Author Archives: wsperrazza

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)

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MAPH Internships: The Newberry Library

The Newberry Library

Located near Gold Coast, the Newberry Library is an independent, privately operated research library that focuses on the humanities.  It is free and open to the public.  Founded after the death of Chicago patron Walter Newberry (opened in 1887), the library has a large variety of special collections materials that focus on European and American letters and history.  According to its mission statement, the Newberry promotes and provides for the effective use of their special collections materials, fostering research, teaching, publication, life-long learning, and civic engagement.

Oh heavens, what a delightful garden for luncheon!

Oh heavens, what a delightful garden for luncheon!

(Read the profile…after the jump)

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Cheap, Easy Recipes for Your Enjoyment

While spring quarter will, ultimately, be your favorite quarter here at UChicago by the time you’re done, right now it probably feels awful. You just turned in your first major thesis draft. You’re starting to feel a lot of pressure to start job searching. And you’re embarking on your last two courses here at UChicago, feeling like you will FINALLY be that rock star student who manages to read everything.

With all of this mounting pressure, we’d like to remind you to: EAT. Some things can get moved to the back burner for the next few weeks (like, perhaps, cleaning out your closet, catching up with your aunt on the phone, and washing your towels). But, alas, eating is not one of those things you can just stop doing. So, in true MAPHcentral fashion, we want to help you out. Here are a few of our favorite quick, easy recipes so that maybe (at least) once a week (please!) you can throw together a home-cooked meal.

(See the recipes…after the jump!)

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MAPH Thesis Write-In

DO NOT let this be your spring break. Unless you plan to write Anna Karenina, you won’t get anything productive done. Which is why you should come to the MAPH Thesis Write-In (Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of next week). We just ordered the snacks today and, rumor has it, they’re phenomenal. Also, there might be some MAPH Mentor cameos at the write-in. But we don’t want to get you too excited.

We’ll leave you with this: if you’re in Chicago during spring break, you can either be at the write-in or at The Point. Those are your only options. When you’re not doing one, do the other.

MAPHCentral Out.

Why Yoga?

MAPH Yoga Night is Wednesday, March 7th. I know that those of you who already practice yoga won’t miss this chance for a FREE yoga class. But, for those of you with some misgivings and hesitations about whether or not it will be worth it, here are some reasons why I love yoga and why it is so beneficial for you (especially during such a busy, soul-sucking time of your life).

Contrary to a recent New York Times article, yoga isn’t actually related at all to tantric sex orgies (sorry for those of you that were expecting that on MAPH yoga night). While, yes, yoga may limber you up a bit for aforementioned activities, the actual benefits have much more to do with your overall well-being and mental health.

If nothing else, one of the best things about practicing yoga is that it allows you to take a moment of quiet just be at peace with yourself and your surroundings. If you take a 45-minute yoga class a few days a week, that adds up to a few hours every week during which you have just allowed yourself to RELAX. It’s a moment to focus on what makes you feel good about being you. Even if you start yoga with feelings of inadequacy or doubts about whether or not you can keep up with the class, you will always finish yoga feeling stronger and much more appreciative of yourself. Even if you don’t feel like you got any of the poses or movements correct, the goal is that you will leave feeling satisfied at having tried it. And, you’ll have taken an hour to meditate on the development and relaxation of your physical and mental being.

(More thoughts, after the jump)

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Spring Quarter Registration…Already?

Just be cool...about spring registration.

Spring quarter course registration can be as anxiety-ridden or as exciting as you want it to be. Bottom line: you’re registering for your LAST quarter as a MAPHer. Yes, it’s sad. But think of all the blood, sweat, and tears that have already gone into this year and be slightly grateful that you’re coming to the home stretch.

But, with all that in mind, what should really be at the forefront of your thoughts is that this is (for most of you) the last time you will get to choose classes to take at the University of Chicago. Therefore, it is more important than ever that you choose wisely and be an active advocate for the remainder of your master’s education. A few tips to keep in mind to make sure that happens:

1. Do NOT take the easy way out this quarter. If you’re thinking that it will be nice to use your last MAPH quarter as a well-deserved break by sitting back on your haunches, then you’re not getting the most out of this year. Instead, think about this last quarter as a chance to push yourself a bit. Take a Ph.D. seminar. Take a class with that crazy hard professor everyone’s always warning you about. Trust us – you’ll be handing in your thesis at the start of 9th week spring quarter. That means you’ll have two FULL weeks to just enjoy the classes you’re taking. You’ll kick yourself if they’re boring.

