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Tybalt last won the day on May 29 2018

Tybalt had the most liked content!

About Tybalt

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    Earned PhD in 2019

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  1. Some tips for y'all--mostly made up of things I really wish that people had told me back when I was applying: 1 - Admissions committees often look to admit applicants who match up with their own interests or with the interests of faculty who have openings for new advisees. Don't just look at who you want to work with. Try and find out if they even take advisees. Are they half a semester away from retirement? Do they already have 15 advisees? Are they the dept oddball who gets hidden during visit weekend? Look at recent commencement info. Most schools will indicate recent graduates and their advisors. Those advisors may well have an opening. So much of this is based on logistics as much as and even more so than pure talent on paper. 2 - People will tell you to apply to a range of schools. I used to be one of those people. You need to be thinking about your future job well before you even apply to grad school. Do you want to get a TT job with a teaching load of 3-2 or less? You need to limit your applications to top 10 programs. Yeah, there are outliers, but that's exactly what they are. Are you pretty sure that you want to go alt-ac after the degree? Most top programs have NO experience in doing that, so much of the training they offer in that area will be woefully inept (I've even heard--refreshingly--a DGS at an R1 say that she's not remotely qualified to offer advice on pivoting out of academia). You can't really change your institutional pedigree, so if you start at a mid-ranked school and then decide that you want to teach at an R1 or a SLAC, you have just given yourself absurdly lower odds of ever achieving that goal. 3 - Don't get all twisted up about the SoP. Use it to give a clear sense of what you aim to do and why the people/resources at that school make it a good fit for your work. Ask 15 people for advice on the "correct" format for an SoP, you'll get 20 different responses. I went narrative in my first version. A prof at my MA school told me that nobody cares about that stuff, and that "you are your project and nothing more." So I revised to make it sound more Vulcan-esque. My application cycle? An admit and a pair of wait lists using the narrative SoP and an admit and a pair of wait lists using the Vulcan SoP. You can't predict how adcoms will react to things like style. A style that generated acceptances one year might lead to rejections a year later under that year's different admissions committee. Beyond making sure that you are conveying the info clearly (see 2nd sentence above), the rest is unpredictable and not worth stressing over. This goes double for the GRE, which most schools don't give a flying fart about. 4 - The thing that IS worth stressing over? The writing sample. Good writing is the universal greeting for grad school. Someone earlier mentioned including an abstract. That's excellent advice. Other good advice--avoid the "biggies." Are you a medievalist? I guarantee you they don't want to see ANOTHER writing sample on the Canterbury Tales. Find something interesting to say about a text. Look to the top journals in your field for models to emulate. Spend the lion's share of your time on that document. Spend even more on the first two and last two pages. They may well be the only pages that get read, so make them perfect and make sure that your argument, methodology, and the stakes are stated clearly in those pages. 5 - I was non-traditional (31 when admitted to PhD program). If you are non-traditional, don't try to hide it, but don't shine a spotlight on it either. People will say that emphasizing it will show all the things you've gained from those years of experience. Your CV will do that. There are schools who seem generally welcoming to non-traditionals (Indiana has a long track record in this area). But the reality is that again--it's less about the school and more about the attitudes of the profs on each admissions committee. If a school has one member of an adcom who is predisposed to toss non-traditional applicants in the bin, you likely aren't getting in there if your app makes that too obvious. My own advisor, who was the head of the adcom the year I was admitted, had no idea how old I was. In most cases, they aren't Googling you--they don't put THAT much time into each applicant. Your age will never be the thing that gets you in, but it COULD be the thing that gets you tossed. Don't emphasize it and don't apologize for it. TL/DR: Own your accomplishments. They will be what gets you in. 6 - Wait lists are WONDERFUL things. Getting in off a wait list doesn't make you a lesser candidate. Out of an initial cohort of 8, I was the only one admitted off the wait list. I'm also one of the three who finished the degree (two are still dissertating), and only two of us ended up with tenure-track jobs (both with a heavy teaching emphasis). Anecdotally, I've noticed that wait-list applicants in my old program tend to do better in the long run, possibly due to that anxiety that they weren't a "first choice." That brings us to... 7 - Getting into a program is step one. It's the starting line. From that point forward, it is ALL about the hustle. Build a network. Start filling out your CV. Don't look at seminar papers as "coursework"--look at them as first drafts of articles aimed NOT at your professor but at a particular journal. Don't go to EVERY conference, but pick two (one regional and one national) to go to regularly. Talk to people when you are there. Get involved in committees and such. We used to joke that you had to have the dossier of someone coming up for tenure just to get an interview for a TT job. The job market was that bad. It's about to get much worse. You need to be ready to start the hustle from day one. If you DON'T feel ready to do things like major conferences, networking, publishing, etc, then think about doing an MA first. I did, for exactly those reasons. 