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Indecisive Poet

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Indecisive Poet last won the day on July 14 2018

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About Indecisive Poet

  • Rank
    Double Shot

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  • Interests
    British Romanticism & Literary Theory
  • Application Season
    Not Applicable
  • Program
    PhD English (Fall 2020)

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  1. Indecisive Poet

    Switching periods?

    @Metaellipses This is such a genuinely helpful way of thinking about it – thank you! I suppose it's a bit solipsistic of me to think that a group of "exciting Romanticists" in a department would be personally disappointed about me no longer wanting to work with them, lol. I'm not sure why I was thinking it would need to be a big announcement rather than something I can work on on my own and then make plain before orals.
  2. I'm not hoping to start a PhD until Fall 2020 but would love to chat over a PM any time 😊 I've discovered recently I'm relatively uninterested in the state of the field and am strongly considering switching periods because of this, so maybe you can talk me out of it...(!) Edit: just looked through your history and found we've chatted a little in the past about resurgence of formalisms in Romanticism – would love even more now to ask about your interests!
  3. Indecisive Poet

    Switching periods?

    Thanks for the responses, everyone. I will probably stick with Romanticism and switch when I get there – but I've been having preemptive visions of connecting with exciting Romanticists and then getting to my program and having to deliver the "uh, hey, so I actually don't want to work with you anymore because I'm switching periods" speech if/when they talk to me about the work I mentioned wanting to do in my SoP. Hopefully this will not be as frowned upon as I am fearing 😶
  4. Indecisive Poet

    Switching periods?

    Thank you both very much for your advice! I've had an inkling of some of this stuff and other ideas I hadn't considered. I am still leaning toward sticking to Romanticism and switching as soon as I start (after having spent the year off thinking it through). I'd like to assure you both that I'm writing this post rather briskly so as to think about this as quickly as possible (impending dissertation!), but that I have spent the last two years thinking through my interests in both periods (I've been conflicted since undergrad) and that I have authors, theoretical approaches, and narrower interests in both periods than "I like modernism more" would seem to imply 😉
  5. Hi all, I'm finishing up a 1-year MA program in the UK that, unlike most American MA programs, focuses on a particular period – 18th and 19th-century British literatures. Unfortunately, it's become increasingly clear to me throughout the year that I would rather be studying 20th and 21st-century literature and that that period (C20/21) and the theoretical approaches that fit it well are really where my interests lie. I plan to apply to PhD programs this coming fall for 2020 entry and I'm not sure how to play this. I can't imagine an application in which my background and WS are in Romanticism but my SoP says "I'd like to switch to Modernism" going over well – in theory, I know, there are ways to narrativize this, but I am positive that the much stronger application would be one in which I write an SoP about a project in Romanticism. My thought is that I will apply to programs that are good fits in both areas and that I will decide when I start the program (fingers crossed) whether I want to jump up a century or two or not. What do you all think of this approach? Departments, of course, anticipate that students' interests will change – does this apply to period as well? I have heard of some cases in which this has happened without a hitch. I do plan to apply to a couple of UK programs as well which is more difficult because I'm expected to submit a full research proposal and stick to that project. I am thinking of either sticking to Romanticism, writing a proposal for a project that bridges the two centuries, or simply writing a proposal in Modernism and seeing what happens. Anyone have experience/advice here? Edit: I should also mention that I'm just beginning my dissertation now, which is due in August. There is theoretically the possibility to change the dissertation drastically (as of now it's on Keats) so that it is in part or in full about the 20th century. This would probably be tricky as my supervisor is a Romanticist and I have already written a proposal that I am probably to some degree expected to stick to, and I'm not sure it's a good idea since I'm not up on my 20th-century scholarship at all. If I want to switch up my topic, it would need to happen now.
  6. I did this and unfortunately did not receive a response 🤷‍♀️
  7. I'd love to hear what people have to say about this as well. There's a soon-to-be fourth-year PhD student at the program that is strongest in my areas who is seemingly doing exactly what I'd like to do and I've also been unsure of whether this is a good sign or a sign to stay away because they won't want another version of him.
  8. Indecisive Poet

    Rutgers or NYU?

    I did my undergrad at RU – I don't know too much about the graduate program but feel free to PM me if you have any specific questions you think I'd be able to answer about the university, location or department in general! I am no longer anywhere near a medievalist but that was my area of concentration there as an undergrad.
  9. Indecisive Poet

