Recent purchases - Part II

Discussion in 'Streetwear and Denim' started by scott.m, Feb 1, 2010.

  1. bows1

    bows1 Senior member

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    I had a couple friends who I grew up with (tiny tiny Kentucky farm town) that never wanted to leave our hometown. Which has a Wal-Mart and a second run movie theatre. only 10% of my graduating class went to college that wasn't the local community college, and I was one of 3 people that went out of state. Most people I knew from back then still live in my hometown. People have different aspirations!
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2012


  2. Superb0bo

    Superb0bo Senior member

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  3. Teger

    Teger Senior member

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    I'm in a 2 year MA program and will probably be applying to PhD programs just to see what happens. I think I have a great shot at getting into a top program, but admissions right now are so tricky. I would never accept to a program without funding, and many departments simply don't have the funds to give anyone anything -- I have friends who have gotten e-mails that say "you're an excellent candidate and if it was 5 years ago we would've admitted you with an assistantship, but in this climate we simply don't have the funds." Another key thing is finding and working with a mentor who is well established in the field you want to work. The more time I spend in graduate school, the more I come to realize that academic performance and the quality of your work is less important than who you know and what they think of you. Fields and disciplines are so narrow and incestuous that everyone knows everyone else, and it makes a huge difference if you can name-drop someone who's highly regarded.

    And, as you seem aware of, landing a tenured spot is complete luck. It's scary. It's especially hard if you're a white male who isn't interested in some exotic, esoteric comparative post-modern field (which I'm not). I'd really think seriously about applying to graduate school. Even if you do manage to get a job at the other end, you're committing to spend the next 6 to 8 years of your life making $15,000 a year (at best). It's depressing for me to consider wasting my 20s away being a student while my friends are getting married, buying houses and buying cars.

    As far as specifically applying, the best piece of advice I can give you (which I wish someone gave to me) is to take a strong theoretical stance in your personal statement. Single out a professor you want to work with and explain how your approach fits in with their research. I'd also really ask yourself if you'd be happy working for the rest of your life in a narrow field. I had originally applied to English PhD/MA programs and then sat down and realized that I'd hate myself if I spent the next decade studying American Literature. And I loved History. If you still want to apply and do get accepted, make sure you keep your options open. When you get to your department make contacts on the administrative/university service side of things. Make a good impression and work hard.

    Edit: Another cautionary note: people in graduate school are scummy pretentious douchebags. And this includes most of the faculty. You are not there because you're a genius and they want you to succeed, you're there because you're cheap labor and if you manage to do something well you make the department and your advisers look good. Graduate programs are not there to hold your hand, they're not there to present you with all your options. It's completely different than being an undergraduate: your success is solely dependent on your own ability to self-motivate and to take the initiative to find opportunities. I landed a funded internships at a museum this summer (which was really, really, really competitive and only pays $750 -- I say this not to brag, but to show you how underpaid the humanities are) because I went out there and found the job listing. Nobody in my department told me about it.

    Your fellow graduate students will also most likely be super competitive assholes. I'm luckily in a program where people are nice and friendly, but the atmosphere at a lot of places is extremely competitive. A lot of people view it as a zero-sum game in which you're all competing for the attention of well-known professors. If you do well and get noticed that means they won't. Lots of undercutting, lots of sucking up for favor, lots of snide remarks behind people's backs. It's unpleasant and you need to be prepared to deal with it.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2012


  4. Superb0bo

    Superb0bo Senior member

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    ^^Damn, bleak indeed. Im in a 4 year phd program (soon on my third year) in psychology/cognitive neuroscience and have the feeling there is alot more money and oppertunities here than in the humanities. Really glad I didnt get into history of religion, which I was really keen on in my early 20s...
     


  5. Teger

    Teger Senior member

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    It is bleak, but I will say that I really have enjoyed my last year in the program. It's been hugely intellectually rewarding and I've grown a lot as a writer and a researcher, and there's no feeling better than presenting something you spent months working on to a conference of your peers and having people come up to you afterward to tell you how interesting and innovative your research is. It's just sobering to think that in a year I could be potentially working as an undergraduate adviser and be making as much as I would as a tenured associate professor.

