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Oklash

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About Oklash

  • Rank
    Caffeinated
  • Birthday 08/21/1995

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Female
  • Application Season
    2018 Fall
  • Program
    English Literature

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700 profile views
  1. So what now? I put so much time into grad apps and decision making that now that i finally have a program and it’s finally past April 15th, I don’t know what to do with myself. It sounds silly but now I’m just listlessly waiting for fall to arrive :/. I’m reading up on discipline literature and working on language requirements but now that the excitement of the past few months has dwindled...I’m kind of bored. I feel kind of empty without any deadlines to meet, advice to seek or work to do. Oh well, I should probably just enjoy the down time while I can because I’m sure I will be singing a different tune when the responsibilities of grad school kick in
  2. I know exactly what you mean. Most of my friends applied to phd programs with only one school in mind. They applied to backups but after they got into their one goal school they pretty much dropped all other options. They even cancelled interviews. These were not funded programs or ones with potential benefits like faculty, research and people of interest but still, I envy their ability to choose. Im glad you made the right decision
  3. OH NOOOOO! I asked to visit a school soon after I was accepted in March but the director's response was somehow sent to my spam folder and I never saw it. I took the non-response as a sign of disorganization and little interest in me. I was really excited about the school but without meeting them in person, I didn't commit. Turns out my spam folder was just blocking their correspondence which is strange because that did not happen with other emails from the department. I feel like such a rude terrible person now. They offered me something and I did not respond. The deadline to make a decision is TOMORROW and I hate that I have to decline their offer after they offered me a visit and I didn't get the chance to take them up on that offer. I really hope they wont be too upset with me.
  4. Many of my apps gave me till April 17th!
  5. Thank you! i will contact them in June and I hope they will not have forgotten about me in that time! However there is also the chance that my rejection wasn’t “personal” but they just didn’t have enough space and I wasn’t the best fit. If that were the case, I don’t think that there would be much to “improve” upon. Especially since I’ll be getting an MA and will have a stronger application anyway. There’s always room for improvement but I can’t help but wonder why they held on to my application all they way till the 2nd week of April? Thanks for the advice
  6. I applied to 5 PhD program. I was rejected from each program except for one. I’ve recently discovered that the application is still active?! I contacted the university to inquire about my status. They admitted that they do keep a few applications active and on reserve just for unexpected openings. The email was polite but I have no hope that those openings will appear or that they will actually lend an acceptance. This is fine as I will be going to an MA program but since I made it this far into thier application process, would it be appropriate to ask for feedback on my application? Could I ask what they liked/disliked? May I see the notes they wrote if any? Could I ask what would make my application stronger if I were to apply again in the next few years? Is this frowned upon? Does anyone has any experience with reaching out to schools from which they were rejected?
  7. I have two grad school offers: School a: has a generous stipend with a low cost of living. The faculty is nice and the campus is beautiful though the town surrounding it is a bit dry & lackluster. This stipend is paid over 9 months which means I’m on my own during the summer. The school is also only 4 hours away which is a huge plus and I’ve found an apartment I LOVE! School b: has a stipend much lower despite being a bit more “prestigious.” But the stipend is paid over 12 months, funds summer classes and gives $1000+ travel funding. The campus is also a tad nicer with a more lively town life. The faculty is bigger but I’m not sure about “better” and the average class size is also larger. This school is 9 hours from where I live. I mention distance b/c Both are obly MA programs so whichever decision I make, it won’t be as permanent as a PhD program. So which should I choose? The school that’s close to home with a good stipend and great faculty? Or the school that’s more prestigious, offers summer funding and has a busier town life?
  8. Oklash

    If I knew then what I know now...

