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splitends last won the day on July 10 2012

splitends had the most liked content!

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About splitends

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  1. splitends


    I would guess that one arm of the bureaucracy inadvertently moved faster than the other. It's probably a good idea to email the grad advisor to confirm, but, I mean it doesn't look like a bad sign... I'm sure info from the department will be soon to follow.
  2. Wait, just for clarification: you have been accepted into the program and are going to visit? Or you've been invited to visit and interview as the last stage of the application process? If it's the former, don't sweat it. Like, at all. If it's the latter, then still don't sweat it all that much. My guess is the last thing they're checking you for is fit-- just know why you want to be at that department and be able to articulate it. Also, refrain from being a complete jerk and/or spazz while visiting. Also, you shouldn't be concerned that being straight out of undergrad is in any way a liability. Most programs are set up to accept people straight out of undergrad. The majority of the people making the visit circuit at top programs last year were either straight out of undergrad or pretty close to it. They know your background, and they are going to judge you within that context. Lastly, congratulations!
  3. Yeah, it's funny. I had kind of given up on having the social life I had really wanted inside my department at the beginning of the semester, but over the first few months of my program things got a lot better than I thought they would. At first I was really confused about how I should interact with people in my department-- how much should my social life be different from what it had been as an undergrad, how much can I expect to be friends with people who are also my colleagues, how professional any of it would be. And I think being a first generation college student in a world where half the people I meet seem to be professor's kids has kind of exacerbated that anxiety/fear that I'm doing it all wrong. But things have worked out really well. At some point I relaxed and realized that there's no reason most of us can't be friends outside of class, and with a little effort we found that people from older cohorts (who we thought at first were snubbing us) were happy to hang out if we just invited them to. I can't say that I'm besties with everyone (there seems to be some real social bifurcation along age and relationship status lines, though there are exceptions), but I was happy to find that a certain amount of openness and effort has left me with a pretty awesome social network inside my program. I appreciate that different people want different things from this experience, and that there's a certain amount of luck of the draw when it come to who ends up in your cohort/department. But I definitely think that having real friends in the department makes the whole experience much better.
  4. My experience last year was that there was surprisingly little overlap between school visit events. Of the seven places I was looking at, two schools on the opposite side of the country had visiting weekends at the same time and I had to choose (though one had been my last choice, so not a difficult decision), and two schools in the same area had visit events on the same weekend, so I just split my time between the two. I have to imagine there was some level of coordination, but I don't have any actual info on that. I did run into many people who visited schools outside the official visiting time slots, so that can definitely be arranged, though I don't know how much departments reimburse/subsidize those trips. Everyone seemed to make it work, though.
  5. Also, as to the difficulty of classes: in my limited experience, it's going to vary a ton based on who's teaching what, how much flexibility you're going to have in your schedule your first year, and what you do with that flexibility. If you set things up right, you could absolutely have been broken down by your schedule in my program this year. But you could also have made your life fairly easy. Just depends on which classes you choose to take. If you ever feel like your classes are too easy, though, don't worry: there is ALWAYS more you can be doing. You won't necessarily have someone forcing you to do it, but you can and arguably should be doing work outside class. And please don't be so quick to dismiss theory as verbiage. I think you'll be surprised how much you might learn your first year.
  6. "...so I'm actually already struggling with the sort of "third year woes," like how to stay productive and manage myself independently, how to battle my own insecurity about formalizing my ideas without someone right there to cheer me on, etc." Oh, honey...those are not third year woes...those are from day 1 woes...
  7. Yeah, I'm going to second that schools can do things differently from year to year. I remember reading on here that Harvard had done interviews the year before I applied, but there were no interviews during my application cycle. I also think it seems unlikely that only marginal candidates are interviewed-- anecdotally, I know people who were let into my program off the waitlist/were waitlisted elsewhere that were never interviewed. I got the feeling that Harvard does not typically interview, though...
  8. splitends

