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desertwoman

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  1. @Sigaba Thank you for sharing your experiences. None, by the way, seem that bad to me, though I guess we tend to judge our own work harder than others' do. (My research paper seems like the worst thing any student in the history of academia has ever written...[numerous egregious typos/mistakes and formatting/citation problems [this was more due to lack of familiarity with Chicago style than anxiety]). I agree that it's probably going to struggle with this for years (just hoping it doesn't distract me from performing well if I"m accepted into graduate school), and I admittedly did handle the email situation poorly, though I still think faculty should be more understanding when mental issues are involved.
  2. @norellehannahIt's a little more complicated because our relationship ended up souring. When she first said that I "could contact her in the future re: grad school applications, I assumed that she was just trying to put off declining me. She was retiring the next year (I graduated in Dec. 2018), so she probably figured that by the time I contacted her, she would have already left the university. However, having permission to contact her, I decided to submit a proposal to an academic conference she'll be attending this year, thinking that she'd have the chance to see me present research and would know that I could handle a significant project. When I emailed her asking for assistance with finding volunteers to interview (it was an oral history project), she responded curtly and I ended up reporting the email to the chair. I later emailed her to apologize, explained my anxiety disorder (as well as the depression I experienced when I found out she couldn't be my adviser (this significantly impaired my concentration), and even told both the chair and the dean that I thought I overreacted to her email. Yet, she never answered that email (where I also asked directly for a letter of recommendation) or the next one. I guess I'll never really know for sure whether she ever intended to write a letter of recommendation in the first place (I"m thinking she didn't, but I could be wrong), but I'm still upset about the situation. (And it's escalated pretty far because I've since complained about the chair etc.) I actually don't have any other strong references in my field. (I have one from a different field). I think I'm going to ask the dean to write the letter since she was aware of all my extenuation circumstances and hopefully could say that I managed to do well despite facing hardship. Thank you for the response.
  3. I've been studying for the GRE (books and online sources) and so far I find the verbal section ridiculously easy. It's difficult to believe that a test that's designed to weed people out of graduate programs could possibly be that easy, so I'm worried that the study guides are much easier than the actual test. Has anyone found a discrepancy between difficulty level of the test vs. the study guides or is this a sign that I will get a high verbal score?
  4. I agree with many of your perceptions, and I can see how this professor thought I might have been trying to guilt or coerce her into helping with the project. That wasn't the case, but I believe much of the problem stemmed from the way the chair handled everything. He really should have mediated the situation so we could have worked everything out (even by Skype or email etc.), and I've since complained about him to multiple levels of administration. It seems bridges are so easily burned in academia, but this was the first time I had such an experience and took it very harshly. I will start contacting other faculty to work with and hopefully get a stronger letter of recommendation. Thank you for the thorough reply.
  5. You're welcome. It may be different in your program. I'm applying to history programs and most of them ask you to describe your research interests. If the prompt is "Why do you want to become a SLP?," a personal response seems more appropriate. Sorry for any confusion...Good luck!
  6. Most grad. school statements of purpose should focus on your research interests and how they connect to the faculty's in that department. They're much less personal than undergrad.college essays. It's not necessarily that they don't believe ADHD is legitimate (which would be rather ignorant), but if they ask you to describe your research interests and you make the essay personal(even if it's connected to your interests), you'll probably be rejected. I learned this from experience. With that said, if they specifically asked you to describe overcoming an obstacle, then you may be okay. Good luck!
  7. I actually had a similar situation with a professor's tone, so I can very much relate to how you're feeling. While I obviously don't know with certainty the reason for her tone, here are the possibilities I see: 1. She may be uncomfortable (or bitter about) writing a LOR for another field. Did you mention going into sociology? (I don't agree with this attitude, even if this was the case.) 2. Since you didn't mention a letter of recommendation in your letter, she may not have realized that you're asking for one. The only way to know for sure is to write her back and specify the request for a letter of recommendation. 3. She doesn't remember you. Did you take many classes with her? While it's easy to remember our professors, unless we stood out in some way, they usually don't remember us due to the quantity of students they have. Whatever the reason, I doubt it has anything to do with you not keeping in touch with her. Professors don't usually expect to keep in touch with undergrads. (Maybe there are some exceptions, but most don't.) Unless she specifically invited you to keep in touch and seemed genuine about it, I wouldn't worry about this. Of course, you'll never really know unless you write back to her and specifically request the letter of recommendation. The worst outcome is that she'll ignore you or reply curtly again (maybe even more curtly). You just have to be prepared for these outcomes. In any case, it doesn't sound like you'll have too much of a problem given that you excelled in a difficult field and have top GRE scores. I would definitely go with academic references. Your academic performance speaks for itself, and as long as there isn't anything negative in the letters, you'll probably get in easily. Good luck!
