Making the Most of Campus Days

Prospective 2012-2013 MAPHers:

Welcome to MAPHtastic, the blog for our current MAPHers and, now, you. If you haven’t already read A-J’s much more thorough “Welcome to MAPH” blog post, you should. It’s full of useful information that will help you start thinking about whether or not you want to join us next year.

It’s my purpose here, though, to get you thinking about your upcoming visit. Now that you’re on your way to town, how can you make sure to get the best experience out of your 48-hour preview of the MA Humanities Program? I remember Campus Days being slightly overwhelming, as I had not yet discovered the MAPH Blog and the helpful mentor posts about how to make the weekend as productive as possible. So, if you’re reading this, you’re already one step ahead of the April 2010 me.

(Hopefully helpful advice, after the jump)

To start off, here are a few helpful reminders and tips for the weekend:

  • Ask questions. We’ll have panels of current students, alumni, and faculty.  MAPHCental (that’s our nickname for the MAPH department office) Staff and Preceptors will be milling around both days.  Essentially, we’re all here to answer the questions that you are bringing–about academics, loans, jobs, social life, food, health, weather, Hegel, whatever.  And, even if your current goal is to use MAPH as a stepping-stone to Ph.D. programs, don’t miss the chance to speak with alums about gap year plans and potential career changes. That being said, there will also be individuals who graduated from the program and are either enrolled in or will soon be enrolled in Ph.D. programs (so talk to them, too). Also, if you’re staying with a current student, it’s a great chance to get a glimpse into a few days of a real-live MAPH student, so take advantage of that perspective.
  • Attend a class. Get a feel for grad life at UChicago. And, for those of you who may be returning to school after a long sojourn in the real world, here’s a chance to clean out your brain a bit and remember what it feels like. A good reminder before you take the plunge, in other words.
  • Read up. If you haven’t looked at it already, our website ( has a ton of information about every aspect of the program. AfterMAPH (our alumni blog) runs various profiles and pieces on the resources available to alumni. And, as you already know (since you’re reading this), MAPHtastic is the current student blog with everything from advice on course registration and thesis time management to recipe swaps and ridiculous videos.
  • Get to know the other prospectives. Arguably the most important aspect of MAPH during your time at the University of Chicago and afterward will be your fellow MAPHers. Therefore, it’s important that you take the time to get to know some of them during Campus Days and, yes, that you actually like them and feel like you would be comfortable with the culture of the incoming class.
  • Get out of Hyde Park. If you’re getting in on Saturday or staying through Tuesday, leave Hyde Park. Being at UChicago means living 15 minutes away from what might be the greatest city in the universe (according to an April 2012 MAPHCentral survey).  If you’ve never been to Chicago before, we suggest some of the basics: Millennium Park, The Art Institute, Wrigleyville, and Gino’s East Pizza. Let us know if you want more detailed recommendations.
  • Relax and enjoy yourself. This is a great preview of what is, for many of our students, an incredibly important and formative year professionally, academically, and personally. Of course this weekend is a chance to meet new people and shake hands with faculty members. But it should also be about getting a feel for the program culture and relaxing into the MAPH groove (we say “groove” a lot).

And, in preparation for your weekend, please feel free to contact us if you have any questions. Here’s our contact info:

Benjamin Shurtleff:
Whitney Sperrazza:

We’re excited to meet you all on Sunday! In the meantime, our congratulations to the prospective class of 2013, and we hope that you’ll be thinking seriously about joining us this fall.

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