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I agree with the comfort of streaming services haha. I started Bones recently and am finding it a good diversion from the stress.

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Only three more schools to go on my list. Let's hope this agony ends this week (looking at you, UNC and Boulder who usually notify by this week).

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1 hour ago, gooniesneversaydie said:

I've been binging Unexpected (similar to Teen Mom and 16 and Pregnant) on Hulu, myself. Reality TV drama is a welcome, albeit non-stimulating, distraction from all this intellectual stress. How did our forefathers apply to grad school without streaming services to help alleviate the pain???

Thanks for the recommendation! I hate/love reality tv so I’ll check it out. I don’t understand how people dealt with this in the past. They must’ve been stronger than I am lol

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1 hour ago, Wimsey said:

I agree with the comfort of streaming services haha. I started Bones recently and am finding it a good diversion from the stress.

Oh, I love Bones! I can never get into the last couple of seasons, but I rewatch anyway. Also I just noticed that you did your BA in classics as well as English; that’s so cool! I almost did the same, but I would’ve had to stay longer than 4 years so I ended up declaring a minor in classics. It was so much fun!

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1 hour ago, tinymica said:

Oh, I love Bones! I can never get into the last couple of seasons, but I rewatch anyway. Also I just noticed that you did your BA in classics as well as English; that’s so cool! I almost did the same, but I would’ve had to stay longer than 4 years so I ended up declaring a minor in classics. It was so much fun!

Yay, another classics enthusiast! I also started with a minor, but my professors got me to declare a classics major at the last minute.

Edited by Wimsey

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4 hours ago, Indecisive Poet said:

I know you're just throwing out a "worst case scenario," but I don't think this would ever happen. They've already made their decisions and they aren't going to reverse a decision because an applicant asked about the status of their application. I think your advice about how to word the email is great, and I encourage @jm6394 to reach out! 🙂

Oh yeah I'm thinking exclusively in the bat-guano-wild upside-down-world of like, "Oh, this person has another option, and they were already in our second-tier waitlist pool, so we'll just knock them off the list now in case they were gonna reject us." Which like, is so outlandish that I can't seriously imagine a program would do it.

But also, I'm aware that anecdotally (in a different field, I repeat, not in a humanities field) it's believed (not known for sure!!) to be the case that committees will reject candidates that they believe will attend other programs/turn down their program, which is also totally batshit to me, so I try not to rule anything out at this point. 

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4 hours ago, Wimsey said:

Yay, another classics enthusiast! I also started with a minor, but my professors got me to declare a classics major at the last minute.

Oh, if my Latin professor had gotten to me even a quarter earlier than she did, I would've been a double-major for sure. My classics department in undergrad was extremely small (3 professors, maybe 9 students?) so I love meeting other classics nerds!

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Idk who needs to hear this but my 19 year-old sister told me tonight that even though everything feels like it's coming down all at once that "you are in control of everything you are doing rn and that you are doing a good job" and felt inclined to share it with others because it made me feel tremendously better about everything :) here's to hoping for more good news for everyone tomorrow!

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9 hours ago, tinymica said:

Oh, if my Latin professor had gotten to me even a quarter earlier than she did, I would've been a double-major for sure. My classics department in undergrad was extremely small (3 professors, maybe 9 students?) so I love meeting other classics nerds!

Same here! My department was also small, which I liked because you got to know the profs very well.

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My optimism, it sure is waning. With Brown, Duke, Maryland, and Virginia acceptances on the board (two of those quite old acceptances at schools that typically notify rejected applicants weeks later), I'm counting those out, and while I know each school evaluates candidates independently, and the nature of the committee as a collection of individuals with their own research interests and agendas is a recipe for varying outcomes (i.e., each committee does not rate each candidate on shared "objective measures" but evaluates based on their own non-shared interests)... it just feels silly to take these presumed rejections and, rather than imagine a shutout, imagine going to Penn or Harvard.

And if I'm shut out, what then? I would have to move for a terminal MA, and to move both myself and my partner for a two-year degree to then have to move a second time for graduate school, then take out all the loans that typically accompany a terminal MA--well, an academic career is such a risky proposition that it seems ill-advised to stake both my career and my partner's and our shared financial future on that. I could write a new work sample and apply for another cycle, but if I'm shut out a second time, I fear I'll seriously regret spinning my wheels in a job I don't love but can't change for another here, in a location that creates serious quality-of-life challenges for both me and my partner on a number of fronts. (Moving this year and next year would pose career and financial problems.) 