  8. I"m not familiar with the schools you listed, but I think a lot depends on the specific requirements of the program you're applying to and the circumstances of your stats. For example, your cumulative GPA is 3.3. but was it higher in your major? (This could be a crucial factor.) If you excelled in your major and have strong letters of recommendation, those carry significant weight. Alternatively, did you just have one or two bad semesters? If you showed marked improvement (or if there were extenuating circumstances), that will be considered as well. My point is, each applicant is judged individually, and decisions aren't based on GPA and test scores alone. You won't know until you apply...Good luck!
  9. I actually didn't go to the chair until after she ignored my second email (the one where I offered to withdraw the proposal). I may not have reacted as strongly with another professor, but given that she knew how much I admired her, I thought her actions were particularly insensitive. I not only asked her to be my adviser (even if she couldn't accept the request, it's still an honor to be asked) but devoted much of my statement of purpose to how inspired I was by her research and gave her a stellar teaching evaluation. Again, we seemed to have a good rapport at one time, so I figured she "devalued" me after the paper. Maybe I did read too much into everything... And I actually didn't find undergrad too stressful (for the most part), though I didn't work and only focused on school. This was an unusually chaotic semester, and I worried that this professor saw my paper as a reflection of my ability rather than my circumstances. It's one thing to be sympathetic/lenient with a grade if the goal is just for someone to finish undergrad., but when evaluating that student's potential for grad. school, are extenuating circumstances ever considered?
  10. There is one other history professor whose class I did well in and whom I'm at least not in conflict with, but the class was in an unrelated area to my research interests. Plus, I only had one undergrad. class with him and no significant research projects. I guess this is better than a bad reference, but it's also not a strong one. Ironically, I have had a few courses with the department chair, but we're not on good terms anymore either. As I mentioned, I didn't feel he handled my complaint properly. Instead of mediating and encouraging communication between me and the professor, he exaggerated my concerns and worsened the situation. (I saw their email exchanges, since its part of my educational record). I then complained to the dean about him and have gone all the way up the chain of command, so I"m pretty sure the entire department (perhaps university) is aware of the situation now...
  11. The best letter of recommendation I have is actually from a professor in a different field. (I was an interdisciplinary studies major.) However, I don't have any strong letters from history professors (you need a min. of two letters) because of lack of research/project experience. (I didn't decide to pursue graduate studies in this field until the end of my undergraduate education.) I also can't afford to take more undergraduate courses for financial reasons. (My degree was paid for with financial aid.) I feel her letter was the best chance I had, and we did have a good rapport before all this happened. (I had two classes with her and she enthusiastically allowed me into her graduate level course as an undergrad). My stress, by the way, was mainly due to housing insecurity. I spent over half the semester moving every few days while also trying to find more stable living arrangements while keeping up with coursework. Given these circumstances and the fact that she knew I was a diligent student from the previous semester, I thought she could have at least written that I managed to complete the course work and the project while facing considerable personal stress and still managed to get an A in the course. Again, my circumstances were unforeseen and just happened to occur when I was taking this class... The reason I offered to withdraw the proposal is because she seemed upset that I had submitted it before contacting her (or even beginning the project). So, thinking that was the reason for her curt tone, I offered to withdraw it and asked if she could still provide guidance with it (I was more concerned about proving my research/project management abilities to her), but when she ignored that email I complained to the chair (though he made the situation worse instead of mediating and promoting reconciliation). I guess what's done is done, though I wanted people's opinions on whether she should have been more sympathetic to my circumstances and anxiety disorder.
  12. I did try sending a follow-up email, but she didn't reply to that one either. We actually had a good rapport for most of my tenure as her student, though I could tell by her comments that she was unimpressed with the paper. (Again, it wasn't "stellar," but there were valid extenuating circumstances which she was aware of). Fearing she would decline a direct request for a letter of recommendation, I initially asked her if I could "contact her in the future" for a letter, and instead of a direct yes, she replied that I could "contact her in the future re: grad school applications." I took this as a hint that she didn't want to write one, but having permission to contact her, I sent a proposal (which I submitted before beginning the project) to an academic conference she would be attending. The idea was that I would have the chance to demonstrate my capability to her with this project, but when I contacted her about it (asking for help finding volunteers to interview [it was an oral history project]), she responded curtly. I then sent another email offering to to withdraw the proposal, but when she ignored that one altogether, I complained to the department chair about her previous tone and the fact that she was ignoring me. I later wrote her to apologize for "overreacting" to her tone and explained my anxiety disorder (that was the email where I directly asked for a letter of recommendation), but she ignored me. While it's possible that she was resentful that I complained to the chair, that doesn't explain why her tone changed or why she ignored my subsequent email offering to withdraw the proposal. Essentially, I"m trying to figure out if she's unreasonable/unempathetic or if there are never extenuating circumstances when evaluating a student's potential for grad. school?
