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Venting Thread 2021


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1 minute ago, aristotleonchipotle said:

I've taken some time off of Gradcafe for the past two days to clear my mind and think about my situation rationally. I would like to first apologize to @PolPhil for making unsubstantiated, emotional, and irrational claims and charges against them. I am not sure why I was so antagonistic and belligerent a couple of days ago. I think it was just a mixture of my own inferiority complex and resent towards those who were accepted to the programs that I was rejected from, which I now understand is irrational and immature. I have nothing against those who were accepted to many top programs and I genuinely would like to congratulate them on their success this cycle. 

Further, I do want to agree with @PolPhil that rejections from these top schools do indicate that my application is weak, and there's nothing necessarily wrong with that. Maybe I can try again next cycle with an improved dossier and perhaps that would yield a better result. Further, so far I've only gotten rejections from 4 schools out of 16 I applied to so I shouldn't necessarily despair yet. If I do get rejected from all of them then so be it, but I guess I shouldn't necessarily be too depressed or anxious prematurely before all the decisions are released, although that is definitely easier said than done. Nonetheless I shall try my best.

Now for the vent: In the case that I get shut out this cycle, it is just somewhat disheartening to see that my philosophical aptitude is not as high as I thought it was. I've been receiving many compliments and encouragements from my professors in my institution and I've always thought that I had a good chance in the admissions but perhaps I was too arrogant and self-centered. Of course everyone applying to philosophy graduate schools would have been "the number one student" of their schools. Also, it just sucks that many people are getting some kind of positive responses such as acceptance or waitlist and I've been only getting rejections. I can't do anything about it but this just makes me sad and depressed. And yes, I know the cycle isn't over yet but my anxiety and depression regarding the results are killing me. 

Let's all keep our hopes up, even though I know very well that it is hard to do so (especially this cycle with the increased competitiveness). Again, my sincerest apologies to @PolPhil

Hey, no hard feelings, I'm glad that you're feeling better about things

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I think a lot of you are focusing way too much on PGR rankings without really understanding what they are and how they should be used. These rankings are the result of a man (Brian Leiter) who's sole

I've taken some time off of Gradcafe for the past two days to clear my mind and think about my situation rationally. I would like to first apologize to @PolPhil for making unsubstantiated, emotional,

I got shut out of PhD programs two years ago. I did a funded MA and now I have 4 offers, 0 rejections, and 8 still pending. It's very doable.

4 hours ago, aristotleonchipotle said:

I've taken some time off of Gradcafe for the past two days to clear my mind and think about my situation rationally. I would like to first apologize to @PolPhil for making unsubstantiated, emotional, and irrational claims and charges against them. I am not sure why I was so antagonistic and belligerent a couple of days ago. I think it was just a mixture of my own inferiority complex and resent towards those who were accepted to the programs that I was rejected from, which I now understand is irrational and immature. I have nothing against those who were accepted to many top programs and I genuinely would like to congratulate them on their success this cycle. 

Further, I do want to agree with @PolPhil that rejections from these top schools do indicate that my application is weak, and there's nothing necessarily wrong with that. Maybe I can try again next cycle with an improved dossier and perhaps that would yield a better result. Further, so far I've only gotten rejections from 4 schools out of 16 I applied to so I shouldn't necessarily despair yet. If I do get rejected from all of them then so be it, but I guess I shouldn't necessarily be too depressed or anxious prematurely before all the decisions are released, although that is definitely easier said than done. Nonetheless I shall try my best.

Now for the vent: In the case that I get shut out this cycle, it is just somewhat disheartening to see that my philosophical aptitude is not as high as I thought it was. I've been receiving many compliments and encouragements from my professors in my institution and I've always thought that I had a good chance in the admissions but perhaps I was too arrogant and self-centered. Of course everyone applying to philosophy graduate schools would have been "the number one student" of their schools. Also, it just sucks that many people are getting some kind of positive responses such as acceptance or waitlist and I've been only getting rejections. I can't do anything about it but this just makes me sad and depressed. And yes, I know the cycle isn't over yet but my anxiety and depression regarding the results are killing me. 