8 - As PART of that hustle, build your CV in a way that shows you can wear more than one hat. Teach/present outside of your main specialty in some way. Do your thing and theory. Your thing and Digital Humanities. Your thing and Film. Your thing and one of its adjacent fields. As schools get fewer and fewer tenure lines, departments are going to continue searching for candidates who can cover more than one area. Build your CV with that kind of hybridity in mind. 9 - No matter HOW much you want that tenure track job, it might not happen, and it won't be because you did anything wrong. The numbers are absurdly stacked against you. I missed out on a job last year that was PERFECT for me. It went to an Ivy candidate who was three years out from his PhD, had two prestigious VAPs, several journal articles and a book already published at a major press. I would have hired him over me as well. I ended up with a TT position because I hustled from day one and I got absurdly lucky (a school that posted a position looking for my primary field with "preferred secondary interests" in literally everything else I do). Before that offer came in, I was already preparing to reach out to my alt-ac network. There will come a time on the job market where many of you will need to make a choice--toil as an adjunct for year after year, or walk away and refuse to be exploited in that way. That's a very personal choice for most folks. I recommend setting a set time frame (ala: 2 or 3 application cycles post degree conferral). Set it, and then stick to it. Insomnia has apparently inspired me to write a small novel here. Apologies for the length and for any sense of doom and gloom. For what it's worth, even if this job hadn't come through, I wouldn't change my decision to do the PhD. I found my time in the program personally and intellectually rewarding and I met some of the best friends I've ever had, both in and out of the program. I'm not saying "don't do a PhD because the job market is scary." I'm saying "do a PhD with your eyes wide open." Best of luck, everyone. And always remember to support each other. Academia is (or rather should be) a community, not a blood-sport. Don't aspire to grow up to be Reviewer #2.
  2. You keep repeating this as if people are unaware of it. What you are missing is the fact that identity has always been used as a criteria in academic hiring decisions. The only difference is that--in a tiny minority of current postings--it is being used as a criteria for inclusion rather than exclusion. The obvious "tell"? -Departments that are 100% white faculty? Crickets. -Job postings that openly exclude LGBT applicants (and two cycles ago, there were SEVERAL such positions)? Crickets. When complaints about "diversity" and "identity" only arise when the "victim" is the straight/white/male trifecta, the issue, as someone said earlier, is one of privilege.
  3. It seems like you have possibly already made a decision, but just to toss another couple of pennies into the pile: I've always had a dog, and I don't know how I would live without one. There are a lot of things that you need to adapt to in order to have one, but after a while, you don't even notice. Some things to consider: -Having a dog means asking potential landlords "Do you allow dogs" as your FIRST question. The answer will eliminate at least half of the potential rentals. -Dogs are expensive. In addition to regular vetting, there is food, toys, damage, grooming, emergency vetting, etc. Having a dog means that the dog's needs come before your own. -With the above two details in mind, a lot of it comes down to budget and location. I have always lived in areas (including during grad school) where the cost of living/income ratio allowed me to properly care for my dog. I did not consider moving to places where that would not be the case (because when I adopt a dog, it's for life). While you want to do what's best for this dog, you need to look at your financials and see if you'll be able to properly take care of it. -As far as schedules and other such details, you will soon have a community of folks, MANY of whom are pet people. Other grad students have dog-sat for me. I've dog (and cat, and chinchilla etc) sat for them. Professors end up in this cycle as well, though usually they do more "getting grad students to watch their pets" than vice versa. I will say this--as someone who has had at least one dog for about 95% of my life--it's worth it. Especially in grad school. When imposter syndrome strikes, that dog believes in you. When you don't want to leave the house, that dog makes you. Having a dog is GREAT for mental health. Even when they do obnoxious things, like having a better professional head shot than you (see below, haha).
  4. Apply. If you get in, you can worry about it then (and you will be better able to make an informed decision, by carefully asking the right folks--potential advisors, current students, etc-- at the visit weekend). If you DON'T get in, you won't have to worry about it at all. Step one before step two. That's a useful thing to keep in mind for grad school in general.
