A guest post by Bill Hutchison (MAPH ’12), an enthusiastic library patron, one of last year’s mentors, and a current PhD candidate in English at UChicago. Bill will also talking with Matti Bunzl at today’s The Work of a Humanist: A Conversation with Matti Bunzl (PhD ’98).
Go towards the light!!
“Libraries raised me.”
The UChicago library system is—as it should be—a labyrinthine construct with countless treasures, secrets, and codes. Discovering what it holds and how to access it can be one of the great pleasures of graduate school. If you, like me, take tremendous joy from learning how to wield your library to your own wild, intellectual ends, take note: herein I will share with you some of my discoveries. Continue reading
You want me to do what?!
Maybe it’s just because I’m reading Delaney’s Dhalgren, but all I can think about is the idea of a never-ending (post?-)apocalyptic time in which everything is confusing, chaotic, and hazy. Which sounds a bit like how MAPH felt during my first few weeks here.
As you’ve completed (and perhaps struggled through) your first analytic exposition writing assignment and you feel overwhelmed with meeting 100+ people, you too might feel that you are in the midst of Dhalgren’s Bellona, lost and alone, but take heart! For starters, unlike the protagonist of Delaney’s novel, you (most likely) remember your own name and where you come from. You’re also probably receiving some regular nourishment, provided you are attending even a few MAPH events. And it helps that (hopefully) nothing is on fire.
Bellona, city from Dhalgren. Not MAPH.
If you are feeling as though you’ve entered a completely new world in which the rules are illegible, take a deep breath (or three) and read on for some helpful advice. It’s all going to be okay. Continue reading
Well, MAPH 2014, here’s your first chance to look at some excellent thesis work done by members of last year’s class. From the editors of Colloquium:
The MAPH website has a lot of useful information about the Creative Writing Option, including a list of requirements and video discussions with CRWR faculty. However, I know I had a lot of questions about the Option—and creative writing at UChicago in general—around this time last year, so I’ve tried to compile a list of useful information for those of you considering doing some creative writing this year (whether or not you do the track): Continue reading
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. Continue reading
This woman is HIGHLY ambitious.
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.) Continue reading
Yes, this is a thing that happened on Lake Shore Drive in 2011. But, much to our amusement, this photo accompanies an article entitled “Abandoned on LSD.”
WHICH SOUNDS TERRIFYING.
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. Continue reading
This is how I felt at University of Chicago for most of MAPH.
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?
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. Continue reading
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?