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surefire

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  1. Upvote
    surefire got a reaction from werfsdfgsdgrrre in Unreasonable decisions and lack of transparency   
    I'm with efs001 on this. I'm not sure what you intend to get out of the grad school pursuit; there seems to be a mis-alignment of expectations.
     
    Many parts of the grad school enterprise are characterized by collaboration. To be successful in apps, you need to establish both what you can contribute and what resources you will draw upon to grow and thrive.
     
    The attitude that you are a customer and the institution is providing a service does not establish this.
    The attitude that you are arriving as a complete package that they should be grateful to have and the biggest thing they can do for you is provide access to equipment does not establish this either.
     
    Your anecdote about bringing your own reading materials to class actually makes me cringe a little bit.
     
    If what you've conveyed above is indicative of what you wrote in your app, then I think you needn't bother anyone at the institution to itemize why your application was unsuccessful. Perhaps you should view your experience with this application process as an exercise in ascertaining that your expectations/ideologies are not compatible with the program. You might be best served sticking with the private sector pursuits.
  2. Like
    surefire got a reaction from hopeful2020PhD in Favorite Rejection Quotes from the Results Page   
    Repping the Canadian front!
     
    A U of T Creative Writing rejection (via postal service) from 2009: "To ensure their rejection would land enough punch, they addressed me as Ms. instead of Mr."
     
    A rejection for U of T Philosophy from 2007: "I don't want to become a Canuck anyway".
    Ouch dude.
    This other person (who, granted, got accepted) has the right idea (U of T Econ 2009): "Canuckonomist!"
    Yah!
     
    There's a playful little back-and-forth on the UBC page for Architecture from 2010.
    One person with a rejection wrote something to the effect of: "Well, I guess I'll go with plan B and sell ice cream"
    and then another rejected person wrote: "I will be joining my friend in their ice-cream selling endeavour". (Side note: that's not a bad plan B! Canada is cold, but we still like our ice cream!).
     
    BUT THEN there's a late acceptance (April 2010) for Architecture at U of T where someone wrote only: "Does anyone want my ice cream truck?! I won't be needing it anymore!"
     
    That's awesome! Nice to know that the story for at least one of those applicants had a happy ending!
  3. Upvote
    surefire got a reaction from musicdegree4me in Favorite Rejection Quotes from the Results Page   
    Repping the Canadian front!
     
    A U of T Creative Writing rejection (via postal service) from 2009: "To ensure their rejection would land enough punch, they addressed me as Ms. instead of Mr."
     
    A rejection for U of T Philosophy from 2007: "I don't want to become a Canuck anyway".
    Ouch dude.
    This other person (who, granted, got accepted) has the right idea (U of T Econ 2009): "Canuckonomist!"
    Yah!
     
    There's a playful little back-and-forth on the UBC page for Architecture from 2010.
    One person with a rejection wrote something to the effect of: "Well, I guess I'll go with plan B and sell ice cream"
    and then another rejected person wrote: "I will be joining my friend in their ice-cream selling endeavour". (Side note: that's not a bad plan B! Canada is cold, but we still like our ice cream!).
     
    BUT THEN there's a late acceptance (April 2010) for Architecture at U of T where someone wrote only: "Does anyone want my ice cream truck?! I won't be needing it anymore!"
     
    That's awesome! Nice to know that the story for at least one of those applicants had a happy ending!
  4. Upvote
    surefire got a reaction from NeilM in What piece(s) of advice would you give to new TAs?   
    All excellent advice so far! I only have a couple of specifics to add.
     
    - I would echo what rising_star said re: accessing your university's teaching centre, where available. The workshops through this resource are incredibly helpful to aid not only your students' development, but your own efficiency.
     
    - I would also echo what jullietmercredi said about organization. It is absolutely worth the time to come up with a system for organizing; it will be worth it even if you have ONE student/essay that goes AWOL, as you'll be able to quickly ascertain what's up (every semester students seem to top themselves in the creative ways that they disregard my submission instructions, while you should resist the urge to coddle, a good organization system will ensure that you can detect these hiccups quickly).
     
    - On the organization front: I would also encourage you to spreadsheet your hours. I work at a Uni with a union, so there are stipulations about workload whereby one can grieve/remedy situations of over-work. I understand that this varies around universities, so I would encourage you to get acquainted with your departmental/university culture on the TA front and find out how TA assignments are comprised and what routes there are to address issues - in any case, track your hours. If a prof thinks that marking each mid-term test should take you 15 minutes, and you take a half hour for each, that does not mean that you suck at marking (though it is true that you'll take some time to find your groove), it might mean that there needs to be an adjustment in terms of the assignment or the hours that are expected/available to mark it. Think of it this way: if you just put your head down and do the excess work, some poor schmuck TA that does the class NEXT time will have to contend with the same issue. Again, find out the routes to address issues and gauge your departmental culture on this - it might just be a matter of informally discussing things with the prof, it might be a matter of submitting something to the uni HR so they can adjust the TA assignment. At the very least, spread-sheeting will help you get acquainted with how many hours each task in a semester requires, so you can predict how to plan your NEXT semester AND you can concretely see how you are becoming more efficient in each task.
     
