Wednesday, April 02, 2008


That's the answer to whatever question you are about to ask me. No, my thesis still isn't finished. No, my work computer isn't fixed yet. No, I haven't decided where to go to finish my PhD.

The department at Visitation U. is smallish, but seems strong both academically and socially. I like that. The gossip, which I can't say much about, has to do with the personalities and advising styles of particular professors there. I like the fact that the grad students were willing to give me their perspectives on the problems. In a way it was funny, because they were so dramatic about revealing the problems and then the problems seemed so minor, so run of the mill, considering my experiences at B.A.U. and what I read about in the academic blog-o-sphere, that I almost had to laugh.

Visitation U. is in a nice, smallish city or largish town, depending how you look at it. Rent and living expenses there would be around 2/3 of what we pay now at B.A.U. Of course, my TA salary there would be 2/3 's of what I make now at B.A.U. There are lots of recreation opportunities, good Asian restaurants (have I blogged about Beorn's addiction to sushi?), and it's in the same region I'm proposing to study for my dissertation.

The alternative is Great White North U. They are offering me significantly more money, but they are located in a large city, rent and expenses would be higher. Also, at least for the first year, a significant amount of that money would have to be spent paying international student fees. The department there is larger, which could be a major benefit for me: more grad students interested in similar issues, and a more dynamic environment. The climate, latitude, and large urban environment make it a less appealing place to live though. Also, it's not in the region I'm planning to study, meaning my research would have to involve extended, expensive trips to that region.

I think what is making me so grumpy these days is a mourning process. I had planned to stay here at B.A.U. to finish the PhD. If I was staying I could start studying for my comprehensive exams any time now. Starting over is going to cost me a year, at least, possibly two. I feel sad about all of this, sad that I wasted so much time trying to make things work here, and sad that I'm leaving. (Oh god! I'm breaking up with my university.) Does that mean that whatever new university I choose is a rebound relationship?


Anonymous said...

i know choosing a place is a very hard decision to make. if great white u is what i think it is, you should look into the funding situation and if you are guaranteed funding for all your phd years, b/c i know of international students there who lost their funding and had to transfer...

and it is hard to leave a place, and sounds normal to me that you would be in mourning, place is important! and so are our plans. and hopefully you won't lose too much, plenty of people switch after the master... whatever you decide, it will all work out!

Dharma said...

I don't think all rebounds are a bad thing {grin}. Good Asian restaurants are important, to me anyway. Not that that should sway you in the least. Also which ever is closer to me would be my choice. Again not that that should sway you {grin}.

Lisa Ertl said...

So, what happened to your thesis? I think now, your answer already had change, right? Writing MA or PhD dissertation can really be hard, but with a lot of effort and a bit of luck, anything can be possible. Anyway, I do hope everything went well, and you already have your PhD degree.