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EverythingIWishIKnewBeforeStartingaCareerinHistory

1.YoucantreenactGerman.Like,atall.Evenbeingtiedtoreenactingingeneralisreallyrisky.I
knowthewholespielaboutrememberinghistoryandallthat,andItotallyunderstandthat
argument,buthonestly,youcant.Itriedtalkingtosomeprofessorsandtellingthemthat
argument,butitsnouse.Evenifitsunderadifferentnameandfacebook,itWILLgettiedback
toyou.Itsnotwellrespectedorlikedinacademiaandyoullnevergetajob.Ever.Most
professors(andpotentialhiringcommittees)seereenactorsaspeoplewhofocusontheminutia
andlessontheimportantshiftsinhistorywhichisgenerallytrueandisnotwellreceived.My
MastersdefensecommitteechairwasactuallytheguywhowrotetheNYTarticleontheone
politicianthatwasinClintsunitandwasblastedalloverthenews.Thedudeisareallyniceguy,
butyoucanseethegeneraltoneofreenactingthroughhisresponse.ImevenriskingitwithClint
havingreenactedinthepastandhisVietnamlivinghistorygroup.Ifthewordreenactingistied
backtome,itcouldreallyruinmycareerchances.

2.Youvegottoreallywanttobeinschoolfor10+years.Imnottryingtodiscourageyou,but
gradschoolisveryverydifficult.GettingaBAinhistorywillgetyouahighschoolteachingjob.
GettingaMAinhistorywillgetyouahighschoolteachingjobwithbetterpay.GettingaPhDin
historywillgetyouintointerviewsforprofessorshipsandmuseums,DoDwork,etcetc.
Basically,anythingotherthanhighschooljobsyouvegottohaveaPhDtoevenbeconsidered.
Thats4yearsforBA,2forMA,and46forPhD.

3.Yougotta,gotta,gottalovetoreadandwrite!Gradschoolissuperfunandsuperchallenging.
ThispastsemesterIwasassigned32bookstoreadwhichaveragedoutto2ishbooksaweek.
Youregrilledonthosebooksinclassesofusually12people,sonohidingbehindanyone.
Additionally,Iwrotea30pagepaper(60booksforsources),a15pagepaper(16booksfor
sources),andaround3640otherpagesofbookreviews.ThesemesterbeforethatIwroteon
averageabout150pages.Mythesiswillbearound150intotalwhichisalot.Dissertations
(PhDs)averagearound300pages,whichyouturnintoabook.But,ifyoulovetoreadandwrite,
itsawesome!IvebeenabletoresearchthingsIreallylove.(Also,beawareingettingyourPhD
thereareoralandwrittencomprehensiveexamsattheend.Theylastforaweekandfromwhat
Ivebeentoldtheyaretheactualworst.Like,consideractualsuicidetogetoutofthemthe
worst.)

4.Youwontgetajobdoingstrictlyjustmilitaryhistory.Itsadyingfield,unfortunately.Everything
isbeingmeldedintoonediscipline.Forinstance,ImgettingmyMAinmilitaryhistorybutmy
PhDinEuropeanhistory.IfIwasjusttostopatmyMA,itwouldbereallydumbformetodo
military.Ivegottoworkmyoperational/strategichistoryintoaWarandSocietydisciplineso
futureemployerswillseethatImversatile.Hiringcommitteeshatemilitaryhistorians,even
thoughmilitaryhistorybooksarepopularandstudentswanttotaketheirclasses.Itsthe
contradictionofmyentirelife.Thestruggleisreal.

5.Asforfindingtherightschool,Ithinkyousaidyoureincommunitycollegerightnow,whichis
fantastic.Ididmyfirsttwoyearsatoneandsavedsomuchmoneyandgotmyprereqsoutof
theway.Asforuniversities,onethingtokeepinmindisthatyoucantdoallofyourdegreesat
thesameschool.Youcandoamaxof2(eitherBA/MA,orMA/PHD),otherwiseitscalled
intellectualincest,essentiallywhereyougotingoodwithaprofandhetookyoualltheway
through.Speakingofprofs,onceyoufindoutwhereyoudliketogo,emailtheprofthatseems
thebestfitforyouandbecometheirfriend.Dontbeweirdandstalkerish,butaskforadvice
theyvegotalottogive.Agoodplacetolookforcollegesis:
http://www.smhhq.org/grad/gradguide/degree.html.Itsagraduateprogramslist,butitwillgive
youagoodideaofthehistorydepartments.Notallhistorydepartmentsarecreatedequal.For
instance,myuniversity(UNT)usedtohaveareallygreatEuropean/militaryhistorydepartment.
Infact,alongwithOhioState,mymilitaryhistorydept.isoneofthelargest.Buttheyrehiring
moreAmericanists/gender/foodwayshistorians(trendystuff)soitskindofgoingdownhill.There
aresomegoodprofsherestill,though!

6.Lastbutnotleast:scholarships.Scholarships,scholarships,scholarships.Schoolsusually
dontgivefullfundingforBAsandMAs,buttheydoforPhDs.Soyouneedtoplanhowmuch
yourewillingtogointodebtforyourfirsttwodegrees.Yourenotgoingtobemakingtenureright
outofyourPhDgraduationassociateprofsandlecturersusuallymake$50kishayeartostart
out.Tenuredprofsmakewellover$100k.Butifyoure$80kindebt,itsnotgoingtobefun.Be
smart,applyforprogramsthathavepotentialfundingandgoodprofessors.Itsalongridebutif
youregametodothework,itswellworthit!