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psycholinguist last won the day on May 26 2011

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  1. I know the feeling. Congrats on making a hard decision, though. Best of luck!
  2. I would very much recommend it. One of my undergrad professors said that when he hears from prospective grad-students, the names stick in his mind because he knows that those applicants really want to work with him. Letters can be short - something along the lines of: Dear Professor Z: I am a (student/alumnus) (at/of) (School X) looking into applying to graduate school in linguistics for next September. I am very interested in (subfield) and (topics) and have taken an interest in your work. Are you currently accepting new graduate students for then?
  3. I did a semester abroad in the UK when I was an undergrad, and all they gave me in the end was a single sheet with my grades on it. Furthermore, it had them listed on the UK scale (80+ is awesome, 60-80 is an A-, etc.), meaning that to North American eyes they looked like disproportionately low percentages. I ended up simply photocopying the sheet and attaching a note pointing out that the marking scale was a little different, and that my grades were equivalent to one A and two A-s at my undergrad school (which is what the study-abroad office had informed me). That was fine. Honestly, I would just do your best with whatever they give you. It's your main undergrad transcript that is the really important part, anyway.
  4. Hello! I don't have much background in conversational analysis per se, but in spite of my name I actually am a sociolinguist, and so additional suggestions: UPenn's sociolinguistics subprogram is legendary (William Labov, Gillian Sankoff, etc.); the University of Vermont has Julie Roberts; the University of Ottawa has Shana Poplack; York University has James Walker; and, uh, we at Toronto have Jack Chambers, Sali Tagliamonte, and Naomi Nagy. Also, if you're into phonology and willing to go as far as Chicago, then check out the work of Janet Pierrehumbert at Northwestern; I think she's primarily a phonologist/phonetician, but she dabbles in pretty well everything, including psycholinguistics and sociolinguistics. Anyway, there are lots of options! I recommend looking up specific people, perusing their lists of publications, and seeing which titles/topics/whole papers excite you!
  5. In terms of the actual amount of work, grad-school hasn't been any worse than undergrad for me. It's the nature of it that is different: things you work on are often so much more long-term that it's easy to feel stressed-out by them full-time. As an undergrad I was the sort who got all Type-A during the week, usually did all my homework on Friday night, and only then could relax for the weekend since I had nothing left to be hanging over me. In grad-school I've had to learn to spend a bit of time on a project and then put it aside and take breaks, because when you're working on this many big projects, you can't easily get to the point at which you've run yourself out of homework-assignments and required-reading. I've had to learn to force myself to put the work away at the end of the day and take it easy for a bit. That's all you can do. If you have any tendencies towards procrastination, I'd say try very hard to do away with them immediately upon getting to grad-school if not sooner (however you need to - academic counselling, self-help books, Zen Habits, resolutions, browser add-ons, anything). I've watched it undermine the grad-school careers of a few people now. Procrastinating is more stressful than actually doing the work, and it totally eats up your time. It's just a habit, but it's so self-reinforcing that it can really be a danger.
  6. This is very interesting; personally I understand both sides here about equally. When I was in high school I dressed exactly the same way every single day and never once changed my hairstyle; I saw this as being admirably unwavering and dependable and mature amidst a set of unreliable, erratic, fickle peers. (Turns out I was just going to school with a bunch of ordinary teenagers.) I also insisted on sitting in the same desks in the same classrooms, eating lunch in a single place, just generally letting people know what they could expect of me, etc. It was nice to have a routine; this freed me from having to spend time worrying about what to wear or looking for people to eat lunch with or so on. In retrospect, though, I was way too obsessed with consistency for the sake of itself. Nonconformity doesn't mean refusing to change one's behaviour, period; it means being free-spirited and independent-minded, and making changes only if you yourself really want to. Although I don't care what my high-school classmates thought of me (I wasn't close to them and was happy to leave them behind), I probably alienated myself by giving off the impression that I didn't want anyone messing with my precious little rituals. Furthermore, being that scripted (uptight, even) is often a great way of convincing people at a distance - especially teachers and professors - that you're the ostentatious sort. I'm not saying that some degree of extra conformity is necessary - hardly - but I'd advise caution if you're feeling the urge to go around being a little in-your-face about feeling yourself so much the self-confident outsider. When I got to college I couldn't keep sitting in my favourite high-school spots, obviously, and I had to learn to adapt. I got used to having a more-varied schedule and actually started buying a whole range of clothes for myself; the change was a bit of a shock, but getting out of what had really begun to seem like a huge number of pointless habits was an immense relief. I haven't compromised myself or my values in the slightest; my personality is best expressed through my interactions with people and my schoolwork, not whether I happen to be wearing a pair of blue dress pants and a white blouse for the 387th school-day in a row. And these days I deal with everyday background changes a lot more readily than I did in high-school; back then I'd nearly throw a fit if someone had moved 'my' desk out of the room.
  7. I do like that I can wear xkcd T-shirts and that sort of thing to class if I want. One of my friends who has a Real Jobâ„¢ says that she never gets to wear any part of her Threadless collection anymore and that it kind of sucks.
  8. I agree entirely. Was alarmed to see last night that people are downvoting Just me for no particular reason, or for reasons having more to do with her history on the board than anything else. That actually does border on picking on her; and bullying is something that a) should be intolerable in the first place, and we ought to have grown out of years ago, particularly as a bunch of (mostly) very intelligent, thoughtful, well-adjusted adults. Just me does have a habit that gets on the nerves of some people here (posting a long thread about her problems, getting lots of good advice, rejecting all of it one post at a time, and then passive-aggressively abandoning the thread because she feels as if she's been totally misunderstood), and it's true that whether we're contending with a target-of-abuse or a case of victim-playing-personality-disorder is decidedly nebulous; but that's not a good excuse to get stand-offish and/or take a few gratuitous, anonymous shots at her. In fact, either way, a few less-than-warranted downvotes are counterproductive; think about it. Whether or not her backstory is true, Just me needs (at the very least) some psychological assistance, and we've done everything we can do about that. In the meantime, I recommend that innocuous posts of hers be treated at face-value, and anything talking about being a victim be given minimal attention since we probably have nothing more to say on that subject, especially if her situation isn't going to change. Can we all agree on that? (Apologies for talking around you, Just me. Addressing [select] others here.)
  9. Heh, no big deal. From now on you can delight pretty well every linguist you happen across by not asking them the question! * grins *
  10. w00t! (Also, this is dripping with personal-bias, but: I did my undergrad degree at Cornell and their English department looked awesome. I only ever took one English class while I was there, but I can at least say that the building it's in is lovely and the faculty are a bunch of real characters!)
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