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Hi ? I am Contract Monster Slayer of Purgatory, yet you're all free to truncate my name however you wish, so long as I know you're referring to me. Anyway, this is my first day here on Grad Cafe in what I hope is my first and only year as an applicant. Then again, I've got quite the story, so I could be here a while. But hey, you tell me. Here it goes... STORY TIME (Read on if you want more detail/Skip if you don't) I am a former M.A. philosophy student/TA. I departed from my program without graduating for two reasons: (1) Incompatibility with the program in terms of research interests; I was essentially training myself to be a professional philosopher to the extent that I was self-directing my entire thesis. As for (2), I got caught up in some political B.S. that occurred within the department walls. Long (vague) story short, I got reprimanded for defending myself against some violations of both the student conduct code and workplace harassment policy. To paraphrase the Dept. Chair, "I brought attention to the people that said these things" during a seminar and work hours, mind you. Simply said, I didn't want any affiliation with this program anymore. In the end, I left the department with an exacerbated anxiety disorder, insomnia, and a meager 3.0 GPA. I had to leave. POST-DEPARTURE Unconvinced that my GPA defined my talent level, I immediately began a writing project intended for (non-graduate) academic conferences. Consequently, and please let me know if none of this means jack, I garnered acceptances to two regional conferences and one more invite (2+1= 3) via an unpublished blog post submitted to the public philosophy workshop at UNC-Chapel Hill intended for early career philosophers (if I remember correctly). Thus far, then, it would appear according to my CV that I've been active in some corner of academic philosophy since leaving my previous program. Though, it's worth mentioning that I'm not done yet, as I've expanded and submitted my project for review at an open access journal (fat chance at this point in my development, I know) and I plan on writing at least one more project for more conference presentations, though hopefully more as I have a few projects on my mind. ADDITIONAL (QUICK) DETAILS I have three LOR writers: Two from my most recent undergraduate institution and one from my previous graduate institution. WHAT I WANT TO KNOW Have I improved or in some way restored any chance of moving onto the Ph.D.?