  5. Adding to Bill's excellent response: You need to specialize in the field you are most passionate about. It's not about improving your odds at a job five years from now. It's about doing your best work in a field where you would then be spending 30+ years of a career. I really like Chaucer. I'm incredibly fond of Victorian novels. I dig comics and graphic novels. But I can't imagine spending 30 years working on any of those topics. But Renaissance drama? I LIVE for that. When I teach it, I come alive and I never tire of seeing it, thinking about it, and writing about it. Whichever field gives you that feeling, THAT'S the field you should specialize in, because the work you do in that field will stand out on the job market, whether you are up against 20 competitors or 200.
  6. The above is some great advice. There are some programs with defined specialties in the area. Beyond that, the key is to figure out which programs have profs who could make up your committee. Look at it not just as trying to find a "S.F." school, but a school that has people who can do S.F. AND the things that intersect with your work. What, for example, is your particular interest IN S.F.? Gender? Race? Technology? Utopia? Post-Apocalyptic? In what genre/mode? Television? Film? Novels? You want to find a school where you can form a committee. Case in point, my school (Rochester) doesn't have a dedicated S.F. person, but we have a post-modernist (Jeff Tucker) who does S.F., Utopia, and issues of race. We also have an Anglo-Saxonist (Sarah Higley) whose academic specialty is Old English and gendered monstrosity, but she's also written professionally in the S.F. world (she wrote the episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation that debuted the Reg Barclay character, for example). That's my advice for ANYONE looking at making a list of programs for an application season. Don't hunt for a singular advisor. Hunt for a committee.
  7. It could also be programs shifting to reflect the job market. There have been a LOT of jobs the last couple of years that want Med/Ren. Some were specific about wanting a Ren who could dip back, but most just wanted someone who could show that they could handle both fields. I wouldn't be surprised to see programs shifting to make sure their early fields folks get good coverage on both sides of the Med/Ren divide. For those of you starting grad school now, I would recommend focusing your work (not your Diss, per se, but coursework, conference presentations, and maybe a publication or two) on achieving a 70/30 or a 60/40 balance of Med/Ren or Ren/Med (depending on which one you are). Also, this site is wild in the way it lets you track where the slots go. Same thing happened in my year. Someone had an admit to Indiana, but was waiting on another school (I don't recall which one). She got in to the other school and turned down Indiana, who then accepted another poster who was in at Rochester but waitlisted at IU. That poster accepted IU and turned down Rochester who then admitted me. All of this happened in about a 10 hour span on the 13th of April and we were tracking it in realtime on the Gradcafe, haha.
  8. I did (a condo/townhome) for many of the reasons you mentioned above (I live in Rochester, NY). I don't regret it at all, but there are reasons to/not to do this. I'm on the way out the door at the moment (headed to Atlanta for SAA), but feel free to PM me with any questions.
  9. Hi all, I'm on the board for a regional branch of the College English Association (a great conference that has equal emphasis on both lit crit and pedagogy). This October, I'll be running the conference here at the U of Rochester. It's an interdisciplinary conference, so all subfields are welcome! The New York College English Association (NYCEA) has a great reputation for being welcoming to graduate student, and the last few years, they've reserved a round-table session for graduate student professionalization topics. Let me know if you have any questions. The CfP is on the UPenn site, and here it is on our website: http://www.nycea.org/fall-2017-conference.html NYCEA 2017 Conference Call for Papers Marking the Margins and Setting the Center October 20-21, 2017 University of Rochester, Rochester NY. In partnership with the University of Rochester's Writing, Speaking, and Argument Program "Minority art, vernacular art, is marginal art. Only on the margins does growth occur." --Joanna Russ. As the quotation from Joanna Russ--a prominent science fiction author and feminist--indicates, this year's New York College English Association conference is concerned with exploring art, literature, and pedagogy on or around the margins. But what do these terms “margin” and “center” mean, and why have they been so tightly associated with one another? How have their meanings – and the relationship between their meanings – changed in different historical and cultural contexts? Who has determined these meanings and relationships? Who has benefitted and who has suffered from them? At this year's conference at the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York, we will connect these more general questions about issues of marginality to some of the specific challenges faced by researchers and teachers. Please send 250 word abstracts to NewYorkCEA@gmail.com Abstract deadline is August 15th 2017 See www.nycea.org Paper topics may consider, but are certainly not limited to, any aspect of this theme, including: -The role of adjunct and itinerant teachers in academia. -Under-represented authors and characters. -Effective ways to reach marginalized student populations. -Queer/Feminist/Race/Gender/Disability Theories. -Manuscripts and marginalia. -Marginal comments and peer review in the composition classroom. -Digital Humanities, technology access, and digital divides. -Cultural appropriation -Social justice debates--Occupy, BLM, University origins and racism, etc. -The campus experience (trigger warnings and safe spaces) -Monsters and monstrosity in literary texts -Roma art, literature, and culture -Great books and the canon -After the "Theory Wars"--the current state of critical theory -Addressing the unique needs of the military veteran student population -International students and cultural considerations -Interdisciplinary scholars as [institutional drifters] -Pop culture, comic books, children's literature and the quest for academic legitimacy -Utopias, Dystopias, and speculative science fiction
  10. This is one of the better, infographic representations of perceived vs. actual "imposter syndrome." I found it useful when I first saw it, particularly in keeping things in perspective.