I'm in that spot where I feel like I've spent a thousand dollars to be told, "Well, sure, you're bright, but many people are bright, and we've assembled a group that gives us more confidence than you." Which... fair? But I'm hardly looking forward to giving my recommenders and coworkers that answer. I hate to be told that I'm "giving up on my dream," but folks, we all know that not everybody makes it. 

Edited by caffeinated applicant
typo

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53 minutes ago, caffeinated applicant said:

My optimism, it sure is waning. With Brown, Duke, Maryland, and Virginia acceptances on the board (two of those quite old acceptances at schools that typically notify rejected applicants weeks later), I'm counting those out, and while I know each school evaluates candidates independently, and the nature of the committee as a collection of individuals with their own research interests and agendas is a recipe for varying outcomes (i.e., each committee does not rate each candidate on shared "objective measures" but evaluates based on their own non-shared interests)... it just feels silly to take these presumed rejections and, rather than imagine a shutout, imagine going to Penn or Harvard.

And if I'm shut out, what then? I would have to move for a terminal MA, and to move both myself and my partner for a two-year degree to then have to move a second time for graduate school, then take out all the loans that typically accompany a terminal MA--well, an academic career is such a risky proposition that it seems ill-advised to stake both my career and my partner's and our shared financial future on that. I could write a new work sample and apply for another cycle, but if I'm shut out a second time, I fear I'll seriously regret spinning my wheels in a job I don't love but can't change for another here, in a location that creates serious quality-of-life challenges for both me and my partner on a number of fronts. (Moving this year and next year would pose career and financial problems.) 

I'm in that spot where I feel like I've spent a thousand dollars to be told, "Well, sure, you're bright, but many people are bright, and we've assembled a group that gives us more confidence than you." Which... fair? But I'm hardly looking forward to giving my recommenders and coworkers that answer. I hate to be told that I'm "giving up on my dream," but folks, we all know that not everybody makes it. 

You've been such a great cheerleader for the rest of us, and I just want to say: the waitlist at UT Austin is a place many would kill to be. And a lot of us with MAs wouldn't have gotten anywhere near that point without the extra time an MA provides. Certainly not me!

It's good to keep expectations managed. But in my time as a grad school applicant, I've seen numerous cases of people getting into only one. So don't discount the lottery just yet, and remember a terminal MA is not the end of the world. 

Is a funded MA not an option? I can think of a few offhand that are in cities with decent job prospects. It would be a commute, but Villanova is close to Philadelphia, for instance. You are thinking about this very pragmatically, which is good, and moving definitely costs a lot, but in this day and age, it's not a bad thing to change jobs - it's how you get a raise in many careers. This is no small sacrifice, and I know it's just realistic to think about how this will impact your finances. But maybe you can find a way to do it without sacrificing your partner's career.  

Edited by merry night wanderer

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Oh and also: someone on the Facebook drafts contacted USC, and acceptances are going to be rolling out... until mid-March. *deep sigh, I mean, take the time you need adcoms but... ughhhh the wait is going to suck*

Edited by merry night wanderer

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10 minutes ago, caffeinated applicant said:

My optimism, it sure is waning. With Brown, Duke, Maryland, and Virginia acceptances on the board (two of those quite old acceptances at schools that typically notify rejected applicants weeks later), I'm counting those out, and while I know each school evaluates candidates independently, and the nature of the committee as a collection of individuals with their own research interests and agendas is a recipe for varying outcomes (i.e., each committee does not rate each candidate on shared "objective measures" but evaluates based on their own non-shared interests)... it just feels silly to take these presumed rejections and, rather than imagine a shutout, imagine going to Penn or Harvard.

