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indecisivepoet last won the day on July 14

indecisivepoet had the most liked content!

About indecisivepoet

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    Espresso Shot

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  • Interests
    Romanticism, Poetry and Poetics, Aesthetic Theory, Literature and Philosophy
  • Application Season
    Already Attending
  • Program
    MSc English

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  1. @telkanuru - Thank you! Noted, and will work on this structure.
  2. indecisivepoet

    Letter writers and choosing seminars

    I think the questions I have for him come from a place of knowing I'm interested in what he's doing, but a lot of it being over my head. This is the part that gives me anxiety: knowing I have some grasp on what I want to research and some idea of what he (and others) is (are) doing but knowing that I still (no matter how much reading I do this year) have barely scratched the surface of what's going on in these areas. Sometimes I doubt that I should even pursue my interests because they're so philosophically and theoretically inclined and I've done so little work in these areas. When I think of the types of questions I'd have for someone like him, they're less beautifully articulated and thoughtful questions about the nuances of his methodology or arguments going on in his subfields, and more questions about how I can learn more about those areas, how I can feel like I have somewhat of a grasp on things, what sorts of things I should be reading, what the larger questions guiding his particular research are -- things like that. And I just don't know if it's okay for me to ask those kinds of things, and indeed how to do so without sounding like an idiot. I'm confused a little bit by the wording of your last statement: when you say "allow him to say no" -- are you referring to his potentially writing me a letter? Do you think my research interests should be a "match" with all the faculty members who write me LoRs? I don't think they will be. The way I've asked about LoRs in the past was just chit-chatting with professors about my plans for graduate school and asking for advice on applying, and they've all offered to write me a letter without me needing to ask. In the future, I'm not sure what I'll say. I tend to get overly apologetic when I ask others for favors and might end up saying something like "Do you think you might be willing to write me a strong letter of recommendation for my applications? If you have too much going on this semester or don't think that's something you would be able to take on, that's absolutely fine" -- not sure if that kind of language would be appropriate. Also -- I know in this thread I've come across as taking these potential letter-writers for granted and I should have phrased things differently. I know these people are only that -- potential letter writers. What I'm really interested in is learning from this person. But: as an undergrad I thought precisely ZERO about who I was taking my classes with and got myself into a really less than ideal situation when it came time for LoRs, and I don't want to make that mistake twice. Hope that makes sense 🙂 Thanks, @Glasperlenspieler. I guess my question now becomes: do I think I would get more out of a structured theory course or out of studying under this professor? I'll have to spend the next week or so thinking that through.
  3. indecisivepoet

    Letter writers and choosing seminars

    @Warelin - this response is wonderful. I'm now certain this isn't the route to go down, so my next line of thinking is addressed below... Also, this isn't what I wrote this thread topic for, but since your comments about office hours generally were so helpful: do you have tips on how to approach the initial office hour? I'm great with structured office hours -- i.e. making an appointment to address my paper topic or a problem I'm having -- but I tend to have anxiety around the type of visit during which I introduce myself, ask about their research, and tell them about my interests. This is especially true for those faculty members I'm not taking a class with. Should I start that off by just asking them if they can tell me about their work? @Glasperlenspieler - you bring up great points. I think they are best addressed by providing some more specific context that I didn't want to bog my initial post down with. My fall semester situation is this: there is a literary theory -- general literary theory, somewhat of a survey of several schools -- seminar that I'd love to take because my current interests have much to do with theory and it's my weak area. I didn't take a single theory course as an undergrad and while I've done a lot of learning on my own, I've been incredibly eager to take a formal, structured survey course in literary theory because I just don't feel grounded enough to do the kind of work I want to with it. I'm also concerned that applying to PhD programs without a single theory course on my transcript (especially since I'll be applying with an MA) will be a detriment to my applications, and I'm not sure how convinced they'll be by my ability to grapple with theory just because I display competency with the relevant strand of theory in my SoP or because I casually mention that I've done some of my own reading in it. Now, alternatively, this professor with whom I'm eager to work is teaching two seminars in the fall, both of which would be appealing and exciting for me if this seminar in theory weren't being offered. So it's not that I'm not interested in the seminars he's teaching in the fall; it's that it really feels to me like I NEED to take the theory seminar instead. I'm really quite torn, but it seems like I'd be putting myself at a disadvantage if I didn't. Unfortunately my program has a policy against auditing additional seminars. Similarly, it's not that this person's interests have nothing to do with mine at all. I think there is some overlap, I'd get something out of taking the class with him, and I'd be able to discuss my theoretical interests with him. But I also feel that if it were a simple choice between which professor I'd rather have a relationship with, it would absolutely be the one who is not teaching this theory seminar -- to the point that I'd really feel like I'd wasted a big opportunity if I didn't study with him. The other 2 seminars I know I am taking (they are compulsory but also exciting and useful since they are general courses within my period) are taught by faculty with the same period interest as me. However, there are several faculty members working in this period at my university and these happen to be the ones who are working on subfields and areas that don't interest me very much; there are other faculty members working in my period whose interests more closely align with mine, but they aren't teaching this fall. I think that complaining about these people being my potential letter-writers would be nit-picky and unfounded; I think having 2 LoRs from people working generally in my field -- if not in my more specific areas -- with whom I've taken classes would be perfectly fine. I guess I just feel like to not take a class with this ONE specific professor whose interests are nearly identical to mine would be a poor decision and a waste of that third letter. So that comes down to me foregoing the theory class in the fall, or: For the spring semester, there is no seminar I'm 100% gung-ho on but several that sound interesting and exciting. Unfortunately, the professor in whom I'm primarily interested is not teaching any. He's teaching an undergraduate course that is my DREAM course (again indicating to me that his work is of great interest to me), but as I mentioned above, I don't know if I can take it (I'll have to reach out to my program director again) and I don't know if it's a good idea to take an undergrad-level class even if I'm allowed to. I could also hold out on the hope that he'll be assigned as my dissertation mentor, but I think that's unlikely and risky. Writing this out has made me realize it's a question of: is it worse to not take a class with this person I'm so excited about and forego him as a potential letter writer, or to apply to PhD programs with no theory classes on my transcript and write my dissertation and SoP with no formal background in theory, when the projects I'm interested in doing will involve a good deal of it?
  4. indecisivepoet

