think about moving on, but it's something you need to face with an honest face and plenty of support. I don't mean to discourage you by saying these things, but rather these things are the questions that I needed to mull over after my two years of rejections and wait lists. In the end, I decided that one more year was worth the work and possible heartbreak. Luckily, it paid off and I was accepted this cycle. First, I looked through all my old applications and sent a mock application to two professors that I admire, but more importantly, trust to give me honest and critical feedback. I'm not saying a select few professors give critical and positive feedback. Rather, I know these professors and have a collaborative and friendly relationship with them, which fosters more of a close working relationship. After they gave me feedback, I began preparing my new set of materials and sent them back to the professors for a final read over before submitting the final applications. Second, I talked with several of my closest friends about why I wanted to do a PhD. I wanted to think through whether I needed a PhD to do the work I wanted. They had some brutal comments, but those comments pushed me to reevaluate and reframe my application. Lastly, I kept in contact with several POIs and tried to develop an early working relationship with them throughout the application cycle. In fact, one of my POIs at my accepted university reached out to me after I received the decision letter and thanked me for taking his advice to heart and keeping in contact. He felt that I showed not only an in-depth knowledge of my topic, but also a willingness to work with him and develop a relationship. I'm not sure if one thing changed my application or if it was all of them. I do know that I took a hard look at myself and decided that it was time to go all out one last time. Maybe it was the extra oomph created by giving myself only one more cycle that helped me get into a school. Or maybe it was dumb luck that I was accepted. In short, do not beat yourself down and give up right away. Take a couple months to decompress and think about whether you want to do a PhD. If you decide that it is, then come back and go at it once again.
  23. Tigla

    Applications 2019

    I was admitted after three cycles of rejections and wait lists. I would say the most important thing is to not get discouraged if you are not admitted on your first or even second attempt. Use the experiences of your rejections and wait lists to hone your SOPs, writing sample, and school selection. Before you begin editing and preparing for the next cycle, I encourage you to take a break and relax a bit. Most of our brains are exhausted and emotionally drained. A break will help you gather yourself and think critically on your own work. Besides gradcafe, another helpful source are the subreddits for SOPs, graduate school, and history. There are a million threads with applicants and current students talking about applications in general, as well as history. I personally used the subreddits to find readers of my SOPs who I never met. It was a great way to get some advice and tips for improving my SOPs which I used alongside the tips I received from professors and friends. Like always, if you have any questions, feel free to PM me and I'll do my best to give you advice. Best of luck to all new and experienced applicants!
  24. Tigla

    Applications 2019

    Rejected from Princeton. A bit expected since it wasn't the best fit and one of my POIs isn't taking many students anymore.
  25. Tigla

    Applications 2019

    Thank you very much! I was very much discouraged and ready to give up. Luckily, I reached out to someone and they helped me relax and take a moment to think. It was a not so gentle reminder that we all need help at some point in this process. Thank you @historygeek.
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