Got a reply from The Professor (who wrote the Chronicle article) - she says she's going to do a shoutout for a guest post on the 'older PhD' question - looks like she might do it from the perspective specifically of older women, though I didn't ask her to.
― ljubljana, Sunday, 1 April 2012 04:25 (1 year ago) Permalink
aaaaah i got into the first choice waitlist school aaaah!!!!
― Doctor Casino, Saturday, 14 April 2012 03:03 (1 year ago) Permalink
wow well done man!
― judith, Saturday, 14 April 2012 08:41 (1 year ago) Permalink
Yes! Congrats Dr C!
― ljubljana, Saturday, 14 April 2012 13:45 (1 year ago) Permalink
One acceptance, 12 rejections. Visited the program yesterday. Pretty sure I'm not going to attend this year for a number of reasons.
― raw feel vegan (silby), Saturday, 14 April 2012 13:54 (1 year ago) Permalink
What's your main worry about the program you visited?
― ljubljana, Saturday, 14 April 2012 14:30 (1 year ago) Permalink
it's not so much a "main worry" situation. Sort of a lot of things adding up. The short version is that my naive and sort of flawed application only got me into a program basically by chance, and it turned out to not be a place that I think would really support me doing the stuff I now (vs. in October) think of as what I really care about vis a vis graduate school/being In the Academy. So going there just because it was go there or not go this year wasn't attractive enough given the opportunity cost, mainly in the form of having to move to a totally alien environment two time zones away from my partner and friends and every place on the east coast in general that's meaningful to me.
So my goals for my next try, so either this fall or some other time, are to get clearer with myself about what I want, be honest and enthusiastic about that in my statement, talk to more potential advisors earlier on in the process, and apply to a somewhat more realistic assortment of programs.
― raw feel vegan (silby), Saturday, 14 April 2012 23:41 (1 year ago) Permalink
Since after all this is playing the long game if anything is. Five to six years of school for the chance to postdoc or VAP for three to six years for the chance to maybe if I'm the *best* struggle for tenure at a decent liberal arts college in a location not of my own choosing. If I start by going someplace just to go, when I'm not sure why I'd be there, I'm just making a hash of things from the start.
― raw feel vegan (silby), Saturday, 14 April 2012 23:43 (1 year ago) Permalink
and belated congrats to Doctor Casino; you gonna be able to swing a visit to the first-choice program next week?
― raw feel vegan (silby), Saturday, 14 April 2012 23:44 (1 year ago) Permalink
silby, thanks - and I'm sorry to hear your search hasn't ended happily this year. But it sounds like you're trying to think big-picture and it does make sense to me. If it's all like you say, you're primed to hit it out of the park next year.
(I actually went ahead and accepted the first-choice school sight unseen, which is probably silly in one sense, but it really does seem like where I want to be. That's both for academic reasons and also for the kind of intangibles you're talking about - in my bones I want to give New York a whirl and not settle down into another cozy college down, as appealing as that is to a certain part of me. Anyway, we'll see how it all turns out I guess. I'm going to be up there next month for a wedding so I will visit the program then - obviously too late to change my decision...)
― Doctor Casino, Sunday, 15 April 2012 00:45 (1 year ago) Permalink
God, how I wish someone told me not to submit a naive and flawed (and rushed) application, because now I'm taking my only choice. Fortunately it kind of works out well, but a sense of disappointment still lingers.
Let all future applicants be aware: Apply like you mean it!
― EDB, Sunday, 15 April 2012 21:10 (1 year ago) Permalink
aren't you going to UT though? i mean that's a really good school. also are you still around man. i have a different number since i lost my phone.
― judith, Sunday, 15 April 2012 22:34 (1 year ago) Permalink
Lol yeah, I know, but usually it's totally overshadowed by weird psychic ambivalence about going home (i.e. I tend to hold it up to the standard of being an undergrad living with my parents, so to me it looks like a kind of regression when that's not the case). But, yeah it actually works out extremely well (perhaps more so than top tier schools) since I'll likely end up working with some really interesting people.[/neuroses]
And yes! I'm here all summer.
