What’s a Writing Advisor?

September 13th, 2011 § 2 comments § permalink

If Gertrude Stein had been a MAPHer, she would have gone to see Jeff. I’m not even kidding about this.

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 «

What’s a preceptor and how did they get my email?

August 18th, 2011 § 1 comment § permalink

Virgil was Dante’s Preceptor.

Instead of flying home last year I had Thanksgiving dinner with my friend and her family, just outside of Chicago. When people asked me how I was enjoying graduate school, they seemed generally confused by the nature of the program, and my use of MAPH-specific terms that apparently don’t get much exercise outside of U of C. I was barraged with question after question. “So…it’s a one-year program?”  “You can DO a one year masters?” “What’s your major?” “It’s a masters in the Humanities? Well, that’s pretty BROAD, isn’t it?”

And of course: “What’s a preceptor?” (Find out, after the jump…) » Read the rest of this entry «

Summer FAQs

August 17th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

It really does look like this in Hyde Park right now

We at MAPHCentral are hard at work preparing for the arrival of all 119 new shining faces in less than four weeks. In the meantime, we know that the stress of (let’s just say for argument’s sake) packing up one’s things in Washington, DC, cramming them in a UHaul and driving cross country with one’s Mom (who loves the Beach Boys and only the Beach Boys) can weigh heavily on one’s leisure time in August.

On that ride, you’ll have plenty of time to think of questions. Here are some that typically come up this time of year, as pre-students get (understandably) excited about starting….

  1. Do I need to sign up for classes yet?” The more intrepid of you, without a doubt, will have already located the University Time Schedules. That’s a great place to start drooling over the academic cornucopia set before you on the table of plenty at the University of Chicago. BUT. Don’t fret about registration. All of that will take place DURING COLLOQUIUM after your arrival in September. (Good news: there are more things you don’t need to worry about after the jump…) » Read the rest of this entry «

“Your Picture Goes Here”: Getting Your UChicago Student ID

August 13th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

How do I get into the library?

The question that is, undoubtedly, constantly running through your mind as a new UChicago student. In fact, this question brings to mind some very fond memories I have of my summer before MAPH…

I moved to Chicago almost a full month before Colloquium started. I had taken some time away from academia and, consequently, had lived over a year without access to book stacks or JSTOR (gasp!). Several days after my arrival, before I even unpacked my plates, I eagerly walked the 10 blocks or so to campus, found the library on one of the helpful campus directories peppered across the quads, and ran up the awkward outside steps with delight, imagining the hours I would spend rummaging through the stacks, printing off 36-page academic articles (for only 10¢ a page), and diligently getting a head start on the reading for Core. No lie, I was psyched to get into that library.

So, imagine my frustration when I got through the front door and realized that you need an ID card to get in. Well, I didn’t have a card. I didn’t know how to get a card. And my library dreams slowly crumbled in front of my eyes. I silently cursed the little glass gates that were letting everyone but me through into the main library. I inanely did not notice the sign for the ID/Privileges Office that is literally right next to those same glass gates. And I stalked out of the Regenstein, pissed that I had come all this way for nothing and increasingly worried that it would be another month before I could gain access to this privileged space.

How does this story end? How did I come to possess, mere days after this tragic moment, a slightly awkward picture on a maroon and white UChicago ID card? The mentors, of course. Those handy-dandy mentor blog posts, one of which conveniently provided step-by-step instructions on how to get a student ID card. So, I now pass that same wisdom on to you.

A hawaiian shirt might add some real flair to your ID photo…

Go to the Regenstein Library on 57th Street. Walk in the front door. I beg you, don’t make the same mistake I did and let your white-eyed fury at the little glass gates blind you to the ID/Privileges Office that is, literally, right next to them and directly to your left from the front door. Instead, take a deep, calming breath. Comb your hair. And walk into that same ID/Privileges Office, get your picture taken, get your ID within 5 minutes and, for goodness sake, triumphantly march through those glass gates and into….well, you might not want to actually spend any beautiful sunshine months in the library since you’ll be there most of the year. So, just get your ID card, tuck it into your wallet, and go to the lake!