    - Have a "warm fuzzies folder". Every nice e-mail from prof or students, solicited or unsolicited, goes in the folder. This will make it easier to compose a teaching dossier later on. If someone says something nice about what a great TA you are, ask them to put that sentiment in an e-mail and send it to you - that might feel weird, but self-advocacy is a good skill to hone.
     
    - I'm a strong advocate of the electronic rubric. That is, typing up comments in a word doc rubric and stapling these to the essays, rather than printing blank rubrics and writing in them. This has several benefits: (1) There's no question that my comments are legible; (2) I can send the whole doc to the prof, if they're interested, so that they can get a sense of trends in the comments and/or they have the comments on-hand if a student comes in to complain about the mark; ( 3) I find that students tend to skim comments if I put lots of them on BOTH the paper and the rubric, so I mostly put them on the rubric (which I have space for, as I'm typing them up) BUT I refer to specific examples from the paper (that is, global comment and then, "see the example I've commented upon on page 5"); (4) I can CHANGE the damn comments/mark if need be; scribbled-out comments on a student's paper both look messy and sometimes prompt students to complain - "I can see that you gave me a 4.5/5 then changed it to 3.5, whyyyyyy?"; there will be occasions where you have to go back and adjust - say, if you dock big marks initially for students who missed a certain component, but then it turns out that the majority missed this component, you might re-visit the assignment question and realize that it was confusingly phrased and be inclined to deduct less - so electronic marks help with this.
     
    - Don't be afraid to sometimes tell the students that they're being inappropriate or unprofessional, it's a courtesy, really. If a student sends an e-mail that makes you cringe, tell them so. Don't just say, "that's inappropriate" and also refrain from an exhaustive point-by-point, just point quickly to the irksome thing and then address the request. Many of them will not reward you for this effort by amending their correspondence/conduct. However, I find that those that do rise to the occasion appreciate the advice - after all, it helps then glean more expedient/favourable responses, right? 
  5. Like
    surefire got a reaction from Ali_Irene13 in Favorite Rejection Quotes from the Results Page   
    Repping the Canadian front!
     
    A U of T Creative Writing rejection (via postal service) from 2009: "To ensure their rejection would land enough punch, they addressed me as Ms. instead of Mr."
     
    A rejection for U of T Philosophy from 2007: "I don't want to become a Canuck anyway".
    Ouch dude.
    This other person (who, granted, got accepted) has the right idea (U of T Econ 2009): "Canuckonomist!"
    Yah!
     
    There's a playful little back-and-forth on the UBC page for Architecture from 2010.
    One person with a rejection wrote something to the effect of: "Well, I guess I'll go with plan B and sell ice cream"
    and then another rejected person wrote: "I will be joining my friend in their ice-cream selling endeavour". (Side note: that's not a bad plan B! Canada is cold, but we still like our ice cream!).
     
    BUT THEN there's a late acceptance (April 2010) for Architecture at U of T where someone wrote only: "Does anyone want my ice cream truck?! I won't be needing it anymore!"
     
    That's awesome! Nice to know that the story for at least one of those applicants had a happy ending!
  6. Upvote
    surefire got a reaction from practically_mi in What piece(s) of advice would you give to new TAs?   
    All excellent advice so far! I only have a couple of specifics to add.
     
    - I would echo what rising_star said re: accessing your university's teaching centre, where available. The workshops through this resource are incredibly helpful to aid not only your students' development, but your own efficiency.
     
    - I would also echo what jullietmercredi said about organization. It is absolutely worth the time to come up with a system for organizing; it will be worth it even if you have ONE student/essay that goes AWOL, as you'll be able to quickly ascertain what's up (every semester students seem to top themselves in the creative ways that they disregard my submission instructions, while you should resist the urge to coddle, a good organization system will ensure that you can detect these hiccups quickly).
     
    - On the organization front: I would also encourage you to spreadsheet your hours. I work at a Uni with a union, so there are stipulations about workload whereby one can grieve/remedy situations of over-work. I understand that this varies around universities, so I would encourage you to get acquainted with your departmental/university culture on the TA front and find out how TA assignments are comprised and what routes there are to address issues - in any case, track your hours. If a prof thinks that marking each mid-term test should take you 15 minutes, and you take a half hour for each, that does not mean that you suck at marking (though it is true that you'll take some time to find your groove), it might mean that there needs to be an adjustment in terms of the assignment or the hours that are expected/available to mark it. Think of it this way: if you just put your head down and do the excess work, some poor schmuck TA that does the class NEXT time will have to contend with the same issue. Again, find out the routes to address issues and gauge your departmental culture on this - it might just be a matter of informally discussing things with the prof, it might be a matter of submitting something to the uni HR so they can adjust the TA assignment. At the very least, spread-sheeting will help you get acquainted with how many hours each task in a semester requires, so you can predict how to plan your NEXT semester AND you can concretely see how you are becoming more efficient in each task.
     