And if I'm shut out, what then? I would have to move for a terminal MA, and to move both myself and my partner for a two-year degree to then have to move a second time for graduate school, then take out all the loans that typically accompany a terminal MA--well, an academic career is such a risky proposition that it seems ill-advised to stake both my career and my partner's and our shared financial future on that. I could write a new work sample and apply for another cycle, but if I'm shut out a second time, I fear I'll seriously regret spinning my wheels in a job I don't love but can't change for another here, in a location that creates serious quality-of-life challenges for both me and my partner on a number of fronts. (Moving this year and next year would pose career and financial problems.) 

I'm in that spot where I feel like I've spent a thousand dollars to be told, "Well, sure, you're bright, but many people are bright, and we've assembled a group that gives us more confidence than you." Which... fair? But I'm hardly looking forward to giving my recommenders and coworkers that answer. I hate to be told that I'm "giving up on my dream," but folks, we all know that not everybody makes it. 

It's nigh impossible to not project into the future and comprehend all the "what if?"s of an application cycle but it might be wise to get through this waiting period to find out how it all shakes out before contemplating next steps. The present moment is too fraught with emotion to make clear-headed decisions, and those kinds of life choices are better made out of a sense of possibility, not a scarcity of options. Wanting out of your job and your current location sound like pressing concerns for you, but it might be less stressful to disentangle your current situation from your prospects of getting into grad school.

If you do end up getting shut out, take some time after the final decision to process and get back to some kind of "normal." It would be nice to have a new situation and a new place to live waiting this fall but it sounds like if you have to sit tight awhile longer, you have the security to do so while you consider your next plan of action. You might find you still want to go to grad school bad enough to go through the gauntlet a second time, which many have done, often with good results—because applying is a learning-by-doing process, and once we hit submit, the decision is out of our hands and very much at the mercy of many factors that have little to do with our individual merit (sadly, to an extent, it does seem like a numbers game). I agree with your resolve to not pay for a terminal MA; did you apply to any funded options? Moving and then moving again in two years' time is a nuisance made more complicated with a partner (I'm in the same situation and it does add pressure). You might decide otherwise and pursue an avenue other than grad school. 

But it's not over yet. I'll be rooting for you as are many others on this forum. 

 

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4 minutes ago, merry night wanderer said:

It's good to keep expectations managed. But in my time as a grad school applicant, I've seen numerous cases of people getting into only one. So don't discount the lottery just yet, and remember a terminal MA is not the end of the world. 

Agree with this—when I was fretting in January someone currently at Harvard contacted me to say Harvard was their final and only acceptance, and it was just utter despair all through January/February. I wouldn't necessarily pin all my hopes on it or bank on it, but as an experience it's really far from uncommon.

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29 minutes ago, merry night wanderer said:

Oh and also: someone on the Facebook drafts contacted USC, and acceptances are going to be rolling out... until mid-March. *deep sigh, I mean, take the time you need adcoms but... ughhhh the wait is going to suck*

ughhhhh arghhhhh whyyyyyyyyy 

 

 

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13 hours ago, caffeinated applicant said:

Oh yeah I'm thinking exclusively in the bat-guano-wild upside-down-world of like, "Oh, this person has another option, and they were already in our second-tier waitlist pool, so we'll just knock them off the list now in case they were gonna reject us." Which like, is so outlandish that I can't seriously imagine a program would do it.

But also, I'm aware that anecdotally (in a different field, I repeat, not in a humanities field) it's believed (not known for sure!!) to be the case that committees will reject candidates that they believe will attend other programs/turn down their program, which is also totally batshit to me, so I try not to rule anything out at this point. 

TBH I’d be glad to just receive a rejection—I already live in NY and wouldn’t choose to move to Davis (though it sounds cute haha) and turn down CUNY, a better fit anyway. I’m eager at this point to just commit. But thank you both @Indecisive Poet for the encouragement, just emailed their DGS!

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@merry night wanderer, @killerbunny, @meghan_sparkle: Thanks for the kind messages. I'm slowly reverting back to the mean of "cautious optimism" (particularly in terms of reminding myself that a waitlist from UT Austin might be converted to a yes, even if there's also a chance that it'll become a no). February has never felt so long. 

