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Indecisive Poet

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Indecisive Poet last won the day on February 1

Indecisive Poet had the most liked content!

About Indecisive Poet

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  • Interests
    Poetry and Poetics; adjacent things
  • Application Season
    2020 Fall
  • Program
    PhD English

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  1. I've also just seen this – I would really give it much more time before you determine these people to be unresponsive!
  2. I'd be really, really wary of turning down a program with a higher stipend and a better teaching load for one that seems friendlier at the outset – especially because we're in the middle of a pandemic that has meant that academics have very little time to devote to anything but 6,000 Zoom meetings a day and all of the troubleshooting that comes with doing online what really shouldn't be done online. I know that your experience with this friendlier program has probably made them feel like more of a known entity, but so much of this is marketing/recruiting and the fact that the other program has been less responsive really doesn't say anything substantial about that program (if you think it does, fair enough, but what does it say that this program asks its students to do more work for less money? Surely that reflects on its supportiveness and whether or not the program is welcoming, too?). Once you're at a program, living there, what will matter is what your daily life is like and how that impacts the work you will do. 6 months in or 3 years in, you probably won't remember how nice the faculty was over email when you were accepted. Is there a significant difference in ranking between the two programs? How strong are the departments in rhet/comp? Are the faculty members you'd be working with well known in your field? Which location do you prefer? Maybe you haven't mentioned these things because they're about equal at both programs, but all of those factors, + stipend and teaching load, would weigh much more heavily on my decision than initial emails would. That said, it sounds like you want the friendlier program to be the right choice, and there's absolutely something to be said for going with your instincts/feelings. You'll choose the program that's right for you! 🙂
  3. Just a quick note to say that I turned down Boston College and UConn today, and that I've also recently turned down Columbia and Notre Dame and asked to be taken off of CU's waitlist. Wishing you all the best in making your decisions about the coming year.
  4. Thanks for this! I was browsing some places a few days ago just out of curiosity and I couldn't find anything decent under $800 for a studio and about $1,200 for a 1-BD. Ideally, it'd be great for me to get a cheaper 1-BD right away, but it seems like I may only be able to afford a studio the first year and then scale up when my partner moves.
  5. Thinking about heading to UChicago in the autumn (if moving is possible by that point). If I do go, I'd love to rent a studio or 1-bd in Hyde Park, but I'm not sure that's possible on a $31k stipend (which ends up being closer to $26k when you subtract fees and taxes, although health insurance is covered). Any tips on what kind of price range I should be looking at, locations w/in Hyde Park, and how to approach finding places? I would be covering rent on my own the first year and then my partner would be joining me starting the second year so we can split rent. I'll also be moving from abroad and I'm not sure how to approach that yet. Autumn quarter starts September 29 and I was thinking about flying to Chicago about a month before that and staying... somewhere(?)... while I spend a few weeks touring flats. Edit: I've also seen on this thread that it's a bad idea to have a car in Chicago. Can anyone corroborate/refute?
  6. Seconding others who have asked if your partner can move with you (either now or in the near future). I think the biggest factor here is how serious your relationship is (and whether or not they're willing to move is potentially a part of that). It's really easy to tell young 20-somethings not to choose love over a career and it's usually good advice. But the situation changes when that person is your life partner (or if you think they might be and have discussed this with them). At that point, it's a situation unlike anything else, really – families remain families even when they only see each other a couple times a year, but relationships don't work that way. A lot of younger people who are applying to programs right now with or without girlfriends/boyfriends will tell you to choose your career over your S/O, but this dynamic becomes much more like asking someone to never see their child again when your S/O is your partner, a part of your family. It becomes a non-option. I say all of this because I'm totally here with you: the application cycle didn't go well for my partner and I, and the most likely scenario for us now is one of us giving up academia indefinitely unless I manage to get a hold of the uber-competitive funding offered by the two British PhD programs we've been accepted to (spoiler: it's unlikely). And it's been frustrating having certain people on this forum who are rolling in the Best Luck of All Time with their admissions offers give me unsolicited advice based on where they are in their own lives. I suppose what I want to say is: this is a decision only you can make. What kind of future would you be giving up with your S/O? What is this person to you, and you to them? And, secondarily, how big of a dip in rankings are we talking? There's a big difference between 13 v. 20 and 13 v. 65. We live in a hypercapitalist and careerist country/global society that cons us into believing independence and entrepreneurship at the expense of all else are actually intrinsic human values – but they aren't. If going to a lower-ranked program would open up every other section of your life for you, it sounds like that's right for you. If you think ending this relationship would mean you being sad for a time and then getting on with things, you might need to make the tougher decision. The question really is: what will matter more in the long term? FWIW, I would kill for my decision to be as simple as choosing a program lower down the rungs. Being faced with no other option but re-applying or giving up the career has really put into perspective what I would have been willing to do if it had been that simple (although a very different decision may be what's right for you). Even still, the decision is a non-decision for me because giving up my family is not an option, but it's such a rough spot to be in.
