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  1. Hi All, I would like some feedback on the biggest hurdles I think I'll face in the upcoming application cycle (December 2018 for admission Fall 2019) and ask for some much needed advice about how to prepare myself for the inevitable weaknesses present in my career. Here are my biggest concerns: I was unfortunately unable to write an Honor's Thesis for my school. The course was offered by application, and it still deeply pains me that I was not accepted into the program for my senior year. However, I chose to do multiple research seminars offered to make up for this lack. Each research seminar culminated in a 20ish page paper that presented my thesis from the course. Not as grand as the 60-80 pages I could've written on a single topic, but that's what I have. I am seriously concerned about the quality of my writing sample because I fear those papers that I wrote will simply not hold the same weight as a thesis. I have no extracurricular research experience to offer. The most I have is tutoring in writing that I did for my school's writing center (as well as co-teaching a summer course). I am seriously concerned that with only paltry research seminar papers to offer, most schools for the PhD program will not take my application seriously. I scored a 162 on my Verbal GRE score. The first two concerns take up some serious mental space, and I'm not sure if my time would be better spent on some solution to the anxieties presented by #1 and #2 than trying to up my verbal score and retaking the GRE. Without an honor's thesis, I'm nervous that potential LOR writers won't have as much to say about my research capacities. I want to reach out to professors I worked with during those seminars, but I fear that I might just be not the most qualified candidate. Also, my overall GPA is slightly lower than what most schools look for (3.74). I attribute that to being a double major in Economics and English. My English GPA is fairly strong (3.9), but I'm not sure if it's enough Finally, because of #1, 2, 4, I'm nervous that what I want to do research in has no merit in the academic field. I love modernist literature, and I particularly enjoy studying temporality within these works. I am fascinated by how each author posits a holistic sense of time that is entirely predicated on what they bring to the table. I also am deeply interested in studying James Joyce, William Faulkner, and Virginia Woolf for the rest of my life, because they represent divergent countries, politics, and of course, writing, yet they all take so much from each other that I think they act as an incredible modernist trifecta. And it's no secret that each author's contemplation of time is paramount to their written work. So I want to follow this thread to refining my studies further in a PhD program, but all my previous concerns make me seriously question the import or weight of my own academic interests. Those are my main concerns. I've gone back and forth on whether or not I should fully commit to the PhD undertaking, but I think my deep respect, interest, and passion for academia, my love of teaching and working with students, and the wealth of passion I have for English literature convinces me that this is a path completely worth pursuing. It would really help me a lot if I could hear on whether my concerns are valid, what I should put the most focus into for the 2019 cycle, and whether my reasoning/interests make sense for this program, or if I should instead consider a master's program (that would be a totally separate discussion). Thanks for taking the time!
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