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About sheshekabob

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  • Application Season
    2018 Fall
  • Program
    MA Art History

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  1. sheshekabob

    Fall 2018: Where ya headed?

    My story mirrors yours a bit, @Allegorica. The program at Houston was not on my radar at all before I decided to apply to it very late in the game. One of my recommendation writers mentioned it as an option, and at first I was skeptical because of the program's newness, and the way she framed it put me off because she presented it as an alternative to the competitive programs like Williams that interested me. (Backstory: I lack a BA or experience in art history other than taking an undergrad course a semester for a couple years). But when I researched Houston's faculty and all of the resources available to art history students through the university and local art museums, I had to admit Houston's program was actually a great fit. Out of three applications, Houston's was the only offer I received. I'd really banked on getting into my home institution, which meant keeping my job and life as is; so when they rejected me, I was crestfallen. (It turned out that the program was inundated with a huge existing cohort and prospective students in my interest area.) As this application cycle wore on, the high level of competition dawned on me, and I realized why my recommender had given me a reality check. Tulane also rejected me, no surprise given the number of applications they receive for 2-3 spots/year. Then, hallelujah for my bruised ego, Houston came through with an offer, and suddenly, I had to weigh whether or not to leave my current job and home city to pursue graduate school. It means making some sacrifices, but it turns out: yes, I do want it that bad. Now—as positive-spinning as this may sound—I feel certain I ended up with the best scenario in terms of my interests and career goals, which is a writing/publishing career in the arts. Houston offered me an editorial fellowship at an arts magazine and the prospect of learning from teachers who have tons of experience in the career I want to pursue. Despite my initial hurt feelings at being dissuaded from shooting for top-notch programs, I am grateful that I was nudged in the direction of a fledgling program willing to give me a chance. This is not to say you shouldn't aim high. I'm just glad in my case that I didn't turn my nose up at an option before really examining it. So, my advice to other applicants is stay open to the unexpected. What looks bad one day might transform into something fortuitous later on. I would also say that the process is a learning experience the whole way through. Despite all my hours scrolling through these forums and researching how to assemble a solid application, I just had to go through the gauntlet myself before really understanding key aspects of the process. So be easy on yourself: it's a learning-by-doing process and definitely a case of you don't know until you know (as disappointingly trite as that sounds). Having come out the other side of a cycle, I totally see why it can take multiple attempts to get into a program.
  2. sheshekabob

    Houston, TX

    I will also be attending University of Houston this fall. I now live in Austin, TX, but I have some idea of what to expect in terms of costs of living. Regarding good neighborhoods to live in, that depends on whether you will drive or not. I plan to walk, bike, and use the bus as much as possible because Houston traffic has a bad reputation, and parking on campus can be hard to find. That means I will have to live close to campus or by a commuter line like the METRO. The central neighborhoods, like Montrose, Houston Heights, and Eastwood, have been recommended to me by friends who live there. However, these neighborhoods are not cheap, especially Montrose. Of those three, Eastwood seems the most affordable. With $1,600/month, you will definitely need roommates. I'm not sure when is the best time to look for an apartment; I would guess sooner than later in the summer to avoid competition with other students but I don't know. I don't think you should need a social security number because landlords can run credit checks without one. This Reddit Houston wiki has a lot more information about moving there. You are moving to one of the country's greatest cities for cheap and wonderful grocery stores and restaurants. HEB and Fiesta are two of the main supermarket chains with good selections and low prices. As you mentioned, Houston is extremely culturally diverse, meaning lots of specialty grocery stores and strip mall dining that represents cultures from all over the world.
  3. sheshekabob

    Fall 2018: Where ya headed?

    You want to kick us off @nudeinbrook? I like the idea of this thread, but I'm still processing or something, and not able to muster the energy for a full rehash—if were to start, I'm afraid it would amount to a short memoir. The TL;DR version is I'll be attending a newish MA program at the University of Houston. This is not what I was expecting when I started this process but I'm quite excited, and also nervous because I'll be uprooting myself from a comfortable existence to pursue a new career in a new city, and I'm older than the usual grad student.
  4. sheshekabob

    Fall 2018

    Thank you for the update. I contacted two people in the department this month but have received no word. Could you say whom you emailed? Yes, I'm hoping to reply to an offer this week for which I received an extension. I'm happy that you found closure! NEVERMIND. I just received a rejection by email. That wraps up this cycle! Woof.
  5. sheshekabob

