One of the things that I wanted to do with Notes From the Apotheke was to amplify the voices and contributions of BIPOC scholars in ancient studies, at all levels and from all backgrounds.BIPOC in the field are invited to reflect on what brought them to studying the ancient world, as well as offer their opinions on the future of the discipline and share any work they are especially proud of or excited about.
For this month’s installment of the BIPOC Feature series, I am thoroughly excited to presentNotes in a Classical Canon or, a (Re)petition to the Field, by Vanessa Stovall.
The hidden curriculum includes a set of things we’re expected to know how to do, from attending a conference for the first time to applying for funding to going on the job market, without actually being taught them. In keeping with the applications theme, this new addition to the series is on the personal statement.
Thanks to everyone on Instagram who helped with the decision!
A note on the personal statement
This post is about writing personal statements for funding applications, not grad school applications. I realize that there also exist “statements of purpose,” which are sometimes asked for in addition to a personal statement.
In the case of funding applications, “personal statement” and “statement of purpose” are often used interchangeably.
Take for example these two funding opportunities from my university:
#1: The statement of purpose must be single-spaced, 12pt font, and three pages maximum including any bibliography, citations, project timetable, graphics, etc. These should be written in language for non-specialists, should describe the proposed research project and discuss its rationale, objectives, design, timetable, feasibility, and methodology, as well as the projected benefits of this trip. If the applicant will be working with an established research project, a description of the organization and the activities in which he/she will be engaged must be included. Applicants should also discuss any language skills needed to conduct the proposed research.
#2: Students’ personal statement…should address the importance of the student’s work in the beginning two or three sentences. The statement should include the theoretical framework of the dissertation, its specific aims, methodologies (how the student is conducting the research), originality, and the significance and contribution of the project to the field…The statement should be written with an interdisciplinary faculty review panel in mind; i.e., reviewers will NOT necessarily be familiar with the technical vocabulary of a specific field.
The purposes of the funding opportunities are slightly different. One specifically supports international research and the other supports work on the dissertation (writing and/or research) more broadly, with an eye toward completion.
However, the requirements for the statements are roughly the same.
If you’re unsure of what to include in a statement, funding institutions usually spell out what sort of information they’re looking for in a personal statement/statement of purpose.
This morning on Instagram I shared a message of solidarity with the AAPI community on this day and all days, and I condemned the increasing instances of violence that they have had to endure since the pandemic began. In particular, my heart goes out to all of my AAPI friends and colleagues in light of the racist, misogynistic, and sexist murder of 6 Asian women in Atlanta.
Since sharing this post, I have come across innumerable resources, mutual aid funds, and action points that I thought might be worth collecting in a single place.
As in the case of anti-Black racism, raising awareness shouldn’t be the only thing that you do in response to anti-Asian violence fueled not only by racism, but also by misogyny and sexism. It’s only the first step. Our friends and colleagues need us to stand with them and show up for them.
Here are some ways you can do this.
Resources to share with your AAPI friends and colleagues:
I bet we’ve all heard at least once in the past year that “your worth isn’t tied to your productivity.” The idea is that you shouldn’t let your work consume you to the point of burnout, which negatively affects all aspects of your health.
Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands.
It’s easy to say that “your worth isn’t tied to your productivity,” but much, much harder to put that idea into practice.
This is especially true when we’re inundated daily with posts on social media that make us feel like we aren’t doing enough, even when we feel good about the (quality and quantity of) work we’re doing.
As I mentioned earlier this week on Instagram, despite the fact that spring is (finally!) right around the corner, we continue to be deeply entangled with our screens – from working from home, to doom-scrolling on social media, to organizing and attending virtual events as part of our anti-racism work.