This blog of ours has layers. Generations of mentors have compiled their wisdom here, and the result is actually pretty impressive: it can teach you almost anything you could want to know about the program, the neighborhood, the academic process, or the mundane details of life in MAPH. So, as we all wait for the program to begin in mid-September, we thought we’d bring a few choice posts from the last few years to your attention. Of course, you can always use the search bar or the word cloud on the right to dig up whatever information you’re looking for, or you can get in touch with us by email. » Read the rest of this entry «
We know it might seem like we’ve been withholding information about applying to PhD programs. For a little while, that was indeed the case. There are certain ways in which MAPH needs to be done for MAPH’s sake, and it’s important to explore other career options outside of “THE ACADEMY.” But by now, many of you are still probably on the PhD bandwagon (or at least very seriously considering hitching a ride) and the time to start thinking about your next steps is now. So, throughout the rest of the quarter, we have a series of PhD application and academic professionalization events that we think you should go to. (Oh, and read this article – it’s distressing and refreshing all at the same time, and does a good job of outlining the types of questions you want to ask yourself as you weigh this decision.) » Read the rest of this entry «
Alright, so you’ve heard us all griping about how difficult and harrowing Winter Quarter is. And as we’re sure you know, now that you’re in the midst of it, it sure is. But before you start to feel like this, we wanted to intervene to let you know that there are plenty of things to do to manage Winter Quarter stress. And some ways in which, maybe, you might even learn to enjoy the UChicago quarter that is almost mythically scary.
1) Pace yourself. Plan ahead. Resign yourself to the fact that you won’t be able to read everything for every one of your classes. Prioritize your workload so that things feel manageable. Try to settle on final paper topics by Week 5 so that you are not struggling to pick up the pieces at the last minute. You will really thank yourself by the time the quarter is winding down. Try to find interesting ways to put your classes into conversation with one another (or with your thesis). It will make your work feel more meaningful, creative and comprehensive – and it also might help you narrow down your reading lists when it comes to approaching final papers and projects. » Read the rest of this entry «
This is the point in the quarter when I was confused and a little cranky during my MAPH year. I felt like I was being told to think about my thesis idea and maybe start talking to possible advisors, but not to talk to any of those people about being my advisor.
While this seemed paradoxical at the time, I now recognize the wisdom of that advice. I wasn’t ready to talk about my thesis idea yet, but horrifyingly, I didn’t know that I wasn’t ready.
Take it from someone who only learns things the hard way: don’t learn this one the hard way.
So if you’re supposed to go talk to professors without talking about your thesis, what are you supposed to talk to them about?
Thoughts on Your First Week –or– Read this if you are feeling concerns of any kind because it is really going to be okay.
It was a big moment, that first week of classes at University of Chicago. I’d made my way through the first baby deer-like steps of Colloquium, and was now ready to romp through the fields of academe unaided and unattended, happy as the springtime. I hope you’re gleefully romping, too, though some Bambi-stumbles are still par for the course and nothing to worry about. In order to maintain your inner springtime in the face of a Chicago autumn, please find herein some thoughts on navigating Week One of Quarter One of Year One of the Rest of Your Life. » Read the rest of this entry «
FAQ: Several things that I wish someone had told me (or that I had listened to when they did) before I started MAPH.
MAPH Central has been abuzz with new students, and it has been heartwarming to see the bonds of friendship being forged.
We have entertained and overheard a number of questions from you, and herein we will endeavor to answer those questions, as well as several questions we will save you the difficulty of having to ask. Let us begin! (Don’t forget the official FAQ, too!)
• I’d like to email/talk to Professor So-and-So. How should I go about that?
Thanks to all who joined us last week for the Ph.D. Application Advice Panel. I hope you found the information useful as you all mull over potential future endeavors. For those of you who missed the panel (or for those who were there but far too burned out to retain anything), I thought I’d do a blog re-cap of the major advice points from the faculty that participated.
Before getting into the actual advice, though, one thing that all of the participating faculty agreed on is that you should get a lot of advice at every stage of your application process. So, the information from the panel is by no means an exhaustive list of things to consider or a fixed doctrine of must-do tasks. Think of this, rather, as a starting pool of advice from various disciplines that will help you begin the process on the right foot.
(Lots of advice…after the jump)
You’ve all gotten emails with online registration instructions and most of you are probably eager to get your classes in order. Chances are you’ll see something that looks interesting and getting into the class will not be a problem, but here’s some information about the registration process and the whole Add/Drop period that you can use to maximize your options.
The start of your first precept group meeting can be one of those moments in which the worry-centers of your brain start firing on all cylinders. It can be intimidating to walk into a room full of extraordinarily bright individuals, many of whom will seem to have a complete picture of how their entire year will go. They may talk about the number of thesis pages they’ve already written, the number of emails they’ve sent to potential advisors they’re “excited to work with,” and that they spent the summer (re)reading Thousand Plateaus (twice).
All of these things happened in my first precept meeting. BUT FEAR NOT!
Here’s the deal with the French girl. As David suggested the other day in lecture, you should cultivate the perspective of the Enlightened Beginner–someone who’s pretty jazzed about new ideas and imaginings (and not satisfied with accepted/staid/established ideas). It’s the best way to approach new material–even stuff that you thought had nothing to do with your area of interest–with a degree of curiosity that you can carry over into your research.
Five more things you need to know about how Precept will work, after the jump. » Read the rest of this entry «
Here’s a guest post from the Authoritative Jeff McMahon. We’ll post his lecture later this week. For now, he asks you all to consider stopping by throughout the year. No one who has gone through MAPH during Jeff’s tenure can gainsay his voodoo-like abilities. Check out his course this Autumn, Journalism: Arts Reviews.
1. How do I make an appointment? During Colloquium, you can just send me an email and we’ll find a time to meet. Once the Core Course begins, we’ll use this online signup sheet
2. Why does MAPH have a writing advisor? Professional academics engage each other’s work primarily in writing, and writing is the primary means through which your work will be evaluated at the University of Chicago. Graduate-level writing must meet some demands that may not be required of undergraduate or non-academic professional writing. So MAPH has a writing advisor to help you adapt to the particular forms of writing valued in the Humanities Division.
(What to ask, after the jump…) » Read the rest of this entry «