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Venting Thread 2021


HomoLudens
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Edit: was not making a helping contribution. This is a thread for venting and commiserating. Sorry all.

Edited by Mischief
Was not very thoughtful. More kindness needed.
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28 minutes ago, AkraticAgent said:

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. 

I had made my peace a while back, what hurts is the sudden shift from scholastic work to retail labor. I understand the low chance of admittance. I am finished with my MA and I return to the workforce as something I did not wish for. 

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5 hours ago, AkraticAgent said:

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.

That's helpful. I don't know what exactly is the problem, but maybe they have funding issues lately.

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4 minutes ago, thescientificmethod said:

Why do schools wait forever to send out rejections...? There are programs that already sent out acceptances and waitlists like a month ago but not the rejections... Just give us a quick death rather than drag it out please 😪

Sometimes universities have a policy where a department can't send out rejections until all spots have been filled (there are also variations of this). It makes no sense and is cruel, but that is one of the reasons. I know the anxiety is rough. We are all there with you ❤️ Hang in there! 

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6 hours ago, thescientificmethod said:

Why do schools wait forever to send out rejections...? There are programs that already sent out acceptances and waitlists like a month ago but not the rejections... Just give us a quick death rather than drag it out please 😪

Bureaucracy 

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6 hours ago, thescientificmethod said:

Why do schools wait forever to send out rejections...? There are programs that already sent out acceptances and waitlists like a month ago but not the rejections... Just give us a quick death rather than drag it out please 😪

This blog post offers some details on why this is done. https://leiterreports.typepad.com/blog/2017/03/against-secret-waitlists-in-phd-admissions.html

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I am really anxious and frustrated at this point. I applied to 6 schools in total (would have applied to 8 but Duquesne and Chicago decided not to take in any more students) and I did so based on my financial means and actual interest in the people/ dept research. 

I got rejected from 3 programmes right away - which was cool (none were really top choices for me).

I was interviewed at one of my top choice programme and got waitlisted. And I know that no one will ever decline an offer from that school, so basically I can forget about getting in!

My other top choice did not make a decision about my application yet... people have been notified of acceptances, rejections, and waitlist offers... and am still here. If you are going to reject the application, just do it! 

On the positive side, I got in at my favourite programme, but there are 2 problems here:

1. Funding is hell!  Since it is not an American/Australian school, then you have to get your own funding (working with your possible supervisor)

2. My current MA thesis supervisor has not been replying to me since last year, and I am so afraid he won't let me graduate... and I can't take it anymore to be honest. I have been in the programme for 3 years (part-time), have worked 3 jobs, and took a student loan to pay for it. I gave it my all because Philosophy is the one thing that kept me alive... but I really wanna leave...

I just feel really demotivated and stuck!☹️

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11 hours ago, CleoOfSicily said:

I am really anxious and frustrated at this point. I applied to 6 schools in total (would have applied to 8 but Duquesne and Chicago decided not to take in any more students) and I did so based on my financial means and actual interest in the people/ dept research. 

I got rejected from 3 programmes right away - which was cool (none were really top choices for me).

I was interviewed at one of my top choice programme and got waitlisted. And I know that no one will ever decline an offer from that school, so basically I can forget about getting in!

My other top choice did not make a decision about my application yet... people have been notified of acceptances, rejections, and waitlist offers... and am still here. If you are going to reject the application, just do it! 

On the positive side, I got in at my favourite programme, but there are 2 problems here:

1. Funding is hell!  Since it is not an American/Australian school, then you have to get your own funding (working with your possible supervisor)

2. My current MA thesis supervisor has not been replying to me since last year, and I am so afraid he won't let me graduate... and I can't take it anymore to be honest. I have been in the programme for 3 years (part-time), have worked 3 jobs, and took a student loan to pay for it. I gave it my all because Philosophy is the one thing that kept me alive... but I really wanna leave...

I just feel really demotivated and stuck!☹️

From what I can infer, your two "top-choice programs" are not necessarily your "favorite program," but you have been accepted into you "favorite program" without guaranteed funding, while you have not yet been shut out of your two "top-choice programs," but rather, waitlisted at one and left to speculate on your position relative the other (which, I would suspect means that you are perhaps waitlisted at both).  Does this invite elaboration, or do I have this right?

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1 hour ago, PHILOKEV said:

From what I can infer, your two "top-choice programs" are not necessarily your "favorite program," but you have been accepted into you "favorite program" without guaranteed funding, while you have not yet been shut out of your two "top-choice programs," but rather, waitlisted at one and left to speculate on your position relative the other (which, I would suspect means that you are perhaps waitlisted at both).  Does this invite elaboration, or do I have this right?