    Best Credit Card?

    @FishNerd - that makes sense. Honestly, I think as long as anyone is using their card responsibly, they shouldn't have any problems. So far I haven't come across a single credit card in any category that doesn't have a number of 1-star reviews. Credit card companies are ultimately out to make as much money as they can, not help people. I think by using any card as a debit card, not accruing interest, and not relying on bonus schemes to work in our favour, we should be fine.
  5. indecisivepoet

    Letter writers and choosing seminars

    Do you mean if I take up time in office hours with that professor? I guess I am unclear on the etiquette of office hours -- I was thinking it's acceptable to attend office hours with a professor who works in your department but with whom you don't take a class. The coordinator of my program suggested to me that I talk about my dissertation topic with this professor before I begin writing and while I am writing even if he is not my supervisor. But if it's the case that you shouldn't attend office hours with a faculty member with whom you don't work, that certainly changes things for me and I think I would want to sacrifice getting more out of my classes for working with this professor. Unfortunately there are no opportunities for independent study available. The only option I can think of is that this professor is teaching an absolutely ideal-looking class in the spring semester..but it's an undergraduate class. I'm not sure what my university's policy would be on me taking this class or whether that's even something I'd like to do. But generally -- I understand why it wouldn't make sense to ask someone I haven't worked with for a LoR. I was thinking about a post on here from someone saying they got a LoR from a professor they had met at a conference, but maybe that person ended up working with them on something and then got the letter from them. It sounds like I'll probably need to forego taking the class I'd really like to take in order to take this professor's class.
  6. I am back with another question! This one is actually relevant to my immediate decisions rather than for applications a year+ in the future. Thanks for being SO consistently helpful, everyone. Did anyone here use a letter from a professor they did not take a class with/a professor who did not supervise them in any formal way? Was this successful? Does anyone not recommend doing so? I ask because I am about to start my 1-year MA and there is a particular faculty member I'm very interested in getting to know because his interests are strikingly similar to mine. I've read some of his work and watched some talks of his and his methodology resonates with me a great deal so far. However -- I'm registering for my fall "elective" course soon and the classes I am most excited about and would be most beneficial to me are taught by faculty members whose work I'm not particularly interested in, and the spring semester looks to be the same situation. The bigger issue, though, is that in my program, we are not able to ask a specific faculty member to serve as our dissertation supervisor; the supervisor is assigned to us by the department. It may be that this person is assigned to me based on my topic, but there are other faculty members whose expertise can be said to cover generally the areas I'm interested in as well, so it's certainly not a given. I guess I have it in my head that a LoR from this person for my PhD applications would be ideal and I'd be remiss not to facilitate that opportunity. If I just form a relationship with this person by going to office hours, would it be reasonable to ask him for a LoR? Would it be better to have 3 LoRs from people who have all worked with me in a formal capacity, observed my performance in class, read my work carefully and graded it? There are actually several courses for both semesters that are really exciting to me, but the ones I am more interested in are not taught by any of the faculty members on my "top 3-5" radar for relevant interests and interesting work. Would it be wise to choose classes I am less (but still somewhat) interested in, that I think I wouldn't get as much out of, and that I think won't look as appealing on a transcript if they are taught by those more "relevant" faculty members? Should I choose the classes I am most interested in and potentially end up with LoRs from faculty members working in different areas from me? Or could I ask faculty members who haven't really worked with me other than office hour discussion for letters? Would that be a risk?
  7. indecisivepoet

