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Everything posted by NOWAYNOHOW

  1. Freak Outs

    I think we all have that moment after submitting our applications where we notice something that feels catastrophic about our materials. After pressing that submit button, it's too late to go back and change things...but that doesn't make the freak out any less stressful. For example, I just realized that one of the KEY TERMS (if I was writing a title for my SOP, this word would be in there) could have been grammatically incorrect. I was using it as a noun, but it's only supposed to be an adjective! I started frantically Googling the words and their usage. Had I sunk my chances with one dumb and HUGE mistake? How had my readers (of which there were many) not pointed this problem out?! How did I not know?!??! After a good 15 minutes, I turned to my works cited, and there it was -- these authors were using the word in the same way I was. A bit more Googling and it seems that despite an 'official' (ie. dictionary) distinction between the noun/adjective forms, that the words are used interchangeably. In the U.S., my usage is especially common. CRISIS AVERTED! Or...crisis imagined? How about you? Any freak outs so far? I want to hear about your freak outs, real or imagined. Did you find a typo? Did you spell a POI's name wrong? Did you submit an SOP with the name of a different program?
  2. UCONN has a tremendous focus on health and human rights, and medical anthropology broadly. You can also easily pursue an MPH and a certificate in Human Rights during the PhD.
  3. Adrenaline

    There is less than a month until my first applications are due and I am suddenly feeling the anxiety and exhilaration that comes with taking such a giant risk. Sometimes I feel fantastic, like I'm going to get into every single program on my list (of 10, if you are wondering how things are going) and sometimes I feel defeated, like I'm wasting my time yet again. I have completed what I hope is my final draft of my statement of purpose, and cut down my thesis to a sample of about 25 pages. My letter writers are locked in, my transcripts and GRE scores have been sent, and I'm updating my CV. I have had 2 in-person meetings with POIs, and one phone call. To be honest, the in-person meetings didn't go all that well -- and not because they didn't like me, or I didn't like them. The value in meeting a POI seems to be that they can tell me things that they couldn't otherwise. In both cases, I was told about either funding or personnel problems, and the news shifted my plans for each program significantly. Another POI told me over email about a crucial problem on the department side of things, so I know that school is now unlikely to admit me because my POI is on indefinite leave, etc, etc. I'm just saying this to underline how valuable getting in touch with POIs has been -- I've reached out to almost 30 professors, and it has been so crucial in keeping my confidence levels up and getting a feel for what faculty committees are looking for. Feeling better about this cycle doesn't keep my from occasionally getting hit with a burst of adrenaline. It's a shock to the system. It's standing on the edge of a huge chasm and my dream is right on the other side. I can see it, but can I get there? Can I grasp it? Only time will tell. How are your applications going? Have you had any worthwhile or interesting talks with POIs? Are you ready to turn your applications in or are you ready to throw them out the window?
  4. It Happened

    This morning I woke up to the coldest winter day so far this year. I could barely bring myself to get out of bed. Making coffee was a chore. My apartment was freezing. Our shitty prewar radiators are no match for this kind of weather. I just wanted to get back under my comforter, preferably wearing at least six pairs of sweatpants and my parka, and sleep until May. By 9AM, I'd already checked my email and this board approximately 200 times. The last couple of months haven't been easy for me. After implied rejections from what I felt were some of my strongest fits, I was feeling discouraged. What if I hadn't improved my profile all that much over the last year? Should I have retaken the GRE? Was it a mistake to take on multiple editing projects for faculty instead of working on publishing my thesis? Was trying to switch disciplines an impossible task? Why didn't I apply to more schools? Should I have tried for an NDSEG even though I wasn't firmly in the behavioral sciences? What if I just wasn't ever going to be good enough, no matter what I did? It doesn't help that I had a bad interview with a school I really love. I had two interviews there, but the bad one just really sticks in my mind. I replay all the awful moments in my head in the shower. I hear the dumb words come out of my dumb mouth when I'm trying to get work done for my actual job that pays actual money. To make a long story short, I have not been feeling hopeful. I have heard nothing from a lot of schools I applied to. I've been looking into all sorts of non-academic jobs, convinced that trying to get into a program for the third time would just be too much. YA novelist? Book publishing? Bartending? Teaching secular subjects at Yeshiva high schools? I've really thought through pretty much any possible career route, but nothing can stand up to just wanting that PhD. For my interests, you need the PhD even for non-academic jobs, so if I do anything else, I'm selling myself short. Around 9:15 this morning, I got the email. I've been waiting for this email for almost two years. I've dreamed about this email. I get mad at other emails because they are not this email. I have probably broken world records for refreshing my inbox because I have been waiting so impatiently for this email. I got in. I got into a program I genuinely love with faculty I respect and admire. I got into a program that believes in my work and can support my scholarship. I got in with funding! I got into a department where I fit, where I have more POIs than I know what to do with, and where I can, just maybe, soon call home. I got in! I want to scream it from the rooftops. There is still plenty of waiting to do. I have other schools to hear from, other disappointments, and maybe even other triumphs. But what matters now is that I have the chance to prove myself. Getting into the program isn't the hard part. Getting the PhD isn't even the hard part. Doing something with it -- something truly and fundamentally meaningful with that degree is the hard part. And I am a long way off from that part of my life, but what matters now is that I am on my way. I know a lot of you have been following this blog, whether from the beginning or just stumbling upon it now. I hope you can find the strength to drag yourself out of bed on the coldest day of the year just so you can get some of the best news of your life. I hope you soon have an excuse to drink cheap champagne and look at weird Craigslist ads for apartments in cities you barely know. I hope you finally get that email you've been waiting for. I hope you get in. I know you will.
  5. Fall 2015 Applicants

