unravelling at night what she had woven during the day, as a clever ploy to “buy time” and stave off hungry suitors - Odyssey

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1) personal reasons 2) professional reasons 3) both 4) neither

From: Future PhD student
Subject: What do you think of your program
Date: 8 January, 2014 
To: Current PhD Candidate 


My name is Future Student and I TA with your friend at Orange University.  I am just in the midst of preparing PhD applications and am considering Critical Science department at Blue University.  I guess I'm just looking for an inside opinion on how you are enjoying the experience and how you find the workload.  My partner is a PhD student at Orange U and I have kids, so if accepted, I will likely be commuting from the South (although my folks live in Blue Town, so I have place to crash).

My own research interests have grown both out of my MA research on the production of Cool Things in the age of VBN and my professional background in that industry.  I hope to investigate how recent amendments to That Act have obfuscated our understanding of what it means to do Cool Things. 

I've been in contact with The Director who has suggested my research may overlap with the following professors:  Ms. Her, Ms. Hen, Sir. Him.  Have you had any contact with them and have you found them to be good to work with?  Is there anyone else you think of that I should contact?

Thanks for taking the time, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Future PhD student

From: Future PhD student
Subject: re: What do you think of your program
Date: 19 January, 2014
To: Current PhD Candidate 


My goodness, sorry for the delayed response!  

Yes, good questions. I will start with a caveat: I have not figured out yet if I am doing this PhD for 1) personal reasons, 2) professional reasons, 3) both, or 4) neither. I thought I wanted to teach when I started but the job market is pretty terrible. For that reason, I have reformulated the reasons why I am doing what I am doing while in the thick of PhD studies. I think I am doing this for personal reasons - maybe I am trying to find myself esteem and confidence through school.  But at the same time PhD work breaks down confidence, promotes insecurity and I often feel like I'm about to have a nervous breakdown. It took me three years to realize this and its pretty depressing. Giving up would make it worse. Staying here is painful. I am sure your wife has told you about how isolation and poverty, constant criticism and competition, all amounting to no tangible guarantee of employment, can really turn someone inside out.  So maybe I am not doing it for personal reasons. If it is neither, than I imagine it is my pride and ego encouraging me along (you must have an ego to do a PhD, I am sure you know this). Perhaps it is because I love my project and I am sincerely interested in my topic. Maybe the answer to why I am doing what I am doing will only appear once I've completed the program. Maybe not. Here's hoping. 

The program: amazing! The faculty here are pretty critical and supportive. I am proud of that. 

The course work was demanding, but natural: we all know how to write papers and put readings in conversation for the sake of fruitful seminar discussion. How much Quine or  Pierce have you read?:)

There are 15 people accepted a year, and there are 6 cohorts at the moment. Because the program is still relatively new the department seems to be pretty flexible and open - the students and faculty, together, are constructing the boundaries of the program. I see this as a healthy and exciting circumstance to challenge a PhD, while others, I'm afraid, pine for more structure. I suppose its a matter of preference.

Your research: for certain this department has faculty that do policy analysis. However, most of those professors are not lecturing any of the PhD courses (maybe Ms. Her). Of course, the faculty rotates and I have no clue who will be teaching those courses next year. But as it stand now, those who guide us PhDers through our coursework are more theoretically oriented. I am not sure at what angle you would like to explore the object of research you propose...... at any rate, it sounds interesting! 

I do not know Ms. Hen or Sir. Him, unfortunately. Ms. Her I know and like. She's a firecracker and an exciting and eccentric person. I was in her class for a hot minute but decided to switch out for another course which suited me better. If you are looking to do applied ethics act , those professors are sound recommendations. I would also contact Señor Brick. He's an excellent scholar, very causal and bright. He writes on Cool Things.  Perhaps send him an e-mail?

I hope this honesty didn't unsettle you! Know that I am happy to be at this university, in this department, doing a project I love profoundly. 

All the best and let me know if you have any questions!

PhD Candidate


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