I really did not mean to be insensitive/ show off. Is just that, even if I get funding for the programme I got accepted at or get in at a funded programme, my fate is in the hands of a supervisor who does not bother answering and reading emails and drafts. Feeling powerless sucks and just wanted to vent it out.

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7 minutes ago, CleoOfSicily said:

I really did not mean to be insensitive/ show off. Is just that, even if I get funding for the programme I got accepted at or get in at a funded programme, my fate is in the hands of a supervisor who does not bother answering and reading emails and drafts. Feeling powerless sucks and just wanted to vent it out.

thats what the venting thread is for

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2 hours ago, CleoOfSicily said:

I really did not mean to be insensitive/ show off. Is just that, even if I get funding for the programme I got accepted at or get in at a funded programme, my fate is in the hands of a supervisor who does not bother answering and reading emails and drafts. Feeling powerless sucks and just wanted to vent it out.

You came off neither as insensitive, nor as a show off.  You are among friends here.  everyone here is experiencing the very same vagaries of the graduate school application process [which, much like capitalism, remains skewed in favor of the best off].  The only problem with your post is the fact that anyone attempting to offer some tacit guidance is essentially doing so from an external position of limited information.  I am not sure what is going on with this absentee professor, but in terms of taking the offer from the university with uncertain funding potential, this is going to depend on the feasibility of completing scholarly level work while, at the same time, working to pay your own way.

I was able to work 2-3 jobs while completing 4 undergraduate degrees and a masters.  But then again, certain professors will accept work that is done on little sleep, whereas, in such a case, the best content is the grammatically correct spelling of one's own name top-left.  However, I have found that PhD level writing is scrutinized well above the undergraduate level, and so to be well rested and clear headed is essential to performance.  If you do choose to pursue this offer that you have without funding, you should lower your expectations of the quality of your work in anticipation of a drop in your GPA - at least in your first semester.  That's okay.  My GPA has dropped a bit.  But just be aware that until you find a source of funding, you will not be freed up to do your best writing.

You state that you have labored and toiled in remedial work to get yourself through university, and this is admirable.  Surely you demonstrate that you possess the work ethic to push through and meet your goals.  Nonetheless, I began my first semester as a PhD student in philosophy with a 10-20 hr part-time job to supplement the RA stipend, and I found that for me it was too much to handle.  So, I would advise that you honestly ask yourself if you are ready to be resourceful and hard working in order to make this work.

I have never heard anyone, here or elsewhere, advise a PhD applicant to accept an unfunded offer.  I would not go so far; I would not apply such an absolute rule of sorts.  But you may, again, want to run a feasibility test on the entire situation [do I have love money or angel investors? what are the chances of funding in subsequent semesters (scholarships, grants et al)? what is the cost of living and employment wage in the city of this university? employment rate? employment opportunities at the Univ? and so on]. 

Congratulations on this offer.  Regardless of the details, this has been a brutal application season and all-in-all, you have done very well so far as I can see.  I am hopeful that you find your way off one of those waiting lists and into a program that answers this funding problem.

Best regards.   

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On 2/23/2021 at 7:30 PM, 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.

Update: it's said that the problem is on the application system, and is being corrected.

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8 hours ago, CleoOfSicily said:

I really did not mean to be insensitive/ show off. Is just that, even if I get funding for the programme I got accepted at or get in at a funded programme, my fate is in the hands of a supervisor who does not bother answering and reading emails and drafts. Feeling powerless sucks and just wanted to vent it out.

Unfortunately, this imbalance is normalised in academia. My MA supervisor stopped responding for about 1.5 months after the third contact hour we had, but with his agreement to supervise the project, the university required six. He got back to me after we had a cigarette break together at a conference. I ended up with a 69 because one of my later sections was rushed... so not a distinction, but very close. We ended up developing a good relationship and he agreed to referee for any and all PhD applications.

Assuming you get into one of the other funded programmes (if I understand correctly):  if your offer is unconditional, you can leave your masters programme without repercussions except burned bridges with that specific supervisor whose absence is outside of your control depending on your particular agreement. you can probably reach out to their "more important" PhD students to see if this is normal for them. Also, checking in with a secretary is an option. I know someone who was about to go to the market (shortly pre-defence) when their supervisor had an emergency hospitalisation. The uni was able to fund that student a little bit longer as a tutor and RA until the supervisor was back.

If the programme is UK structured where you definitely need the MA/MPhil to continue, then yeah that would be unfortunate, but if not, then just jump ship and suspend your master's studies. Or, given that this is philosophy and not a science with a PI and lab, you could probably change your supervisor, formally or informally, as long as you end up with a good product..

