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  1. Upvote
    Boolakanaka reacted to telkanuru in GPA woes   
    Sure, but the people you'll be competing with for the slot will have a very good writing sample and a good GPA and good GRE scores. Why should a program take you over them? 

    This is not an idle question. This is a question your application materials will need to both implicitly and explicitly answer.
  2. Upvote
    Boolakanaka reacted to Sigaba in Thinking about leaving to go to another program   
    I recommend that you change your profile on this BB so that your current institution is unknown and it's less difficult for someone who knows your field(s) to figure out the identity of your current advisor.
    I suggest that you find ways that you can evaluate your current program and department more on its own terms and less on your expectations and/or the experiences of your mentors. The re-evaluation may provide a different perspective that will help you as a graduate student there or elsewhere. (Specifically, how to manage differently your expectations of faculty members.)
    I urge you to consider a path in which you make a best faith effort to adjust to your current program. If things don't improve, get a master's degree where you are and "transfer." You'll have a better story to tell if you make the transition after earning a masters as opposed to withdrawing now and starting from scratch. 
    In the event you decide to transition now, I recommend that you exercise great care in disclosing details of your personal life to POIs and/or the "dirty laundry" of your current program. All things being equal, there's a significant chance that professional academics will conclude that you might be a disruptive presence that they don't want to deal with.
  3. Upvote
    Boolakanaka reacted to telkanuru in 2020 application thread   
    I don't think this is unfortunate, I think this is quite wise! I know that, coming straight from undergraduate, there is an sense of immediacy with respect to every part of your life. As someone who started his MA at 27 before continuing to the PhD, please believe me when I say this is not the case with grad school. This is even more true if you look at the current horrible no good very bad state of the academic job market. 
    Something that's not precisely on topic, but which I should state at some point: were I considering doing a PhD now, I would under no circumstances do it, regardless of the quality of the  program that accepted me or my enthusiasm and interests. And I am not burned out on graduate school. I love graduate school; it is the best experience of my life. There is just no hope on the job market. It is worse than it was in 2009-2011. In a decade, SLCs, which formed the overwhelming majority of job listings, will almost certainly cease to exist as a concept. R1s will persist, but academia is going to be unrecognizable. That's not a thing to dive into.
  4. Upvote
    Boolakanaka reacted to AP in Getting weird vibe after starting program   
    Following up on @Sigaba's post, I was an outsider so I was (maybe?) mentally prepared to being left out, which doesn't mean it didn't suck. As it turned out, I made friends in older cohorts so I was very quickly invited to "the" parties and events. I also agree with @Boolakanaka's advice: give. it. time. Coming in, I thought I was going to be friends with the other international student (who also was native in my native language). In the end, we ended up not getting along at all. Further, I became great friends with someone from the midwest, so there! 
    My advice, in addition to give it time, would be not to force yourself into making friends with your cohort. Expand you horizon to other cohorts or other first-years in other departments. I've said this many times, I think your cohort is first and mostly a professional grouping, if you make friends, that's great. But if you don't, you can always make it elsewhere, where people see you, share your interests, and enjoy your company. 
    Good luck! 
  5. Upvote
    Boolakanaka reacted to Sigaba in Getting weird vibe after starting program   
    In addition to @Boolakanaka's sound guidance, please consider the following.
    A geographic transition can be a cultural one as well. Map out (mentally or on a piece of paper)  the members of the cohort who get along. You may see patterns centering around common locations. These commonalities can layer on top of (along side) the Ivy experience.
    On top of those differences, you may be an outgoing person in the midst of introverts, in which case, through no fault of your own, you're rubbing people the wrong way just by being yourself. If you think this is happening, try to figure out ways you can "dial down" your traits while also remaining authentic to who you are. The key here is that you're not changing who you are,  you're just adjusting how you do things.
    Something else to consider. What ever your field, there's likely an established academic or even a superstar (current, in decline, or even deceased) who has gone through what you're experiencing. See if you can find that person's memoir/autobiography/letters. You may find some very useful tidbits of information on navigating similar experiences. 
    An aside. Your statement "I have no doubts about my qualifications or ability to succeed in grad school" may prove problematic down the line. Please understand that graduate school is hard. It is possible that you'll encounter a moment when your abilities are questioned. What then? I think that what I'm trying to suggest is that you start thinking about how you might deal with SHTF moments and such doubts emerge.