Or, if you do decide to go into the library, at least take a break from reading to scope out some classic UChicago student (probably undergrad) graffiti.

And, as always, stop by the MAPH Office to introduce yourself or you can most definitely e-mail us with questions!


April 21st, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Sure, we’re still waiting for Spring. But hey, that means more thesis time, RIGHT?

Prospective students have to decide by tomorrow whether to come to MAPH.  I’ve always thought it is a useful exercise (whether you’re a current student just finishing up the first draft of your thesis, or an alum from the class of 1997) to think about the reasons why you came to MAPH in the first place.  Thinking back to my own experience, I came to MAPH frustrated by the PhD application process, pretty panicked about my life, and very disappointed about my inability to make a decision about what I wanted “next.”  MAPH settled me down and made me think clearly about what a PhD would entail (and why it might not be a good fit for me).  Here’s an excerpt from my piece “Why a Terminal Master’s?”  Full text can be found here.

What were your reasons for coming to MAPH?  Are they the same now?  MAPHCentral would love to hear your comments.

Over the course of the past year working with MAPH I have spoken with a lot of our 1500 alumni. Our graduates live around the world and work in diverse fields—everything from non-profit management to hedge fund risk management. They find jobs in development, investment banking, law, journalism, advertising and public relations, corporate finance, secondary education, and curatorial research. One alumnus ran the 2008 Obama campaign’s finances in Florida.  One is studying to be a veterinarian. Others are administrators at charter schools, English teachers, guidance counselors, and of course, professors.

We have no astronauts.  Yet.

Why has a program that focuses so tightly on the development of humanistic skills produced successful alumni in diverse fields? It can’t just be that we leave the University with a healthy understanding of the classics and wind up running creative departments at advertising agencies. Rather, the breadth of success serves as compelling evidence that graduate work in the humanities can be (don’t laugh) integral to one’s long term career satisfaction. Graduate work in the humanistic disciplines improves one’s ability to engage in most activities that characterize the professional world.

That said, no one should trivialize the financial commitment of student loans that are associated with graduate school. I certainly don’t. My loans are growing, even as I type.  And they’re not going away any time soon. But I don’t cower in fear of them, and I certainly don’t dodge my statements when they arrive. The important thing to think about when considering whether to take the plunge (ie: take out huge loans) is that any graduate work should be seen as an investment in oneself, and an opportunity for self-enrichment that will accrue benefits in the long run.

Continued at My Footpath here.


What’s an Externship?

February 14th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Spend a day here!

Good question!  An externship is a day-long opportunity for you to interact with a MAPH alum at their “Workplace.”  Many of the opportunities are being hosted by MAPH alumni.

  • Why should I do an externship? Externships are great ways to build up your network.  The MAPH alums who volunteered to host have interesting positions at some of the most prominent corporate and non-profit institutions in the city.  You’ll get to meet some of the folks that they work with, ask questions, and essentially get a glimpse of the day-to-day operations.
  • What do I do during the externship day? It’s really up to you and your host.  But make sure that you come prepared with questions and an understanding of the organization.  Do your homework beforehand.  This is an opportunity for you to learn about a specific company and its place in the context of a wider industry.
  • What about my thesis? You can work on your thesis when you get home.  The promise of having a good job after you finish MAPH will make it easier for you to work hard after the day is over.  That is, you’ll have a reason to FINISH the stupid thing.
  • Will it be fun? Yes!  It will.  And also, probably, interesting.  Most of all, it will be useful.  You will have the incentive to work on your resume, cover letter, and interview skills.  And you’ll have the chance to get into a corporate/non-profit environment for a day.  It’s a win, win, win.
  • Can I put an externship on my resume if I get one? Noooow you’re talkin.  You betcha.
  • How do I apply? Email me (ajaronstein@uchicago.edu) or Lesley Lundeen (llundeen@uchicago.edu) to get started on the process.  You’ll need a resume and cover letter, which you should be honing this time of year anyway.  Think of it this way: this is an opportunity to interview in-house for a “position” where you know that your “boss” will be excited to work with you for the day.