  13. While I know that many college and graduate students struggle with mental illnesses, it seems that no matter how much they're struggling, they're still able to produce excellent work (and end up getting into/succeeding in grad. school). I wasn't, at least not during my last semester of undergrad. During that semester, I had a 25 page (min.) research paper due in a graduate level history class (in the very area I want to study), though because of stressful circumstances, I had a very late start on the paper. (I also have an anxiety disorder.) Additionally, I experienced situational depression toward the end of that semester, which significantly impaired my concentration (even more than my anxiety, though the late start on the paper didn't help.) Long story short, the paper had egregious typos/mistakes and was overall "sloppy" and poorly formatted. However, I did end up receiving an A- on it (and an A in the course). Maybe the fact that she gave me an A- shows that the professor was sympathetic to some degree (she knew about my stressful circumstances), but she did not respond to my request for a letter of recommendation (even though I mentioned having an anxiety disorder and offered to provide documentation). This course was very important to me, and I feel it was my one chance to demonstrate that I could produce graduate level research. I also wanted to impress this professor whom I greatly respected/admired. So, should my anxiety disorder/depression (the depression was situational and not clinical) have been taken into consideration when evaluating my potential for graduate school? I wouldn't have expected her to portray the paper as "perfect," but could she not have written that despite extremely trying circumstances, I managed to complete my coursework, a research paper, and do well in the class? Has anyone else's work ever been profoundly affected by a mental (or physical) illness? If so, was the professor/advisor sympathetic or did they see it as an attempt to excuse poor work?
  14. PsyDGrad90, While I don't have a spouse or children, my objection to relocating is because I love the city I'm living in. (I can't see myself living anywhere else.) There's only one university here (two in the state), and I know it's unrealistic to expect to stay in one location on the academic career track, which is one of the reasons I''m vacillating on it. I've also thought about the other factors you mentioned, such as facing a difficult job market in middle age etc. I guess I can only take one step at a time. I think my first goal will be to get a master's degree and then see if this is still something I want to pursue. Thank you for the response.
  15. For the first time, I"m starting to question whether I should pursue a career in academia, and i"d appreciate advice. First, I was generally a good student, having graduated with a 3.93 GPA in interdisciplinary studies, plus I had six graduate level history credits in history (the subject I want to study in grad. school [particularly the 20th century postwar period]). I was sure that I wanted to go to grad. school and eventually pursue a Ph.D., but some experiences I had are causing me to question whether an academic career is the right path for me. While I am generally a strong student, I do not handle stress well, and this affected a crucial paper in a graduate level class I was taking as an undergrad. (in the subject I wanted to study no less). I experienced a lot of personal stress that semester, and while I ended up with an A- on the paper, it wasn't my best work. And although I earned an A in the class, the professor ignored my request for a letter of recommendation, and this has been the most painful rejection I've ever experienced. However, although my extenuating circumstances were valid, the fact is, my work was affected. So, I'm questioning how I would be able to manage the stress of a full graduate course load, teaching, research, etc. without my physical and/or mental health being affected. Additionally, I hate the idea of relocating and don't adjust well to change. It seems like academics must be comfortable with an itinerant lifestyle and constant change. Furthermore, I'm afraid of flying, and I know that one must travel for research/conferences (sometimes internationally) during a Ph.D. and throughout their career. At the same time, however, I'm passionate about my intended field and love research/writing (despite the setback in my last class). I also don't want to let this professor (or anyone) kill my ambitions. I do, however, want to make sure I think this through carefully. I should also mention that I"m a non-traditional student (37) and will probably be 38 by the time I start a master's program (if I"m accepted). I don't think it's ever too late to pursue one's dreams , but I do worry about the stress being more detrimental to my health in middle age. For example, even those in their 20's are stressed in grad. school, so I worry about how my health would be affected handling the stress of a Ph.D in my 40's, if I made it to that point. So, am I worrying too much, or does it sound like this career path isn't for me?
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