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Post-Acceptance Stress & Misc. Banter


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Proflorax, I noticed you were also admitted to UIUC.  If you don't mind me asking, why did you decide to decline? 

 

I just got back from visiting there and loved it, so it's just a matter of curiosity of my end.

I was there too! But I was admitted to the Writing Studies program, so our paths didn't cross that much. Were you at the dinner at Jessica's house with the amazing guacamole? 

 

I decided to decline UIUC for a few reasons. The personal reason is that it is hard as hell to get there from California. My partner's dad is 80 years old with lots of health problems, so it's important to me that we can get home quickly if we need to. Also, I didn't feel like I really clicked with the Writing Studies program; the people are great, but the program itself isn't for me. With a bunch of retirements and new hires, I felt like the identity of the program is in flux, and I was surprised to see that composition studies is not really emphasized in the program currently.

 

I will say that I was pleasantly surprised to see how developed Urbana-Champaign really is. I was expecting a much much smaller community given how it has been described by family and friends, but U/C is definitely much bigger than most of the towns where I've lived, albeit much more isolated. Also, the lit program seemed really tight-knit and supportive. Do you think you'll end up there?

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Right now, I am deciding between two different schools (University of Maryland and University of Arizona). I am trying to figure out how important money, teaching load, and visits are. Maryland has offered me a first year fellowship with no teaching responsibilities, and then a mixture of 1/1 and 1/2 teaching assignments. The no teaching first year seems like a huge advantage, so I can power through my coursework and stay on timeline. Additionally, Maryland has tons of resources for its students (publication workshop, the DC consortium, money for travel) and faculty who are invested in feminist and activist scholarship. I had a chance to visit Maryland, and I fell in love with the campus and clicked with the community. Maryland is also near DC, which puts me close to DC resources for research AND allows my partner to keep his current job. 
 
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I haven't visited Arizona yet. I was originally planning on visiting during April, but I'm so tempted to save the money (they aren't able to fund student visits) and choose Maryland. Also, if I don't visit Arizona, my partner and I can use that vacation time to travel to Maryland and scope out the neighborhoods. I feel deep in my heart that Maryland is the right place for me, but I'm still anxious about making such a big decision. I guess the obvious solution is to just visit, but I can't until April, and like I said, would love to save the money and time. 
 
Ahhhh! I am just so ready to know where I'm going to end up. I want to know now, so I may be rushing this. Or maybe I'm being smart and going with my gut? I DUNNO. Help?

 

I'm not in rhet/comp, so I can't speak to discipline-specific issues between U of A and UM, but in most other respects, UM seems like the better choice.

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I feel deep in my heart that Maryland is the right place for me, but I'm still anxious about making such a big decision. I guess the obvious solution is to just visit, but I can't until April, and like I said, would love to save the money and time. 

 
Ahhhh! I am just so ready to know where I'm going to end up. I want to know now, so I may be rushing this. Or maybe I'm being smart and going with my gut? I DUNNO. Help?

I think what you said here makes it clear what the best choice for you is. I'm not Rhet/Comp, but I've always felt that the program that is right for you and will shape you into the most successful scholar you can be is not necessarily the program that has the best reputation or even the highest concentration of faculty and resources in a specific area, but the best combination of resources, environment and opportunities that you're looking for. One thing I came away from Maryland with was the feeling that there is real freedom to shape your study and draw on their resources to make the program meet your needs. But I can completely understand your anxiety about the decision. The other offers I have so far aren't even viable options, and I had nothing bad to say about Maryland after the visit day, but I still went home feeling anxious about deciding to attend, even though it's pretty much a given. This process is stressful even when things are working out perfectly!

 

Good luck, and I'm happy we might be seeing each other at UMD again in the fall :)

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I was there too! But I was admitted to the Writing Studies program, so our paths didn't cross that much. Were you at the dinner at Jessica's house with the amazing guacamole? 

 

I decided to decline UIUC for a few reasons. The personal reason is that it is hard as hell to get there from California. My partner's dad is 80 years old with lots of health problems, so it's important to me that we can get home quickly if we need to. Also, I didn't feel like I really clicked with the Writing Studies program; the people are great, but the program itself isn't for me. With a bunch of retirements and new hires, I felt like the identity of the program is in flux, and I was surprised to see that composition studies is not really emphasized in the program currently.

 

I will say that I was pleasantly surprised to see how developed Urbana-Champaign really is. I was expecting a much much smaller community given how it has been described by family and friends, but U/C is definitely much bigger than most of the towns where I've lived, albeit much more isolated. Also, the lit program seemed really tight-knit and supportive. Do you think you'll end up there?

 

As a matter of fact, I was at the dinner!  I didn't try the guacamole, though.  Obviously I should have.

