Academics

5 Years Later… What I learned from my Undergrad

I cannot believe I graduated from my Bachelors 5 years ago. I spent 4 and a half years working hard to achieve the 2nd steeping stone of my education. I started my undergrad on my birthday in 2009 with a major in Anthropology and a minor in politics. To think that I even graduated high school almost 10 years ago is crazy. Literally, my high school is planning our 10 year reunion for May… this is crazy to think about. 

Going back and revisiting what I learned form my undergrad takes a lot. I learned much about myself during my “college” years, and while probably should have made better decisions, I would not change a thing as it made me who I am today. Academically though, there are many steps I could have taken that would have made my days much simpler. For example, I would have just put my major as a double major in History and International Politics or Spanish from the beginning. I changed my major a good total of 5 times and that is not to count how many times I changed minors. I am glad I did my undergrad in the states because I change my mind too much to have been stuck with the same subjects for 3 years in the UK. 

Once I failed accounting and decided that nothing computers would bring me passion, I changed my major my junior year the 1st week of school. I went from computer information systems to computer sciences to finally history in the span of a summer. My first week of school my junior year was a week of discoveries. I learned that history as a minor was not going to satisfy my thirst for knowledge of the world, that I was horrible at coding, and that I was going to be studying for the next 10 years if I was going to be a historian. So, I put forth a plan that would be reconstructed several times in that same year.  

My junior year was a year of discoveries in general. I discovered that I liked politics (something I should have realized when I first said I wanted to be a lawyer but then changed my mind). I also discovered that studying Spanish was something I enjoyed even if I was horrible at grammar. The last major thing I discovered was that I loved to travel… as much as I could. And while I did not travel much as a lower class undergrad, once I joined my sorority sophomore year I knew that travel was in my future. After taking several history, Spanish, and politics classes (or modules), I knew that I had to study abroad. So, during my senior year, I took a leap and got accepted to study at the University of Nottingham for a semester. 

During that semester abroad, I learn much about myself and I improved in many other things. I learned to write better, to have more reading comprehension, and I learned how different the school systems are between the states and the UK. I took modules in history and politics, and I did not do so well. I passed but not with flying colors like I previously had. Studying in the UK opened my eyes to how hard and intense university can be in the UK. It does not matter how bad I did in my study abroad, I learned so much that those bad grades were worth it. 

After coming back home from my semester abroad, I ended up taking international politics, model UN, Mexican literature, and computer basics. My semester GPA 3.75, my best semester in all of my college career (besides summers). Studying abroad ended up giving me the tools to do even better once I headed home. 

While I did not graduate with honors, my undergrad career helped me so much in my masters degree. Without my study abroad, without me changing my major so many times, I would have done a horrendous job in my Masters. So thank you Georgia State University for giving me an amazing 4 and a half years of memories and experiences. 

Best of all!

PhD serie

The PhD A​pplication Process: The Research Proposal

Hey y’all!

As I promised before, am will be weekly updating y’all on the application process for a PhD in the UK. So far, I have placed my application and gotten a response back from the University. I will let y’all know later if I got in or not, as this post will be all about the research proposal.

To me, the research proposal was second most stressful part of the PhD application process. The first being the waiting game after the application is submitted as I have almost no patience.  Starting out with an outline, and finishing up 5 months later with 14 pages including my bibliography show how much I wanted my proposal to be perfect. I wanted the quality of my proposal to impact whoever was reading it. I wrote the first rough draft within a few weeks. It was far from perfect I have several people look over it to make sure it was good in the sense of context and information. My grammar is where my issues lie. I was born in Puerto Rico and English is technically not my first language, Spanish is. While I have been speaking, reading and understanding English since I was 14, I still struggle with some grammatical things. I tend to go on and on about things, and that leads to run-on sentences or clauses being defied. That is why it took so long for my proposal to get do, but it does not have to be an issue you struggle with. Always re-read your work out loud to hear if it makes sense when you speak it. There is a big difference between reading it in your mind and out loud.

Once you have a rough draft done, get people to read it for you and give your constructive criticism. I asked one of my former professors to read over my proposal, as well as the prospective supervisor that I wanted to work with. Both of them helped me get to a point where my proposal was ready to submit. Submitting my proposal was one of the most nerve-raking things I have ever experience. Not even when I submitted my Master’s research proposal was I this nervous.  But then I realized that this proposal was the one that was going to change my life and it was going to allow me to fulfill my dream of becoming an academic doctor. That is why this proposal took so long: my future depended on it.

Now 4 months after everything I got a response to my application, I can finally breath or cry. One of the other,  my life path has forever changed.

On my next post, you will get to know if I got in or not, and the emotional roller coaster that the PhD application process is.

Till next time! All the love!

Ascenett Stefanie, your freelance unicorn!