There are options, but you have to make it known to that professor first, then question their students or the administrator, then, if need be, the director of your MA, then if need be, the head of the department.

I hope it works out. ❤️

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15 hours ago, PHILOKEV said:

You came off neither as insensitive, nor as a show off.  You are among friends here.  everyone here is experiencing the very same vagaries of the graduate school application process [which, much like capitalism, remains skewed in favor of the best off].  The only problem with your post is the fact that anyone attempting to offer some tacit guidance is essentially doing so from an external position of limited information.  I am not sure what is going on with this absentee professor, but in terms of taking the offer from the university with uncertain funding potential, this is going to depend on the feasibility of completing scholarly level work while, at the same time, working to pay your own way.

I was able to work 2-3 jobs while completing 4 undergraduate degrees and a masters.  But then again, certain professors will accept work that is done on little sleep, whereas, in such a case, the best content is the grammatically correct spelling of one's own name top-left.  However, I have found that PhD level writing is scrutinized well above the undergraduate level, and so to be well rested and clear headed is essential to performance.  If you do choose to pursue this offer that you have without funding, you should lower your expectations of the quality of your work in anticipation of a drop in your GPA - at least in your first semester.  That's okay.  My GPA has dropped a bit.  But just be aware that until you find a source of funding, you will not be freed up to do your best writing.

You state that you have labored and toiled in remedial work to get yourself through university, and this is admirable.  Surely you demonstrate that you possess the work ethic to push through and meet your goals.  Nonetheless, I began my first semester as a PhD student in philosophy with a 10-20 hr part-time job to supplement the RA stipend, and I found that for me it was too much to handle.  So, I would advise that you honestly ask yourself if you are ready to be resourceful and hard working in order to make this work.

I have never heard anyone, here or elsewhere, advise a PhD applicant to accept an unfunded offer.  I would not go so far; I would not apply such an absolute rule of sorts.  But you may, again, want to run a feasibility test on the entire situation [do I have love money or angel investors? what are the chances of funding in subsequent semesters (scholarships, grants et al)? what is the cost of living and employment wage in the city of this university? employment rate? employment opportunities at the Univ? and so on]. 

Congratulations on this offer.  Regardless of the details, this has been a brutal application season and all-in-all, you have done very well so far as I can see.  I am hopeful that you find your way off one of those waiting lists and into a program that answers this funding problem.

Best regards.   

Thank you so much for this by the way! Your experience is very inspiring, but it is also very real because my writing has been dramatically affected by the jobs i worked during my masters. To be completely frank, I do not think I will be able to sustain this rhythm for the duration of the PhD as well. I hope things are better for you now!

Thank you again for sharing your experience! it is not as depressing knowing that am not alone in this.

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9 hours ago, ObamaIsGuiltyOfWarCrimes said:

Unfortunately, this imbalance is normalised in academia. My MA supervisor stopped responding for about 1.5 months after the third contact hour we had, but with his agreement to supervise the project, the university required six. He got back to me after we had a cigarette break together at a conference. I ended up with a 69 because one of my later sections was rushed... so not a distinction, but very close. We ended up developing a good relationship and he agreed to referee for any and all PhD applications.

Assuming you get into one of the other funded programmes (if I understand correctly):  if your offer is unconditional, you can leave your masters programme without repercussions except burned bridges with that specific supervisor whose absence is outside of your control depending on your particular agreement. you can probably reach out to their "more important" PhD students to see if this is normal for them. Also, checking in with a secretary is an option. I know someone who was about to go to the market (shortly pre-defence) when their supervisor had an emergency hospitalisation. The uni was able to fund that student a little bit longer as a tutor and RA until the supervisor was back.

If the programme is UK structured where you definitely need the MA/MPhil to continue, then yeah that would be unfortunate, but if not, then just jump ship and suspend your master's studies. Or, given that this is philosophy and not a science with a PI and lab, you could probably change your supervisor, formally or informally, as long as you end up with a good product..

There are options, but you have to make it known to that professor first, then question their students or the administrator, then, if need be, the director of your MA, then if need be, the head of the department.

I hope it works out. ❤️

Thanks a lot for this ❤️ 

He has not been responding since May (2020)! But I am trying to develop back up plans because it's really time to graduate and leave! Yes! The programme that accepted me is in the UK + it's a conditional offer (i need to get the MA to get fully in!) so I am doing everything I can to ensure I graduate on time! 

And as you said, if I get in in one of the US schools I will definitely get out of the programme or take a leave of absence!

I wouldn't want to burn bridges, because in the event I don't get a job (in or out of academia) abroad, I will have to return and the department has some nice teaching spots. I just hope everything works out fine!

Thank you again for your support! x

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