    Do not make a decision right away. Take your time choosing and visit waitlisted schools too. Also, Waitlisted is not the same as rejected, so visit the school and don’t be afraid to ask how high/low you are on the list. If possible, don’t make a decision until each university has responded with a Yes or No. And if you do accept an offer, decline the others immediately Don’t wait till “you get a break,”’or “till tomorrow.” Do it as soon as possible For context, I was waitlisted for my number one school. But accepted at another. Once I visited the university I was accepted to, I loved it and the faculty so much , I accepted thier offer the following weekend. I even paid a deposit on an apartment. I didn’t have much faith in my waitlisted position. I then wrote a quick draft of my declining statement, believing that I could proof read it the next morning and send it. When I opened my email the next morning, I was greeted to 3 emails saying that I was taken off the waitlist for my #1 school and offered funding. The director also called to congratulate me and said that I was actually first on thier waitlist. This was just one day after I accepted another offer. If I had known how high I was on the waitlist, I would not have made my decision so soon. It’s been weeks and I still don’t know whether to fulfill my promise to the school I’ve already accepted or tell them I’ve changed my mind and go to another school. All of this could have been avoided if I had just taken my time. Dont commit to any school until at least April 1st.
  9. Oklash

    The Best Gap Year Ever

    I was unanimously rejected from almost 10 universities last year. So I took a gap year with the full intention of making it the “best gap year ever.” I had a volunteer position with Americorps Vista and was determined to travel and improve my spanish speaking skills. But after a month into the Vista program, i realized that the program wasn’t for me. I was not in a good place mentally and emotionally while the small living stipend only stressed me out even more so. I moved back home. I thought I could easily get a job with my newly earned degree but after countless interviews the only job I could find was at Verizon Wireless and the pay wasn’t worth the commute. My parents own a restaurant and after watching me struggle with grad school rejections, employment rejections, and dropping my volunteer program they made me move back in for good and take over the restaurant. I still wasn’t in a good place emotionally so they were very adamant about just working at the restaurant and not worry about anything else. So I’ve spent this year as a cook, server, manager, janitor etc. I don’t even get paid. The point Im trying to get at is that my gap year was the most unremarkable year I’ve ever had. I served pasta and fried chicken while working my way through Spanish children’s books. But I still think this year was incredibly successful. The break from school helped me realize how badly I wanted my PhD and career. It gave me time to reflect on what I wanted to do and put a lot of things in perspective. It was successful b/c I got to take a breather before jumping back into academia. The difference in my application was night and day. I’m fact, 4 of the schools that rejected me last year, admitted me for the upcoming fall semester. As for balancing work and application perpetration : you’d be suprised how much time you have when you’re not in school. A “regular” job/life leaves you with lots of down time, so use that time to figure out your interests, both academically and recreationally. Read some books, watch some Netflix, go to the gym!. If you have some schools in mind, find your people of interest, and read some of thier work. If you are still enrolled in a university, download or print thier research from academic journals while you still have access to it and a reliable library. Then take the next few months to read through it. I read the research of at least 3 ppl of interest for each school. For 10 schools, thats 30 people and multiple papers each! But i also used thier research to narrow my own research interests and form my own ideas. (I’m want to study American modernism and African Americans lit.) I also kept in contact with my advisor and sent him drafts of my statement and writing sample. I did all that and regularly worked on Spanish acquisition. My 9-5 job gave me lots of time to do so. So don’t worry too much about time. BUT make a plan early. You have lots of time but that time needs to be organized. Give yourself deadlines and stick to them. Make a budget too. The application season will be here again sooner than you think so you don’t have long to get everything as perfect as possible! So take a few weeks of down time and then get organized. Use your gap year to relax. You deserve it! And good luck next year!
  10. Oklash

    Love, Academia and Success

    Adding to what every one else has said. I am 22, almost 23, and will get my phd in English. The literary scene of Shakespeare and Milton isnt teeming with black women so I don't really "fit" the model either. I also identify as asexual too, so thats another strike against the standard of black femininity. So I don't really have any optimistic claims like "i've come to terms with it," or "maybe I'll find someone." In all honesty, I've just given up. I want to date and get married/have children but I know my chances are slim. But I also want to be a professor/researcher and that job does not have much in the way of location choice. More than likely I will have to follow my career. If my career calls for moving across the country, then I will have to move across the country. So the silver lining of my lack luster love life is that I do not plan on worrying about how a relationship will get in the way of that. This may not be the most encouraging response and I am sorry for that. But I don't mind my career being the sole purpose of my life. I am not trying to change the world but if i can just quietly research, teach, and present, I'd be happy. So dont worry about love. Its cool but it isnt the only thing.
  11. Oklash