    Let them know. Without the funding commitment, you're likely to get off the waitlist quickly. In unrelated news, is anyone SUPER annoyed at Penn? I paid an application fee! Pay me back with a robot rejection letter before I get too old to care.
  6. Anthropology Decisions 2015

    Just accepted my offer from medical anthropology at the University of Connecticut. Guys, we did it!
  7. Anthropology Decisions 2015

    Congrats on UCLA! I sent you a PM, BTW. Congrats to all making their decisions - Faulty, SMG, MuseumGeek, etc. YAY!
  8. Fall 2015 Applicants

    Anyone with news on the Rutgers waitlist? Spill it!
  9. Fall 2015 Applicants

    What about an MA in anthropology? It certainly would strengthen your eligibility for anthropology PhD programs, while getting you thinking and working in your areas of interest with faculty. For example, CUNY offers a great anthropology MA, and likely costs less than the Chicago program. An MA is what you make of it. They can be costly, but there are avenues to funding (I worked as a TA and RA during mine to supplement decent departmental support). Depending on your focus, more training in another discipline or field can also strengthen your profile when you are on the job market. Having a secondary qualification (MPH, JD, MSW, etc.) that relates to your PhD work is a pretty great accomplishment. With that said, professional experience in your area of interest is just as valuable (if not more) than the MA, because it demonstrates an ability to access and be in the field where you want to do your research. Committees definitely ask "Can this specific person pull off this specific project?" and one of the ways that question is answered is checking whether you have done similar work already.
  10. Anthropology Decisions 2015

    Wait, I thought this outside committee members thing was really common knowledge! PSA: your outside committee members are really crucial resources, especially when you are on the job market. At least where I come from, there's like a pipeline of post-docs and junior faculty positions that come from outside committee members. I already have mine lined up...definitely something to think about!
  11. Anthropology Decisions 2015

    I'm inclined to think that it is more crucial to be somewhere with a lot of support for your regional area of interest. Part of the hard work of anthropology seems to be gaining access to field sites and resources, and that means having support and inroads to where you want to actually conduct your research.
  12. Oh, totally! And many students do just that with great success. Some of those very same people dropped the secondary site once they were offered admission and now exclusively work on the U.S. Like I said, professors from places I did not get in told me it would have been helpful to have a comparative site because it makes you look more attractive to faculty overall; however, that maneuver can seem superfluous depending on the context. In addition, a student might not be trained in the language and literature of that secondary global site if they've been too busy working on the U.S. one. At the doctoral level, it is essentially unacceptable to not know a ton about where you want to study, so adding a global comparative site is a big deal in terms of what you have to learn, especially if you're only adding it so you seem anthropological enough for committees to like you. I hope that makes sense. I wish I could walk through this process using my topic (a good example of why adding a comparative site is unnecessary/weird) but it is too easy to identify me IRL using that info. Sorry!
  13. Exactly. I'm so glad you asked after why this seems to be such an issue (and I think other responses to my initial post have expanded on how cultural anthropology currently relates to U.S. work) because it isn't talked about much, especially across subfields. The good news is that we are each other's peers, and our attitudes will hopefully help shape the discipline moving forward. It is my hope that cultural anthropology in the U.S. will be more open to looking inward and exploring domestic topics, as there are certainly many spaces where anthropology has the potential to do important and significant work in America. That is not to say that international topics should be pushed aside for U.S. work. On the contrary, there is justification and room enough for both! But what applicants for 2016 can take away from this discussion is to think hard about what kind of work they want to do and where, and whether or not anthropology at this point in time will welcome their research and insight. If you don't need the specific anthropology PhD credential, there are many other avenues for legitimate (and even better-funded) doctoral study: American and area studies, cultural studies, media studies, information studies, public health and more.
  14. How important is the GRE to PhD programs?