    Late LOR

    Yeah, don't sweat it. I made a few logistical mistakes while applying-- accidentally turned one application in a few days late (misread the deadline...) and didn't send GRE scores to one school (accidentally sent it to a similarly named one twice...)-- and each time the department administration told me about the mistake in January, let me fix it, and then accepted me. I don't know how common that is, but I get the impression that if they want you in their program they're going to be reasonable about logistical snafus. And don't assume that forgetting a deadline means your LOR writer doesn't think highly of you or didn't write you a good letter. You know the person's busy, and sometimes these things just happen. Your prof is almost certainly submitting the same letter to each program, so if s/he already got a round in December 15, it's already written and s/he probably just missed the January 1 deadline by mistake (who has a deadline on a national holiday anyway?). You should probably get on your LOR writer to turn it in, but I wouldn't assume you've wasted your money just yet!
  9. So, I'm probably the only person on the forum that feels this way, but I just started graduate school and I feel like I'm rolling in money. Admittedly I'm getting on the high end of the stipend spectrum (I have an outside fellowship to supplement what my department gives me), but I'm also living in one of the most expensive parts of the country, so not sure how much that should cancel it out? Regardless-- I think I'm making slightly more now than my mother made raising two kids when I was growing up. It wasn't fun at the time, but I think the habits of poverty are really making things easy for me now. I felt really financially solid when I went to college and between grants, scholarship, and summer jobs, I was making ~$15K annually (after tuition, etc) which I guess is about equivalent to stingier grad school stipends. I usually ended the year with a few hundred to a few thousand dollars left over. Now that I'm making roughly twice that, I'm saving around half my stipend just because I'm in the habit of spending roughly half what I'm making now. But I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything. I don't feel like I'm being frugal. I don't make large pots of beans and rice to live off for the week. I eat out regularly (rarely any place expensive, but I spend ~$5 on lunch a few times a week, ~$10 for dinner at least once a week). I go out to bars etc maybe once or twice a month. I'm guessing that a lot of my savings are due to my rather unusual living situation. I live in a large housing cooperative, that's part of an even larger housing cooperative network, and through the magic of buying in bulk, I spend around $750/month for rent, food (fully stocked kitchen and communal dinners 5 nights/week), utilities, internet, household items (cleaning products, laundry detergent, etc), and free social activities regularly arranged by housemates. But I honestly don't know how much this is a savings compared to just living some place cheaper-- if I were living in the midwest and paying $300/month on renting a room (which is essentially what I have here), wouldn't $450/month be more than enough for food and laundry detergent? I think I just have a different idea of what is good living. I'm still excited I get to buy name brand shampoo. I prefer my flip phone to a smart phone (I had to work hard to avoid getting a smart phone on my plan the last time I had to replace my phone-- I don't like the idea of having the internet in my pocket, and flip phones are a lot sturdier). I don't drive-- I walk/bike/use my university provided free bus pass to get around. I get access to yoga, pilates, swimming, tai chi, kickboxing, weight room, etc etc through my $10/semester university gym membership. It all feels pretty luxurious to me. Again, it seems like my stipend is on the generous side, but I'm having a hard time figuring out what single, childless people must do to have a hard time living off of $25-30K a year. $30K puts you around the median U.S. income. It just doesn't sound that bad to me. I think the point made earlier on this forum about things being kind of relative (the guy feeding his family on $200K/year) was pretty dead on.
  10. splitends


    Actually, the NYU weirdness I was referring to was the fact that they let you keep your stipend on top of NSF or other large outside grant funding. So you could conceivably be getting ~25K a year from the school, then another ~30K from NSF annually, plus the teaching money (which I also heard has to do with union busting). But the NSF thing is a little crazy-- I've never heard of another school doing that.
  11. splitends

