Saturday, October 18, 2014

I Need a Writing Sample!

Oh. My. God.

I'm screwed.

Okay, not screwed, but pretty up a creek.

I discovered, finally, that I do not actually have copies of any of my academic work...anywhere.

You see, my laptop that I used for all my academic work fried in the Phoenician heat about 6 years ago. I don't recall if any of the documents were saved during the death pangs of that limping machine. If they were, I haven't the foggiest where I might find such documents.

And of course, I need a 15 page writing sample to submit with my applications.

I won't lie - this was quite a blow to my tenuous calm. I'm this close (picture pinched index finger and thumb) to calling it quits. Okay, not at all. Instead, I will have to write a new essay and complete it in a timely manner. The biggest hurdles to this proposition are the following:
  1. The fact that I haven't written an academic paper in over 6 years (minor in the grand scheme of things).
  2. The fact that I don't have a specific essay prompt/direction for said paper (kind of a problem).
  3. The fact that I will have to scrounge together the time to do this 15 page paper (all nighters? up at 5 AM? Insomnia is my friend!)...
  4. and of course it will need to have cited supportive evidence in APA format.
Bleh.

So, with this looming in my immediate future...anyone have any ideas as to essay topics? My current idle thoughts are:
  • Feminine power (battles over birth)
  • Female identity (transitioning from woman to wife to mother)
  • Religion and women (this would likely require the most citations and research) - focused on women in Christianity
  • Informal (possibly v formal) education and credibility in pregnancy, birth, and parenthood. 
Weigh in below! Also, consider if it is really a good piece/topic...I'll submit it to a site or journal to get published (because why not!).

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Perfecting Your CV

Resumes have rules. CVs are...negotiable.

Trying to figure out the best headings and the best things to include on a CV during the application phase is a pain in the ass.

Do you have enough honors and awards to merit their own heading? Does anyone care about your community service? Is there any point in mentioning that life changing experience if it doesn't really fit under your teaching experience? What about those two years at art school that are completely unrelated to everything else? What about the 10+ books you have independently published? Are they helpful or hurtful?

And those are just my CV questions.

Luckily I have a few people in my life willing to give my vitae a once or thrice over. We've been going over everything with a fine toothed comb, to the point where I'm deciding where best to put the publication dates of my books (I think I'm still including them as a testament to my productivity regardless of their genre.) and the location of my research interests (the top).

And these are the things that keep me up at night. That and something else: What if I don't get in? Or what if I get in to only one place? Or what if I get into everywhere I apply? What do I do in each scenario?

To put in so much energy to the application process, it would be devastating not to get accepted, however, I would also know quite clearly it wasn't meant to be. If I was accepted everywhere, I would have to prioritize various aspects of each program and school in order to make the best long term choice, despite whatever pressures might come at me. Hopefully everyone would respect my choice seeing as I try to make decisions carefully and thoughtfully.

But that is a discussion for February or March. Today I am focused on perfecting CVs and statements of purpose. Tomorrow I am focused on recommendations. I can only focus on one step at a time, otherwise I would never sleep. Seriously.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Apply Where You Will

Last Monday I took my GRE. I was nervous about it. Not about the test - I figure you are as ready as you can be by the time it comes around. No. I was comfortable with how much I prepared.

Rather I was nervous about what it meant.

Having taken this test, I was officially committed to an idea - the idea of attending graduate school and everything that means. In my case, it means moving across the country.

There are no programs in California that interest me. None. When I began looking at things it became clear I was going to have to move far. The schools to which I am applying are all well past the Rockies and each in very different segments of the country. Each of them is scary for one reason or another.

One is Lesotho in the middle of South Africa...or an island in shark infested waters...whichever metaphor you prefer. Either way, it makes me nervous.

Another is in Flatland, coated in vanilla and sprinkled with a dash of whiteness. I get bored thinking about it.

The third is a dream. It just happens to be in Siberia where the sun never shines and the houses have second story doors opening out to seasonal 9 foot snow drifts.

This is my current feeling, though it may be misplaced, delusional, or just wrong. Whatever the case, these are the pictures I have constructed around each school. They are all good schools, and each one is perfectly positioned to help me achieve my goals. I am confident that I would do well at any of them. Of course I have a first choice and my heart tells me that is where I belong, but there are other prospective students. There are other applications.

And I have to submit mine just like everyone else to be carefully scrutinized.