― EDB, Sunday, 15 April 2012 22:55 (1 year ago) Permalink
yeah I rushed together a PhD application while I was doing my MA but didn't get funding, and after a year off I've ended up in a place that's much better for me. I'm sure plenty of people luck out (like you EDB!), but taking time to really dwell on it and think it through is even more useful than you'd expect going into it.
― michael nyman cat (Merdeyeux), Sunday, 15 April 2012 23:00 (1 year ago) Permalink
yeah I think "top tier" isn't really a great goal in itself--for myself, my "second choice" school, which I ended up going to, turned out to be a wonderful experience, and I encountered some really amazing work in my field that reinvigorated my love for it--stuff i would never have encountered at the first choice school. I'm really happy I didn't get what I wanted. (I've been reflecting on all this a lot lately, since I defend in a week! Feels odd to be approaching the end of something that's been my life for so long.)
― ryan, Sunday, 15 April 2012 23:03 (1 year ago) Permalink
i couldn't even begin to think about doing a phd application right now. i have no idea how you like allot time for that. or even going straight from here to there. i feel like you need to spend at least one year smoking weed naked on a beach in spain somewhere first. at the very least.
― judith, Sunday, 15 April 2012 23:12 (1 year ago) Permalink
i think i just waited until the first year of writing my dissertation to take that mental vacation.
― ryan, Sunday, 15 April 2012 23:16 (1 year ago) Permalink
― judith, Sunday, April 15, 2012 7:12 PM Bookmark Flag Post Permalink
basically OTM - I got my masters three years ago and STILL feel like I haven't gotten the vacation I deserve. But I'll have a month this summer between finishing up my current duties and starting phd-school-ness. Trying to decide whether to spend it sleeping in, scanning old photos and listening to records, or hitch-hiking to the grand canyon or something. Would take the beach in Spain if it were closer at hand.
― Doctor Casino, Sunday, 15 April 2012 23:27 (1 year ago) Permalink
Oh, and between UG and grad was two years of working a food service job that was, at least for a while, really soothing in this way - - I lucked out and got a job that I could live off of (and have health insurance!) for four days a week. So basically spent a lot of time by the pool, reading books, working on music, trying to meet lady friends and otherwise Living Life Well, until the job went crappy and I got to a point where all I could think about, all day every day, was Architecture Stuff and suddenly school seemed like what I WANTED to do as opposed to what I was supposed to do next.
― Doctor Casino, Sunday, 15 April 2012 23:29 (1 year ago) Permalink
(Oh - and I also discovered ILX in that period, thanks to blount and emily.s, shoutout.)
― Doctor Casino, Sunday, 15 April 2012 23:30 (1 year ago) Permalink
Man I'm happier than I've been in weeks now that I'm not waiting for anything anymore. Even if I'm deferring my ~dreamz~ a bit. Couple years, tops. That's an instant in academia-time.
― raw feel vegan (silby), Sunday, 15 April 2012 23:32 (1 year ago) Permalink
Yeah really - - - whatever happens, you're back to living life at your pace rather than at the pace of admissions people and their coin-tosses. You should hit up some of these Spanish beaches I've been hearing about.
― Doctor Casino, Sunday, 15 April 2012 23:39 (1 year ago) Permalink
Yeah, it was kind of humbling to look at faculty pages of my top schools and realize that even if I went there, I don't even know who I could work with, whereas it turns out that this one professor I've been in touch with is probably the best fit of anyone. Likewise, everything I've heard about my top MA choice (re: the more reputable school) has made me very glad I didn't get in there because I'd probably have hated it/gotten little out of it. While I regret being so entrenched in a "top school" mindset (exacerbated by the jealousy of having friends get, like, direct entry PhD admission to Harvard) the point still stands that you shouldn't rush together an application, since it definitely foreclosed other possibilities, particularly with respect to funding, etc.