Edited by caffeinated applicant

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1 hour ago, caffeinated applicant said:

My optimism, it sure is waning. With Brown, Duke, Maryland, and Virginia acceptances on the board (two of those quite old acceptances at schools that typically notify rejected applicants weeks later), I'm counting those out, and while I know each school evaluates candidates independently, and the nature of the committee as a collection of individuals with their own research interests and agendas is a recipe for varying outcomes (i.e., each committee does not rate each candidate on shared "objective measures" but evaluates based on their own non-shared interests)... it just feels silly to take these presumed rejections and, rather than imagine a shutout, imagine going to Penn or Harvard.

And if I'm shut out, what then? I would have to move for a terminal MA, and to move both myself and my partner for a two-year degree to then have to move a second time for graduate school, then take out all the loans that typically accompany a terminal MA--well, an academic career is such a risky proposition that it seems ill-advised to stake both my career and my partner's and our shared financial future on that. I could write a new work sample and apply for another cycle, but if I'm shut out a second time, I fear I'll seriously regret spinning my wheels in a job I don't love but can't change for another here, in a location that creates serious quality-of-life challenges for both me and my partner on a number of fronts. (Moving this year and next year would pose career and financial problems.) 

I'm in that spot where I feel like I've spent a thousand dollars to be told, "Well, sure, you're bright, but many people are bright, and we've assembled a group that gives us more confidence than you." Which... fair? But I'm hardly looking forward to giving my recommenders and coworkers that answer. I hate to be told that I'm "giving up on my dream," but folks, we all know that not everybody makes it. 

I've been going through some similar feelings. I'm on two waitlists, but that's no guarantee that I'll get in, and last week, I was in a bit of a "dark night of the soul" place w/r/t grad school and my applications. After thinking about it a bit, I feel much better. Here's what I've been thinking:

I think that many of us who apply to graduate school have this idea that getting a Ph.D. is the only possible route to a fulfilling life. That's not the case, though. There are many ways to live a creative, intellectual, productive life that have nothing to do with the contemporary university--and there is also no guarantee that being admitted to a graduate program will provide you with a fulfilling or meaningful career.

If you are capable of performing well in grad school, which it appears that you are, there is no reason why you cannot work on a nonfiction writing project outside of the university (unless, I suppose, your current job situation is so oppressive and all-consuming that you can't find even thirty minutes a day to devote to something outside of it). There's no reason you can't do citizen journalism, or start a small business, or a blog, or a series of video essays, or a zine, or a podcast, or whatever (and all of these can be just as intellectually rigorous, in their own way, as grad school coursework or journal articles). There are so many ways for you to be creative and express your ideas. Eventually, you might be able to monetize any of these endeavors and--perhaps slowly, but probably in less than the five to six years that a Ph.D. would take to complete--could start earning enough money to make it a full-time job. The job market for any creative endeavor is awful, but I don't think any of them are worse than the job market for humanities Ph.D.s. And the skills you've already developed in order to make yourself a competitive applicant would give you a head start in any of these endeavors.

This is, at least, what I have been telling myself as I face the real possibility of not going anywhere. But it's made me feel significantly better about the prospect of not going to grad school.

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2 minutes ago, inchoate-eyes said:

So...is anyone going to contact Princeton today?

Please and thank you to any kind and brave stranger who volunteers as tribute.

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2 hours ago, caffeinated applicant said:

My optimism, it sure is waning. With Brown, Duke, Maryland, and Virginia acceptances on the board (two of those quite old acceptances at schools that typically notify rejected applicants weeks later), I'm counting those out, and while I know each school evaluates candidates independently, and the nature of the committee as a collection of individuals with their own research interests and agendas is a recipe for varying outcomes (i.e., each committee does not rate each candidate on shared "objective measures" but evaluates based on their own non-shared interests)... it just feels silly to take these presumed rejections and, rather than imagine a shutout, imagine going to Penn or Harvard.

And if I'm shut out, what then? I would have to move for a terminal MA, and to move both myself and my partner for a two-year degree to then have to move a second time for graduate school, then take out all the loans that typically accompany a terminal MA--well, an academic career is such a risky proposition that it seems ill-advised to stake both my career and my partner's and our shared financial future on that. I could write a new work sample and apply for another cycle, but if I'm shut out a second time, I fear I'll seriously regret spinning my wheels in a job I don't love but can't change for another here, in a location that creates serious quality-of-life challenges for both me and my partner on a number of fronts. (Moving this year and next year would pose career and financial problems.) 

