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Two Espressos

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Two Espressos last won the day on April 8 2013

Two Espressos had the most liked content!

About Two Espressos

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    Latte Macchiato

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    English Ph.D.

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  1. antigone56, I think that most people refer to the numerical ranking of a given program in the USNWR rankings, since the reason two or more given programs are ranked equally is that they have the same numerical score and should thereby ostensibly be "equal" in quality (you probably already know this). At the risk of belaboring the issue, I'll say that I think that ordinal rankings (even USNWR) are very useful for broad classification: they help capture the intuitive sense of academic prestige. It's when we start splitting hairs (e.g., "Is program x, ranked 30th, better than program y, ranked 35th?") that the usefulness of rankings completely breaks down. That's my two cents, at least.
  2. I'm glad to hear that others are enjoying their first week of classes as well! I agree that the workload is intense--my one seminar has 600+ pages of reading this week-- but I'm loving every minute of it.
  3. My orientation starts on Monday too! I'm ridiculously excited. Here's to hoping at least some of us cross paths--anonymously or not-- at a conference or something in the future!
  4. I've officially moved into my new apartment! I've only been here for a few days, but I can already tell that I'm going to love it here: lots of great restaurants and bars, a plethora of both chain and local stores, awesome locally sourced food, tons of opportunities for intellectual collaboration both at UNC and at peer institutions like Duke-- not to mention the gorgeous NC weather. I don't know about you guys, but with classes starting in less than two weeks, I can barely contain my excitement. We're really going to be Ph.D. students! Just think about how stressed/nervous/self-conscious we were about our abilities and grad applications a year ago... and here we are. Best of luck to those who are in the process of moving or are yet to move!
  5. The best part of rereading this thread is seeing people like Girl Who Wears Glasses who thought she'd have to do things differently next round...and then didn't need a next round. It makes me happy. What would I have done differently? I would have paid much closer attention to fit and funding, applying to a different set of schools. Oddly enough--or maybe not?-- the one program on my list that ended up being an excellent fit for the direction my research interests were going is the one I'm attending this fall.
  6. From my understanding, what Proflorax has written here is basically correct. I was originally under the impression that TA positions were taxable but fellowships were not, but I now believe that to be erroneous. Here's a helpful discussion:
  7. My GPA was roughly similar to yours: 4.0 major GPA, 3.76 overall. I'm attending a top 20 program this fall. Your GPA is certainly not a death knell. However, I'd encourage you to look at the individual statistics for the programs you're considering. From my admittedly limited investigation, it seemed like many top 20 programs had average GPAs of 3.8 or 3.9 (see, for example, http://englishcomplit.unc.edu/admissions/applying/FAQ).
  8. Sad, but very true. It's probably only going to get worse.
  9. Our apartment is ~2.5 miles from campus, which isn't exactly within walking distance but is still fairly close. We're on a bus line, though, and the buses are free.
  10. I'm moving soon as well: less than a month, actually. Grad school will be upon us before we know it.
  11. This. A similar sort of thing happened with me: my interests slightly shifted in the time between submitting my SOP and visiting my program, so the parts of my statement that really were in tune with the department were more implicit than explicit, but when I visited and articulated that shifting focus, it became apparent that my interests nested quite well with the future direction of the department. Personally, I think that that's probably the most important thing: matching with the department's focus or focuses, which goes much deeper than just historical periods and broad methodologies. I agree with Swagato: generally speaking, avoid catchy opening phrases or long biographical anecdote. There will always be exceptions to that rule, but at least in my case, the brief personal anecdote that opened my SOP was, in retrospect, goddamn awful. I'm pretty sure it added nothing to my application as a whole, and it was never mentioned by anyone. I regret writing it.
  12. I'm not attending SCMLA, but I heartily recommend dining at The Court of Two Sisters in the French Quarter if you haven't been there: their jazz brunch is insane. Price-wise, it's not exactly grad student-friendly (I believe the jazz brunch is $30 or $40), but it's absolutely worth the cost. I'm a vegetarian, so I didn't avail myself of the plethora of seafood- and meat-based dishes offered, but their made-to-order omelets and breakfast potatoes are without question the best I've eaten. So yeah, I just had to vouch for this place. My friends and I ate at The Court of Two Sisters when we were in NOLA for a conference over a year ago, and we still rave about it.
  13. Cool, thanks for the link! I appreciate the helpful advice and recommendations all of you have provided in this thread.
  14. Yeah, I find the idea of applying to 15+ schools absurd as well. From my limited experience of chatting with other applicants both online and off, applying to one or two dozen schools--or more, even!-- seems to be the norm, though.
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