    - Have a "warm fuzzies folder". Every nice e-mail from prof or students, solicited or unsolicited, goes in the folder. This will make it easier to compose a teaching dossier later on. If someone says something nice about what a great TA you are, ask them to put that sentiment in an e-mail and send it to you - that might feel weird, but self-advocacy is a good skill to hone.
     
    - I'm a strong advocate of the electronic rubric. That is, typing up comments in a word doc rubric and stapling these to the essays, rather than printing blank rubrics and writing in them. This has several benefits: (1) There's no question that my comments are legible; (2) I can send the whole doc to the prof, if they're interested, so that they can get a sense of trends in the comments and/or they have the comments on-hand if a student comes in to complain about the mark; ( 3) I find that students tend to skim comments if I put lots of them on BOTH the paper and the rubric, so I mostly put them on the rubric (which I have space for, as I'm typing them up) BUT I refer to specific examples from the paper (that is, global comment and then, "see the example I've commented upon on page 5"); (4) I can CHANGE the damn comments/mark if need be; scribbled-out comments on a student's paper both look messy and sometimes prompt students to complain - "I can see that you gave me a 4.5/5 then changed it to 3.5, whyyyyyy?"; there will be occasions where you have to go back and adjust - say, if you dock big marks initially for students who missed a certain component, but then it turns out that the majority missed this component, you might re-visit the assignment question and realize that it was confusingly phrased and be inclined to deduct less - so electronic marks help with this.
     
    - Don't be afraid to sometimes tell the students that they're being inappropriate or unprofessional, it's a courtesy, really. If a student sends an e-mail that makes you cringe, tell them so. Don't just say, "that's inappropriate" and also refrain from an exhaustive point-by-point, just point quickly to the irksome thing and then address the request. Many of them will not reward you for this effort by amending their correspondence/conduct. However, I find that those that do rise to the occasion appreciate the advice - after all, it helps then glean more expedient/favourable responses, right? 
  7. Upvote
    surefire got a reaction from fsodu in Favorite Rejection Quotes from the Results Page   
    Repping the Canadian front!
     
    A U of T Creative Writing rejection (via postal service) from 2009: "To ensure their rejection would land enough punch, they addressed me as Ms. instead of Mr."
     
    A rejection for U of T Philosophy from 2007: "I don't want to become a Canuck anyway".
    Ouch dude.
    This other person (who, granted, got accepted) has the right idea (U of T Econ 2009): "Canuckonomist!"
    Yah!
     
    There's a playful little back-and-forth on the UBC page for Architecture from 2010.
    One person with a rejection wrote something to the effect of: "Well, I guess I'll go with plan B and sell ice cream"
    and then another rejected person wrote: "I will be joining my friend in their ice-cream selling endeavour". (Side note: that's not a bad plan B! Canada is cold, but we still like our ice cream!).
     
    BUT THEN there's a late acceptance (April 2010) for Architecture at U of T where someone wrote only: "Does anyone want my ice cream truck?! I won't be needing it anymore!"
     
    That's awesome! Nice to know that the story for at least one of those applicants had a happy ending!
  8. Upvote
    surefire got a reaction from Maylee in What piece(s) of advice would you give to new TAs?   
    All excellent advice so far! I only have a couple of specifics to add.
     
    - I would echo what rising_star said re: accessing your university's teaching centre, where available. The workshops through this resource are incredibly helpful to aid not only your students' development, but your own efficiency.
     
    - I would also echo what jullietmercredi said about organization. It is absolutely worth the time to come up with a system for organizing; it will be worth it even if you have ONE student/essay that goes AWOL, as you'll be able to quickly ascertain what's up (every semester students seem to top themselves in the creative ways that they disregard my submission instructions, while you should resist the urge to coddle, a good organization system will ensure that you can detect these hiccups quickly).
     
    - On the organization front: I would also encourage you to spreadsheet your hours. I work at a Uni with a union, so there are stipulations about workload whereby one can grieve/remedy situations of over-work. I understand that this varies around universities, so I would encourage you to get acquainted with your departmental/university culture on the TA front and find out how TA assignments are comprised and what routes there are to address issues - in any case, track your hours. If a prof thinks that marking each mid-term test should take you 15 minutes, and you take a half hour for each, that does not mean that you suck at marking (though it is true that you'll take some time to find your groove), it might mean that there needs to be an adjustment in terms of the assignment or the hours that are expected/available to mark it. Think of it this way: if you just put your head down and do the excess work, some poor schmuck TA that does the class NEXT time will have to contend with the same issue. Again, find out the routes to address issues and gauge your departmental culture on this - it might just be a matter of informally discussing things with the prof, it might be a matter of submitting something to the uni HR so they can adjust the TA assignment. At the very least, spread-sheeting will help you get acquainted with how many hours each task in a semester requires, so you can predict how to plan your NEXT semester AND you can concretely see how you are becoming more efficient in each task.
     