    Roll Call

    Look...I should have stopped engaging in this conversation a while back, because it doesn't seem to be going anywhere productive. Unfortunately, I'm stuck in bed sick at the moment and somehow a downward spiral of an internet argument seems like as good a way to pass the time as any. This is what I mean when I say you sound like a bully, reminiscent of our pony-tailed friend: "Pony Tail plagiarized some Marxist historian (which most of them are, or at least Polanyian hence economic history had to become its own subdiscipline of economics under auspice of the economics department)." Throwing in your mini-lecture on economic history did nothing to further your point. Like most of this post, it doesn't seem to serve any purpose but to display to the world how smart you are. It doesn't respond to a question posed; it doesn't add to your argument; it doesn't advance any larger point-- it just seems to be thrown in there to show off. While I recognize that the content of ponytail's attempt to puff himself up while belittling others and yours are different, the tactic is the same. Anyway, you've taken this discussion way off point, but while we're out here on this ledge, I think a lot of things you're throwing out there as fact are at best debatable. I think it's probably a gross overgeneralization to say that "The major split between economics and sociology would be the degree to which one presupposes the agency of the individual." The disciplines take entirely different subjects as their units of analysis. I would say that the "major split" is a lot more fundamental than that. And I really do think the people you're listing here, especially Zelizer (note spelling there) can be read as part of an alternative sociological understanding of markets rather than as compliments to price theory. I highly suggest you look into Fligstein's Architecture of Markets to get the bigger picture there. Also, I've only taken a few courses that touch on the subject, but from what I understand [prior to the public health revolution] ploughing with your own hands, starving in spring, freezing in winter, and dying at 30 was a hell of a lot better than what would happen to you in industrial centers... Alright, I'm officially signing off of this conversation. I hope at some point some of this got through to you. It feels like I've been talking right past (writing right past?) you for a while now. I'm not saying at all that you're not smart or don't know what you're talking about (though now that I've read this last bit I do think you still have to read more about what Sociologists have to say about the economy to really get what a big chunk of economic sociology is about) but I am saying that you do sound like you have a giant chip on your shoulder, which makes it hard to communicate. It looks like the programs you're interested in are largely ones I got into last year, so if you are interested in talking or concerned about how your SOC apps should differ from econ ones and not just going back and forth like this, feel free to PM me. Good luck.
  12. splitends

    Roll Call

    OK...I probably shouldn't reply at this point, but whatevs. I get the feeling that you're conflating one on one interactions between individuals studying sociology and individuals studying economics in this one tiny arena with larger antagonisms or debates between the disciplines, and you seem to be bringing all the ire you have in the one arena into the other. As a result, I think you're reading a bit too much into people insinuating "all this garbage about my intentions and focus." Case in point: in my initial post, I never said (and didn't think) that you were ever personally suggesting this as a forum where you could personally brag. I got the feeling it was well intentioned on your part, but that other as yet to be determined anonymous citizens of the internet might be attracted to it as an opportunity for a pissing contest, which I don't think would be helpful to anyone. But you seemed to take it as a personal attack. Then someone made a totally innocuous, kind of lame, but completely sideline comment about preferring qualitative methods (which I don't think was ever the brunt of anyone's argument against doing the survey-- the notes of caution were really more about this being a stressful process that is super hard to predict, because it does really draw on a holistic review of applications and ultimately on arbitrary decisions between otherwise similarly qualified applicants) and you reacted with angry polemics about methodological issues within the discipline and with personal attacks on others. As far as reactions go, it was a bit of of an overkill. Especially a whole series of them...two months after people had stopped commenting on this forum. Seemed a little, well, needlessly angry... And you're whole "Oh, I don't think you're ready for this debate" orgy of name dropping? That was bullying. I'm not saying you haven't read those works or that underneath it you don't know what you're talking about--you certainly sound like you do-- but I am saying it was a complete bullying cliche: communicating your ideas in a way that attempts to make others look foolish while you look smart, a way of disempowering your reader by invoking obscure references that people probably don't know (don't really need to know at this stage) rather than relying on the thrust of your argument alone to make a point. It's entirely possible that you were serious in all that, but it makes you look like the douchey guy with the ponytail from the bar scene in Good Will Hunting. As for the bit about economic sociologists...admittedly, I'm pretty new to this, but I am studying economic sociology at one of the top programs in the country, and I can assure you that no one in the department sits around thinking "If only I had been good at math, then I could have been an economist!" Economic sociology really does attempt to construct alternative models and analytic tools for making sense of the economic world (and I'm definitely not talking about just Marxists here...), not just supplement what economists have to say. Who have you been reading that you think it's otherwise? Just to be clear, that's not a rhetorical question-- I'm legitimately curious. Look: I think you overreated a bit to people's comments, and I think you were meaner than you needed to be (I have zero patience for bullying), but you do seem like a smart and passionate person and I don't think there's any reason that (if you tone down the anger a bit...) you can't get useful things out of this forum. So (assuming you're interested in more than just a flame war here) who are you interested in, in the world of economic soc? Which programs are you looking at?
  13. splitends

