So...basically all of my blog centers around my experiences in the dustbowl of America, but they are about to come to a close. I graduate in December!!! I've truly been WERKING MY ASS OFF to get out of here (I tried to be done in July) but after taking 12 credit hours every semester (full time is 6) I'll finally be able to say goodbye to the sticks of Indiana. All I have to do is finish writing my thesis (3 out of 5 chapters are done, and I'm closing in on finishing the fourth chapter). I'm taking thesis hours this fall (continuation of research) and taking a Sociology statistics course.
Now what this series will be about is the application process of applying to PhD programs...it's kind of an accountability/to do list for me.
So here's what I need to do in the next month:
Create my budget: $1,000 (that might seem like a lot but I'll give you a break down later, and trust me, it's right on target)
Study and retake the GRE (FYI: the new version is half off if you test in August or September..perfect b/c I need my results by December)
Create a master to-do list for all my schools
Write Statements of Intent (an statement explanation of past academics, future goals, and research interests and intentions)
I'm applying to (in ranked order):
(1) The Ohio State University (Sociology: Population, Health and the Life Course)
(2) University of South Carolina (Sociology)
(3)Syracuse University ( Sociology: Inequality Studies)
(4)University of Florida (Sociology: Health, Aging, and the Life Course)
(5) University of Georgia (Sociology: Race, Gender, and Class)
(6) University of Kentucky (Sociology)
(7)Louisiana State University (Sociology)
(8)University of Illinois (Sociology: Gender, Race, and Class)
(9) University of Arizona (Sociology)
(10) University of Oregon (Sociology)
(11) University of Massachusetts Boston (Applied Sociology)
I think all these schools I can get in to... I have a grad g.p.a. of 3.8( Two A-'s and a B+ killed my spirit), I've done a complete research project from start to finish by myself, I'm trying to get published (crosses fingers), I've worked with the Center for Business and Economic Research (they also publish the American Journal of Business), through interdepartmental cooperation efforts, and have learned a statistical program used in hard sciences (SAS). The only thing left to take care of is the GRE, and I'm on that.
I say all that not to brag, but to encourage. You have to do everything you can to make yourself the best candidate. Most schools only accept 5-10 applicants a year, and receive hundreds upon hundreds of applications. I've literally worked HARD. I've done nothing else but school for the past year, my social life is SCANT! You have to be prepared for that. I have to admit that I don't know if I was, you have to be sure it's what you want, and because doing this type of higher level academic work will call you out on the carpet, CONSTANTLY.
It's different from undergrad in the fact that you're doing actual synthesis of knowledge. You're creating new information or restructuring, or disproving, or whatever. There is no one to fall back on, no book to try and get instruction from, all that you've learned is called into play and you have to use skills, to come up with a solution. Yes, of course there is the literature review and a HUGE part of the research process is reading older stuff, but you can't do what they do, it's been done. You have to come up with something different. If you find something exactly like what you wanna do, you may as well throw your work in the trash. It's been done. It's an incredible process and I'm in love with it. It's amazing, but at the same time it's extremely nerve wrecking. I think about my research all the time...shower, bed, when I'm trying to sleep, with family, the ideas don't stop, even when you want them to. It's hard being on a project. I'm a ruminator by nature and research sends it in to overdrive, it makes me good, but it's also bad.
So if it's something that you're thinking about. Know that, and really think on the not so easy part of it. There are also more practical programs, so if you don't think you'll like the research part, there's that option too.
next up in the series.... Budget Breakdown