― EDB, Sunday, 15 April 2012 23:47 (1 year ago) Permalink
Heh I didn't rush anything, I just didn't know what I was doing. The sinking feeling I was getting as I was writing my statements and realizing I wasn't sure after all who I wanted to work with or why at a lot of the programs should've been a hint.
― raw feel vegan (silby), Sunday, 15 April 2012 23:55 (1 year ago) Permalink
I didn't think I had a "top school" mindset of any kind until I found myself having to tell people that I'm doing my PhD at a former polytechnic. NO IT'S A REALLY GOOD DEPARTMENT YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE ME.
― michael nyman cat (Merdeyeux), Monday, 16 April 2012 00:07 (1 year ago) Permalink
It's funny my school is actually pretty "top tier" as an undergrad institution, so when I tell people where i am doing my phd I just sorta let them believe the grad program is on par!
― ryan, Monday, 16 April 2012 00:10 (1 year ago) Permalink
Ha, y'all are making me second-guess my decision again cause I didn't really research any of this all that much, I just have a feeling about the school and I have read work by people on the faculty before (and liked it) so there's gotta be some kind of intellectual overlap! Ahhhhhhhh, well, we'll see I guess. No sense worrying now.
― Doctor Casino, Monday, 16 April 2012 01:24 (1 year ago) Permalink
I was supposed to publish an article three years or so ago from my Masters dissertation, with my supervisor as second author. I never got around to it and my supervisor retired (and hadn't had any input into the work or done any actual supervising, anyway). When I decided to apply for grad school I wrote a draft and contacted the programme leader for the Masters (he hadn't had any input to the dissertation either). He liked it and agreed to publish with me but wanted to edit down, and suggested he should do that himself, but he never got back to me. Yesterday I wrote to him to tell him I got in, thank him for his letters, remind him about the article and offer to edit it down myself. He somewhat stuffily replied that he certainly wouldn't have time to do it himself, and agreed to me doing it, which is fine.
But - it just occurred to me that I should probably now ok all this with my erstwhile advisor at grad school. Might she expect to be given first dibs on publishing the article with me? I don't think she'd want to as she's very experimental and my dissertation isn't, but wondering about the etiquette.
― ljubljana, Monday, 16 April 2012 11:51 (1 year ago) Permalink
Right, so I'm getting my portfolio and writing sample together for my M.A.
So, like, my brother comes over this weekend for "spring cleaning". Dad's engineering stuff needs to be sorted through and boxed up. My stuff, in about ten boxes, needs to be moved upstairs to my new "HQ" so I can get ready for school.
So like, doh, architecture uses plans and drawing and papers. And uh, brother put my papers in a big pile with "dad's stuff". Wow, are we ignorant! I guess I have to do my senior thesis from scratch! Lucky for you, bro, I can.
The way things are going, I won't be doing grad school until 2013!
― โตเกียวเหมียวเหมียว aka Bulgarian Tourist Chamber (Mount Cleaners), Sunday, 20 May 2012 15:11 (1 year ago) Permalink
Wait, so did the stuff get thrown away?! That's horrible!
Where'd you get your B.Arch (if you did one)?
― Doctor Casino, Sunday, 20 May 2012 16:07 (1 year ago) Permalink
Not thrown away...yet. I don't have a B. Arch, I have one B.A. in Art History (architecture concentration) and two years of interior design school. I'd rather not talk about my alma mater...not because I'm rude but because I can't stand them.
― โตเกียวเหมียวเหมียว aka Bulgarian Tourist Chamber (Mount Cleaners), Sunday, 20 May 2012 21:06 (1 year ago) Permalink
I got into the fine arts MFA program at the university where I work, got a teaching assistantship, and will be quitting my job in less than three months to go to school full time.