You want me to WHAT?: MAPH, schmoozing, and you.

January 18th, 2011 § 1 comment § permalink

It’s really not this bad….most of the time

I know.  You came here to do academic work.  To share your brilliant insights on pederasty in Victorian Fiction as related to Ancient Chinese Vase-Making.  Or whatever.  So why are we so adamant about networking and career stuff….and why are the mentors especially hounding us, when they don’t have real jobs in the first place?

These are valid questions.  Valid, hurtful, confusing questions.

But they have answers.

No matter whether you are applying for PhD programs, trying to get a full-time job, or merely recognize that you would like some kind of job in the services industry that doesn’t require you to spend 100 hours on your feet per day steaming milk after graduation to pay rent, networking is an important skill to have.

Here are some important things to remember as you start going about the job-search in a more serious way that involves meeting and talking to strangers: » Read the rest of this entry «

Not a Jobless Recovery for YOU

January 3rd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

If you start planning now, you won’t feel like this every morning on your commute.

New Year’s Resolutions abound at the start of Winter Quarter.  Harness your cliche instinct to be proactive in 2011, and start thinking more seriously about what comes after MAPH.  You will, one day, be done with MAPH after all.  Keep in mind that throughout all of this, you have resources at your disposal.  Don’t despair, and most importantly of all, don’t let your thesis and classes consume your entire life.  That is, distract yourself by thinking of all the cool opportunities out there for newly-minted MASTERS.  YOU WILL BE A MASTER.  If you haven’t yet checked out the CAPS site, it’s not too late to start exploring.

Across the next few weeks, while your primary task is to get into a rhythm with your Winter Classes, you should also be working on your meta-plans.  After all, many of you who arrived at UChicago thinking “PHD FOR ME!” may have already realized that academic inquiry is a black hole that will suck your soul out through your tear ducts with a swirly straw.  But even if you are not one of these people, thinking about a job after MAPH is a great exercise that will help improve your understanding of “what’s out there.”

MAPHCentral and CAPS continuously toil together to make sure that you have as many chances as possible to get in front of alumni, work on your resumes and cover letters, and feel confident about heading out into the (recovering!) job market.  Here are a few of the things to look forward to:

  • Career Core #2: GradUCon- The second event in the MAPH CAREER CORE series takes place on Friday, January 21 at Ida Noyes.  SIGN UP IN THE MAPH OFFICE.  If you sign up with us, we will register for you AND pay the registration fee.  The fee is otherwise $5.  We are paying your way because GradUCon is a great opportunity not only to develop your networking and job search skills, but also a chance to talk to alumni.  There will not only a full day of Career Panels and hand shaking, but also a much-swankier-than-you’re-probably-accustomed-to reception at the end of the day.
  • How to Network Brown-Bag Lunch: Nervous about greasing palms and talking about yourself?  Learn how not to be!  Lesley Lundeen will be holding a Lunch Talk (lunch not included) on Thursday January 20 on how to Network without sounding like a total tool.
  • Externships and Internships: Across the next few weeks, you will be receiving information about MAPH-Sponsored Internships, and MAPH Alum Externships.  Pay attention to these opportunities.  There will be a ton of organizations eager to work with MAPH students across Spring Quarter and this summer.  You will have a much better shot at getting these Internships and Externships if you stay abreast of career announcements, start reading the AfterMAPH blog profiles of MAPH alums, and visit CAPS regularly.

If you ever have questions, come visit us or email!  Everyone at MAPHCentral is on your side when it comes to finding something rewarding after this year!

You’re underdressed!

November 10th, 2010 § 1 comment § permalink

Hey there MAPHarinos!