Those are pretty sound reasons for declining.  Program chemistry is hugely important, and it's not something you can determine remotely:  what sounds good on paper might not work in person.  That's why I'm eager to visit each of my acceptances before I begin seriously considering a final decision.  That said,

it sounds like you've got great chemistry from UMD.  Based on your acceptances, I don't think you can make a bad decision, so you should definitely go with your heart.

 

I was hugely impressed by the Lit program at Illinois, for exactly the reasons you stated:  the students and faculty seemed really friendly and supportive, so I did feel like I clicked there.  Not only that, but the library's massive holdings are so very enticing, and I like that there are many opportunities to teach literature classes -- and a variety of lit classes at that.  It's too early to tell, but I am leaning Illinois at this point.  That may change in the next couple weeks when I visit Ohio and Texas.  What I can say for sure is that campus visits are a lot of fun.  :D

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Yeah, it still feels surreal at times. But, these days I'm more concerned with figuring out how best to achieve my projected language acquisitions in time.

 

I'm curious: does Yale History of Art/Film Studies require three foreign languages?  I know Yale English does.

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Yeah, it still feels surreal at times. But, these days I'm more concerned with figuring out how best to achieve my projected language acquisitions in time.

 

Do you have any ideas so far on how you will go about that? I'm interested in something similar (not directly pertaining to any program) but I don't really what the best way to go about gaining reading competency in multiple languages at once may be. Also, do you mind if I ask what languages you are looking to acquire?

Edited by Lycidas
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For those interested in language acquisition, check out this thread:

 

I already posted this there, but I highly recommend the following books for learning to read French and German (I did both at once, and was proficient in each within ~9 months):

• French: http://www.amazon.com/French-Reading-Karl-C-Sandberg/dp/0133316033/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1363119844&sr=8-1&keywords=reading+french

• German: http://www.amazon.com/Jannachs-German-Reading-Knowledge-Richard/dp/1413033490/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1363119876&sr=1-3&keywords=reading+german

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I'm curious: does Yale History of Art/Film Studies require three foreign languages?  I know Yale English does.

 

From the Department's handbook: "IV. Languages: students must pass examinations in: German (for students of western art), French, and if necessary another language pertinent to their dissertation." Since I'm hoping to go fairly deep into Western aesthetics, that means German for sure. And one cannot do film studies without French (this applies especially if one is interested in phenomenology like I am). I don't actually know about Yale English; only that their Comp Lit language requirements are frightening. :)

 

Technically, I shall have 5 languages by the time I graduate. I'm already fluent to native-level in three languages. English, as it happens, is my 'foreign' language since I was born in India. I was lucky in that my family is quite progressive and actually started me on English before the regional languages. So yeah, I have English, Hindi, and Bengali--not that the latter two are of much use...still, looks nice on a CV.

 

Do you have any ideas so far on how you will go about that? I'm interested in something similar (not directly pertaining to any program) but I don't really what the best way to go about gaining reading competency in multiple languages at once may be. Also, do you mind if I ask what languages you are looking to acquire?

 

I'm relying on Pimsleur and Assimil, along with BBC's language courses and HeadStart to give myself a grounding in French. This will be followed up with any summer immersion programs I can find (I believe Yale does offer something like this, and I'm sure other universities have equivalents). I'm including a few links that should help anyone needing language work.

 

http://www.amazon.com/French-Reading-Karl-C-Sandberg/dp/0133316033

http://hs2.lingnet.org/french.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/french/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/french/mafrance/flash/

http://www.learner.org/resources/series83.html

http://gloss.dliflc.edu/Default.aspx

http://www.scribd.com/word/removal/6150224

http://www.laits.utexas.edu/fi/vp/

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It's interesting that you called it "progressive" of your parents to start your education in the language of the colonial opressor before teaching you the languages indigenous to your land.

 

Edit: this is just an observation that I literally find "interesting." The view of progressive in India is basically the inverse of what is considered progressive in Catalonia, the Basque country, Galicia and South America, which is what I've been studying. Enough with the downvotes. 

Edited by Fishbucket
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It's interesting that you called it "progressive" of your parents to start your education in the language of the colonial opressor before teaching you the languages indigenous to your land.

 

Edit: this is just an observation that I literally find "interesting." The view of progressive in India is basically the inverse of what is considered progressive in Catalonia, the Basque country, Galicia and South America, which is what I've been studying. Enough with the downvotes. 

 

Yeah, I figured that might get downvotes. However, I do understand what you're saying and it's a view I've encountered before. But consider the following.

