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Squawker last won the day on May 12 2010

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  1. My mother has an unusual maiden name, which as far as I can tell will die out with her generation. Our family hasn't found anyone, even in the "Old Country," who has this name, and my only uncle has no children. It's a really weird name and it's sad to think of it dying out. It's also the kind of name people laugh at because it's weird and goofy. For a while I've wanted to give that name to my [future] children, with the idea that I and their father would keep our own names. Of course that would be a bit confusing, but the major obstacle seems to be that I can't imagine any man ever agreeing to bestow this particular name upon his children, let alone any name that isn't his. Choosing not to take on a man's name can be offensive enough to the guy (not that it should be), but asking him to change his name or to give some other name to the children you have together would probably not be well-received! I was appalled when my boyfriend told me he'd be upset if we got married and I didn't take his name. I don't remember what he said when I suggested, to make a point, that he take on my name instead. I guess the answer to my problem is to find a new guy with a last name like "Butts" that he'd be happy not to pass on to his children. Sorry if this is straying off topic, but I thought it was an interesting topic (especially the stuff I never knew about Muslim naming practices).
  2. This time is the best, I think. All the pros of being able to say "yeah, I'll be going to grad school at X University next year" without the con of having to work. I will have one month off this summer, during which I plan to spend every moment drunk.
  3. I would call them if I were you. This is an unacceptably long time to make someone wait for a decision, especially since they already said it would only be a week. In fact, since you were expecting a letter a couple weeks ago, it's entirely appropriate and not "pushy" at all to call them and say, "Hi, I was told to expect a letter a couple weeks ago but think it may have been lost in the mail because I have not received anything. Can you give me any information about my application?" UofT seems pretty minimalist in their contacting of applicants, so I wouldn't expect them to get back to you on their own accord. You should definitely call, as emailing doesn't guarantee any response. During the application process, I waited weeks for a response to an urgent email I sent to a UofT department. When waiting any more would have made it impossible to complete my application in time, I tried calling the department's admissions office. I quickly learned that they have some kind of policy of never answering this phone, as each time I called I was directed to their voicemail. However, since the message inbox was full, was not able to leave a message. I was very angry about this. So I just decided to call again and again, continuously, hoping someone in the office would answer just to stop the ringing. It worked after about 10 minutes of calling, and the woman on the phone actually recognized my query from my email! She had read the email, but had not bothered to respond. Lesson learned: Never depend on UofT (or any department, really) to get back to you on something. Call and ask them directly, or else you may never get any response at all. Also I should note that I was accepted, so they don't seem to have taken much note of my forwardness.
  4. I don't ever intend to change my name, because the idea of changing my own name halfway through my life just seems crazy, plus I really like my name and would be sad to give it up. Also, it would be so confusing. My mother went for the hyphenated name solution, which I think has turned out to be more hassle than it's worth because no one ever remembers the hyphenated name, but writes to her as one or the other, essentially leaving her with two interchangeable last names. If you are intent on changing your name when you marry, I suggest changing your name in your personal life (checkbook, drivers license, etc.), but then publishing under both names so that people will still know who you are with or without your husband's added name. So, Chelsea Hlodsman marrying Donald Fritato would become Chelsea Fritato but in her publications could be Chelsea Hlodsman Fritato. Just a suggestion - can't see it getting too complicated because it's not like you'll be publishing things every five minutes, so you'd only have to use the longer name very rarely, about as rarely as you would currently use your middle name. Of course, if I marry someone with a last name like Tinkeldorf or just something completely ridiculous, I'll go for the hyphenated double name. Otherwise, I'm keeping it simple and sticking with my own!
