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meghan_sparkle last won the day on March 10

meghan_sparkle had the most liked content!

About meghan_sparkle

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  • Application Season
    2020 Fall
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    PhD English

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  1. Heading to Yale!!!!!!!!! Was genuinely so tough to decide between Yale, Princeton and Columbia, as they were all legitimately tied as #1 in my mind and each had unique strengths for me personally, but something about New Haven just already felt like home. Whether that was just because they had their visit days and Princeton/Columbia didn't, it's a little hard to say, but at one point I just had to say to myself that counterfactuals aren't helpful in this scenario, it is what it is, and I have to go with my gut. If I'm honest I'm going to feel pretty sad about turning down Princeton/Columbia for a long time, but still feels like the right decision, if that makes any sense... Good luck to everyone in the next few days! Hang in there.
  2. Belated, but turned down Columbia and Princeton in the last couple days. Columbia isn't keeping a waitlist this year but hope this helps someone for Princeton.
  3. Just turned down Berkeley. That was incredibly, incredibly difficult.
  4. Just declined Chicago. Damn that was difficult. Not sure if they have a waitlist but if they do, hope this helps someone on it.
  5. One thing that has been helpful to me while trying to sort through my longings and instinctual impulses is remembering that the decision isn't just about the next year or two, but has to still feel right even in three or four years when dissertating. In that vein, a less stressful teaching experience should weigh more heavily in terms of your daily working schedule. Whereas having to move cross country—although it's a hassle, inconvenient, a lot of work and may distance you from family/friends—is something that will probably feel like a blip 6 months in when it's over and done with and you've started building a community of friends within your cohort + started to fall in love with a new city. I also note you said "possibly" less stressful teaching experience; maybe it will help to talk to a few more current students so you can see what the teaching is like functionally for them? At least for me, the question at bottom is: What's the ideal environment where I can most contentedly see myself writing for the next 5-6 years? Liking the city you live in certainly factors into that. But tbh, no summer funding and immediate teaching are both huge deals. Even in cities where it's reliably easy to obtain summer income through teaching summer schools/tutoring/research assistant work, that's a lot to wrangle each year, and a lot of work totally unrelated to your research. Plus there's no guarantee of it—for instance saw the other day that Stanford students (not English I don't think but other departments) who normally relied on teaching summer schools for summer income now have nothing because all those summer programs have been cancelled due to COVID. If they're both excellent programs with vibrant communities, you probably can't go wrong—pretty much all I would encourage is making sure that your instinctual pull covers quality of life (in terms of teaching, cost of living, general happiness) across the years of your program, as difficult it is to think big-picture in terms of such a large timespan.
  6. For what it's worth I doubt this—there may well be fewer spots but I don't think that means MAs will be functionally mandatory. There are a good number of BA only applicants in all of my admitted cohorts, and to me they're indistinguishable from the ones with MAs, tbh. Ofc to a degree it's program specific (some already lean toward students with MAs, though not the ones I applied to, and maybe those will become even more MA-centric). What will get you into the PhD is an excellent sample and good recs, and an MA is only one way of many you can get there (I did a one-year masters, took a year out and worked after, and applied only with undergraduate materials that I revised while working in November 2019 before submitting in December. Obvs the fact of the masters on my transcript may have been a factor in my admissions, but purely in terms of materials I think it was revising my written work + having a year out to be a semi-normal adult that made the most difference.) Personally I wouldn't take on 70k of debt to do an MA thinking it will be mandatory/even more advisable than normal to get you into the PhD because COVID. Not least of all because even setting aside the question of how this crisis will affect funding/# of spots, there are almost no TT jobs at the end of the PhD (and will be even fewer in future), so you'll still have all of that debt following you while you're on the market, even best case scenario. The question of whether to risk taking on debt would be slightly different if there was actually a somewhat viable or semi-stable market at the end of all of it, but ... there just isn't, unfortunately
  7. Hey, I'm really sorry. This must be awful, especially with faculty encouraging you like that—I wonder if it points to COVID really messing things up behind the scenes, making even fewer spots available when normally they would pull from waitlist when someone declines. Fwiw I haven't responded to Berkeley yet, though got a nudging checkup email from their DGS yesterday. To be honest I really wish what was going on behind the scenes with department admissions and COVID-19 was less opaque and cloak and dagger than it is right now. I imagine humanities budgets are being devastated left and right, which bodes badly for current students, admits, waitlists and future applicants in ways that aren't totally clear rn. My instinct is that the financial fallout from this crisis will hit a public university system that was already buckling under pressure (UC) very hard. And even though Berkeley English is in a better position funding-wise than most other departments, in all of my conversations so far I've gotten nagging sense that beyond what's explicitly outlined in my funding letter, not a lot can be promised. The faculty are stellar and I'm impressed by their recent placement record, but times like these really show how crucial it is to feel looked after and safeguarded as a grad student.
  8. After a few further conversations I want to modulate my earlier panic a bit. Universities won't know for certain before our commitment date how the fall is going to proceed, simply because no one knows how exactly this is going to play out. Will the worst of it, the part requiring total lockdown, be 6 weeks? 2 months? 6 months? Impossible to say right now. That said, many places are planning to be live, in person, in fall, and a dean at one of my schools (sorry to be vague; trying to be informative while also not making private conversations public) said she would be surprised if things were still online in fall. One thing she stressed that I hadn't fully thought about before is really how devastating remaining online would be to so many departments in the arts (and even sciences) where education and classes are 100% built around active, live in-person education. I think everyone is done a disservice in the switch to online but for a lot of departments there really is no replacement the way there kinda is with, say, a literature graduate seminar of 8 people. It would really devastate the university to proceed like that, and (this dean said) she can't see it happening without clear, concrete, firm government directives to continue quarantining based in hard data and health advice. She said most likely, places will be aiming to go live with extensive contingency plans about what to do in the event of another outbreak—say, a resurgence in fall. It may well be the case that fall starts as normal and there's another outbreak and we have to go back online for two weeks, and so on. Again, all of this is speculation (even faculty, DGS's, and that one dean I've talked to are really only speculating based on whispers or conversations that higher-ups are only just beginning to have). I don't think we'll get a clearer indication for weeks or even months, but fwiw, things aren't looking completely, inalterably bleak.
  9. Have ... people seen this? Not English but I just about burst into tears at the prospect !! Have decided the last few days that unless programs begin on campus and in person in the fall that I'm deferring -- and am asking the DGS's of all programs whose offers I'm very seriously considering whether they would allow me to defer in that circumstance. It sucks because it's the last conversation in the world I want to be having, I'm ready to start my PhD tomorrow, but ... I've worked from home for a year and know it is really not great for my mental health and the richness of my intellectual life, and the last thing I'd want to do is waste 1/6 funded years that way.
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