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Posts by Ellan
Joined: Dec 19, 2009
Last Post: Dec 23, 2009
Threads: 2
Posts: 7  

From: United States of America

Displayed posts: 9
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Dec 23, 2009
Graduate / Am I being too vague? PhD, comm culture media [2]

I'm just having so much trouble with this. I don't have a intro or a conclusion. Am I being too vague? Is my vocab TOO layman? I also need to delete about 50% of this. What is important? What could I cut down on? What can I expand on?

I'm applying to 4 programs that are various combinations of communication, culture, media, and digital humanities. There is no specific question for any of them. I just have to lay out my plan of work (which is not included here). Thanks so so much. I'm really struggling. (oh-I think my essay was deleted for obscenity so I used characters instead of letters in a few words to avoid that happening again)

The majority of my research has focused on gender and sexual representation, and this has been so since I was an undergraduate in the communication program at XX University (XXU). A series of lectures in an introductory level media class captivated me with a series of lectures on p0rn0graphy and self-perceptions of sexual functioning. Lucky to have such an influential experience at such an early point in my education, these lectures initiated questions that I would explore for years to come: What are the dominant sexual taste cultures in a society in which pornographic media is the primary source of information about sexual practice? How is this information interpreted by individuals? How do these interpretations influence individuals' experience of sexual pleasure? In what specific ways do interpretations of this knowledge influence the lived experience of sexual pleasure?

After completing my Bachelor's degree, I continued in the XXU Department of Communication and developed my skills as a cultural critic. My worldview, inquisitive style, and my relationship to knowledge developed remarkably. Each semester I filled my schedule with theoretically-dense courses in rhetoric, film, and feminism. I was part of a strong community of knowledgeable, creative faculty and more experienced peers who challenged and supported me. The interest in p0rn0graphy that was sparked when I was an undergraduate was intensified by the theories and analytical tools I was becoming familiar with. Many of the independent projects I pursued were spent researching mediated representations of female sexual pleasure. During these initial experiences of graduate school I was in a productive, engaged, passionate academic environment that cultivated my most ambitious and whole-hearted self. I excelled as a MA student and felt leveled with students in the final years of their PhD coursework and various stages of their dissertation.

It was down this road that I discovered female ej@cu1@ti0n.
It was almost unheard of for students to meet the MA degree requirements by writing a research paper (as opposed to completing the program through additional coursework), and when I announced my plans to do so I was met with bewilderment. However, I was resolute in learning the process of long-form essays, as I thought it important to prepare myself for the dissertation that I faced in the coming years. While researching my initial thesis topic--sexual pleasure and representation--I came across an article on "female ej@cu1@ti0n." Assuming the article was--like the rest of the essays I was reading at the time--referring to the female 0rg@sm, I thought nothing of it and moved on.

A little over a month later I had an epiphany: The essay I had recently read about "female ej@cu1@ti0n" was not about female 0rg@sm, as I had thought. It was about female ej@cu1@ti0n! My mind was so ideologically constrained that I could not imagine an ejaculating female body, even as I was reading about it in detail! The realization that my mind actively blocked information I was seeking opened up worlds of epistemological possibilities for me. I immediately contacted the author of the essay and the next week I drove from XXUCity to NewCity to attend a female ej@cu1@ti0n work shop she was hosting at a local sex shop. When I returned home the following day, I dove headfirst into what would become a five-year multi-disciplined introspective of female ej@cu1@ti0n.

When examined chronologically, the work I have done on female ej@cu1@ti0n is a great tool to measure my development as a scholar--as I grow into my own voice as a writer and a thinker, my work becomes less formuleic. My initial point of entry was a rhetorical criticism of one woman's series of feminist video performances, scholarly publications and workshops. Using these texts, I explored female ej@cu1@ti0n as a performance of gender. when my earlier, formulaic scholarship is contrasted with the distinction and vitality of Master's thesis, which explored what was at stake in the absence of female ej@cu1@ti0n in mainstream sexual culture. In subsequent years, I again worked with Dr. Trapani to further advance my questions: How is order maintained when it is threatened by the presence of female ej@cu1@ti0n?

For the rest of my Master's program, I studied female ej@cu1@ti0n. This resulted in conference papers and my Master's Thesis, "p0rn0graphy and the Non-Ejaculating Female Body." I also created a documentary short entitled "Female ej@cu1@ti0n: Perceptions," which has been internationally screened, solicited and awarded. While I am undoubtedly an advocate of spreading knowledge of female ej@cu1@ti0n, female ej@cu1@ti0n itself is not what has been special about my graduate experience-it is a token that I have fetishized to represent something far greater: the position its discovery made available to me, from which I stand to all of my questions. It stands as a reminder of the existence of the unthinkable, the unintelligible-which is not to say the unknowable.
Dec 23, 2009
Faq, Help / Why is my topic / thread deleted? [78]

I study media meant for mature audiences and I think my essay was erased because maybe you thought it was spam or inappropriate? I'm going to post it again because I really need help. Don't delete me, help me!
Dec 21, 2009
Undergraduate / "I'm the definition of oxymoron" - stanford supplement essay (roommate) [11]

I don't doubt your reasons for referring to yourself as a jumping bean.