    Fall 2018

    @sol.sheri, @Allegorica, and still no word from Tulane. I feel like the mother in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho but with my skeleton finger connected by cobweb to the refresh key.
  6. sheshekabob

    Fall 2018

    Has anyone heard from Tulane yet? One acceptance was reported a few weeks ago but it’s been crickets since then.
  7. sheshekabob

    2018 Blooper Real*

    Lurker here. When the last list of MacArthur "Genius Grants" was announced, I found a proposal or statement written by one of the winners. Curious to read something that garnered such a prestigious and generous award, I began reading it and came across a glaring typo in the first sentence. Seeing that certainly eased my paranoia about my own SOPs.
  8. sheshekabob

    Fall 2018

    If you feel comfortable asking for feedback on your application from programs that did not grant acceptance this time, I highly recommend it. I asked a POI of a school that rejected me and learned quite a bit. First, he let me know they admitted a huge cohort of students in my interest area last year; so this round they had only two spots and 20+ applicants in the same area. He seemed to think my application was solid but offered to give me some specific feedback on my writing sample. As you say, if I too were to apply again next round, I would revise my SOP even though I felt it was strong. From advice I've encountered over and over again, you want to convey how you've spent the extra year cultivating your qualifications. Over this waiting period, I've been reading dissertations in my area and how-to books for writing a thesis (Umberto Eco has a good one), and I wish I'd done this to help me prepare my applications because I have a much more specific sense of what a dissertation is supposed to achieve. I had only looked at how to apply to grad school and not what you do once you're in.
  9. sheshekabob

    Fall 2018

    According to a recent result, 11,000 applied to Yale. For real?
  10. sheshekabob

    Fall 2018

    I kind of wish notifications came through snail mail as in the olden days. It would have to be more sane than this endless email–portal–gradcafe cycle I'm on.
  11. sheshekabob

    Fall 2018

    Congrats to the UT-Austin phd accepts. I work at UT and take undergrad art history courses; so if you have any questions about the city or school, feel free to ask.
  12. sheshekabob

    Fall 2018

    The professor of my modern Latin American art class last semester said that the colonial era needs more scholars. FWIW.
  13. sheshekabob

    Fall 2018

    I'm finally joining the party now that I've come up for air after taking the GRE, writing my SOP, and polishing my writing samples. Some of my answers to the survey: Program: MA in Art History Schools Applying To: Williams College, University of Texas at Austin, Tulane, University of Oregon Interests: Modern and Contemporary Latin America Undergraduate Major: English Age: 42 Experience: Tons of experience, just not in the professional art world; my work background is in scholarly publishing. Concerns: I have them (my age, non art historical background, the popularity of my interests, yada yada), but weirdly for me, I am pretty calm. Just getting to the end of this process of applying feels like I'm summiting the mountain. From the beginning of summer until now, it's been a bit of a rollercoaster ride as far as my confidence levels have gone. Just glad to be out of the darkest of the dark times: studying for the GRE quantitative. This was when I was most questioning the point of everything. (I'd underestimated the 25 years between now and my last math class, and realized that yeah, 12 years of primary school covers a lot of ground math-wise.) Hints and tips: If you're still working on the SOP or your writing samples, try the writing center if your school has one. I took my sample and lucked out with an advisor who happens to be a rhetoric and writing major. Her attentiveness to syntax, lack of art knowledge, and rigorous questioning of what I actually meant when I said this or that really helped me to clarify and develop my paper. I wish I had gone to her sooner instead of staying in my echo chamber, getting very used to how my draft sounded. If you don't have time to do this, a shortcut is to take my advisor's advice and read your writing aloud. This is so helpful. I knew this before we met, but it had felt like extra work (and I just don't want to hear the sound of my voice that much). Even better, have someone you know read your writing to you. This will make any part that's unclear, too dense, or overly academic jump out at you. Another SOP tip: I found this essay to be quite helpful, particularly the bit about prewriting: https://honors.uiowa.edu/sites/honors.uiowa.edu/files/wysiwyg_uploads/Personal Statement Invitation to Frustration.pdf My other hint is don't forget to order those transcripts! I've screwed myself in the past with this step, and I feel like I almost waited too long again this time. (The community college where I took dual enrollment courses so many eons ago in high school only does mailed transcripts).

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