I'm in that spot where I feel like I've spent a thousand dollars to be told, "Well, sure, you're bright, but many people are bright, and we've assembled a group that gives us more confidence than you." Which... fair? But I'm hardly looking forward to giving my recommenders and coworkers that answer. I hate to be told that I'm "giving up on my dream," but folks, we all know that not everybody makes it. 

I felt this post so hard in my soul.

This is my second cycle and I've learned so many difficult and expensive lessons. But you know, if I truly did some inner searching, I would do it again a third time if needed. I think anyone who wants to be in academia is slightly off their rocker (*raises hand high*) and the sacrifices we make do NOT make sense on paper, but if you really believe this is the right path, then I say never give up. I didn't get my BA until I turned 33, and even though it landed me in a pit of SL debt, I have no regrets. I knew I wouldn't feel complete as a person unless I was in school. Same goes for this. You just have to be really honest with yourself. If there is an alternative that could bring you happiness, then find that alternative. If the thought of not being in academia is beyond comprehension, then don't give up.

As one poster said above, it only takes one, and it will happen.  

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2 hours ago, caffeinated applicant said:

My optimism, it sure is waning. With Brown, Duke, Maryland, and Virginia acceptances on the board (two of those quite old acceptances at schools that typically notify rejected applicants weeks later), I'm counting those out, and while I know each school evaluates candidates independently, and the nature of the committee as a collection of individuals with their own research interests and agendas is a recipe for varying outcomes (i.e., each committee does not rate each candidate on shared "objective measures" but evaluates based on their own non-shared interests)... it just feels silly to take these presumed rejections and, rather than imagine a shutout, imagine going to Penn or Harvard.

And if I'm shut out, what then? I would have to move for a terminal MA, and to move both myself and my partner for a two-year degree to then have to move a second time for graduate school, then take out all the loans that typically accompany a terminal MA--well, an academic career is such a risky proposition that it seems ill-advised to stake both my career and my partner's and our shared financial future on that. I could write a new work sample and apply for another cycle, but if I'm shut out a second time, I fear I'll seriously regret spinning my wheels in a job I don't love but can't change for another here, in a location that creates serious quality-of-life challenges for both me and my partner on a number of fronts. (Moving this year and next year would pose career and financial problems.) 

I'm in that spot where I feel like I've spent a thousand dollars to be told, "Well, sure, you're bright, but many people are bright, and we've assembled a group that gives us more confidence than you." Which... fair? But I'm hardly looking forward to giving my recommenders and coworkers that answer. I hate to be told that I'm "giving up on my dream," but folks, we all know that not everybody makes it. 

I feel this. I'm on one waitlist and have 9 pending programs (of those, possibly 2 or 3 implied rejections). This has been so tough and up until a few days ago I was having a very hard time, imagining nonstop what it would be like to get shut out, and feeling completely lost. I'm still afraid, and it will hurt a lot if this cycle ends disappointingly for me, but I've just become so tired of the emotional roller coaster that I was able to fully bring myself to that 'it's out of my hands now; there's no way to predict anything; whatever happens, I'll just take it one step at a time.' If this cycle is a wash for me (and I do still have some hope it may not be), then I'll try again. Just thinking about writing up new applications, reworking writing samples, going through the waiting game again, and—most of all—asking my professors to write a third round of reference letters (they recommended me for my MA, as well as this PhD cycle) scares me so much, but I just keep reminding myself that there is nothing I can do right now at all, and if I do come to a position in which I have to try again, all I can do is try. I can't predict if I'll have the energy, the resources, if I'll be able to get references, etc., so what's the use in stressing about it now? I'm just wearing myself out that way. 

I know this probably doesn't help, but I just wanted to write all this to let you know, as others have already done, that you're definitely not alone. This entire process is the most gruelling thing I've been through, and it has a uniquely awful way of wearing out a person in a myriad of different ways. It's tough seeing people get really great news over and over,  as happy as we all are for them, but we just have to keep reminding ourselves that admission decisions are incredibly complex and in large part depend on chance. 

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1 hour ago, sidneys said:

I'm emailing the grad program administrator now––I'll let you all know if I hear back from her!

Excellent! I've been meaning to call them today but have been busy with work.

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