Let's all keep our hopes up, even though I know very well that it is hard to do so (especially this cycle with the increased competitiveness). Again, my sincerest apologies to @PolPhil

I do want to point out that while it suggests your application may have been weaker than some others, it's not fair to yourself to say that it was weak full stop. I suspect that the ratio of qualified PhD applicants to accepted PhD applicants is currently at an all-time high, and getting rejected when you're in many cases competing against literally hundreds of other applicants for a number of seats in the low single digits does not mean that you're unqualified, incompetent, or not worthy of attending a PhD program. As a current PhD student who only barely made it into a good program in what I suspect was a much less competitive year, I have no doubt that I would have been completely shut out if I had been applying this year (and yes, I was similarly much more confident about my chances than I should have been). There's often an element of luck in these things when acceptance rates are so low, and I'm pretty sure that there were many applicants just as capable as me (if not more capable than me) who were shut out that year.

So don't be too hard on yourself, regardless of the final outcome. Waiting for applications to come back is awful, rejections are soul-crushing, and it's normal to feel miserable about the whole thing. And moreover, while it's important to not give up hope while you're waiting to hear back from the remaining programs, it's also important to remember that the vicissitudes of academic philosophy should not be taken as indicative of your worth as a student or as a human being.

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8 hours ago, aristotleonchipotle said:

I've taken some time off of Gradcafe for the past two days to clear my mind and think about my situation rationally. I would like to first apologize to @PolPhil for making unsubstantiated, emotional, and irrational claims and charges against them. I am not sure why I was so antagonistic and belligerent a couple of days ago. I think it was just a mixture of my own inferiority complex and resent towards those who were accepted to the programs that I was rejected from, which I now understand is irrational and immature. I have nothing against those who were accepted to many top programs and I genuinely would like to congratulate them on their success this cycle. 

Further, I do want to agree with @PolPhil that rejections from these top schools do indicate that my application is weak, and there's nothing necessarily wrong with that. Maybe I can try again next cycle with an improved dossier and perhaps that would yield a better result. Further, so far I've only gotten rejections from 4 schools out of 16 I applied to so I shouldn't necessarily despair yet. If I do get rejected from all of them then so be it, but I guess I shouldn't necessarily be too depressed or anxious prematurely before all the decisions are released, although that is definitely easier said than done. Nonetheless I shall try my best.

Now for the vent: In the case that I get shut out this cycle, it is just somewhat disheartening to see that my philosophical aptitude is not as high as I thought it was. I've been receiving many compliments and encouragements from my professors in my institution and I've always thought that I had a good chance in the admissions but perhaps I was too arrogant and self-centered. Of course everyone applying to philosophy graduate schools would have been "the number one student" of their schools. Also, it just sucks that many people are getting some kind of positive responses such as acceptance or waitlist and I've been only getting rejections. I can't do anything about it but this just makes me sad and depressed. And yes, I know the cycle isn't over yet but my anxiety and depression regarding the results are killing me. 

Let's all keep our hopes up, even though I know very well that it is hard to do so (especially this cycle with the increased competitiveness). Again, my sincerest apologies to @PolPhil

Hey man, 

I'm in the same boat. 4.0 dual major, D1 athlete, writing sample edited by multiple faculty, profs told me I have what it takes yada, yada, yada.... 

Rejections from 20 programs so far. (Half pretty strongly presumed) Not a single waitlist or interview. 

Maybe it's for the best, who really knows? It's depressing, but I feel you though. 

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For those who get shut out, a funded ( or unfunded if you can afford it) MA is a possibility. The acceptance rates for PhD programs are generally better for MA students than undergrads, and it’s often the case that getting shut out of PhDs happens to undergrads from smaller or more unknown colleges, but they gain acceptance to a funded MA. It’s not ideal obviously, but it can be a way to see how much grad school is a fit for you and how well you might do in a PhD program. 4.0 students, national merit scholars etc all can get shut out of PhD programs. Top law schools base there admissions mainly on grades and LSAT (now also GRE) scores, so you might have been accepted to an Ivy League law school but shut out of all PhDs you applied to, so don’t let it change how you think about yourself and your talent and intelligence.