    - Have a "warm fuzzies folder". Every nice e-mail from prof or students, solicited or unsolicited, goes in the folder. This will make it easier to compose a teaching dossier later on. If someone says something nice about what a great TA you are, ask them to put that sentiment in an e-mail and send it to you - that might feel weird, but self-advocacy is a good skill to hone.
     
    - I'm a strong advocate of the electronic rubric. That is, typing up comments in a word doc rubric and stapling these to the essays, rather than printing blank rubrics and writing in them. This has several benefits: (1) There's no question that my comments are legible; (2) I can send the whole doc to the prof, if they're interested, so that they can get a sense of trends in the comments and/or they have the comments on-hand if a student comes in to complain about the mark; ( 3) I find that students tend to skim comments if I put lots of them on BOTH the paper and the rubric, so I mostly put them on the rubric (which I have space for, as I'm typing them up) BUT I refer to specific examples from the paper (that is, global comment and then, "see the example I've commented upon on page 5"); (4) I can CHANGE the damn comments/mark if need be; scribbled-out comments on a student's paper both look messy and sometimes prompt students to complain - "I can see that you gave me a 4.5/5 then changed it to 3.5, whyyyyyy?"; there will be occasions where you have to go back and adjust - say, if you dock big marks initially for students who missed a certain component, but then it turns out that the majority missed this component, you might re-visit the assignment question and realize that it was confusingly phrased and be inclined to deduct less - so electronic marks help with this.
     
    - Don't be afraid to sometimes tell the students that they're being inappropriate or unprofessional, it's a courtesy, really. If a student sends an e-mail that makes you cringe, tell them so. Don't just say, "that's inappropriate" and also refrain from an exhaustive point-by-point, just point quickly to the irksome thing and then address the request. Many of them will not reward you for this effort by amending their correspondence/conduct. However, I find that those that do rise to the occasion appreciate the advice - after all, it helps then glean more expedient/favourable responses, right? 
  9. Like
    surefire got a reaction from samiamslp in Favorite Rejection Quotes from the Results Page   
    Repping the Canadian front!
     
    A U of T Creative Writing rejection (via postal service) from 2009: "To ensure their rejection would land enough punch, they addressed me as Ms. instead of Mr."
     
    A rejection for U of T Philosophy from 2007: "I don't want to become a Canuck anyway".
    Ouch dude.
    This other person (who, granted, got accepted) has the right idea (U of T Econ 2009): "Canuckonomist!"
    Yah!
     
    There's a playful little back-and-forth on the UBC page for Architecture from 2010.
    One person with a rejection wrote something to the effect of: "Well, I guess I'll go with plan B and sell ice cream"
    and then another rejected person wrote: "I will be joining my friend in their ice-cream selling endeavour". (Side note: that's not a bad plan B! Canada is cold, but we still like our ice cream!).
     
    BUT THEN there's a late acceptance (April 2010) for Architecture at U of T where someone wrote only: "Does anyone want my ice cream truck?! I won't be needing it anymore!"
     
    That's awesome! Nice to know that the story for at least one of those applicants had a happy ending!
  10. Upvote
    surefire got a reaction from kray in Meeting with a Potential Advisor - Is this an interview?   
    An enthusiastic +1! I e-mailed a prospective supervisor in late november and she enthusiastically squeezed me in for a meeting by mid-December. It was a very productive conversation that generated a lot of great leads and application edits! Regarding the "thank-you": I sent an e-mail 3 days after the meeting and got very positive results from this! These things can be tricky to write, so I'll copy the gist of it below, feel free to appropriate!

    Professor________,

    I just wanted to write a quick e-mail to thank you for taking the time to meet with me last Friday. As I mentioned, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to discuss my potential academic prospects and research in ___(field of interest)___. As well, I'm always happy to speak to my positive undergraduate experience at __(undergrad institution)___.

    At your suggestion, I have e-mailed Professer __(referral #1)____ and __(referral #2)__ in order to explore potential research interest alignment and the prospect of working together at __(prospective graduate university)__. While I don't expect an immediate response (as we've entered the holiday season), I do hope that this correspondence will be fruitful and I appreciate that you lent your name to these referrals!

    I hope that you have a pleasent holiday season. I'd be more than happy to keep you abreast of developments, as your time and interest dictates. At the very least, I will let you know the outcome of my applications.

    Thank you again for your insight and encouragement!