    Fit vs very close to home

    This was a really hard decision for me. My mother was diagnosed with cancer when I was in elementary school, it has sense gone into remission with a good prognosis. But there have been many complications such as hypertension, two heart attacks, sleep apnea and kidney failure. My mother is doing very well but the road to recovery is long. I even joke about not drinking b/c my mom may need one of my kidneys though that may not happen any time soon. (She’s also vehemently against it) This past year in particular has been very difficult for my family and after finishing my undergrad, I took a year off to keep my mother’s restaurant open and afloat while she lived in various hospitals. The only reason I feel comfortable jumping back into academia is b/c my little brother has finished his undergrad and can handle everything while I’m gone. She should be well enough to live on her own in a few years time but you still never know when something may go wrong. I was accepted into a PhD program 11 hours from my home and a terminal MA 3.5 hours away from my home. It just so happened that the terminal MA had a larger stipend for incoming students. I also liked the campus and faculty better. But I would be lying if I said that the university’s proximity to my home didn’t influence my decision. In my case, perfect fit was close to home. And since it’s an MA, I have more time to gauge my willingness to move and flexibility in my research interests. It would be a dream to move some place far away for the sake of career and academia, but this moment just isn’t the right time. I want to be a Professor and academic and am prepared to go wherever it takes but I was lucky enough to find a program close. So if you are really torn, I’d advise you to really evaluate what it is that’s drawing you twoads home and what it is that’s calling you abroad. What does the farther school have to offer? What at home is valuable? Home life, people, etc, will they still be there when you come to visit? Will something/someone not be there when you get back? Is the school farther away a once in a life time offer? Personally, if your home town is in no danger of death, illness, or change....you should travel away(if money allows it.) Building New support systems is hard and scary, but it’s still worth the experience. The only time close to home should be the best option is if what makes home home is at risk and you’d like to enjoy it as much as you can before it’s gone. I’ve lived most of my life knowing that my days with my mother are numbered so I try to make the most of it. But if you don’t have that issue, go for it! Go someplace scary and someplace new! But I hope my example can give you a good insight as to why someone would want to stay close to home, instead of going somewhere farther. good luck!
  12. I have already been accepted into a great graduate program. But just to get a feel for the campus and town itself, I scheduled a tour. I also told the university I would be visiting. They were so kind and invited me to lunch with current graduate students and meetings with faculty and my people of interest! I will be with them for a few hours. What should I say? What do I do? What do I ask? There’s a 95% chance I’m going to this university so it’s not like I’m weighing options or trying to make a decision. Should I tell them that? What questions should I ask the faculty so that I am much more confident about my decision? What should I say to make myself not look like a complete idiot? I have no idea where to start.
  13. I just got my last rejection. But with that comes an end to my grad school application process! It’s weird but since I have a few acceptances I feel like I’m breathing fresh air for the first time in months. After months, probably even a year of stress, I can finally stop refreshing the results page, delete the application portal bookmarks, and be excited about having actual prospects.
  14. I’m going to be perfectly honest and I hope that this aligns with what you want to hear but doubling debt is not worth one MA degree. Especially if you plan on getting a PhD. As someone who didn’t start my MA after undergrad b/c of getting unanimously rejected, I’m glad I took a year off. It hurt but I’m glad it happened. After the year had passed, my application had become so much stronger and it didn’t even feel like that long of a wait. I didn’t even do anything that glamorous during my gap year, I just worked at my parents restaurants and tutored school children via care.com. But it gave me a lot of time to improve my application material. I got to talk to people who were admitted, speak with my advisor who told me not to give up and I got to take a breather from school. The year also made me realize how badly I wanted the career i was trying to have and how determined I needed to be in order to make it happen. A gap year to improve my prospects for next time was so much more beneficial than the debt I would have undertaken to avoid it. I still wish I had gotten in the first time I attempted grad apps but now I have been accepted into 3 fully funded programs and waitlist for a 4th. Again, the only thing about my application that changed was the time taken to re evaluate myself, talk to other people, and improve my application. At the end of the day, you know what’s best. And if you really want to take out loans, go ahead. But waiting it out for a year is not easy. But when it does work out, you will have much more drive and motivation. Good luck!
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