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5 hours ago, UndergradDad said:

For those who get shut out, a funded ( or unfunded if you can afford it) MA is a possibility. The acceptance rates for PhD programs are generally better for MA students than undergrads, and it’s often the case that getting shut out of PhDs happens to undergrads from smaller or more unknown colleges, but they gain acceptance to a funded MA. It’s not ideal obviously, but it can be a way to see how much grad school is a fit for you and how well you might do in a PhD program. 4.0 students, national merit scholars etc all can get shut out of PhD programs. Top law schools base there admissions mainly on grades and LSAT (now also GRE) scores, so you might have been accepted to an Ivy League law school but shut out of all PhDs you applied to, so don’t let it change how you think about yourself and your talent and intelligence.

Here are my thoughts on this, let me know what you think.....

If you get shut out, does that not imply something about your ability? I would think that a shut out is a hint that this might not be the field for you. Of course, it doesn't help when you get no feedback on apps. Going to a funded MA is still financially brutal, and the opportunity cost is pretty big. I applied to two MA programs and haven't heard back yet, but even if I get in I simply don't think I'll be able to pull it off financially without taking on debt. And that's not something I'm willing to do. With the job market seeming so bleak for professional philosophy would it not be better for those shut out to look at a different path? 

Idk, that's just where I'm at right now in this process...  

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1 minute ago, Mitch Rapp said:

Here are my thoughts on this, let me know what you think.....

If you get shut out, does that not imply something about your ability? I would think that a shut out is a hint that this might not be the field for you. Of course, it doesn't help when you get no feedback on apps. Going to a funded MA is still financially brutal, and the opportunity cost is pretty big. I applied to two MA programs and haven't heard back yet, but even if I get in I simply don't think I'll be able to pull it off financially without taking on debt. And that's not something I'm willing to do. With the job market seeming so bleak for professional philosophy would it not be better for those shut out to look at a different path? 

Idk, that's just where I'm at right now in this process...  

I got shut out of PhD programs two years ago. I did a funded MA and now I have 4 offers, 0 rejections, and 8 still pending. It's very doable.

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36 minutes ago, Mitch Rapp said:

Here are my thoughts on this, let me know what you think.....

If you get shut out, does that not imply something about your ability? I would think that a shut out is a hint that this might not be the field for you. Of course, it doesn't help when you get no feedback on apps. Going to a funded MA is still financially brutal, and the opportunity cost is pretty big. I applied to two MA programs and haven't heard back yet, but even if I get in I simply don't think I'll be able to pull it off financially without taking on debt. And that's not something I'm willing to do. With the job market seeming so bleak for professional philosophy would it not be better for those shut out to look at a different path? 

Idk, that's just where I'm at right now in this process...  

I would agree with @PhilgoreTrout above. Getting shut out of PhDs if you dont already have an MA is no big deal. It's normal for people to do MAs these days. If you already have an MA and you get shut out, then it may be time to re-evaluate. That being said, I've certainly seen folks get shut out and then apply the next year with an improved sample with success. It can be tough to swallow your pride and try again, but it can work out. However, if you're getting shutout cycle after cycle, I would agree that you should probably pursue other opportunities

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It appears that my application was thrown out by UC-Boulder without being evaluated. I suspect that this is because one of my letters arrived late, but my application was submitted well before the deadline. I emailed the graduate director (who was very nice) asking what happened, and she basically said that my application was probably tossed. 

I thought I was a very good fit for Boulder, and my results so far show that I am competitive at equally-ranked (and better) schools, so this stings a bit harder than a simple rejection. Really unsure how I feel about this. Oh well.

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4 hours ago, PhilgoreTrout said:

I got shut out of PhD programs two years ago. I did a funded MA and now I have 4 offers, 0 rejections, and 8 still pending. It's very doable.

Echoing this, my situation and results were very similar to PhilgoreTrout. Where I did my MA, it is very rare for a student not to get accepted into a PhD. 

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16 hours ago, UndergradDad said:

For those who get shut out, a funded ( or unfunded if you can afford it) MA is a possibility. The acceptance rates for PhD programs are generally better for MA students than undergrads, and it’s often the case that getting shut out of PhDs happens to undergrads from smaller or more unknown colleges, but they gain acceptance to a funded MA. It’s not ideal obviously, but it can be a way to see how much grad school is a fit for you and how well you might do in a PhD program. 4.0 students, national merit scholars etc all can get shut out of PhD programs. Top law schools base there admissions mainly on grades and LSAT (now also GRE) scores, so you might have been accepted to an Ivy League law school but shut out of all PhDs you applied to, so don’t let it change how you think about yourself and your talent and intelligence.