    Warm regards,

    ___(Surefire)___
    ___(contact info)___

    A few points: I was sure to mention the meeting date and to re-iterate my research interests, to re-acquaint her with our meeting (I assumed that she had met with a variety of prospective and current students, it WAS the pre-holiday crunch!). As well, I alluded to a bit of conversation that we had regarding my undergraduate institution and some specific professors. This part of our conversation was light-hearted and likely unique (my undergrad uni department was small, but we were both connected to it), so I figured that that might be a good mental cue for which I could be remembered. I was sure to follow-up promptly on her suggested leads (profs in similar fields who might serve on my dissertation committee or vouch for me on adcomms) and made note of this in the e-mail. This has the dual benefit of showing her my initiative and letting her know that her advice was being utilized (so she can be prepared to confirm with the recommended profs that she had in fact referred me). I thanked her specifically for "lending her name" as she encouraged me to let these other professors know that SHE had referred me (for me, this is above and beyond the realm of friendly suggestion). I ended with a suggestion for future contact and left options on the table, so she could chose to contact me again or, at minimum, she would hear from me again with an application outcome. This part was particularly important for me; as someone who has instructed university students and written reference letters and/or offered referrals and guidance, I always like to know what the outcome is. This allows me to tailor my approach accordingly and substantiates the advice I put forth. Even if this prof doesn't particularly NEED this feedback, as she is established, I want to volunteer the closure.

    What happened next was interesting. I was off briefly for the holiday season and checked my e-mail infrequently, as I had managed expectations regarding any feedback at all, let alone prompt responses. I got three e-mails last week. One from the Prof that I'd met with that said, and I quote, "You are a rare student under 30 who can write a great thank-you note"; she also invited me to attend the next departmental seminar series, to get a feel for the current faculty/cohort/resources. The other two e-mails were from the profs that I had been referred to. Each had their own advice, but they had this in common: they were both positive and they both iterated some variation of, I kid you not, "oh, you're the polite __(research field)__ student that __(referring prof)__ mentioned".

    So, yeah, thank-you notes! Go forth and DO them! These exchanges have some other substance to them (the actual interview went well, I was prepared, there is some great departmental fit that is apparent), but I also have no problem being known as that "polite one". I am known in a positive capacity, and this is a good start!
  11. Upvote
    surefire got a reaction from AlienCloud in My Brother Is Writing His Dissertation   
    I just wanted to chime in to say that this is LEGIT THE SWEETEST THING! What an awesome gesture! My day is actually better knowing that there are people like you around, plotting little ways to aid beleaguered loved ones in PhD programs!
     
    Fuzzy is on-point (as per usual!)
     
    I like having a little plant on my desk, but I'm wanting for outdoor space in my urban apartment! I used to have a little tea/coffee station but I have replaced it lately with a good carafe that is superb! I like having tea/coffee on the go all day, and this thing keeps it warm for 8 solid hours. Seriously, I could write sonnets about this device (and I might too, to avoid my own dissertation work).
     
    This is the one that I've got: http://www.amazon.com/Copco-Chloe-Thermal-Capacity-Carafe/dp/B000MAOOLE/ref=sr_1_1?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1411512250&sr=1-1&keywords=copco+chloe+1+quart+thermal+capacity+carafe+white
     
    Have fun putting this room together! Your brother is a lucky dude!
  12. Like
    surefire got a reaction from pisciculus in Favorite Rejection Quotes from the Results Page   
    Repping the Canadian front!
     
    A U of T Creative Writing rejection (via postal service) from 2009: "To ensure their rejection would land enough punch, they addressed me as Ms. instead of Mr."
     
    A rejection for U of T Philosophy from 2007: "I don't want to become a Canuck anyway".
    Ouch dude.
    This other person (who, granted, got accepted) has the right idea (U of T Econ 2009): "Canuckonomist!"
    Yah!
     
    There's a playful little back-and-forth on the UBC page for Architecture from 2010.
    One person with a rejection wrote something to the effect of: "Well, I guess I'll go with plan B and sell ice cream"
    and then another rejected person wrote: "I will be joining my friend in their ice-cream selling endeavour". (Side note: that's not a bad plan B! Canada is cold, but we still like our ice cream!).
     
    BUT THEN there's a late acceptance (April 2010) for Architecture at U of T where someone wrote only: "Does anyone want my ice cream truck?! I won't be needing it anymore!"
     
    That's awesome! Nice to know that the story for at least one of those applicants had a happy ending!
  13. Upvote
    surefire got a reaction from Ifyouletmefinnish in University of Toronto 2017   
    Hi everyone! Preemptive welcome to U of T!
    I just wanted to reach out and offer myself up as a resource; I'm in my 5th year as a PhD student at U of T and a Union steward for CUPE 3902 (the local that you would have membership in if you're doing any TA work) and I like helping out the new recruits where possible, just as kind senior grad students in my program once helped me out! Feel free to tag me in questions or PM me and I'll respond to the best of my abilities!
    Congrats and welcome!
     