    Best Credit Card?

    @a_sort_of_fractious_angel - I meant the latter, which sounds obvious now that I realize this is probably how most credit cards work. I'm used to using Capital One, which I link with my Wells Fargo checking account and pay off through there. I'm not entirely satisfied with WF though and will probably switch my accounts over to someone else when I return from the UK; Chase sounds like a bank to consider.
  8. indecisivepoet

    Best Credit Card?

    Hmm, I should have thought of it this way. You're getting miles for flights you aren't even paying for so you can use them for your own personal trips that the department isn't paying for. The cards for specific airlines do seem to be the best offers but I'm also hesitant about getting one of those since I'd be restricted to that airline and I normally fly with budget airlines if I'm paying for the flight myself. I suppose I'll do some pro and con weighing against something like Capital One Venture. I don't anticipate needing to book a flight for quite a while so I'll have some time to decide, at least.
  9. indecisivepoet

    Monthly Top Posters Contest - August

    If only I hadn't decided I would post all of my questions in July! 🙃
  10. indecisivepoet

    Americans Abroad!

    Hey all, Not sure if any response can be garnered on this somewhat inactive thread, but figured I'd try anyway: Does anyone have experience banking in the UK? I am looking at international postgraduate accounts for 1 year. It appears NatWest/Royal Bank of Scotland have a monthly account fee of £10 and it looks like Santander has a fee as well, though it's not clear. Not sure about HSBC, and Barclays appears to be free. Any suggestions? If it comes to paying a monthly fee for the account, I'd rather opt out and just use my credit cards the whole year, but that seems inconvenient in case I need cash for anything. Also, I am looking at Vodafone's £5/month PAYG sim card. I've used Three in the past but I don't think I will need as much as their minimum package offers and I don't want to pay £10 a month if I can save on that. I used Vodafone a couple years back and didn't have any problems with it. Any other suggestions? I plan to be on WiFi the majority of the time and I'd really just like the card so I can make occasional calls if I need to. I'm thinking about going on a camping trip next summer and I may switch to a more data-friendly provider then in the event that that pans out.
  11. indecisivepoet

    Best Credit Card?

    After doing a ton of comparisons and research, I ended up going with Capital One Quicksilver (If I get approved). It's a flat-rate cash-back card. It doesn't offer much, but I have no reason not to start using a cash-back card since it's free money (any amount counts!) and having two cards will up my score since my current credit line on my undergrad secured card is pretty low. Plus, since I anticipate having some up-front apartment costs to pay when I head abroad in a couple weeks, I should easily reach that $150 cash sign-up bonus. I looked into Chase Freedom/Freedom Unlimited and they seemed liked the best choices...but they both had 3% foreign transaction fees 😢. I looked into Citizens Bank as well but the lower reviews scared me off as well as the minimum redemption amount and lack of automatic cash back. These are minor bones to pick but the Capital One option didn't have any drawbacks for me. I think I will sign up for Capital One Venture when I start my PhD or at some point during/after it if it seems like I'm going to start doing a lot of conference/work related flying. Thanks everyone!
  12. indecisivepoet

    Best Credit Card?

    I liked the sound of this -- being able to set groceries, bills, etc as bonus categories -- but I looked it up and got scared off by these reviews... you'll have to let me know what you think of it!
  13. Silly, paranoid question, but is there any benefit to getting applications in early? Do adcoms usually start reviewing them and mentally offering places as they come in or wait until the deadline has passed to start reviewing?
  14. indecisivepoet

    Best Credit Card?

    Thanks for the recommendations, everyone. I think I am leaning toward a cash-back card. @a_sort_of_fractious_angel -- silly question, but do you need to bank with Citizens Bank in order to qualify for these cards?

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