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meghan_sparkle

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meghan_sparkle last won the day on March 10

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About meghan_sparkle

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  • Application Season
    2020 Fall
  • Program
    PhD English

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Oxford English Faculty has set conditional offers and they likely have little clue what a lot of the international ones mean. (The UK ones for example have flexibility--I think the standard one for the Oxford English MSt is a "high 2.1" which they functionally define as 65 and above—you'd think 65/66 would be more of a mid 2.1) I think you could quite easily do nothing and count the psych GPA as major GPA, given the conditions they've laid out that you quote, and be fine. But if you're worried about it, you could also email the graduate officer asking for clarification, saying that you have a double major and given the GPA you applied with, you could only feasibly attain the offer with the GPA in one of the majors, is that alright, etc. It's not that they don't want you that much and will reject you outright—it's more just bureaucracy.
  4. You can probably get an on-course transcript from your institution that shows the names of the courses/exams and "pending"? I know when I applied for my masters and I only had grades for my 1st year exams (it was January and I wasn't going to sit final exams til June and get marks in July) and the transcript just had "--" for the pending ones, but I still had to submit that and then send the completed one later, annoyingly!
  5. good idea—if all else fails with the university i'll try this! thank you
  6. omg..... this is caroline calloway levels of scamming
  7. oh yeah, I should have put in a phrase saying that the Chicago changes didn't seem life-altering or ominously bad–and it's worth saying as you do the stipend stretches further in a place like Chicago than it would at other similarly-ranked schools. this is good context ty! though I have to wonder: how is the offer letter not legally binding? I mean clearly it isn't because I keep hearing of stuff like this happening but ... the letter with financial stipend details is proposed as an offer, which is then accepted and signed ... I mean ... I am not very bright and definitely not a lawyer but that sounds binding to me ...
  8. You would think! I had two current Chicago 2nd years tell me a couple weeks ago that aspects of their funding package have changed twice since they arrived, neither change benefitting the students and in both cases detrimental to them, and the administration has been very reluctant to explain the reason for the changes (I should have asked specifically what they were but the room was hot and I was two beers in, sry)—so it definitely does happen, even in times of institutional bounty. (Chicago for instance is rolling in dough right now through Mellon grant $$$, so like, why is the administration being obstinate about stuff like that? Not cute). Stipend amounts adjusting for inflation is also not always guaranteed, and funding plummeting past year five can be a question mark even at top 10 programs (my Berkeley stipend goes down by ~7k if not more from year 5 onward, for instance; Harvard's stipend goes down 5k from year 5 (no more summer stipend); have heard a recent Penn grad say there was always anxiety in her cohort about funding in the 6th year (though not sure if that's still the case). I think the fact of 5-6 funding packages are guaranteed, but the devil is in the details... It's also the case that other than stipend, the funding offered by the department I mentioned (conferences, travel, etc) can absolutely change, at the discretion of either the dept or GSAS more widely; it's not like it's a part of our offer letters. I've heard from students at Brown and Harvard who are having enormous difficulty getting their expenses for conferences that cancelled due to coronavirus reimbursed (not all airlines are offering refunds; many hotels are not, and students have to pay in advance and make applications for reimbursement after the fact—the stickler being that for some universities the conference funds are only released if the conference actually took place! So they're having to take financial hits of anywhere from a few hundred to a couple thousand dollars. Insanity.)
  9. Also oh god somehow I forgot about the MOVING part; my lease in the UK is up in July and I have already said I’m not extending and told my job that’s when I’m leaving. I assumed I would move from there to the city of whatever program I was attending with possibly a few weeks/a month in between ... if I can’t do that uh 🙃
  10. ❤️❤️❤️ I don't know whether gradcafe frowns on expletives or not but I just typed several and backspaced. You are incredible and I'm so upset this is affecting you
  11. I mean, having spoken to several DGS's and professors at a few of the programs I'm looking at in the last few days, most of them are not treating a return to in-person, on-campus classes as a likelihood, though it's far from an impossibility. The next two months or so will tell, and I think everyone's preference would be physical classes for so many reasons (everything from 'zoom sucks' to 'residential life is so important to the university community and we were all genuinely heartbroken to have to send students home'). I post way too much on these forums lately for my own good, but I'll end with one last big picture ominous thing (and maybe someone much smarter than me can offer opinions and/or reassurance). If the economic impact of the virus on the US economy is as bad or worse than the 2008 crash, then that's bad for . . . well, not just the job market, but also universities as a whole, whose endowments are often comprised of substantial investment. Princeton lost 25% of its endowment in the 2008 crash; Harvard lost 27%, or 8 billion. Does something like that touch graduate students, or does it amount more or less to mowing the lawns every other week instead of every week? Who knows. It's probably the case that state schools already under pressure (like the UCs) will be the hardest hit by budget cuts. And maybe it's way too early to speculate, possibly counterproductive. But I think it's worth thinking about, as we contemplate devoting ourselves to an institution and making it our home for 5-6 years. The ability to access funding through the department for all kinds of things (travel, conferences, research, emergencies, fellowship opportunities, other projects), to count on funding packages staying the same and properly adjusting each year for inflation . . . all of that is really important and sorta dependent on how well the institution as a whole is doing. Anyway. Something to consider. (Disclaimer: this all comes second to the general economic devastation on so many Americans right now and the inevitable loss of life we'll be seeing, ofc. Compared to that, so much of this seems miniscule. Hoping you all are safe, well or recuperating, and self-isolating.)
  12. Sorry my phrasing was vague—I just mean getting an idea of how readily and intensively they will support students' particular concerns about placement and the market. Because this is all so new and no one knows what the impact on the market precisely will be yet, no one will have an action plan. But you can maybe get a sense of which programs will be more responsive to the challenge than others.
  13. As a current Princeton 5th year just told me on Skype (to my horror), it's also not just whether schools will open online in the fall vs virtually and how that will affect an incoming class of graduate students ... it's also—more subtly and perhaps more importantly—the fact that given current events, we are almost undoubtedly heading into a multi-year global recession that will cripple an already heavily struggling academic job market. It's impossible to say precisely what things will look like in 3 or 5 years, of course, but even at this early stage, it's certain that it's going to be bad, very bad. So everyone facing a decision should be asking programs how they plan to support and meet student concerns, even if (justifiably) no one will likely have a plan yet.
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