  6. Upvote
    Boolakanaka got a reaction from Sigaba in Getting weird vibe after starting program   
    My counsel, is give it time. I’ve been in both grad (two degrees) and professional school (law) and the first couple of months are always a period of transition and acclimation—for all involved. Now, I will say, at an Ivy (where I ve been) there can be an initial pecking order especially for those with Ivyplus undergrad degrees, but that will soon enough fade away. Finally, it’s not undergrad and you should not have any expectations or comparisons to that social community. Folks are all feeling there way through a gamut of emotions that are tethered to the first real step of what could be potentially their life’s work, so some may not be apt to be friendly or social, or even be inclined to be even cordial—but sure enough you will find your people and crowd.
  7. Upvote
    Boolakanaka reacted to telkanuru in I failed my thesis.   
    And also intentional irony 😬
  8. Downvote
    Boolakanaka got a reaction from sociopolitic in should I retake the GRE   
    @chrismooch91See-https://econ.ucsb.edu/~startz/A Guide for UCSB Undergraduates Considering a PhD in Economics.pdf
  9. Like
    Boolakanaka got a reaction from PolPhil in I failed my thesis.   
    Life is not all support and adulation. Moreover, we are all required to take a very thorough, non-nostalgic and blunt inventory on the things we think support us on our path. Sometimes, those items/activities become obsolete and no longer serve their original purpose.
    That said, when folks congratulated and supported you in the past, it was accepted without reservation and there was no question as to how much they actually knew you, or whether they operated from a place of objectivity—it was merely happily accepted. My point being,  is that it is all of our responsibility, to be at times, economical on what we share on this site, and further, to exercise a modicum of reservation,  caution and editorial self-esteem, in receiving both good and negative responses; that is to say, no what matter where they are on the spectrum, they all should be taken with a grain of salt. 
  10. Like
    Boolakanaka got a reaction from PonderingPerson400 in Harvard Divinity School MTS or Straight to PhD   
    Others can weigh-in, Harvard’s PhD acceptance rate is very competitive-think in the 5 % range. The Mdiv, less so, so approximately, in the 40-45 % range, which I personally think a tad high.....
  11. Upvote
    Boolakanaka reacted to telkanuru in MTS Harvard Divinity School   
    My net GPA when I was accepted to the MTS with a 4/5ths scholarship was 3.06. I had only got a 0.86 from my first undergraduate institution, then a 3.8 from the second one.
  12. Upvote
    Boolakanaka reacted to xypathos in MTS Harvard Divinity School   
    While true in most fields, Harvard Divinity is a whole different beast. Their 3.0 GPA was, it seems, under conditions that most of us would drop out and merely fight for survival, let alone graduating from college.
  13. Like
    Boolakanaka got a reaction from Rubab Zahra in MTS Harvard Divinity School   
    @benmaterials Hmmmn, albeit anecdotal, and just my own personal experience, accepted accepted at HDS, with an undergraduate gpa of about 2.6, subsequently also a JD and LLM, but it is possible....
  14. Upvote
    Boolakanaka reacted to Sigaba in Organizing grad school goals   
    Focus for now on your qualifying exams.
    To paraphrase a bloodthirsty quote from an American admiral during the Second World War, if it helps you with quals it's important; if it doesn't help you with your quals, it's not important.
  15. Upvote
    Boolakanaka reacted to Sigaba in I failed my thesis.   
    This statement is controversial given the empathy that has been offered to the OP in this thread and many others and the many threads in which graduate students write of receiving empathy and support from their colleagues at their schools. (And many such posts include graduate students sharing experiences in which the correct display of empathy was a kick in the pants.)
    There seems to be some confusion as to what constitutes a "nonjudgemental" response. Any comment that offers an evaluation is based upon the judgment of the person making the comment.
    If a person shares experiences looking for praise or affirmation or support or actionable feedback,  is that person looking for a non-judgemental response? Or is that person seeking a favorable judgemental response?
  16. Upvote
    Boolakanaka reacted to telkanuru in PhD funding   
    Different programs do different things, but I will say this: academics can only be rigorous if they're funded, and a dumb student with lots of financial support will almost certainly write a better dissertation than a smart student with no support. If a program does not offer a livable stipend, cover tuition, provide affordable health care, and provide access to pots of money for travel and research, it is not worth applying to, never mind attending. 

    My process was to identify the professors with whom I wished to work, and then to narrow down the list by excluding programs that offered insufficient resources. Aim for a final list of 4-6.
  17. Upvote
    Boolakanaka reacted to Meraki in I failed my thesis.   