  5. Frankly, it's too early for you to be worrying this much about getting into grad school. It doesn't matter what your GPA is right now because it will only make up 1/4 of your overall GPA, and it's the year of classes admissions people will care about the least. It's not even a low GPA anyways, so don't waste your time and peace of mind worrying about it. Also, don't bother looking too hard for specific programs now. It's obviously good to be interested in your major and to look out for future opportunities, but by the time you actually get around to applying for grad school your interests are likely to have changed significantly (not to mention the possibility that faculty will have moved around at your prospective universities). Working on a language is great and cannot possibly "hurt" your chances of future acceptance. But things like geographical background and extra-curriculars are completely irrelevant and only help with getting into college, not grad school. My advice is just to keep on doing well and take whatever opportunities come your way, like internships or related jobs/volunteer positions. Work on building up your CV, but don't limit yourself to only going to grad school or only studying one specific sub-field. Just keep being a good student, enjoy your student life a little, and worry about your future career in a couple years. There's a fine line between giving yourself a head start and burning out.
  6. I'm going into an MA program with a larger number of students than a PhD cohort, so I'm not really so worried about making friends or long-term friendships as I would normally be before moving to a new place. I don't know who any of the other students are, how many of us there are, there's no Facebook group or any of the usual pre-attendance stuff. I guess it would be nice to get a feel for who I'll be taking classes with, but I'm trying not to think about it too much and to spend as much time as I can with my undergrad friends I'll be graduating with. Are the other students in your cohort mostly going to be moving from other cities/states? Because if they are, even if they are married they'll probably still be interested in making some new friends. Besides, you can always get involved in other things on campus and go to grad student events (they have them here, I'm assuming they have them elsewhere) to meet students from other departments.
  7. I hardly ever take notes in class, and my notebooks are a joke. Pretty much the only time I ever take notes in class is when the professor says something important sounding, and everyone starts scribbling it down - I write something down too just so that the prof doesn't think I'm not listening or that I don't think his point is important. Whenever I try to take more notes, I generally end up missing out on the benefits of the discussion. Also, now that I've gotten used to typing everything up, my handwriting is horrible and I'm too lazy to write things out coherently. One suggestion, though, for taking more notes in class: bring your books with you and write the notes in the book. I write like crazy in all my books and for some reason, having the book there in front of me with enticingly blank margins makes note-taking a lot more natural for me.
  8. "I just figured out that reindeer are real, like, a year ago. And one time, recently, I poured coffee on my oatmeal because I spazzed out on what milk looks like?" Sounds like you're just about insane enough for a successful career in academia.
  9. I certainly don't think it would be inappropriate to ask.
  10. I used to work in food service and hated it when people would ask for "extra" ranch dressing, mayo, whatever (in quotations because their food came with neither, as they were paying for neither), because it involved digging the gigantic bucket of dressing out of the walk-in fridge and sticking my entire [gloved] hand down in there to reach the stuff with the scoop. Inevitably those who demanded free portions of dressing would then stand around whining about how "she's really taking her time in there" and about how we should really just have free portions of dressing sitting out ready for people to take. I won't miss living far away from my family and many of my friends. I'm moving closer to home this time.
  11. Starting a business at the same time as starting grad school sounds quite dangerous to me, because of the financial risk involved. I think those who have already responded have given good advice. As far as the expected level of difficulty is concerned, I don't know if you'll be able to get a sound answer unless you speak to someone who is currently attending the program you will be attending. Not only are all programs likely to be a bit different, but lots of people who are used to getting similar grades may dedicate very different amounts of time to work. I was told by a friend who went to law school that the whole "law school is so much work" thing was a big lie. Yeah, it was quite a bit of work, but anyone who worked hard in college and didn't get too used to partying all the time would be able to handle it. I know some students who think that spending 8 hours a day on coursework/classes is ridiculous, even though they cite college as a full-time occupation. To me, that's a very reasonable workday. So it all depends on how people work. I know that in the years to come I'll be working my ass off through every waking hour, crying from the stress, and that someone in the same program as me will somehow waltz through it casually, while maintaining a million other hobbies. So it goes! Just be sure to make your degree (i.e. your full time occupation!) your main priority.
