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About BwO

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  • Interests
    Marxist theory, media theory, cognitive studies, literature and science (amongst others)
  • Application Season
    2020 Fall
  • Program
    Literature/English PhD

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  1. Best of luck to you!! Here's hoping that you'll hear back with positive news soon.
  2. @TheorySchmeory Congrats! Well, unless you have another offer to respond to immediately or if you’re doubting the prospect of attending Columbia, I don’t think there’s any harm in staying on the waitlist, especially if it’s a short one. Perhaps you could ask for details about your waitlist position or the timeline for decisions in your response to the waitlist email, if you really want to manage your expectations?
  3. I'm keeping a bottle of wine at hand, because I'll need it -- whatever the outcome.
  4. Do you think this is the case for most programs this year? I've had a rather optimistic email from the school that I'm waitlisted at, but I'm not sure how to interpret it, given that so many programs haven't drawn from their waitlists this year, lest I get my hopes up for nothing.
  5. @karamazov @kolyagogolova congrats to you both!! haven't had any definitive news on my end (from The Other School in North Carolina), but hopefully i'll get to see you there this fall! (or, well, the next, depending on how the pandemic situation goes.)
  6. Two weeks till April 15. Am this close to tearing my hair out knowing that most schools will notify of our final decisions in the coming days.
  7. Yesssss!! I suppose the long wait paid off after all.
  8. @karamazov @kolyagogolova congratulations on the UNC waitlists! It’s wonderful that the school’s paying for your travels to their visiting weekend, since it only goes to show how much they’d like to have you in their program. Anyway, while I suppose Durham differs slightly from Raleigh, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the general environment/culture in North Carolina after your respective visits, given that I’ll very likely be committing to Duke (sight-unseen) should the opportunity arise. Having never stepped foot in the States, let alone NC, I suppose this will be a rather risky move, so I’m trying to find out as much as I can from others to ensure that I’ll make the right decision (if I'm given the chance to).
  9. I’m an international student, so it’ll be really expensive for me to travel to the US for self-arranged visits, although I have certainly considered that. If you can afford to travel, though, I doubt there’s any harm in contacting the DGS to schedule your own visits outside of regular visiting weekends (especially since you’ve potentially, in a best case scenario, four schools to choose from). Otherwise, I think speaking to current students will be your best option. It’ll be a good way for you to form a support network early anyway, so you can better navigate whatever program you might commit yourself to/wherever you might be moving to this fall.
  10. It seems like there are a couple of us here waiting to hear back about our waitlist situations, and quite a few of us for whom our waitlisted schools are our last chances at getting into a phd program this cycle, so I figured that I'd start this thread for us to share our anxieties as we wait it out. How's everyone keeping their respective programs updated on their application outcomes? Does anyone intend to visit the schools where they're waitlisted?
  11. Reupping this, since I'm curious to know what the etiquette is for waitlistees to express their continued interest (beyond the initial "yes, I'd like to be on the waitlist" email). I'm also interested in knowing about how to ask/whether it is polite to ask about the size of the admitted cohort, the size of the waitlist, and one's ranking on the waitlist, in order to manage expectations.
  12. Ouch, why does this penchant for sadism resonate with me so much? But anyway, here are my $0.02 worth. Even if "happiness" isn't the main criteria for your decision, it doesn't mean that you should be abjectly miserable either. You don't have to be the happiest you've been in your life during the course of your grad studies, and this will likely be impossible anyway given all the inevitable stress, but you also can't be so downtrodden that you're rendered almost incapable of doing the work you're meant to do in a PhD program (if that makes sense)? I suppose this means choosing a program where you know you'll be supported adequately for the next six years, academically, psychologically, and financially. I don't doubt that the programs to which you've been accepted are offering you rather sizeable funding packages, but there are certainly some places (Brown, Princeton) where you can make your money stretch more than others (Columbia, Berkeley) — would you like to live more comfortably and with some savings? Or is the bare minimum enough? Does the school have a strong grad union? What are the teaching requirements? Also, I trust that all these programs are challenging in their own ways, but several places (UChicago, Berkeley) used to be infamous for being shark tanks. I don't know if their reputations for being exceedingly harsh still hold today, and it'll be definitely better for you to check in with the current students on your visits. But if certain programs are in fact more 'hardball' than others, then ask yourself if you're the sort of student who thrives in such hyper-competitive environments, or if you're better suited to more collaborative pedagogical strategies. Ultimately, you have several great programs to choose from, so pick the one that suits your needs — whatever they may be — best. Edit: I'm guessing that your mentors would have also vetted your POIs with you, but if they haven't, do ask around about their reputations and supervision styles.
  13. As I was discussing with someone else in a PM conversation earlier, given that departments like Stanford’s MTL state quite explicitly that they prefer “projects that could not be carried out in a conventional department,” I didn’t know if my work would be sufficiently far-out to suit such interdisciplinary programs (as it turns out, it probably is). This was partly why I decided to apply to more “conventional” English departments instead. (Other reasons had to do mainly with funding packages for international students.) Granted, there are faculty at each of the schools to which I’ve applied who are working in some capacity on my areas of interest, but they tend to be jointly appointed in comp lit departments and — as I later learned — have less of a presence in english programs/adcomms. Besides, most of my POIs in these programs are at a stage of their career where they can put out more interdisciplinary work — precisely what interests me — and no one will bat an eyelid. But this sort of research tends not to be what’s expected of English PhD dissertations and early-career job applications, which still remain grounded in traditional periodizations/demarcations of approaches. (Oddly enough, academic publishers do prefer books that are more interdisciplinary and can reach a wider audience, so many students end up having to put in extra effort to rework their dissertations into their first books.) In this sense, I don’t think the “fit” was quite there for most of the programs on my list. Like I mentioned in another thread, if I had to do over this cycle, I’d probably apply to more of the programs that I’ve listed above (or, if possible, just spent more time working on my language skills to apply to comp lit programs), though I really hope I don’t have to undergo this arduous application process again.
  14. As someone who has been caught in a similar quandary, it seems like interdisciplinary programs may be the way to go here, unless you're willing to modify the scope of your research interests to suit the terms of more conventional English programs, or unless you're able to brush up on your language skills in time for you to apply to comp lit programs (not only will you need to know how to speak, read, and write adequately in your chosen languages, but I believe that a certain familiarity with their associated national literatures would be helpful as well). UCSC's HisCon would be a great example of one of such interdisciplinary programs, but I'd be slightly wary of applying there now, given the considerable lack of funding and the working conditions that have given rise to the recent grad student strikes. (The way that the university's administration has retaliated with threats of mass firing isn't reassuring either.) You could also consider programs like Stanford's MTL, UCSD Lit, Duke Lit, Berkeley Rhetoric, JHU's Comparative Thought and Literature (I've just realized that they require only one foreign language at the time of admission), and Brown's MCM (if you're into cultural and media studies). I hope this helps!
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