    Choices choices

    As someone approaching the second half of a 1-year program (in the UK, not at TCD), I just want to emphasize this. I wouldn't have been able to apply to PhD programs this cycle, period. Luckily, I am okay with and had planned for a gap year. But if that's not something you're willing to do, I'd go with the 2-year program. If I could do this all again, I'd apply to fully-funded, 2-year MA programs in the US rather than attend my current institution (as an undergrad, I didn't really understand that this was an option). But if it were a choice between 2 relatively equally un-funded programs, US vs. Europe, I wouldn't have an immediate preference. I would choose, as others have suggested, based on 1) which will cost you the least in the long run (including living expenses for 1 vs. 2 years); 2) which program (and which faculty) is the best fit for your interests. One final thing I want to throw in is that while I do think it's responsible to defer attending graduate school until you're able to attend a funded program, I am not necessarily on board with the "you can do all the prep work on your own anyway" sentiment that I've seen thrown around TGC a lot lately. I took a year off after undergrad and did teach myself a f***ton, but the first 6 months of my program have taught me more and provided me with far more opportunities than I would have had access to or learned on my own. I feel confident about applying to PhD programs in 2019 and I can firmly say that wouldn't be the case had I just taken another gap year. I wouldn't have the letters or the writing sample to get in, nor would I have the research focus and understanding of my field that I've gained from spending a lot of time talking to my professors and working on writing assignments for class. I've also been able, while here, to really identify my weaknesses as a writer and researcher and target exactly how to work on those things. There's something definite to be said for spending a year in intensive, formal study. But – take this with a grain of salt. I worked through undergrad and ended up with a savings that is allowing me to leave my MA program debt-free at the end of the year, and that may not be the case for you – which changes things! FWIW, Dublin is a wonderful city, Ireland is a beautiful country to live in and TCD is such a fantastic (albeit touristy) campus.
  10. Conference funding is not guaranteed at my MA program – I have to fill out an application and have it approved by the department. Part of this application is a short statement about how the conference will benefit my career and research development. I'm curious what you all write for this sort of thing/for conference bursary applications. Should I state the obvious about conferences generally being helpful experiences for graduate students? Should I go into detail about what sorts of extra activities the conference will be offering? The programs aren't available just yet for either of the conferences I'm planning to attend this summer so I can't write about any specific papers anyone is giving. A side question: if I am awarded a grant, is that something I can list on my CV? As I mentioned, it's definitely an if scenario as it isn't at all guaranteed, but it would be coming directly from my university's English department.
  11. FWIW, I was told by a distinguished professor at my undergrad (which is a top 15 program in the US) that, quote, "I don't think admissions committees will care where you did your MA." This was the response I received when I was choosing my UK MA institution and I reached out to him wondering how much I should factor the prestige of the university into my decision. A good way to get a sense of this is by looking through graduate student profiles at the programs you're interested in. Many of them list their previous university/universities. I always find a handful at each program with European MAs, and more surprisingly, there are always more than a handful from regional universities and small colleges in the US that, as a US native who was primarily educated there, I have never even heard of. If there are no current students with training outside the US or from non-ivy universities, that should be a red flag for you. My understanding is that where you've done your previous degrees is not nearly as important as the quality of work you've done at those institutions, fit, and what you write in your SoP/WS. I have been warned, though, that there are certain programs at ivy league universities – Harvard and Yale off the top of my head – that do tend to prefer applicants from ivy league BA institutions, although not exclusively. I would also say that if you choose a European university, think carefully about who will be writing your letters of recommendation. British & European professors infamously tend to write a very different (read: brief, objective, non-glorifying) style of letter than American professors do.
  12. Indecisive Poet

    Turned Down Offers Thread

    A friend of mine just turned down an offer from Tennessee (Knoxville) yesterday, if that's helpful for anyone! She is in the 18th century (mostly British), studying religion and literature and women writers.
  13. Hi everyone! I'm wondering if anyone has experience with guiding letter-writers at UK/European/non-US universities towards writing a letter that will be received positively by American PhD programs. I've long been aware of the different letter-writing styles of UK vs. US faculty members, and it's becoming increasingly apparent to me as I research the issue and talk to previous professors that the brief, objective and reserved letters written by Brits run the risk of being received as not very positive (despite their intentions) by American adcoms. I am applying to PhD programs next fall and I will have 1 American recommender from undergrad, 1 very strong writer from my UK MA institution, and... hopefully another recommender from my UK institution that will not be as strong as the others but not by a large margin (I hope). I am wondering if there is any sort of...template? I can send to the latter two that would help them understand what would be expected of their letters at the programs I'm applying to. I've come across this page from The Professor Is In, but it's geared toward letters for dissertating PhD students entering the job market so it's not all that helpful. I am especially worried about the personalities of all of the options I have for my 3rd letter not being conducive to writing a warm letter.
  14. Indecisive Poet

    Relative importance of LORs?

    I am in a very, very similar position to you and I am also planning to use 2 letters from my UK MA, and to ask my undergrad recommender to update her letter for the 3rd. For what it's worth, a friend of mine just accepted an offer at Notre Dame's PhD program earlier this week and she did the same thing – 2 letters from MA program, 1 from BA. A professor at my MA program advised me to do the same as well. I would second @Rootbound's advice and suggest that you just share your MA work, current CV and updated research interests with your undergrad professor and ask them to write a letter that reflects those changes.
  15. Eek, I hope this is reflected widely in admissions decisions. I'm finishing up a program at a British university right now and I had a professor from my undergrad tell me to try to take classes with Americans since they tend to write much more enthusiastic and personal letters than Brits do – I didn't end up being presented with that opportunity, so I'm hoping I don't get written off as having not-so-good letters just because there's a differently style of LoR-writing and a different kind of student-prof relationship here.

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