    In response to some of the above posts, I agree that it's important to have adequate social support. However,  I hope to reemphasize a previous point given the continuing conversation. When you are publicly sharing a significant number of details about you, your work, and your specific situations to the point where another person could identify you, you are putting yourself at risk professionally. You're no longer talking to a bunch of strangers on the Internet. One of our current (or future) faculty or peers might be reading our posts, recognize us, and form an opinion of us that affects our relationships with them. That is why I will emphasize that a person does not need to agree with the feedback they receive to be appreciative (respectful, professional) of it.
    I think this is what some other posters have been touching on as well. It is worth considering how we might feel if we look back on our own messages a year or two down the road. What impression did we make? Choosing the right outlet for support is important. Being vulnerable online is risky. But the only thing we can ever really control is how we react to the things that happen in our lives. Actions speak louder than words, and we will be judged by them.
    I think the reason others have jumped onto the "dog pile" was because their message was outright rejected, which struck me (and others) as a concern for OP's success. I don't think I've seen anyone here wish the worst for her. I do think it crossed a line when someone stated she should not pursue a PhD, or that she won't be successful. Her tenacity is a quality that will serve her well if she continues on an academic path. But I think all of our remarks were made in effort to help her identify potential solutions to help her situation. None of us know the root of the problem, of course; we merely serve as guides to be taken "with a grain of salt," as someone else suggested. So feel free to ignore the advice, or acknowledge and then ignore it, or clarify a point relating to it. But when you show a blatant lack of appreciation, you can't expect further assistance from people who took time out of their days to offer insights.
    I will also note that OP did not state that the failing mark was out of jealousy (her friends or family stated that), but to quote yet another poster, "what is the point" of discussing it beyond those friends and family? It is not a constructive use of one's time to discuss it with an advisor, even if you have that kind of relationship, and to further spend time writing about it online. Again, be choosy about the details you share and in what context you share them. I don't think many of us misunderstood OP's original explanation about these conversations, although we were accused of such. I just wanted to air that out briefly.
    One last point to the OP - asking in other threads about how to publish a book and how to turn coursework papers into publishable articles, and then stating in this thread that you "know how the publication system works" are at odd with one another. I think it's awesome that you want to publish a book and have submitted manuscripts to journals, but the publication process can be highly political and the points I discussed above and previously are relevant to navigating that process. It can takes years to hone your skills, and although you are on that path, it is a bit naive to assume that you know how it works and can't benefit from another's insights and experience. 
  18. Upvote
    Boolakanaka reacted to telkanuru in I failed my thesis.   
    I also think it is, but it's a dangerous thing to do on a public forum, particularly if there isn't a clear line between asking for help and simply venting.
    For what it's worth, I read @Chanandler's post as being made in good faith as a call to self-evaluation. It's hard to phrase that in a way that doesn't come across as extremely harsh. For example, when @Sigaba tried to offer effectively the same critique, their advice was accepted, but it was not clear to me that their message was fully received. Chanandler's message, by contrast, was indeed fully received but not accepted. Neither managed to thread the needle.
    @Adelaide9216, you're totally correct that any criticism here is coming from a place of relative ignorance. But by posting here, you are explicitly inviting criticism from relative strangers. I know you know this because I have myself reminded you in the past that we on this forum are not as helpful as sources of advice and guidance when compared to those who know you directly, and you told me that you understood, but valued the outside perspective. That's what you were offered here, although on terms that would be hard for anyone to swallow, and it seems unfair to now use the fact that the perspective you have been offered is from the outside to dismiss it.
    As academics, it's incumbent upon us to remember that all readings of things we've written made in good faith are valid readings. That is, if someone reads you as arguing, saying, or doing something other than you think you've argued, said, or done, their interpretation is as valid - and possibly more valid - than yours as to what you've actually done. An adviser's description of your paper, for example, is almost certainly closer to what you're arguing than what you think you've argued. Any time you spot a disconnect between your and another's interpretation of your work, that should be a clear and evident warning sign that you haven't done what you intended. 
  19. Upvote
    Boolakanaka reacted to Duns Eith in Shut out   
    I am sorry to hear. It is quite heartbreaking.
    I know you'll already be asking yourself over and over what you need to fix and improve, or whether to invest in applying again.
    Let me say this: whatever your choice for next year, remember your worth is not bound up in decision letters. You're more than your grades, recommendations, written samples, or standardized test scores. Your anxiety over the process is normal and legitimate. Your lack of offer does not mean you are incompetent. You can still love philosophy as a professional or as an amateur/well-invested hobbist, even if someone else did not choose to invest in you this time. Don't settle for a life that you know you cannot live with. You can face another round if you really want to; shut-outs are not uncommon.