  14. Upvote
    surefire got a reaction from tanooki in Should I do a PhD in Soc?   
    Hi there and welcome!
    First, the GradCafe has a great little primer regarding asking about your 'chances'. This often boils down to fit, more than strictly numbers. I will say that that appears to be a solid average and a shaky first year or two often isn't too bad if you're displaying an 'upward trend', which it sounds like you are/did.
    Second, I would encourage you to read the recent Conference Board of Canada report regarding where Canadian PhDs are employed. It doesn't give a discipline-by-discipline breakdown (so, can't ascertain where sociologists specifically end up), but you can look at trends for social scientists. I would particularly encourage you to look at the section on Earning Premiums for PhDs (page 28-29). Your last question that prioritizes 'high paying jobs' (and your stated baseline for this) post-PhD alarms me a bit, because you should know that you forgo a lot of earning potential/time when you take the PhD route. A PhD is a huge endeavour that usually takes longer than your funding package allows, and it's often during prime earning years of your life, so if the marker of success for you is earning potential, you might be despondent about the reality - the return on investment can be a very long game in this context.
    Third, if you pursue the MA/PhD, you're going to have to frame your research interests such that you can articulate how your pursuit contributes to the scholarly conversation/community. So, I wouldn't try to 'pick' research topics for their employment potential. No matter what research topic you pick, it will likely be preoccupied with the minutia of the area and will be framed in terms of scholarly worth, not employment application (which isn't to say that these are mutually exclusive or that there aren't great debates in the applied/public sociology realms regarding what our research 'means' to the world beyond academia). It's possible to pick a research area and make solid connections through that that you can use for employment later (I know someone who studied addictions and did some work through CAMH, and now they work for them), but yeah, your actual topic is going to be framed as a scholarly contribution. What you might think about/focus on instead are the skills you'll build during the PhD and whether/how those translate to jobs that appeal to you beyond academia post-PhD: qualitative and quantitative methods training, research/presentation/teaching skills, stuff like that. I know people who leveraged strong research skills (both qual and quant) skills who now work for StatsCan or private/governmental consulting gigs or think tanks and policy development or NGO advocacy, as just a few examples.
    I think it's wise to consider options outside of academia, as this is in line with labour realities. But I think it would be a long haul to enter in to the PhD with the strong preference for a non-academic job - the more successful candidates I've seen have engaged in what has been called 'parallel planning', where you accrue/articulate skills and networks that you can frame/leverage for either an academic job or an alt-ac/non-ac job.
    All THAT being said, an MA in Canada is a stand-alone degree that typically only takes a year or two and is often funded, so I don't see the harm in applying to MA programs to get a sense of whether or not graduate studies will help you attain a job/vocation that is feasible/in-line with your priorities.
  15. Upvote
    surefire got a reaction from Accumulated_Bambi in Comps - how did you do it   
    FWIW, it sounds like you've got a good plan and a good sense of how to deliver on his expectations (talking to other students can be hard when you're feeling impostery but it's a smart move). I've written two comps, with 6 different committee members total, and part of the studying work is meeting with them and getting a good read on their expectations and then doing the work to deliver on them. I've had members that liked specificity, members that liked 'big picture' stuff, and one committee member who said that he thought that grad students played it too safe on comps and he'd be open to a creative/risky submission where I bash the classics (if I could support it) and had 'fun' with the material. Meeting with your committee member and strategizing is part of the work, so acknowledge yourself for putting the work in.
    Before I wrote my comps, a senior student in my department gave me insight on failing comps that made me feel immensely better during studying: (1) There are a number of acclaimed and accomplished scholars who failed their own comps whilst in grad school, it happens and struggling with comps doesn't make one an imposter, and (2) It's actually a pain in the ass to fail people; like, it's a lot of paperwork for committee members and a headache and a general time-sink and even the hard-ass faculty should recognize that there's little incentive to do so - if the committee says you're ready to defend and then you fail, it reflects poorly on them, so even if you put work in over the next few weeks and your committee member still doesn't think you're ready, try to see that as them doing you a solid, even if it's disappointing in the moment, and if they DO say you're ready, try to have faith in that, as they have some skin in the game on this too.
    Good luck!
  16. Upvote
    surefire got a reaction from chillipimien27 in University of Toronto 2017   
    Hi there @chillipimien27! Welcome to U of T!
    Depends on what you mean by a 'better area'. Are you talking about convenience, given the location of your department? Or like, an area that is quiet or, alternatively, really active and vibrant? Or are you just referring to an area that is maybe affordable or where there are lots of rentals (there actually aren't lots of areas like that in Toronto these days, and it fluctuates based on whether or not you want to live alone)?
    Feel free to respond or PM me if you want to get more explicit with your criteria and I can maybe make some recommendations. I know grad students who can walk to U of T from their apartments in neighbourhoods like the Annex, little Italy, Koreatown, or Kensington Market. But the rental market in Toronto is nuts right now so it can be hard in general to find available/affordable spots. In my opinion, if you just want to live somewhere where you can access the university fairly easily/regularly, your best best is to try to get a place within walking distance to a subway station; I live in Roncesvalles village which isn't walking distance to U of T but I can bike there in under half an hour and subway there in under 10 minutes and it's affordable and a cute neighbourhood. Alternatively, given the location of your department, you could also find somewhere close to College Street, which has a streetcar system that is close by (but I would say getting a place near a subway station is your best bet). So when you're looking at listings, google them to make sure that they're close to a subway stop.
    I would also recommend, for your first apartment in the city, that you consider renting a room in an existing multi-room rental or, if you really want to live alone, consider subletting from someone else's lease. It's really hard to find an affordable apartment in Toronto right now, and it's especially hard when you're not familiar with the neighbourhoods and need to move quickly on listings so there's pressure to put up a lot of money on the spot (note that you should never rent anything sight-unseen). If you can find a listing for someone seeking a room-mate or a sublet, you can move in on an existing lease, get a feel for the city, then once you've got your bearings after a few months/your first year, you can strike out on your own or with people that you've met in your program. I would look on Facebook to see if there are any FB groups for your program, or you could ask to join Bunz Home Zone, which is a fabulous and huge FB community.
    Let me know if you have any specific renting criteria/priorities and I can try to tailor the advice a bit more! Good luck!
  17. Upvote
    surefire got a reaction from chillipimien27 in University of Toronto 2017   
    Hi everyone! Preemptive welcome to U of T!
    I just wanted to reach out and offer myself up as a resource; I'm in my 5th year as a PhD student at U of T and a Union steward for CUPE 3902 (the local that you would have membership in if you're doing any TA work) and I like helping out the new recruits where possible, just as kind senior grad students in my program once helped me out! Feel free to tag me in questions or PM me and I'll respond to the best of my abilities!
    Congrats and welcome!
     