But you are not the reader of the essay. As the writer, it is your job to communicate as clearly as possible to the admission committee. As the applicant, you want to avoid including anything that could be misconstrued, particularly if it has the potential to be offensive.

I don't know another metaphor for "jumping bean," but perhaps you would like to choose a metaphor that would paint a portrait of someone who had a little more control over themself. I doubt that the admission committee will be discussing your bean analogy to this extent, but consider these portrayals:

Jumping beans were used as a recurring gag in many cartoons from the 1930s to the 1950s, wherein eating the beans would cause a character's whole body to bounce out of control and land on something painful.[2]

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexican_jumping_bean#Jumping_beans_in_po pular_culture
Dec 21, 2009
Undergraduate / MIT Pleasure Essay - Rubik's Cube [7]

No, I LOVE the Rubik's cube! And I think the MIT dudes will love it, too!

When you say, "the Rubik's cube contains worlds of mathematical complexity. It is this intricacy that I enjoy," explain WHAT the mathematical complexity is. WHAT intricacy? SPECIFICALLY what do you enjoy about it?

What separates MIT folk from other folk is that they are able to NAME and DISCUSS IN DETAIL those things about math, etc. that they love. (And, I think, what can make you stand out as an applicant would be is if you can explain WHY you love these things)
Dec 21, 2009
Undergraduate / "I'm the definition of oxymoron" - stanford supplement essay (roommate) [11]

Instead of referring to Thoreau, Picasso, and Mozart as "scholars," try something like "revolutionary thinkers" (since I'm pretty sure none of them were scholars :)).

Maybe use a more sophisticated definition of "oxymoron" than the Oxford dictionary. Do a google search and see if some literary great made a witty remark about what an "oxymoron" (or a synonym for it) is.

Also, you do a good job laying out your "opposing" qualities. I think it's important that you be very clear when you explain the energy/perspective/whatever that is bred from your contradictions. And further--explain why ONLY A SCHOOL LIKE STANFORD CAN ACCOMMODATE YOUR HYBRID GENIUS.

And honestly...real quick...I think "jumping bean" has some negative racial connotations...you may not want to use that particular metaphor...
Dec 21, 2009
Graduate / Untainted Eyes - Law School Personal Statement [3]

I think that this is far too personal and emotional for a law school application. Focus less on the relationship you have with your mother. In the essay, it sounds as if you're only reason for wanting to go to law school is to prove your mother wrong. That kind of motivation probably isn't what the admission committee is looking to hear about. What is it that you love about LAW? What kind of law do you want to go into and why? What are some experiences you had as an undergraduate that helped form these opinions and desires?

Swing the pendulum the other way--write a totally non-emotional, non-intimate version of your essay, then try to put the two together in a way that is appropriate and unique.
Dec 21, 2009
Graduate / 'domain exposure' - SOP PhD in Mech Engg [5]

In the first paragraph, your first and last sentence say the exact same thing. Get rid of one of them. I'd start out with it, then back it up with the evidence (as opposed to working up to it as some grand statement).

Change "I tried to broaden my perspectives and knowledge" into "I broadened my perspectives and knowledge." Words like "try" "think" "seem" weaken what you are saying (and I suppose YOU since all they know of you is what you're saying).

In the 4th and 8th paragraph, you use the word "also" twice in a row.

Instead of "Thanks to this project, I have developed some valuable experimental skills which, I believe, along with my analytical skills will make me a better researcher" say "Thanks to this project, I have developed valuable experimental skills which, along with my analytical skills, make me a better researcher." Maybe even further edit it to "give me great potential for success as a researcher in this field."

Sounds very professional. Just get rid of the modifiers...be confident!
Dec 19, 2009
Letters / Should I include a speaking occasion on my CV if I never actually spoke? [3]

I am applying for grad programs in media studies.

I have some experience in media production and a film I made was in a festival. I flew across the country to attend the festival--I was invited and scheduled to speak on a panel of filmmakers--but the organizers messed up and I never got to do my talk/Q&A. Should I include this speaking occasion as a line on my CV?

Note: It wouldn't be in the same section as academic conferences. It would be under "speaking occasions," which are my less formal talks.

A similar note: I was hired to teach at a community college. Long story unexplained, in the middle of the semester, the department asked me to step down from my teaching position and resume it the following semester. Should I include this job on my CV? (I never went back the following semester)

Thanks a lot...delicate and somewhat embarrassing issues. This forum rocks.