 

I was born in '87. At that time, the subcontinent wasn't doing too well. It so happens that my family's a fairly academic one, has been for a couple of generations (in a limited way). Under those circumstances, the greatest power parents could give their kid was an edge when it comes to English. This is something I'm incredibly grateful for in retrospect, because even today, the average 18-year-old Indian (living in India) has a rather modest command of the language. It'd likely be an idiosyncratic grasp, with British idiom and spelling mingling freely with American colloquialism...all in all, a mess. That's because the language isn't taught with adequate rigor, but anyway, we're moving off-track.

 

Long story short, yes, it would indeed have been very progressive for a fairly middle-class family in the late 80s/early 90s to emphasize English as the first language for their kid. Speaking for myself, I can say it's definitely paid off in the long run. 

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Yeah, I figured that might get downvotes. However, I do understand what you're saying and it's a view I've encountered before. But consider the following.

 

I was born in '87. At that time, the subcontinent wasn't doing too well. It so happens that my family's a fairly academic one, has been for a couple of generations (in a limited way). Under those circumstances, the greatest power parents could give their kid was an edge when it comes to English. This is something I'm incredibly grateful for in retrospect, because even today, the average 18-year-old Indian (living in India) has a rather modest command of the language. It'd likely be an idiosyncratic grasp, with British idiom and spelling mingling freely with American colloquialism...all in all, a mess. That's because the language isn't taught with adequate rigor, but anyway, we're moving off-track.

 

Long story short, yes, it would indeed have been very progressive for a fairly middle-class family in the late 80s/early 90s to emphasize English as the first language for their kid. Speaking for myself, I can say it's definitely paid off in the long run. 

 

Umm, I don't think it's really "progressive" in India to learn English. I differ with Swagato on this completely. True, India bears a complicated relationship with the language because of its colonial past, but for the longest time ever now (and definitely in the 80s and the 90s) learning English has not been a big deal. In fact, it's not as complicated or as "edgy" a decision. Everyone learns English not because there is an overarching desire for the postcolonial subject to mimic the modernity of the colonial power but because, for whatever reason, English has become and is as much India's language as anyone elses. So the medium of instruction in India is actually English in all academic and professional contexts. This is not to say we don't study other "national" or "regional" languages - we do and we know it well. We're just equipped with more languages to speak in than the average person. I'm not saying Swagato's experience is false or invalid - but it's not as general as he makes it sound.

 

Besides, I find Swagato's stance on how the average Indian uses language slightly problematic, if not mildly insulting. It is not true that English is not taught well. If by not having a command over the language, Swagato means that 18 year olds in India don't speak like they've spent all their life reading the O.E.D, then that is true. But heh, where in the world do people talk without colloquialisms. I don't see what's wrong in a mix of idioms and expressions. I don't see what's so messy about your "mess" unless you have a problem dealing with a different kind of English (and by that I mean not really British or purely American). Would you then call Carribean English a mess too? What is "proper" English?

 

I find Swagato's views on and assessment of the situation slightly archaic and high-handed.  Come on, whose language is it anyway?

Edited by mobydick
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It's interesting that you called it "progressive" of your parents to start your education in the language of the colonial opressor before teaching you the languages indigenous to your land.

 

Edit: this is just an observation that I literally find "interesting." The view of progressive in India is basically the inverse of what is considered progressive in Catalonia, the Basque country, Galicia and South America, which is what I've been studying. Enough with the downvotes. 

 

What I'm saying (and all I'm saying) is that the study of English and the study of indigenous languages are simultaneous. English has become an indigenous language, to a large extent.

Edited by mobydick
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Umm, I don't think it's really "progressive" in India to learn English. I differ with Swagato on this completely. True, India bears a complicated relationship with the language because of its colonial past, but for the longest time ever now (and definitely in the 80s and the 90s) learning English has not been a big deal. In fact, it's not as complicated or as "edgy" a decision. Everyone learns English not because there is an overarching desire for the postcolonial subject to mimic the modernity of the colonial power but because, for whatever reason, English has become and is as much India's language as anyone elses. So the medium of instruction in India is actually English in all academic and professional contexts. This is not to say we don't study other "national" or "regional" languages - we do and we know it well. We're just equipped with more languages to speak in than the average person. I'm not saying Swagato's experience is false or invalid - but it's not as general as he makes it sound.

 

Besides, I find Swagato's stance on how the average Indian uses language slightly problematic, if not mildly insulting. It is not true that English is not taught well. If by not having a command over the language, Swagato means that 18 year olds in India don't speak like they've spent all their life reading the O.E.D, then that is true. But heh, where in the world do people talk without colloquialisms. I don't see what's wrong in a mix of idioms and expressions. I don't see what's so messy about your "mess" unless you have a problem dealing with a different kind of English (and by that I mean not really British or purely American). Would you then call Carribean English a mess too? What is "proper" English?