    Try to get at least a 150Q and 160V and you should be fine. Nobody cares about the AW.
  15. I agree that fit is important, but after completing a second round of applications with only one offer, I feel like I also have learned a hard lesson about the application process and about the community of scholarship I am about to enter: anthropology is still holding onto certain ideas about disciplinarity, and what is and what is not anthropological. I've been in touch with a few POIs at places that rejected me (after interviews or in-person meetings) and I have gotten a lot of weird feedback that I feel isn't reflected very much on these boards. Fit IS important, and your SOP is largely the most important part of your application profile; however, multiple POIs have told me that committees have trouble warming to students without prior degrees in anthropology, and they are wary of (cultural) students with US-based projects. This obviously isn't a blanket statement, and I know for a fact some programs (like the one I will likely be attending) want students that work in the U.S. Similarly, plenty of places are willing to overlook a non-anthropology background for a fabulous project. But these are just two things to keep in mind. Do you want to work in the U.S.? I have been told I should have at least had an international comparative site in mind, if only to "make it more anthropological." Do you not hold a prior degree in anthropology? You better have some way to prove you're ready to do that work. And don't think a handful of courses and LORs from anthropologists (even big name ones) are enough to overcome an interdisciplinary background. You are still competing against a large pool of capable applicants who have those qualifications and more. It will take a Fulbright, considerable professional experience in your proposed project area, or a publication (or two, or three) in a major professional journal to make up for what is seen as a significant and glaring problem with your lack of training thus far. It is also why, if you look at many 'elite' cohorts, many students are right out of top-tier undergraduate programs. A BA or MA in anthropology from a brand name school is worth more than we like to admit here at TGC. Fit is important, but at the end of the day, most programs make their decisions collaboratively. Some departments can be described as being one way or the other, but that is not true of most departments. It is generally difficult to articulate one orientation or subject area that typifies an entire department. If you have a project that sits squarely in the area of interest of a few faculty, but pushes the envelope of what, say, a lot of the other faculty might see as 'anthropological,' you are taking a huge risk. If you are a student with a colorful background, but you don't have the proper institutional credentials of a 'real anthropologist,' plenty of professors can easily write you off as a dabbler or somehow less prepared than other applicants. Cultural anthropology is still tied to the figure of a white man in a pith helmet scribbling notes on a people he has already made his mind up about. That tradition and the training it inspired is still celebrated by many top programs. This historical archetype established the discipline, and haunts it still. I think this is something important to consider when pursuing this career. I considered not even posting this, because I know it isn't what people want to hear, and I know a lot of awesome people right here on this forum have had very different experiences; however, I also think that multiple perspectives on the application process can only help future applicants.
  16. That fake out moment!

    Got an email from an admin address titled "Admissions letter." FLIPPED OUT. Turns out it was just an updated copy of a form from the school I already have an offer from. Love that department, but my heart cannot take a subject line like that right now.
  17. Fall 2015 Applicants

    This needs to be on a motivational poster, or better yet, a pair of promotional sweatpants and a bottle of whiskey sent by ETS after you give them all your money. Matching set. As for UMass, if I check Spire one more time I think it might take out a restraining order against me. Historically Yale results come in over the next couple of days, so keep your fingers crossed!
  18. Interviews were/are ongoing, so I assume the requests must be out too.
  19. Fall 2015 Applicants

    I agree - I feel like things are dragging a bit this year, not sure why. Curious to know whether Penn is done notifying admitted students. SIGH.
  20. FYI, NYU MCC is in the midst of short list interviews. That's all the info I have. Good luck!

    Sounds good. Thanks!

    Coming from the land of job applications, I am used to sending weekly follow-ups after interviews. This has worked wonderfully for me in the past. I think this is expected in the professional job application process, but what about PhD interviews? I sent thank you notes to my interviewers the same day I interviewed, but have you been following up beyond those messages? One on hand, I see the importance of reiterating interest (if you are still interested) and staying in touch, but on the other I know that this process is unique and not quite as easy to navigate as job application processes. I don't think a weekly follow up is necessary, but 2 weeks? Thoughts?
  23. Summer

    Now that I know I'll be somewhere in the fall, I've been wondering how I'm going to spend my summer. My research fellowship ends June 1, so I have some time between then and the start of classes. I went straight from a professional career to my MA and then to this fellowship, so I've been working in research for the past few years and am feeling kind of out of touch! I also like money, because it pays my bills, so that is also a priority. Are we supposed to get internships? Find jobs? Are there pre-doctoral summer fellowships? I assume most deadlines have passed, right? I'm sure responses will vary for subfields, but I'm stumped. Anyone have any good resources? If your answer is "Go to the beach and read magazines" I will accept those suggestions too.
  24. It Happened

    I feel a little less crazy, because even as I await other news I know I have SOMEWHERE to go. Still, the offer I got is from the school that is probably the hardest in terms of relocating, so I am pretty anxious about that process. I suppose there's always more craziness to feel.
  25. Fall 2015 Applicants

    I think it's just the percentiles! My score put me at like 28% which does not seem like a good number to have. It's all nonsense. Did you have an interview? Good luck and congrats!