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TMP's Final Thoughts-A Moral Lesson of TGC


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Dear TGC friends,

I’m sure this seems presumptuous for me to create a separate thread but having been on here for more than 3 years, it just seems like I should just do this, rather let this be buried under “decisions,decisions” or “chit-chat.” And there’s a lesson to this.

First of all, I am so grateful that this site exists, even if it drives each of us nuts. It is a place full of rich information and insights (and many “take it with a grain of salt” pieces of advice). It is full of passionate people who care deeply about their future. As Sigaba pointed out once, academia is like a black box. And so is TGC. While this site does attempt to create transparency, it will never be fully so. You just have to trust your instincts; don’t let your nerves get to you. People know but do they really need to say it? Here on the TGC, we are so tempted to share everything we know and that is fine. We want to help each other get to the right places and we seek out each other by subfield or common interests via PM. Future posters will need to take the initiative to read old threads and send a PM to a poster (and hope that the poster checks his/her spam box!). I should say that by doing this way this year, what I’ve seen and heard, it has helped many of us. Perhaps doing this kind of approach has fostered a sense of community full of positive vibes to the level that I have never seen before. So, congratulations!

Yet, I will urge people to consider information shared by previous posters about their campus visits to help them build their lists. Reading about campus visits and impressions by others helped me tremendously in terms of building my lists for Fall 2011 and 2012. My adviser recommended OSU for Fall 2011. If it had not been several positive campus visit reviews that year, I’d probably hesitate, I mean, OSU? I didn’t know anything, it's Michigan or Wisconsin or Indiana. I said, okay, I will apply, no question asked (despite being a Wolverine). The funding experiences of Wisconsin acceptees kept me away from that place for Fall 2010 and 2011, as well as less than favorable reviews of the department culture. I had to strike a deal with my POI there that I could not consider Wisconsin without funding, even though he brought up the issue himself. I learned from here not to apply to UCLA and other places for funding or department culture reasons. So, future posters, if someone suggests School X, use the search function to see if someone’s posted personal experiences with the department. I would imagine that they’re usually spot on.

I do want to say thank you to those who have been so incredibly supportive. I am truly humbled that there were people who reached out to me via PM to check up and express genuine interest in my applications. I seriously thought coming back here for fall 2012 admissions would be a walk of shame. I didn’t want to put off anyone by announcing that it was my third time- I mean this is how freaking competitive History PhD admissions has become. This year was based on luck of timing though I know that both of my POIs truly appreciated all of my hard work and my experiences. I also didn’t realize until later on that my OSU POI had somehow kept me so calm despite no guarantees or suggestions of an acceptance (and that's a quality you want in a PhD adviser!).

I do want to say that my visit to Wisconsin was incredibly pleasant. I loved the close-knit community there and the contagious intellectual energy. The faculty and students were positive despite the financial situation. My POI was a “genuine” person with a mind for details. I truly had a change of heart after I left Madison, which did not put me in a good position mentally for my visit to Columbus. At OSU, though I felt the department was more conservative (not politically but just the culture) in comparison to Wisconsin, everything is taken seriously. The department works hard to ensure that students are happy and satisfied with their training, funding, and professionalization opportunities. Because of its large size, it would indeed take time to find a niche especially that graduate students do not live near each other. Given my POI’s situation that day, our meeting was rather lackluster. So I left Columbus without a decision and I was very disappointed not to have that “light-bulb” moment.

But being a believer of “second chances,” I decided to see if my POI wanted another conversation. She seemed quite enthusiastic so we set a Skype date. I thought, “Okay, if she doesn’t wow me on this, I’m going to think real hard about turning down OSU, my top and most logical choice.” During our conversation, I discovered that she was the One, a beautiful intellectual, personal, and professional adviser match. I just felt right at home in her presence. It was such a pleasure to call her the other day to tell her that I would come to OSU in the fall.

She certainly wasn’t on my radar because her first book had nothing to do with my interests. If it had not been for my MA adviser’s suggestion and my OSU POI’s interest in me and current project, I would have never considered her seriously. If it had not been for positive reviews of OSU on TGC that encouraged me to apply to OSU, I’d be at Wisconsin.

It is time for me to say farewell and move on (after all, I will need to study!). I will check every now and then for any specific issues and questions that I may be able to answer. It’s truly been a lovely ride. As always, feel free to PM me as I get e-mail alerts.


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Aww, I lose the 5 corgi bet. Good thing though, it'll be hard enough to find an apartment for one corgi!

Congratulations, TMP. Your advise has been welcomed not just by myself, but I know many of us on this board.

Don't be a stranger (that said, I noticed I definitely forgot about this place in the intervening time between app cycles, so I don't blame you!).

Congrats once and again, and more importantly, HAVE FUN!

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tmp - congrats! I'm so pleased that you'll be a Buckeye, and so happy that you're now in a Ph.D. program that will be great for you. I was definitely rooting for you.

I do hope that you still check up on tgc occasionally. I know that your comments stretching back over the year I've been lurking, visiting and finally jumping into this site have been incredibly valuable to me. Future applicants would do well to heed her words in past posts and in this one.

Once again, huge congratulations!

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TMP --

You'll be missed. Hopefully, you'll check back once in a while and keep in touch with us.

Thanks for everything.

Edited by thedig13
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