This brings me to my next steps: personal statements, transcripts, recommendations, and curricula vitae.

Time to research so I can make my application as attractive as possible. Because this is happening. I am moving across the country. It is the right thing for me to do and I won't let anything stop me. I am committed.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Until All Are Equal - Feminism

The internet is full of fail. It allows idiocy to multiply like a virus and collect into little pools of festering infection. First, let me remind everyone: USE YOUR CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS. It is always a good idea to consider arguments thoughtfully especially if they are well structured and supported by sufficient evidence, regardless of your own opinion.  This is how we learn and grow and that is always a good thing.

Always consider a situation and the definition of the words being applied. Does the situation actually fit the words being applied? Or is the person making statement after statement with malapropisms? In other words, does this person actually know what he or she is talking about?

Just saying.

Now to brass tacks.

Let's remind one another, ladies and gentlemen, why FEMINISM is not the "F word." Feminism is not MAN-HATING or "Feminazism." That is female chauvinism and NOT the same thing (I think we all agree chauvinism is bad...equality is good). Let's also remind one another that FEMINISM is about a set of ideals - a philosophy and a movement. It is about EQUALITY in PUBLIC and PRIVATE spaces for EVERYONE.

If a woman has NOT experienced discrimination or violence because she is a woman, I can only attribute this to one of three things: sheer luck, lack of life experience and/or exposure to the world (i.e. too young), or obliviousness to her own situation and those of women around her.

If a man has not witnessed or met a woman who was discriminated against or attacked because of her vagina, then he can only be too young or oblivious (not asking the right questions or "calling a spade a spade" as it were).

Women, you need feminism because
  1. You like being able to vote.
  2. You like being able to drive.
  3. You like being able to have your opinion weigh the same as someone who has a penis.
  4. You like being able to choose if and when you want to be a mother.
  5. You like government protected parental leave.
  6. You enjoy being able to work...in any industry and any organization.
  7. You enjoy making it to upper management (or at least having the possibility to).
  8. You like being able to go to college and study whatever you want to achieve whatever goals you have.
  9. You want to be able to get the same wage for the same work as someone with a penis.
  10. You enjoy being able to wear pants, shorts, skirts, and pretty much anything you want at any time ANYWHERE - seriously... think Saudi Arabia people.
  11. You enjoy being taken seriously. Seriously.
  12. You want to be seen as a person, as opposed to a walking vagina to be possessed or used.
  13. There are still women in this world who do not have access to all the  the above mentioned things.
  14. Daycare is still not provided by all employers.
  15. Women who take themselves out of the workforce during childbearing years have a difficult time being hired after. 
  16. Women are still not trusted to know how to give birth in the US and around the world.
  17. Women are still not allowed control over their reproduction in the US and globally.
  18. Women are more likely to be the victims of sexual abuse (3 in 10) than  men (1 in 10).
  19. Women are much more likely to experience violence at the hands of their partners than men.
  20. Women worry about being physically safe with men. Men don't feel that way about women.
  21. When saying that someone abused you sexually, society is predisposed to call you a liar and an opportunist unless there is physical proof.
  22. "Cunt" is still worse than "dick."
  23. "Whore" is a slur. "Pimp" is a compliment.
  24. Women are less likely to vote for a female candidate to office.
  25. We have been so conditioned by the idea that we can't do certain things that WOMEN REINFORCE the status quo.
Men need feminism because
  1. Men can't stay home if they want to (without worrying about societal pressure and stigma).
  2. Men like parental leave.
  3. Daycare is still not provided by employers.
  4. Imbalanced power dynamics foster resentment and subversion by the less powerful.
  5. Men (and women) want whole, supported partners.
  6. Having an empowered partner means a happier relationship (Ever met someone who had control over their own life who was upset about it? Really?).
  7. Men need to know how to be male without being violent or aggressive towards women (read: television, video games, movies, and popular music).
  8. Men need to be able to explore their own identities and roles (son, husband, father etc).
  9. Diversity of perspective leads to innovation which can lead to better solutions (i.e. dialectics).
  10. Everyone is more productive when they are supported and empowered (Think of your sisters, wives, mothers, and daughters here.).
All feminists are not the same, but saying that we don't need feminism is like saying we don't need to worry about racial equality. Sorry, but there is still a whole lot of racism in the US and the world, and there is STILL a lot of sexism in the world.

We definitely need feminism.