Are there any MAs that I can apply to like right now? I've only applied to two MAs stupidly and I've already gotten rejected by one of them... 

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29 minutes ago, aristotleonchipotle said:

Are there any MAs that I can apply to like right now? I've only applied to two MAs stupidly and I've already gotten rejected by one of them... 

There are still a few that are accepting applications: bit.ly/PhilAdm (4th tab in). Funding can be a bit more hit and miss, but there are still ones that have funding (such as Loyola).

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On 2/16/2021 at 5:04 PM, HomoLudens said:

If it isn't imposter syndrome, then what am I feeling? Maybe it is frustration that I think I have produced good work and it isn't being recognized, and I have the firm conviction that I can keep learning and producing better work in the future. In that case, I must be feeling a kind of narcissisms and resentment (which makes sense considering my personality). 

Don't worry, there are plenty of other people in departments who want to make sure you feel like like crap and an imposter while their own work doesn't receive the accolades as they hoped either. Narcissism is not uncommon among academics.

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1 hour ago, HomoLudens said:

Just saw the UCSD acceptance. I think I might cry. UCSD was my absolute top choice. Pitt was a close second.

Same, even though I am on strong antidepressants I am starting to cry. I feel like a damned fool, wasted my time chasing dreams for noting to bear fruit. 

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To those who may find this helpful: it seems that U of Houston shuts the admission of international students to their philosophy MA program.

My partner was trying to fill out Houston's application form, and the phi MA program showed that it was not available to apply for. Then she changed her answer to the column for citizenship into "US citizen", and it worked out fine. (Of course, she stopped there.) By the way, Houston's department has not been responsive.

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5 hours ago, PhilCoffee said:

To those who may find this helpful: it seems that U of Houston shuts the admission of international students to their philosophy MA program.

My partner was trying to fill out Houston's application form, and the phi MA program showed that it was not available to apply for. Then she changed her answer to the column for citizenship into "US citizen", and it worked out fine. (Of course, she stopped there.) By the way, Houston's department has not been responsive.

That would be news to me, but if correct it's likely a funding issue. Also, be patient with responses, we've been dealing with a disaster for the last week and a lot of people are still recovering from burst water pipes, etc. 

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6 minutes ago, PhilgoreTrout said:

That would be news to me, but if correct it's likely a funding issue. Also, be patient with responses, we've been dealing with a disaster for the last week and a lot of people are still recovering from burst water pipes, etc. 

That sounds right, thanks. But I contacted their DGA a couple of months ago about their GRE requirement and got no response - that's why I used "has been". I won't be upset about this, though.

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8 hours ago, PhilCoffee said:

To those who may find this helpful: it seems that U of Houston shuts the admission of international students to their philosophy MA program.

My partner was trying to fill out Houston's application form, and the phi MA program showed that it was not available to apply for. Then she changed her answer to the column for citizenship into "US citizen", and it worked out fine. (Of course, she stopped there.) By the way, Houston's department has not been responsive.

That's strange, I submitted my application to Houston a few weeks ago and I had no problems (I don't have US citizenship or a green card). Also their DGA has been ridiculously unresponsive.

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14 hours ago, Outer Heaven said:

Same, even though I am on strong antidepressants I am starting to cry. I feel like a damned fool, wasted my time chasing dreams for noting to bear fruit. 

I know you probably don't need more advice from another random stranger on the internet but I also only got my first acceptance a couple weeks ago so I know exactly how you feel (minus the antidepressants). I'm not going to sugarcoat it, this process is hard and it sucks to see you dreams getting crushed. One thing that I did which helped with the struggle before I heard back was to imagine the worst case scenario if nothing worked out this cycle (in my case, losing my US student visa status and being forced to go back to my home country where there are no resources/career prospects for someone with a philosophy degree and either reapplying next year or looking for alternative career options), and try to make peace with it. That way, even if you do end up in the worse case situation (which you probably won't), you'll at least be in a better state of mind. But regardless of whatever you do or wherever you end up, please remember that at the end of the day, nothing is worth more than your mental health. 

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