  7. Wrote a long thing but I don't want to sign up for more discussion on this, so I will just say, OP: if you are concerned that where you did your undergraduate work will weigh negatively on your application, I suggest that you take all of this advice with a swimming pool of salt and do your own research. Look through every single graduate student profile at every program you are interested in and see where they got their previous degrees. Never count yourself out as a top applicant preemptively. You will regret punching below your weight.
  8. I know you're just throwing out a "worst case scenario," but I don't think this would ever happen. They've already made their decisions and they aren't going to reverse a decision because an applicant asked about the status of their application. I think your advice about how to word the email is great, and I encourage @jm6394 to reach out! 🙂
  9. This worked for me. I had a good GPA coming out of undergrad but had absolutely no idea what I wanted to study, had taken very few literature courses (despite being an English major), knew nothing about literary theory or what people were working on in the field, and had only formed one meaningful relationship with a professor. I did a terminal MA and left with a solid GPA, but more importantly, strong relationships with faculty members, a strong sense of what I want to study, a solid writing sample, and a good working knowledge of what's going on in the field. I've had a fair few rejections this round but also a couple of solid acceptances, and I do not believe there is any chance whatsoever that I would have been accepted to the programs that have accepted me if I had applied straight out of undergrad. I do not think admissions committees care where you did your previous work (BA or MA) – only what you did with your time there. A distinguished professor at a top-15 English program (my undergrad) told me as much. (But I will counter this by saying a POI at UChicago knew 2 of my MA letter-writers and explicitly said that this influenced his decision. My understanding is that this is not common). PhD program rankings matter a lot when it comes to getting a job, but it's an entirely different system for accepting students into PhD programs. Do try to do as well in your classes as possible, try to form strong relationships with professors (ideally associate prof. or higher) in your subfield, work on a solid writing sample, and get a strong sense of what you want to study. If you devote yourself to your work at your MA and try to make the most of resources there (faculty and otherwise), you should be in a good position for your cycle.
  10. Ithaca is so, so cool. I can't tell you anything about the English program there, unfortunately, but a good friend of mine attended the university for undergrad and I've spent some time there. It's an absolutely stunning location nestled away in the country, with loads of hiking, walking, swimming, etc. within reach of campus. But the town itself is also really nice – everything you need re grocery stores, etc., and great restaurants. The culture there is interesting – the town's population seems to be made up half of students and half of older "hippies" who were active in counter-culture circles in the 1960s? Really cool. I think the area is affordable and the buildings you would likely be renting in are old and leafy. One thing to consider, though, is that you will need a car if you plan on ever leaving Ithaca. The campus and surrounding residential areas are walkable, but if you want to get anywhere else, there isn't much public transport to be had – although perhaps that's self-explanatory. I think this tradeoff generally comes with the rural idyll. (I think there is bus you can take to/from NYC, but it's quite long, as one would expect). Edit: Oh, and you probably know this, but COLD. The summers are really hot and great for spending time outdoors, but during the winter there are usually feet of snow on the ground at all times, and the campus/town are very, very hilly.
  11. Oh deary me. Well, the good news is it sounds like this program has already made its decisions and you'll be hearing from them despite this incident. If it's the same professor who contacts you with an offer, you'll have a chance to bring it up again and hopefully make light of it/jokingly apologize! But I think admissions comittees/POIs are, as a general rule, understanding of awkward verbal nervousness like this. There was this huge, painful awkward silence on the phone when Notre Dame contacted me with my offer because it seemed like maybe I was supposed to be saying something more, but I didn't...have anything to say? (had already run through my thanks and excitement, etc., plus asked loads of questions at my interview weeks earlier). I also said something very stupid at the end of a phone interview for a different program a few days ago, and I still maintain that my UChicago interview was an utter cringe-fest. Blegh, but, here we are. Is CUNY offering to reimburse your journey? If so, I would attend. If it's a program you'd seriously consider attending were you accepted off the waitlist, it would be great for you to get an idea of what it would be like to go there. If you'd be paying for the trip out of pocket, it's up to you, but I would probably give it a pass myself. In other news, NYU is still sending out waitlists? Brown has yet to send out anything but 2 acceptances, and Colorado sent out its waitlists but nothing else. Seems like a handful of programs are taking their time with this...
  12. Out of curiosity – have you read John Williams' Stoner? It's one of my favorite books of all time, about a medievalist with an emphasis on classical reception (sounds dry but is totally not!)
  13. This is so kind and thoughtful of you – no apologies needed! But I do want to make clear that this has been a team effort between my partner and I that we have thought about carefully. He applied to multiple programs in every location we applied to, too. The only difference between us is that he has been unlucky and I have been a little luckier (and it really is just luck – he is a fantastic applicant and a brilliant person whose work astounds me, so these results have been a shock to both of us). He has now been rejected or implicitly rejected from 6 programs that overlapped with locations I applied to (plus the waitlist from Notre Dame). I'm sure you can imagine that he and I have talked about our situation every day since he started receiving bad news, and him coming to Chicago with me and re-applying next year is a very real possibility that he's happy to do if it ends up being the best option for us. But, by the same token, it's only fair that I also consider the possibility of staying in England with him and re-applying next year, if that's what ends up making the most sense for us. Neither of us have offers from Oxbridge yet, nor can we necessarily expect them, so it's all up in the air. One or the other of us giving up offers and re-applying is an absolute last resort – I guess I'm just manically trying to plan for all outcomes because I've never been a level-headed "let's just wait and see what actually ends up happening" type of person.
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