Mar 16, 2009, 5:13 PM
Post #943 of 2090
Re: [Jacobbarnez] PhD at Binghamton
[In reply to]
Mizzou is great! I am sincerely enjoying being here, and even 1 year later I have the solid belief inside me that I came to the right school. Last weekend was "recruitment weekend" of sorts with the new admits, and it was sort of funny to be the one helping ot recruit people when exactly 1 year ago, I was one of the people checking out the campus and the town for the first time.
Things to know about Mizzou:
1. EVERYONE here teaches and gets to teach a variety of classes. Everyone is encouraged to consider their teaching something that it absolutely is--a means of professionalization--and is given a "request sheet" of sorts before each term's teaching schedule is decided. We get to put in our request for the top 5 classes we would like to teach that span across professional writing, comp, creative writing, writing about literature, and literature survey classes. We also get to design our own syllabi and choose our own course texts.
2. Very strong sense of community amongst the students. Everyone's teaching and everyone is getting at least the same amount of money (there are some smaller fellowships here and there on top of stipends, but those are the sorts of things that are sometimes just given to you and you can't seek to attain and are, ultimately, inconsequential). There's a grad student association of sorts that the department takes very seriously. Students talk about issues--about required courses, about things they're experiencing, about their interaction with department administration, etc. And the assoc. has a variety of social stuff that encourage student boning/community building.
3. Though at times it can seem a *little* tight, even coming in at about $13.5K, I am making enough money to live on. My particular life is not that fancy--I don't have cable or satellite dish, for instance, and I have chosen to siphon off of whatever unprotected wifi my laptop will pick up--but it's pleasant and I have what I need. Rent here (especially compared to Boston) is very inexpensive.
4. All incoming students are paired with a "mentor" whose *minimum* requirements are to bring the incoming students to their first grad association meeting and social events in the fall term. Many of these "mentor" relationships often transfer into life-beyond-adjustment. People form friendships through them. It's helpful.
5. Everyone seems to maintain a healthy interest in what everyone else is doing. People from all areas of the department will come to your poetry reading or your colloqium on 19th C. british lit.
6. Faculty here, at least in creative writing (I would speak for the rest, but it's really only CRW that I know well...), is EXTREMELY supportive. My professors have met with me outside of class to get a cup of tea and talk about something I have going on or to talk about poems I have been revising since class. I have my dissertation director already. A lit professor from last term was extremely patient, supportive, nurturing, and amazing with me last semester as I grappled with significant exposure to literary theory for pretty much the first time in my life. She has encouraged my thinking and learning, and she has maintained a sincere enthusiasm in what has taken shape as a direction for my scholarly work.
All in all I am happy here.
I hope that you--and anyone else considering to apply to Mizzou for PhD--seriously researches this place to see if it might be a right fit for you.
All the best,