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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
Not_here Offline
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Don't think I'm worth a recommendation though - April 3rd 2016, 07:13 PM

Hi all,

I want to apply to a program-It is an internship training program for mental health peer support and the deadline is May 1st. I need 2 letters of recommendation. I will also need letters for graduate school in the near future, perhaps 6-12 months (though I heard it is better to get them from now when I'm still in school and have connections with professors)

I actually had so many adjuncts and teacher assistants rather than tenure professors that make it difficult to contact them. Also I've asked for letters before and I think it would just be easier to give those. The problem is that the professor had written "Dear..." and other things that clearly indicate the letter was used already for something else. Is it acceptable to reuse?

Also...I am very shy to ask for new letters of recommendation. I don't think my professors like me, and quite frankly I can't stand some of them either. In fact, I really feel like I'm doing horribly this semester. Last semester I made it to the Dean's list (just got an email about it this morning) and I've made it to the Dean's list many times but ironically in my last semester when I should be doing progressively better and more prepared for the future, I'm actually doing a lot worse. I don't know what's wrong with me. I cant get myself to participate in class even though I got so far with my social anxiety when it comes to school. I am like tongue tied most days and I also have been failing quizzes. The assignments I got back were not my best writing and I also have a hard time articulating in general but that's been particular flaring up-so that professors tell me my sentences are awkwardly phrased, confusing and that my syntax is off. Even orally, I am not only shy and nervous and kinda stutter-y I also am not making sense sometimes and go around in circles. Even at home I struggle to communicate. So now I don't even bother raise my hand because I know I'll mess up. I know communication is something I struggle with, not just when I do poorly but when I do well too because it seems like it comes at random and unpredictable and suddenly I am back to having difficulty again. So one person can tell me I have horrible communication skills and another person who met me a few months later can tell me I communicate amazingly and they can't imagine that I even struggle.

So this is like a two-fold post I guess. I am scared to see my professor during office hours because he can be rude and intimidating but I can possibly fail the class so I should speak to him soon. And on top of that i need letters of recommendation but I don't know who I can ask and from the few professors I have in mind, I want to save to ask them for when I apply to graduate school-which I don't even know what program I'd apply to if I do-and that's why I can't ask for letters from now. Professors would ask what I need the letter for, I'll say graduate school and they'll ask what program...then there's this internship program I talked about before-the one for mental health and the eligibility requirement is a mental health diagnosis among others which I have...but I am also scared to ask my therapist for the documents because it is embarrassing.
   
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Re: Don't think I'm worth a recommendation though - April 3rd 2016, 09:05 PM

Hey there, I feel your pain, I seriously wish we didn't need letters, it's so stressful ugh.

A diagnosis is nothing to be embarrassed about especially if you're talking about it with your therapist; if you need documents, you need documents. I doubt that would be a problem, you have a right to see and have a copy of your own file to do with as you please.

I've been in that situation of having to talk to a professor you really don't like (or who doesn't like you) because you aren't doing well in their class. I'll spare you the gory details and just say mine didn't go well. He might look favorably on the fact that you go in there to talk to him because you know you need to. I actually had a professor I was seriously intimidated by, but I knew he'd be a REALLY good reference because I had research experience and multiple classes with him. He actually wrote me letters twice and responded to my request for help now that my masters fell apart (and yes, I had to get over the shame I was carrying and tell him what happened) and I felt horrible because I felt like I wasted his recommendations and he'd be either mad or unwilling to write another one. I may need him to in the future, but he understands it wasn't my fault and wasn't mad about it.

It is better (read a lot easier) to get letters while you're in school just because you have access to your professors in person, but don't ask for letters unless you're sure of what you need them for and make sure to go with professors you like who like you. Depending on how generic your existing letters are, you could reuse them, but it's better to ask for new ones so what you send are relevant to what you're applying for, it looks a lot better Good Luck.


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Re: Don't think I'm worth a recommendation though - April 12th 2016, 09:39 AM

I know that there can help to draw up a letter of recommendation and all the necessary papers. You also need to impress the commission, right? Such services are very well suited for this.

Last edited by Celyn; April 13th 2016 at 05:05 PM. Reason: Please don't post links to lead users off-site
   
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Re: Don't think I'm worth a recommendation though - April 12th 2016, 01:48 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kate* View Post
Hey there, I feel your pain, I seriously wish we didn't need letters, it's so stressful ugh.

A diagnosis is nothing to be embarrassed about especially if you're talking about it with your therapist; if you need documents, you need documents. I doubt that would be a problem, you have a right to see and have a copy of your own file to do with as you please.

I've been in that situation of having to talk to a professor you really don't like (or who doesn't like you) because you aren't doing well in their class. I'll spare you the gory details and just say mine didn't go well. He might look favorably on the fact that you go in there to talk to him because you know you need to. I actually had a professor I was seriously intimidated by, but I knew he'd be a REALLY good reference because I had research experience and multiple classes with him. He actually wrote me letters twice and responded to my request for help now that my masters fell apart (and yes, I had to get over the shame I was carrying and tell him what happened) and I felt horrible because I felt like I wasted his recommendations and he'd be either mad or unwilling to write another one. I may need him to in the future, but he understands it wasn't my fault and wasn't mad about it.