(More mentor-ly words of wisdom…after the jump)

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A New Reading Project: Regenstein Graffiti



We’re going into 7th week of winter quarter. Which means that you’re probably spending a lot of time in THIS awful building, which looks like nothing else on this campus (but oddly enough, does slightly resemble THIS prison!).

Okay, those are actually both pictures of Regenstein. But, the point is, this time of year, the library starts to feel a bit like a jail.

However, the important thing to remember as you trudge into week 7 is that you’re in a building with some of the BEST and most famous graffiti in the world. So, this weekend, take a well-deserved break (right inside the very walls that have started to feel like they’re closing in on you) and wander around looking for some of these gems. Maybe make a game of it and race your fellow MAPHers to see who can find them all first. Or, team up and set up an elaborate telephone chain to report your findings to anyone who isn’t willing to sacrifice the empty study table it took them 20 minutes to find. The important thing is to make as much noise as possible without ACTUALLY getting kicked out of the library. Won’t those undergrads be oh so upset that you’re disturbing their silence (muahaha).

(See the list of photos to start your scavenger hunt…after the jump…)

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Why You Should Leave Your Apartment

Bench outside the back of Walker

This is a picture of what this campus looked like last February.

That means, you should take advantage of the comparatively gorgeous weather we’re having right now, get out of your apartment and enjoy winter quarter a bit. We know that even without the massive amounts of snow on the ground it’s hard to get out to the fabulous Chicago neighborhoods when it’s a bit chilly. So, here are some things right on campus and in Hyde Park that might be fun to check out.

We, of course, have to start with the stuff that we’re hosting for you this week.

1. Open Mic Night on Thursday, February 2nd at 5:00PM: Right in your very own Anscombe Lounge. You’re all on campus on Thursdays anyways, so why not stop by on your way home to nosh a bit and maybe play a song or two on guitar. Or, better yet, sit back on a comfy Lounge couch with a glass of wine, and just let the music and literary readings of your fellow MAPHers wash over you.

2. Jeff’s Talk on Thesis Stuff on Friday, February 3rd at 12:30PM: Jeff’s giving another super useful talk on thesis-related things this Friday. If you came to the last one, you know how helpful the info is. If you didn’t come to the last one, you really NEED to come to this one.

(See other, non-MAPH hosted events after the jump)

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As promised, here’s a bit about our thesis advisor-finding processes. Important to note…they are all DIFFERENT, just like yours will be. So, please, stop comparing yourselves to other MAPHers who may seem like they’re in a better or idyllic place right now. Ultimately, you’re all comrades-in-arms, in this together and there to support and encourage your fellow brethren, but you will all have different journeys as you make your way toward the finish line.

(Read about our experiences after the jump…)

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1000-Pages Per Week Syndrome

If you’re starting to feel like the woman in this picture, it might because (if you haven’t noticed) your reading load has tripled compared to the fall. Winter quarter is the notorious “reading” quarter of the MAPH year. You’re no longer easing into graduate work with Core and cross-listed grad/undergrad courses. By now, you’re probably in at least one Ph.D. seminar and one or two other reading-intensive classes, and you’re loading on tons of extra research because of early thesis work.

Here’s a handy little tip from your mentors: you don’t have to read everything. Whoa! We know…we’re being quite unconventional here, but the entire goal of this blog is to get you to believe that you, truly, do not need to read every word assigned to you. Frankly, you don’t have the time. The amount of reading assigned at the University of Chicago is insane, especially if you’re in a Ph.D. or M.A. only seminar. We don’t have hard data on this stuff, of course, but we’re betting this is the case: you could probably read for an entire week (that’s 168 hours, folks), without stopping to eat or sleep, and you might just get caught up on the stuff you already haven’t done and your reading assignments for next week (including two or three books for thesis research). So, how do you not read every word and still feel caught up and thoroughly involved in your classes this quarter?

(Some ideas…after the jump!)

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