    I will say that everything I say comes with a caveat: if you're willing to accept the risks and you really, really love doing the work, then it's not a horrible choice. You just need to go into with a realistic understanding of your chance and with a good backup plan if things don't work out.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2012


  6. Superb0bo

    Superb0bo Senior member

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    Totally agree. And Im not saying everything is peachy in my field either, I have a shitty salary and work alot. But its fun and creative, and worth it in my opinion.

    btwI hope I didnt come across as an ass in my last post, realised it was poorly phrased :/
     


  7. Teger

    Teger Senior member

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    Oh it's cool. It's just kind of a hard truth that a lot of people don't want to hear. I know some people in my program who don't have funding, are taking 30k a year in loans and have no backup plan and no future prospects. It's hard.
     


  8. mike868y

    mike868y Senior member

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    i appreciate Teger's insights. I pretty much at loss with regards to why I want to do with my life. Med school is out of the question, so the only other real option is a phd program, so it's good to know the type of atmosphere i'm getting myself into. i don't really want to be stuck in academia my whole life though. ideally, i'd like to get out and get job at a pharma company as a lab rat.
     


  9. Stazy

    Stazy Senior member

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    This is an interesting discussion.
     


  10. tween_spirit

    tween_spirit Senior member

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    [VIDEO][/VIDEO]
     


  11. pickpackpockpuck

    pickpackpockpuck Senior member

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  12. thewho13

    thewho13 Senior member

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    Thanks a bunch for your perspective Teger. I guess that's what I figured I'd hear, but it does seem a lot bleaker than I thought. Hopefully I'll have some luck navigating the post-grad world, but I don't know if I'll be totally ready for it right after undergrad. What might be sort of helpful for me is that my interests do lie in the sort of exotic, esoteric stuff (queer theory, feminist theory, post-colonialism, psychoanalysis, postmodernism, etc.), and my undergrad advisor is pretty well known in the field of queer theory (and I get to work with him this entire summer). However, as you mentioned, resources are scarce, post-grad demands a lot from your 20s, and it's unsure whether or not there will be any posts to fill once I've (hopefully) finished getting a degree. My aim is to take a year off after undergrad (and do what? I'm really unsure...) and then try to get into either doctorate program. This will probably mean an English program, but—and this is just kind of a far-off hope—I'd like to try to get into a Masters or PhD program for philosophy as well.

    The way that you describe the environment of the post-grad world is pretty scary—I feel like DFW's "Westward The Course of Empire Takes Its Way" touches upon that a little bit: people are kinda jittery and afraid of their peers; everyone wants everyone to do well because they have similar interests and are all interesting people, but, as you mentioned, there's the "zero-sum game" mentality; the academies would rather just use you than grow you; and you have to be hugely self-motivated to get even a little bit out of the program. This is all a frighteningly striking contrast to undergrad studies. Right now, I guess you could say that I'm being coddled fairly well. My advisor is extremely helpful, trustworthy, and genuinely interested in my development. Not to brag, but working with him on my project this summer pretty much means that my living expenses will be entirely covered, and I'll have $1,000 to spend on research materials. Being a humanities major, that essentially means books, which are not too expensive. This is what undergrad programs are willing to do and it's great. (A part of me thinks, cynically, that this sort of post serves as a nice selling point for the university, but that doesn't diminish the fact that they will be doing something that is genuinely intended to help me develop.) I'm betting that this sort of thing won't really happen after undergrad. So it's all kind of bleak—okay, it's more than "kind of bleak"—but I'm staying hopeful (I've got to).

    Once again, thank you for the insight; not everyone takes the time to answer big—and potentially stressful—questions like those. Also, not many people are willing to be as honest in their response as you. For what it's worth, I hope that things do work out for you both during and after your Masters program. It sounds incredibly tough, but it also sounds like you've done a lot of great things.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2012


  13. APK

    APK Senior member

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    (0)? (10)?
     


  14. ettebe

    ettebe Senior member

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    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Might end up ordering fabric from Japan, so I can make some pretty awesome shorts for the summer.
     


  15. noob in 89

    noob in 89 Senior member

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    I feel I must correct Teger on one point: a PhD in American Lit these days pretty much guarantees you'll learn nothing useful about American Lit. You'll probably have to time travel to back to....when, the late seventies, early eighties, for this?

    Fuck, that's depressing.

    Today: Land's End Canvas Seersucker Pop-Over!
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2012


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