  18. Upvote
    surefire got a reaction from serenade in Comps - how did you do it   
    FWIW, it sounds like you've got a good plan and a good sense of how to deliver on his expectations (talking to other students can be hard when you're feeling impostery but it's a smart move). I've written two comps, with 6 different committee members total, and part of the studying work is meeting with them and getting a good read on their expectations and then doing the work to deliver on them. I've had members that liked specificity, members that liked 'big picture' stuff, and one committee member who said that he thought that grad students played it too safe on comps and he'd be open to a creative/risky submission where I bash the classics (if I could support it) and had 'fun' with the material. Meeting with your committee member and strategizing is part of the work, so acknowledge yourself for putting the work in.
    Before I wrote my comps, a senior student in my department gave me insight on failing comps that made me feel immensely better during studying: (1) There are a number of acclaimed and accomplished scholars who failed their own comps whilst in grad school, it happens and struggling with comps doesn't make one an imposter, and (2) It's actually a pain in the ass to fail people; like, it's a lot of paperwork for committee members and a headache and a general time-sink and even the hard-ass faculty should recognize that there's little incentive to do so - if the committee says you're ready to defend and then you fail, it reflects poorly on them, so even if you put work in over the next few weeks and your committee member still doesn't think you're ready, try to see that as them doing you a solid, even if it's disappointing in the moment, and if they DO say you're ready, try to have faith in that, as they have some skin in the game on this too.
    Good luck!
  19. Upvote
    surefire got a reaction from steve3020 in Toronto, ON   
    Oh right! The SPT conversation! I remember that now! Congrats on your admit, lol! I was in Socio-Legal Studies at York.
    The bursaries don't amount to oodles of money in the MA, maybe a couple hundred bucks, but I don't think that's 'arbitrary'. It's not really enough to count on as part of your budget, but it's enough to provide opportunities that you wouldn't have otherwise (I went to some conferences in my MA thanks to some bursary money, and there's no way I would've been able to afford that otherwise). The bursaries are easy money, once you figure them out. The bursaries in my PhD have been quite a bit bigger (like, I'm eligible for one that takes care of half my tuition this year, which is several thousand dollars), so it's worth it to figure out the granting bodies and their bureaucratic process now.
    Anyway, good luck and let me know if I can be of further help!
  20. Upvote
    surefire got a reaction from steve3020 in Toronto, ON   
    Hi there! I'd like to extend a pre-emptive welcome to Toronto!
    I did my MA at York and am currently doing my PhD at U of T, so I'm familiar with living on those funding packages! I didn't get into any debt at either (though I'm domestic, so my situation is a bit different).
    I've always lived with room-mates and my partner, which has cut my costs regarding rent and food quite a bit (my partner and I spend about $100-$150/week on groceries). I usually recommend that people coming from outside the city to grad studies here try to get into designated grad housing at either institution, because it totally sucks to try and secure a place if you're not already here - the vacancy rate is like, 1.5%, so competition is fierce and it's risky to rent a place sight unseen. If grad housing is a no-go, I would recommend getting acquainted with whatever social media groups you can find that are comprised of fellow grad students at your institution and put a call out there for someone to room with or to recommend a place (the grad students in my program, for example, have their own Facebook group) - it would be easier to secure a sublet or move into an empty room of a place on someone else's lease, rather than trying to secure your own. You could also join the Facebook group "Bunz Home Zone", there are lots of opportunities there.
    Also, I note that you're an international student, so you'll have to add a monthly UHIP cost to your budget, just FYI.
    I have two other pieces of advice:
    -First, take a good look at your offers to see if there are Teaching Assistant or Research Assistant opportunities associated with either. You get paid $20-$40/hour for those posts and they are generally designed to be about 10 hours/week (though you'll work some long weeks around 'crunch' periods like exams). This hourly wage is quite good and you'll get a lot more bang for your buck than picking up a part-time job somewhere that pays like, $12-$15 an hour (and again, as an international student, you might be restricted regarding what/how much work you take, and the RA/TA stuff is more likely to be above board).