The time has come.  You must BUY WINTER CLOTHES.  I know that the cold has been a little late coming this year, but that is why now is the time to act!  Go get those greatcoats and earmuffs before it gets cold enough for hipsters to realize that their formfitting American Apparel sweatshirts and retro giant headphones are no longer cutting the mustard.

WHERE you go sort of depends on you.  Do a search for the closest Sally Am, Village Thrift or Unique Thrift, check out the Brown Elephant in Andersonville, head up to Ragstock in Boy’s Town, or all the way to the Junior League Club in Evanston if you got a case a’ the ol’ upper-class aspirations and wanna try on some fancy people clothes, fresh off some fancy people.

WHAT you wear, on the other hand, isn’t so much up to you as it is an effect produced by the limitations of your body in relation to the changing environment.  (I don’t mean what you wear on YOUR other hand, I’m being figurative.)  Think of it as a kind of second-hand Darwinism.  (Again, I don’t mean YOUR second hand, I’m making a pun on “second-hand” clothes (to which this version of Darwinism might be applied) and “second-hand Darwinism” itself, which is another way of saying that, strictly speaking, this is not Darwinism proper.)  WHAT you wear is more of a nature-realizing-itself-through-the-illusion-of-your-particularity sort of thing, and having always seen myself as something of an “owl of Minerva” (given that I have trouble sleeping at night, and a weakness for strong, dark and intelligent type people, especially if they are named Minerva) I figure I’ll just go ahead and TELL you what nature is going to use your body to wear, regardless of WHO you are.  (That was another pun, this type based on both the anti-individualism theme of this post and the owl reference (which, by the way, is a reference to Hegel (“The owl of Minerva flies only at dusk” (which means that we only know things after the fact (it is dusk now, by the way) because Minerva is the goddess of wisdom (for the ancient Greeks)))) the owl reference also linking back to Darwin inso far as I’m talking about clever animals (like the pugs in the photo (which also make a joke of Darwin in obvious ways (they are not naturally selected and are inherently unhealthy (and wearing coats)))).)

You need a coat!  As big and warm as possible!  Layers get DAMN annoying when you are going into an out of hot buildings all day.

You need BOOTS!  It snows HUGE in these parts, and your feet will get wet, then freeze, and die, if you do not buy boots!  Go to an army surplus store if you can, my canadian army boots are still going after two Montreal winters and a year in Chicago.



Cool.  Ok.  That should do it.



September 9th, 2010 § 3 comments § permalink

Let’s just start out by saying: the advice in this post is almost ENTIRELY drawn from “Things I learned the hard way.”  Though some of comes straight from Damon Darlin’s fantastic 2007 article for graduates.  (That’s right I said 2007.  As in, this is what I read when I graduated….before the stock market went into a black hole).  There is a certain value to falling on your face when it comes to managing personal finances.  But I think that value is extremely small when compared to the value of avoiding mistakes altogether by making smart(ish) decisions when you can.  I know that a lot of you all are coming from different backgrounds.  While many of you are red-cheeked-newly-minted BAs direct from your pastoral life at America’s various “Colleges on a Hill,” others have spent some time in the professional sphere, and others are “mid-career.”

So, as a starting point, while I think this advice might be useful to everyone, it is definitely geared toward those who are joining us straight from college, or after a stint in the spine-straighteningly terrifying current business climate.  Those of you with more experience managing 401(k) portfolios, your own health insurance, benefits, hell, even (I know, perish the thought) a 30-year fixed mortgage–please, by all means, throw some comments on the board.  I think we all aspire to one-day be “mid-career” and would love advice about how to get “there.”

Here’s the quick list, with details after the jump:

1) Understand Your Loan; 2) Auto-Pay; 3) When it comes to books…; 4) ATM fees are stupid; 5) Pack your lunch/drink MAPH coffee; 6) Tax-time; 7) Plan your adventures wisely; 8) Groceries; 9) Zip this; 10) Get a credit card and use it wisely

» Read the rest of this entry «