I started to realize that except for a one year period of finishing my undergrad degree in 99/00 and a four month period following a cross country move for my wife's job in 2006, I have been working an office job since June of 1997. I've been working in a windowless basement since June of 2000. I can't believe how excited I am about this.
― joygoat, Sunday, 20 May 2012 21:24 (1 year ago) Permalink
MFA with an assistantship is an uncommon privilege I think; have fun and do good work!
― raw feel vegan (silby), Sunday, 20 May 2012 21:31 (1 year ago) Permalink
Good for you, university jobs are a good way to get your foot in the door with graduate work.
― โตเกียวเหมียวเหมียว aka Bulgarian Tourist Chamber (Mount Cleaners), Sunday, 20 May 2012 23:21 (1 year ago) Permalink
Yeah, joygoat, that's so great! You're going to have a ball and learn a ton.
Mount Cleaners, good luck on the whole application process. I got my M.Arch a few years ago and am the biggest architecture nerd you'll ever meet.
― Doctor Casino, Sunday, 20 May 2012 23:34 (1 year ago) Permalink
That's so cool. I chose not to get an M.Arch for many years because it is too much of a commitment. It is a lot of work! Like, it is a rewarding field but it consumes your life.
― โตเกียวเหมียวเหมียว aka Bulgarian Tourist Chamber (Mount Cleaners), Monday, 21 May 2012 12:57 (1 year ago) Permalink
Definitely, and getting my M.Arch was really hellish in certain ways - partly because I am really not a designer by nature and it was a three-year process of discovering that where my skills really were had to do with history, theory, criticism (&c). But you're definitely looking at late nights, frazzled nerves, confusion and stress all around - - - which also gives rise to great cameraderie, fond memories, and a sense on almost a weekly basis that there is just mountains of stuff in your brain that wasn't there before. Pretty cool.
― Doctor Casino, Monday, 21 May 2012 17:23 (1 year ago) Permalink
I'm more design and history oriented and hate theory. That's okay, I am probably going into historic preservation, where I am more comfortable with theory. It's the cutting edge stuff that drives me nuts.
― โตเกียวเหมียวเหมียว aka Bulgarian Tourist Chamber (Mount Cleaners), Monday, 21 May 2012 18:08 (1 year ago) Permalink
Fair enough! Although I'd leave open the possibility to have your mind changed by grad school. The coolest thing about school, to me, was going through eight different studios, taught by different people, emphasizing different things, and getting to kind of discover stuff I didn't think I liked from a new perspective, etc. (To be fair, I didn't come from an architectural or design background, so the opinions I did have coming in weren't really as fully formed or justifiable.)
― Doctor Casino, Monday, 21 May 2012 18:29 (1 year ago) Permalink
Just got back from a conference my advisor suggested I go to. It taught me that networking with academics is nothing like networking with, say, research funders and science policy people. Trying 'hi I'm ljubljana, I'm coming here in September, oh I see you're at the university of X, what do you work on...' is worse than useless, and I'm only just reconnecting with the latest stuff in my field so didn't have many brilliant questions on the actual papers - it was hard enough just digesting them. I complimented someone on a very accessible paper about an area that was tough/slightly alien for many people at the conference, and how I'd understood more than I'd though I would, and he smiled tightly and said 'Nice for you'. (Later he was on the closing panel, so probably a celebrated person who though I was trying to suck up)... At least I managed to introduce myself to quite a few people from my future school, and most of them were great.
― ljubljana, Tuesday, 5 June 2012 18:48 (11 months ago) Permalink
Ugh - that guy sounds like a dick! Though I guess people in that position probably have to fend off a lot of chatty people but still.
― Doctor Casino, Wednesday, 6 June 2012 04:58 (11 months ago) Permalink
My approach to conferences (I'm currently at one) is to be very proactive about going out for drinks - most people are very busy during the day but later on you can end up hanging out with "important" people just because you end up in the same bar. I don't know how well this tactic transfers across fields though.
