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leftover cheese

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  1. Thank you for all the feedback and advice @rising_star and @comparativist. I really appreciate it. I am definitely happy to work independently and I have spent a lot of time learning things on my own before and during my program, however with the thesis in particular I've been struggling to figure out how to do that. rising star, a lot of what you said is tremendously helpful, thank you. In response to your points - 1) I haven't started on a proposal yet since I'm still working out what my thesis will entail. I only began talking about it with my advisor at the beginning of this past semester (fall 2016). I started reading MA theses in my area of study through Proquest and talking to a couple close friends in the same field. Both have been helpful, but I do realize now from talking to people in other programs that I am well behind the typical timeline for starting thesis work. This seems to be the norm for my school, but not at all for the handful of anthropology MA students I know in other programs. 2) I don't have a committee yet, however there is at least one other professor who I can ask. 3) I haven't talked to my advisor about the possibility of doing a PhD at all yet because I am not planning to apply directly after I finish the MA. I would really like to graduate this May when I am done with coursework, but I am considering pushing graduating until the following semester to give myself more time to work on the thesis. This seems relatively common in my program, but I'm not sure how it's viewed in the field. In your opinion would it be looked at negatively for someone to take an additional semester solely for thesis work? 4) I would answer yes, and no to your questions for the most part, so maybe I'm not giving myself quite enough credit and being overly negative. I actually like poring over and dissecting articles and I've always been happy to do that on my own. My program hasn't offered any sort of theory or history course of the field, though I would really like to take one and I hadn't thought of the possibility of auditing. 5) That's a really helpful suggestion - there are at least a couple of areas that I feel lacking in that I didn't realize I could potentially teach myself (particularly some stats and qualitative methods). Thanks again!
  2. I'm nearing my last semester of my two year Master's program (anthropology) and I feel like I've barely learned enough to scape by in my field, never mind apply to PhD programs. Unfortunately(/fortunately) I know I am not alone in this feeling, as two other students in my cohort feel the same way and share many of the same frustrations. My advisor is very respected and connected in my field and is available for occasional meetings, however, he offers very, very little direction or concrete guidance, and has actually said to another MA student regarding their thesis to "just get it done," strongly implying to that person not to worry too much about how good it is. This advisor is retiring soon and it is painfully obvious that he has already checked out on the MA students, while most of his PhD students are already 4-5 years into their programs and know what they are doing. I know this from talking to others in the lab and the department. I also have heard from multiple people that this advisor does not actually READ term papers and have been plainly told that it doesn't matter what we write in them because "you'll just get an A." I am happy about getting As, but I'm concerned about the almost total lack of critical feedback that I've come to learn is the department norm. Aside from gripes about the program, my main issue right now is coming up with and executing a worthwhile thesis project with little-to-no guidance for someone who pretty plainly has stated that he just wants it done while I already feel under-confident in my abilities as a student. I really respect my advisor (and hope I've managed to maintain enough anonymity here) and I understand that he has many obligations, but I feel lost and I have pretty much given up on expecting any more guidance. I have been reading as many articles and MA theses as I can in my proposed research area and beyond and I am learning a lot, but I'm struggling with how I can apply what I learn to come up with and do a project on my own. I don't know how to gauge what scope is appropriate, what the limits and possibilities are for resources within and outside the lab, or how to design a project and a thesis proposal. While I don't currently have the confidence that I can come up with something potentially publishable, I really want to produce something that I will at least be comfortable showing my peers or possibly using down the line if I want to apply to PhD programs. I should mention that I'm beyond the point where switching focus or advisors is a possibility and I actually think my advisor is the best option in our department anyway. I feel dissatisfied with my MA experience as a whole and desperately want more training and education, but I also don't feel like I am at all prepared for a PhD program right now and I know my feelings of inadequacy are holding me back. Once I get past the thesis and graduating I intend to continue studying and getting practical experience outside of a formal program, but right now that seems so out of reach. I'm realizing how much I'm going to need to learn and teach myself and it feels daunting. I appreciate any advice or accounts of similar experiences.
  3. I recently got an email from the Texas State Grad committee stating: "I am pleased to inform you that the Anthropology Graduate Applications Committee met and voted to recommend your acceptance & admittance to our MA program in Anthropology conditionally, based on your low GPA... ...We would appreciate it if you would inform the graduate program coordinator, if you will accept or decline your position in our program by March 20, 2013... ...If you choose to accept our offer, we will forward our recommendation to Dean J. Michael Willoughby of the Graduate College, and he will officially admit you to the university and our program." I asked for more time to make a decision and to hear from other programs which they said is fine, but my concern is that I have not been officially admitted to the program. When I check the website it still says "Application Status: Complete and ready for review." Is this normal? If I wait to hear from other programs is there a possibility that they will rescind the offer? They are one of my top choices, but they cannot offer any funding for the first year (because of my crappy undergrad GPA) and are nearly 2000 miles from home, plus I am still waiting to hear from two other programs... I appreciate any advice!
  4. Two of the schools I am applying to are in NYC and I currently live in NYC. Any opinions on whether or not to mention that I live here in my SoP? One of the draws of the programs is obviously the location and that I want to stay here (though not the main reason I'm applying to them). I feel like it could be beneficial for the admissions committee to know that I already live here, know my way around, and won't be overwhelmed by the city... or it could be totally unnecessary.
  5. I'm in the same boat, I majored in Linguistics in undergrad and I am applying to Biological/Physical Anthropology programs (I want to do forensic anthropology). Linguistics and Biological Anthropology are both in the realm of anthropology, but my linguistics program was based more on the science of speech and language, and we had no anthro. classes (though, I've since taken some). I had no idea how/if I absolutely need to bring up my UG major.
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