    -Second, you should get familiar with the bursary/grant opportunities offered by the School of Grad Studies for each university, they offer quite a few. Also, if you DO TA at either, as I recommended above, you will be a part of the CUPE locals at either of those institutions, and the unions at both York and U of T are quite strong and offer multiple bursaries and funds, in addition to strong hourly wages and labour protections (CUPE 3902 at U of T, for example, offers a fund to international students to offset the UHIP costs).
    Good luck and, once again, welcome!
  21. Upvote
    surefire got a reaction from TakeruK in "Are you going to another PhD program?"   
    I agree with @TakeruK. No harm in telling them, no need to reiterate what a difficult decision it was. Departments like to keep tabs on what programs they lose competitive students to and they sometimes amend recruitment efforts accordingly. You'd be doing them a solid by providing them with this info. Keep it short and sweet, thank them again for the opportunity, and fret no more!
  22. Upvote
    surefire got a reaction from LAS22 in "Are you going to another PhD program?"   
    I agree with @TakeruK. No harm in telling them, no need to reiterate what a difficult decision it was. Departments like to keep tabs on what programs they lose competitive students to and they sometimes amend recruitment efforts accordingly. You'd be doing them a solid by providing them with this info. Keep it short and sweet, thank them again for the opportunity, and fret no more!
  23. Upvote
    surefire reacted to rising_star in Professor too lenient on students   
    Serious question: What do you think the students do upon receiving your paper full of comments and red lines? Do you think they learn anything at all from all those comments or that they are demoralized and/or confused about how best to proceed? My recommendation is that you NOT focus on grammatical errors and correcting those. That's editorial work. Maybe do it for a page or two but don't let that be the vast majority of your comments because that makes it too easy for students to focus on those and not the bigger errors in their writing.
    This Youtube video has really good tips on giving writing feedback. Right now, you're doing the mechanical things PLUS trying to do the other things. If you actually want to help students improve their writing, you'll want to give what he calls global feedback. You also want to do more than just identify issues but move to suggesting solutions or identifying the rhetorical options for them. 
  24. Downvote
    surefire got a reaction from Clovecard in I asked for a new field site now I'm being treated like a villian   
    That's not fair. Eigen is a mod here, and you can quibble about their familiarity with Social Work if you want, but the fact remains that the OP is exhibiting an attitude and describing a predicament that is recognizable to grad students in different disciplines. Eigen offered solid advice to the OP on re-examining their approach and assumptions in order to glean a different result, but I think it's clear that the OP isn't actually after advice, they would just like validation for the choices they've already made.
     
    Eigen's advice pertains to both the micro-issue of the placement and the global issue regarding "trust" of the program; on both levels they advocate honest reflection and diplomacy (while maintaining the importance of standing up for yourself) - these are good recommendations regardless of the grad program. When the dust settles and the OP feels a bit more receptive to advice, perhaps they could revisit Eigen's comments and the utility of the feedback will be more apparent.
     
    Congrats on the self-advocacy OP - it IS an important skill to hone and I hope that you continue to cultivate it! Best of luck going forward!
  25. Upvote
    surefire reacted to AmityDuPeuple in Fall 2017 Acceptances/Interviews/Rejections Thread   
    I just accepted Notre Dame's offer!!! I still haven't heard from from Toronto or Yale yet. My advisor told me not to assume they are rejections, so I'm trying not to. But the more I went over it in my head, the more I am convinced that Notre Dame is going to be the best place for me in so many different ways. Maybe I jumped the gun a bit, but I know I won't regret it. 
    Now to celebrate! 
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