― nagl lack (seandalai), Wednesday, 6 June 2012 07:00 (11 months ago) Permalink
I'm not a dick about getting chatted up by grad students at conferences but time at those is precious & I usually have a long list of people *I* want to chat up. so I have to be careful in who I talk to. so I do give grad students the slip when I need to move on. but I try not to do it in a dick way.
when I was a student though my tactic was: come in with a specific question you're asking, preferably about your own work, since if you're asking about their work it's going to seem like an objection. say "here's a problem I'm thinking about", give the one or two minute version, & listen to them. cut out as soon as things start to look like they're closing off (ten minutes top). if things went well then when you see them next at the conference say hi, see how they react, go from there.
I think this is just basic networking but in academia enough of us are socially awkward that we send *too honest* signals.
― Euler, Wednesday, 6 June 2012 08:19 (11 months ago) Permalink
Did anyone else do their MA part-time? I'm halfway through mine and have pretty much zero enthusiasm about it.
― Blue Collar Retail Assistant (Dwight Yorke), Wednesday, 6 June 2012 09:13 (11 months ago) Permalink
I got some grad credits part-time a long time ago, writing papers gives me headaches.
― โตเกียวเหมียวเหมียว aka Bulgarian Tourist Chamber (Mount Cleaners), Wednesday, 6 June 2012 10:07 (11 months ago) Permalink
xpost Euler, thanks, that is good advice re: focusing on your own work and having a concise version of a question to hand. I think this will all get easier once I'm actual *at* grad school in the fall and have got my head around some directions and questions.
I also have people I meet at conferences in my current job who I want to give the slip asap, but yes, it's a question of how you do it.
― ljubljana, Wednesday, 6 June 2012 11:29 (11 months ago) Permalink
Trying 'hi I'm ljubljana, I'm coming here in September, oh I see you're at the university of X, what do you work on...' is worse than useless,
There's nothing wrong with saying that, and you shouldn't be discouraged by the behaviour of a few dickheads. But Euler is right, these people usually have a million people they need to see and might not have time for small talk. Unless you know the person, it's usually better to approach a student or postdoc from the same group if you want to have a non-serious chat about the work they're doing.
― NoTimeBeforeTime, Friday, 8 June 2012 13:36 (11 months ago) Permalink
I did this and it worked out pretty well. I think my secrets were having a fairly rigid schedule (work for money in the morning, work for uni in the afternoon) and being part of a nice graduate community, where we'd see each other in both working and social environments all the time, discuss and read each others work, do reading groups etc etc. You're at Goldsmiths iirc? It's the kind of thing that I've found much more difficult while studying in London, and I've heard that at Goldsmiths especially (at PhD level at least) there doesn't tend to be much of a community vibe between the disparate peoples. But if there's any way to make your studies more like being a part of something bigger rather than just a solo thing where you have work to get done, then that's the way to go.
― Merdeyeux, Friday, 8 June 2012 13:47 (11 months ago) Permalink
I was kinda forced into part-timing during my MA because my mother got ill half way through the year and needed close to full-time care and there was no way I was going to get a dissertation written over that summer - so I had to go back a year later after she died, take one course and do the thesis.
Thing is, to follow up Merdeyeux's point, the first year, living in *smallish town with uni* I was immediately immersed in a research community, made friends, hung out and work was easy. Second year, i lived in London and commuted one or two days a week and got to know no one in my class, and the isolation and the WTF-ness made it much harder.
I did a PhD here in Dublin, and, again, in a reasonably big city, people had other stuff and lives outside the dept. and the 'community vibe' was minimal. But since it's my native city, I didn't need the social life either, which probably struck non-natives as un-helpful.
― Fine Toothcomb (sonofstan), Friday, 8 June 2012 14:14 (11 months ago) Permalink
ugh. thinking about making some money instead.
― caek, Tuesday, 17 July 2012 13:10 (10 months ago) Permalink