Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Please, God, Don't Let My Advisor Read This

So the universe is just fucking with me. I get a week of great news---I got all the funding that I applied for---and then a week of crappy news:

I can only use one of the grants that I received. Because even though the grants are from different sources and were granted by different committees through different departments, they are for the same "intent." Or so said one of the grant sources when I called to check on the policy for combining grants. Nevermind that none of the grants are sufficient on their own to cover my expenses for two months in Malawi (I'm not even counting the several thousand dollars I'll have to borrow from somewhere to cover my mortgage and other bills for the summer). Apparently it's better to underfund many projects than to sufficiently fund a few.

Then I heard back from the travel agent. A ticket to Malawi is going to cost---at minimum---$2,700. About $1,000 more than I was budgeting for. That grant is starting to look an awful lot like a blanket that always leaves your feet cold.*

Now, logically, I can understand all of this. I get that the funders want to help as many students as possible. And I know that a lot of students have to self-fund their research trips, especially for predissertation research. At least one of my friends is paying for her trip almost entirely out of her own pocket. And that's the thing: If someone is really passionate about the research, he or she will make those sacrifices, will max out credit cards or live on Ramen noodles to make it happen.

But I'm coming up with every excuse not to go to Malawi this summer. And I'm definitely less than thrilled about spending a year there for my dissertation fieldwork, especially after rereading my journals from my previous year in Malawi. I was miserable for the entire year!

I'm still excited about my research topics and the directions those topics are taking me. But I'm starting to wonder if I really have it in me to go all the way for my doctorate in anthropology.

*Bonus points if anyone can identify the reference!


At 6:15 PM , Blogger Bearette24 said...

Dead Poets Society. I had to look it up, though ;)

At 8:53 PM , Blogger Artemisia said...

Oh, I am sorry that all of this is crashing down around you.

And these are yucky, sick in your gut, kinds of questions you are asking yourself.

But, ultimately, you must ask yourself this stuff. I had a hard time when it dawned on me that I love learning and bs'ing about all sorts of stuff - but that I don't want to do the research required of a Ph.D. There is no question out there that I JUST MUST ANSWER. Not like that.

Who knows what side of the fence you will be on, but ultimately I think you will be happy knowing your feet are firmly planted on one side.

I hope this doesn't sound preachy. Hang in there.


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