new desk!

Guys, I got a new-to-me desk!
Desk
Thanks to our friend Matt‘s desk upgrade, he no longer needed this old teacher’s desk. I was thrilled to get it for several reasons: one, it was $0, and two, it is quite deep for its petite size. Since the study is a very small room (8’x10’, with odd protrusions on one wall), I needed a smallish desk — but I much prefer deep desks. This was the best solution possible!
Desk Top
It even has this nifty pull-out surface extension!
Desk extension

Because the study is so small and relatively low-light, I had a bit of a debate about where to put this desk. I knew that I preferred to face the doorway to the living room because light shines in through the bay windows of that room. But I also recognized that the space might not permit that: a path needs to remain clear and easy from the living room to the kitchen.
Untitled

So I tried four different desk configurations. First, I did the “sensible” thing and placed the desk against the wall… and was immediately bummed out.
Desk Position 1
I’ve had a desk against the wall before, so I’m not completely against it. However, that desk was always in rooms with ample natural light, and if I’m remembering correctly it featured a hutch that pretty much necessitated a wall. This desk, against the dark wall, looked undersized even with the shrimpy wall length we were dealing with. Remembering my initial plan, I turned to a new configuration.
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feeling historical: the lillian massey building, university of toronto

When we first visited Toronto, almost exactly a year ago, I was super excited to see my department building. I fully expected it to be kind of gross and sad. See, my alma mater (side note: this means nourishing mother … weird) had an urban campus that had been assailed by brutalists, with public transit running boldly through the center. So I figured, the University of Toronto was bound to be just as ugly… right?
LM1
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Wrong. This is my department’s building, the Lillian Massey building. It is far from the only beautiful building on campus. When I walked inside, I was greeted by a cool, pillared marble foyer and a grand staircase, not to mention spectacular and colorful stained glass.
lmstairs
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And then, I got used to it. The campus was so beautiful overall that I no longer was “wowed” by the Lillian Massey Building. That is, until a professor brought in some information about the building on a whim. Built between 1907-1912, the Neoclassical building used to house the Department of Household Science, one of the first departments to admit women and the first to grant tenure to female faculty members. Unsurprisingly, this department was eliminated in the 1970’s, and the building fell into some disrepair.
LMcrash
source (pssst: did you notice the collision in that picture? it was apparently staged!)
But the thing that blew my mind the most was that the building used to contain a swimming pool in the basement!
LM pool
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You can actually still see the skylight and the columns in the basement of the Club Monaco that rents part of the building from U of T now.

I really got a kick out of looking up old pictures of the Lillian Massey building, and I thought since I took care of all my obligations to the University yesterday (library fines, key returns, mailbox cleanout) this might be a nice ode to my MA-granting institution. U of T, you are lovely!

applying for ph.d. programs – my own tips and tricks

Although I am still in the process of choosing what school I will attend in the fall, I find myself in a great situation of choosing between four top-20 programs. I thought I’d put my process out there because I would have been thrilled to find such a post last spring/summer when I began the long process of applying. Hold on to your hats, because this might be a long one!

Update, April 1! I chose Harvard and I couldn’t be more excited!

Ten Steps to Putting YOUR Best Foot Forward in Ph.D. Applications – after the break…

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