 

I find Swagato's views on and assessment of the situation slightly archaic and high-handed.  Come on, whose language is it anyway?l

 

I have to disagree. While it is certainly true (as of 2005--I don't know of any improvements or changes afterward) that English is part of all the curriculum boards, what is equally true is that the texts and the syllabi themselves are hopelessly antiquated. Thus, Wren & Martin--something that hasn't been used in schools in the West for many decades, if not a whole century. Certainly "everyone learns English," but I'm fairly sure it is incontestable that the level of English being taught and the actual grasp of English as a result is, as I said, highly idiosyncratic and not at all English as it is commonly practiced in the English-speaking world. Witness the very odd syntax of "Indian English" as often seen in tech support emails. My favorite example is the annoying usage of "revert."

 

The medium of instruction is English, but (once again) not at a very professional level. There are very, very few schools across the entire country where proper pronunciation can be relied upon. I was not criticizing the blend of different languages at all; rather, I was pointing out that the very form of English is often different from what is expected of collegiate English in the US or UK. The structure, if you will. And this is (linguists may help out here) undoubtedly related to the fact that most Indian kids at 18 are commonly thinking in a different "mother" tongue and translating to English (written, or spoken). 

 

And, yes, this is entirely my observation.

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I have to disagree. While it is certainly true (as of 2005--I don't know of any improvements or changes afterward) that English is part of all the curriculum boards, what is equally true is that the texts and the syllabi themselves are hopelessly antiquated. Thus, Wren & Martin--something that hasn't been used in schools in the West for many decades, if not a whole century. Certainly "everyone learns English," but I'm fairly sure it is incontestable that the level of English being taught and the actual grasp of English as a result is, as I said, highly idiosyncratic and not at all English as it is commonly practiced in the English-speaking world. Witness the very odd syntax of "Indian English" as often seen in tech support emails. My favorite example is the annoying usage of "revert."

 

The medium of instruction is English, but (once again) not at a very professional level. There are very, very few schools across the entire country where proper pronunciation can be relied upon. I was not criticizing the blend of different languages at all; rather, I was pointing out that the very form of English is often different from what is expected of collegiate English in the US or UK. The structure, if you will. And this is (linguists may help out here) undoubtedly related to the fact that most Indian kids at 18 are commonly thinking in a different "mother" tongue and translating to English (written, or spoken). 

 

And, yes, this is entirely my observation.

 

Oh well. I'll just disagree with you and leave it at that. Don't want to hijack this thread. :)

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I have emailed the graduate studies director at a program which accepted me. I am still waiting to hear on funding, and while I mentioned teaching assistantships in my email, I made other inquiries about the program in general.

 

I was encouraged to email the graduate director. It has, however, now been two and a half weeks. Any suggestions?

 

Also, I'm not sure how to ask about funding packages, or the likelihood of getting funding. I am in communication with the graduate secretary, and she told me that it would be up to a couple of weeks before the budget is decided, but to feel free to ask her any questions I may have.

 

I'm also going to the campus early in April, during a visiting day for potential new students. I've been given the impression, however, that this event will allow for very little detailed conversation.

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So, I'm apparently in at Florida; just got the phone call. I'm really, really surprised right now, because I had just assumed they were going to be a no after all of the acceptances a few weeks ago. If anyone's still waiting to hear from them, I was told that they still haven't contacted some people because they've been trying to figure out the supplemental funding information, like extra fellowships, but the process has been slow. They should be done for certain by next week, apparently. Since they're integrating their MA into their PhD program they definitely have my attention, though it would probably take a whole lot for them to pull me away from my other schools.

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Good going! Though I take it you're still working things out between your top two choices. :)

 

Yes indeed. I'm leaning strongly toward UT, but as I said before, I refuse to take on loans and if I can't figure out a way to make it work without them, I won't be going. I'm hoping the visit will assuage those fears. I know someone from my undergrad department is currently at Florida, so I think I'll try to get in touch with her and get some views on the place. I don't think Michigan State is happening though, I just haven't taken the time to turn them down yet.

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Yes indeed. I'm leaning strongly toward UT, but as I said before, I refuse to take on loans and if I can't figure out a way to make it work without them, I won't be going. I'm hoping the visit will assuage those fears. I know someone from my undergrad department is currently at Florida, so I think I'll try to get in touch with her and get some views on the place. I don't think Michigan State is happening though, I just haven't taken the time to turn them down yet.

 

I thought UT Austin had a pretty competitive funding package?

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I don't know, I wouldn't really consider it that competitive. I mean, 13k while doing a masters isn't the worst, but considering the cost of living in Austin, and the funding that you would get at comparable programs, I don't think it's very good.

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