  12. Rankings might not matter or be truly indicative of a program's quality, but it can't be denied that some programs are undeniably better than others. Sure, there is the whole question of fit and sub-field strength, and it is definitely possible for a lesser-known program to be a better choice for an applicant than, say, Harvard. But when you look at it in terms of groups of programs instead of individual ones, I think it is possible to categorize programs on a loose ranking system of one's own. In that case, it's likely that one's own rankings (taking personal factors into account) will correspond loosely with the "official" rankings put out by USNWR and others. There might be some great programs out there whose rankings are undeservedly low. However, that doesn't mean that all the programs on the rankings list are equal, or that collectively the top 10 programs are of equal merit to the 40-50 programs. Americana and others are talking about broad trends that correspond to a number of programs they have applied to, not individual programs which may simply stray from the pattern.
  13. Being in a long distance relationship is actually a lot easier when you are swamped with work. You won't be bored and wondering what he's up to all the time, and you won't be thinking "I wish Johnny were here right now" the way you would be if you were having a fabulous time traveling or living a more relaxed lifestyle. Skype is really amazing, and makes being apart much easier. Decide on a regular time that will be good for you to talk, with the understanding that social events with real people should sometimes take priority. Also, try not to spend lots of time talking on Skype, because it gets dull pretty quickly and being visibly bored or running out of things to say during a call can be hurtful and aggravating to the person on the other line. Folding laundry or eating something while on the line is fine, but keeping Skype open when you're doing something else that requires mental energy is a bad idea. I dated a guy who didn't understand why I got annoyed that he would play an online game during our conversations. Being on Skype can sometimes feel like having the other person in the room with you, but don't try to make it a replacement for real human presence. Keep the conversations reasonably brief and enjoyable. For most people, the key to having a long distance relationship that doesn't fizzle out is to have plans for being together in the not-too-distant future. If your boyfriend is planning to stay in Charlotte indefinitely and you are just now starting a PhD program in Indiana, then the absence of any light at the end of the tunnel may weigh quite heavily on your relationship. But, of course, all relationships are different and I fully understand that some people are capable of putting their ideal love lives on hold for extended periods. Just remember, some people stay virgins well into their 20s (or indeed much longer), and there are lots of people who don't date anyone (or have any romantic/sexual experiences) for years at a time. Being in a long distance relationship can be frustrating, but if you were able to handle being a virgin and possibly not having a single boyfriend throughout puberty and adolescence, you can handle not being able to see your boyfriend every day. Lastly, don't underestimate the importance of handwritten letters and snailmail correspondence!
  14. I was rejected by a program that I considered the worst of those I applied to. I remember wondering whether if I was accepted there but nowhere else, I would even bother attending at all. This specific program was a more general history MA - their students cannot limit themselves to one field, but must take a wider variety of classes to prepare themselves for teaching in high schools and community colleges. I want to pursue a PhD, but I figured I would apply to this program just in case I failed miserably at my other applications and thought it better to take a few years out to teach. In the end, I was accepted at every MA program except for this one, even though the others are more prestigious. I'm left to assume that they considered me unsuited to their program because my interests are very specific and my major is not History, but a certain sub-field of history. Obviously for PhDs specificity would be a less understandable reason for rejecting an applicant. However, I've come across some PhD programs that I didn't apply to because they did not offer specific enough concentrations, and I would have had to take classes in multiple fields. I don't know if it was due to coincidence, but all these universities had lower rankings (well, I don't actually know what their rankings were since I don't follow rankings, but in any case they were institutions with less amazing reputations). Perhaps some of your rejections had something to do with that. At the end of the day, you can be glad to have your more prestigious acceptances. What does it matter if a lower-ranked program rejected you? You wouldn't have gone there anyway. Rejections can be difficult to handle, especially if you're a Lisa Simpson type and are used to constant academic praise. However, learning how to accept rejections is good for character-building and will be a valuable lesson to keep in mind when it comes time to apply for teaching positions.
  15. Take notice, prospective Sports Management students! Here is a program you can apparently get into without having any interest in the field whatsoever!
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