  11. If the better ranked school is Harvard/Yale/Princeton/Etc? Then the better ranked school will lead to more job opportunities. If it's a choice between schools with comparable reputations overall, then the one with the specialty reputation will generally be better. Ultimately, the best way to figure it out is to talk to the grad secretaries at the schools you are considering. Get detailed stats (ie: don't settle for "x% of graduates get jobs at blah blah blah." Ask specific questions. Where have graduates landed tenure track positions over the last 5 years? Who were the last few students to complete their degrees with my proposed advisor? How did they do on the job market? How long did it take them to finish? Etc etc etc). The more specific the info, the better you can get a sense for how that program places people. That info will be FAR more useful than anything speculative that I could write.
  12. The poster who mentioned the HYP hype is spot on. I think all of the programs you mentioned are "top tier" All I'm saying is that the perceived top of that top tier, based on hiring trends, seems to open the most doors on the job market. Particularly with Harvard and Yale, the sense is more "when they get a job" instead of "WILL they get a job." I think all of the schools you mentioned have the cache to open doors for R1 jobs, but with lesser odds than Harvard and Yale. Letterhead from a program like mine (and to be clear, I've had an amazing experience and don't particularly want to land at an R1 job) won't really cut it for R1 job postings. BUT, the experiences I've been able to have at my program could actually make me more competitive for certain teaching centered positions. It's not really a science and there are no clear, concrete markers. The loosely defined reality is this: If you want a shot at a R1 TT position, you should really angle to get yourself placed as close to the top as possible in terms of name cache. If that is less of a concern (ie: if you would be just as happy, or in my case happier, at a teaching centered school), then you can expand your search a bit more within reason. And even that statement has caveats and exceptions (you could, for example, do your PhD at a highly regarded 2nd tier school and then do a post doc at an elite. The post doc letterhead would then open doors that your PhD institution wouldn't. A friend of mine went that route and landed a job at an R1 last year).
  13. Yes and no. There are tiers of programs with no clearly defined borders. You mention Penn, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, etc, you know you are talking about tier 1 schools. Where tier one ends and tier two begins is a different story, however. Pick a school that is very highly regarded (say a UVA or a CUNY), and ask a dozen people which tier it's in, you'll likely get a slew of different answers. At that point, sub-field comes into play, too. Some schools are known for a particular field (like Notre Dame, Fordham, or Rochester for Medieval for example). So a school that might be viewed as tier 2 or 3 for one sub-field might be seen as a tier higher for another. Some schools are more highly ranked in a particular geographic region as well. There's nothing concrete about it. Top ivies open doors with their letterhead. Beyond that, it all comes down to context.
  14. It ultimately comes down to the kinds of jobs you want and the number of opportunities you will have. If you in any way want to land a job at a research oriented school, you need to be in a top 10 to 15 program. And even then, if you are closer to 10 than you are to 1 your odds are going to get exponentially more difficult. If you want to land a job at a teaching oriented school, top 40-50 programs can still get you there. It will be more about what kind of package you can present (CV, professional activity, demonstration of service, ability to wear multiple hats, a variety of teaching experiences etc). The top research institutions are looking for potential for prestige. The teaching centered schools are looking for someone they think will stay there for 30 years, so they tend to be more focused on fit and culture than the research schools. The reality is that jobs come down to two things--letterhead and accomplishments. Letterhead opens a lot of doors. Your accomplishments will land you the jobs.
  15. This. When it's as close a call as it is for you, you pick the school 40 rank higher. If school A was a lousy fit and an unhealthy atmosphere, that would be one thing (because toxic leads to added stress, added stress leads to not finishing, and if you don't finish then placement history means nothing). But from the sounds of it, you just seem to have a bit of a wistful urge to go to the second school. If it really is as close as you say, go with the first, higher ranked school. You'll thank yourself five years from now. And @lyonessrampant, how crazy is it that we are job marketing this year? Wasn't our app season just a few weeks ago?!
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