    Roll Call

    Well, Sociology PhD programs are notoriously open to non-soc undergraduate majors. I wouldn't worry for a second that your economics background puts you at a disadvantage per se. As long as you demonstrate an ability to think sociologically, then programs don't generally reward or penalize people for coming from one academic background or another. Speaking directly to your first concern: economic sociologists don't think of their field as some place people end up if they don't know how to do math-- they think they have legitimate alternative (and they would probably argue superior) models for understanding the economic world, so I wouldn't worry about looking like a spillover candidate either. As for your third concern, based on anecdotal observation of who I met visiting top schools, plenty of people get into top SOC PhD programs without Master's degrees, and I think publications are still icing on the cake rather than strictly necessary to be competitive. What they're looking for in all of it is that you have the potential to be a great sociologist, which means that you've shown you can think creatively about interesting problems, and that the problems you want to address can and should be addressed with the support of the faculty in that particular department. You don't have to come in knowing everything about the subfield you're interested in or the methods you want to use-- that's why you spend all that time doing coursework and etc. Anyway, good luck with apps. And maybe this is forcing too much into one post, but seriously-- if you want to make a point on here in the future, you can do so without being so venomous. I like the idea of this being a place where people can go for advice and support in what is almost inevitably going to be a very difficult process. I know you feel slighted by some of the comments people made about economists, but your reactions don't really sound like sincere attempts at dialogue or even just honest retorts-- it makes you sound like a bully, which nobody needs right now. There's really never a need for that.
  14. splitends

    Roll Call

    OK, with three extensive back-to-back snarky responses two months after the conversation died, it's hard to tell if you're just trolling or if you legitimately have a giant chip on your shoulder about this. Dude, chill. It's nothing personal. It was sincere advice from people who have just gone through this experience and want to help next year's anxiety ridden applicants-to-be avoid some obvious pitfalls. I legitimately think this is a questionable way to go about passing time before applying to schools, and I have no doubt that it's a terrible way to assess your competitiveness for any given program or for graduate school in general. I'm not sure why you think it has anything to do with methodological antagonisms between different braches of the discipline-- the problem was never that you weren't using "qualitative" methods to collect data. This was never an appropriate way to collect data about where you should apply for so many reasons, but most basically because the sample would be ridiculous. At best this was an invitation for people to connect and geek out about grad school with other people who are in the same crazy head space as they are (which I personally think is the real motivation behind a lot of activity on this site anyway), and perhaps to get a little reassurance, but in a way that I strongly suspect will (unintentionally) create more anxiety than anything else. At worst this was an invitation to a pissing contest. If you're legitimately confused about whether or not you should apply to a particular program, I would strongly suggest talking to a trusted professor about it. If you want a second opinion, are coming in from a different discipline and don't have close profs in SOC, etc, then yes it makes sense to ask about it here. But don't pretend this particular survey is a good general use tool for people seeking to reduce the noise and confusion of grad schools admissions. And please, please, please don't invoke names like Bentham or Bacon, or use words like "exegesis" or "obfuscatory" to try and make yourself look smart in place of having an actual argument. It just makes you look like a jackass.
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