  20. Upvote
    Boolakanaka reacted to antianticlimacus in PhD Advice for next year?   
    I just want to second this. Some of the advice in this thread would have saved me some heartache and financial stress this year. Tough love is a great kindness in the long run. 
  21. Upvote
    Boolakanaka reacted to KA.DINGER.RA in PhD Advice for next year?   
    I know it feels difficult to hear tough advice, but I genuinely wish someone had given me advice like that before embarking on graduate school. I'm in my tenth year of college with this year only being my first year of PhD work (4 year undergrad, 3 year MA, 2 year MTS). It's a super long and difficult road. 
  22. Upvote
    Boolakanaka got a reaction from KA.DINGER.RA in PhD Advice for next year?   
    @wilsonrg With all due respect, xypathos is not only very respected on the board, but moreover and to the more germane point, his response provided answers that were spot on and lucid. Perhaps it was not in the tone or inflection you desired, they were nonetheless entirely accurate. A tad bit of advice and counsel, the academy is a long arduous road, filled with much more disappointment than success, and if this blunt but totally on point assessment already rankles you, perhaps you need to rethink your attitude as you go down this incredibly long path....
  23. Upvote
    Boolakanaka reacted to marXian in PhD Advice for next year?   
    To the OP, I just want to reiterate that xypathos is correct that you're not going to get into a philosophy Ph.D program with an M* degree in theology, no matter how philosophical the degree is. Philosophy programs are notoriously protective of "philosophy-as-such," whatever that means, and so typically do not admit anyone they deem to have strayed from that path. 
    I work in your field, broadly speaking (continental philosophy of religion), and I think you might consider taking another M* degree both to try and raise your GPA but also to demonstrate that you do philosophy if you really want to get into a philosophy program. UChicago's philosophy of religion program would give you a much, much better chance if added to your credentials. Since they have an internal petition process for MA students to be considered for the Ph.D program, it would greatly increase your chances there as well. 
    If you're interested in other religious studies programs besides UVA, I would look into UC Santa Barbara (Tom Carlson), Syracuse, Columbia, and Stanford, although those last two admit philosophy of religion folks only very rarely. The other issue you're going to face (and I know because I faced it as well) is making your project as non-theological as you can. You've situated yourself in a somewhat difficult practical position: Too philosophical for theology programs, too theological for philosophy/RS programs. That's not necessarily a bad thing from a career perspective down the line. Not to toot my own horn, but I feel I've been able to carve out a niche for myself in the AAR and have caught some moderate attention of other scholars whom I respect and have now started to collaborate with. As far as the job market is concerned, it remains to be seen if I'll have any success, but I feel comfortable applying to positions in theology, philosophy of religion (in an RS department), and religious studies (e.g. looking for an expert in Christianity.)
    But to get into an RS or philosophy program, you have to sell yourself as doing something that doesn't have theology as the primary focus, even if you engage theological texts. I think completing another MA in a program like UChicago will really help you do that.
  24. Upvote
    Boolakanaka got a reaction from marXian in PhD Advice for next year?   
    @wilsonrg With all due respect, xypathos is not only very respected on the board, but moreover and to the more germane point, his response provided answers that were spot on and lucid. Perhaps it was not in the tone or inflection you desired, they were nonetheless entirely accurate. A tad bit of advice and counsel, the academy is a long arduous road, filled with much more disappointment than success, and if this blunt but totally on point assessment already rankles you, perhaps you need to rethink your attitude as you go down this incredibly long path....
  25. Downvote
    Boolakanaka reacted to wilsonrg in PhD Advice for next year?   
    The first four schools I listed were philosophy departments, the fifth was UVA's religious studies department. I preferred philosophy programs to theology/RS programs this application cycle at the recommendation of my thesis advisor who admittedly got her PhD in the 80s/90s, and probably doesn't have the best grasp on the current state of grad admissions in other disciplines. I see now there's no real point in applying to PhDs outside of theology/RS no matter how interdisciplinary my work so far has been.
    You don't have to point out to me my grades and gre aren't exceptional, I'm well aware bud. I've regularly worked 40+ hours while taking 15+ class hours, I don't have the same grades as someone who has mommy and daddy's money to sit on and I've made peace with it. Also, the number of schools I applied to had more to do with how few departments are working on the intersection of continental philosophy and religion than anything else.
    I didn't include comments about my high school education in my statements of purpose, but I do applaud you for reading my post just to find a way to be condescending at every turn, and then not actually answer my question.
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