It is better (read a lot easier) to get letters while you're in school just because you have access to your professors in person, but don't ask for letters unless you're sure of what you need them for and make sure to go with professors you like who like you. Depending on how generic your existing letters are, you could reuse them, but it's better to ask for new ones so what you send are relevant to what you're applying for, it looks a lot better Good Luck.
Thank you Kate for the advice.
The professor mentioned that a lot of students in the class is struggling. He mentioned that for the second paper we can see him for office hours with an outline of the second paper, a copy of the first paper with his comments and the take home quiz and only with those three items will he then discuss the second paper 1-2-1 and go from there. I'm going to try getting these things done and signing up for an office hour time slot. It just seems like each of my classes are asking for extra focus and handing in work early so I have to prioritize because it is hard doing all this work in advance way before the deadline for 5 classes especially for someone who had been procrastinating since like 2nd grade. But I'll see what I can do.
So I spoke to my academic advisor and I may end up doing credit/no credit if necessary but first I have to talk to my professor(s) and see if I can still pull up my grades.

For the letter of recommendation, I'm not sure how it will work out but I may email professors who've wrote them in the past for me and ask them to update the details.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Suiky View Post
I know that there can help to draw up a letter of recommendation and all the necessary papers. You also need to impress the commission, right? Such services are very well suited for this.
Hi, thank you for the suggestion but honestly I'm not looking to cheat. I would rather give my best shot and not make it than to pay someone to get in. Besides the fact that I don't have money to waste nor the energy it takes to hide my tracks and the worry of getting caught. So this isn't beneficial for me on all fronts.


Although my question now is, am I cheating if I were to take an old letter of recommendation and have the professor switch it up to be more relevant to the program I'm applying to? Isn't there something about "self-plagarizing" and will I or my professors get in trouble for this?

I may just push off applying altogether though. So I can focus more on passing my classes and worry about the next step later. But maybe I should just ask new professors.

Last edited by Celyn; April 13th 2016 at 05:05 PM.
   
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Re: Don't think I'm worth a recommendation though - April 13th 2016, 05:58 PM

Iím sorry to hear that you are struggling with your last semester. I was exactly the same way in my last term of university, but I pulled through, and Iím sure you will too!

Even if you donít like your professors, they have to be professional and give you a letter of recommendation, should you decide to ask them for a new one. The same goes for your therapist. It might feel embarrassing but itís nothing really to be embarrassed about. Professors and therapists probably get asked about letters and documents on a regular basis.

Iím not sure if it would be plagiarism. I think getting your professors to update the details is a better idea than reusing old letters of recommendations. Probably a good idea to take the old letter along with you and ask your professor if they would do that and say that you are worried about the plagiarism.

I agree with Kate that getting letters of recommendation may be easier while you are still in school though. I havenít applied for postgraduate teacher training yet and am worried that when the time comes my professors wonít remember me But I do understand that you want to focus on your classes first before applying for other things.


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Re: Don't think I'm worth a recommendation though - April 21st 2016, 12:45 AM

You should be able to find at least 2 professors that would be willing to write a favorable letter of recommendation. I am sure that there are at least 2 professors who taught a class that you did well in. Now some of them are kind of weird about letters and make it harder on you-- but I would just ask every professor if you can.

I think you are worrying too much about the "self-plagiarizing" thing. It is a letter. Unless they have a policy against it,they aren't going to care that it was an altered copy of another letter --as long as you didn't simply edit it yourself. The letter is talking about the same person (you) as the old one , and that is all they care about. Really, what they are looking for is a letter that shows that someone actually thinks you are smart and competent in the field. If your old letter can do that , then that is fine. They just want to see what professors actually think of your performance and abilities--not just what your transcript says.

Asking the same professors twice (one for intern and one for grad school) is also normal. Most of them would be glad to help you. If you are still concerned, then I would suggest doing things that will produce a good letter from future professors. Show an active interest in the academic part of the field that they teach-show that you can think independently with carefully thought up questions,etc.

I've also had an issue with awkward phrasing and awkwardness in general. I've gotten better though at it. What you need to do to improve is to carefully think of what exactly it is you are going to say before you say it, and try to imagine what will happen when you say it. Then if you are sure that you won't look stupid asking the question, then ask it confidently. But make sure that you can ask the question confidently. So know what you are asking before you do- think it through. Even if you are nervous, your question will make sense if it is well thought out and you understand what you are asking perfectly. It will probably also help to not ask questions in class- but wait till after class. That way you won't be so concerned about what other people are thinking.

Last edited by Proud90sKid; April 21st 2016 at 01:07 AM.
   
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