Decisions, Decisions

My research is making slow and steady forward progress, which is exciting and a welcome change.  My ideal plan is to finish all my labwork this summer and to spend the fall writing.  So far, I seem to be on schedule for doing that.  Now I’m trying to decide what to do about next fall.  Maybe my helpful blog readers can offer some advice.

So, should I stay or should I go?…

Funding: My funding ends in August, after which all tuition, fees, and expenses are out of my own pocket.  If I stay and teach, my net costs for fall are around $2000, while if I go (or stay and mooch off folks here without teaching), they are at least $5,000 (or more if I have to travel to WI regularly).

Teaching: I like teaching, but I applied late to the various positions, so it is likely I’ll get the dregs of the jobs – ie, the ones that require the most work.  On the bright side, I could finally finish my teaching certificate which I’ve done all the requirements except for the mentored practicum.  If I taught in the fall, I could do that.  Or, I could maybe get a job in the Smokies teaching…

Insurance: If I teach in the fall, my health insurance will be paid for by the university through December, so my COBRA coverage will start in January.  If I don’t teach, I’ll start COBRA earlier (in August) and it will therefore end 3 months earlier.

Housing: If I teach in the fall, I’d have to find a place to rent here for one semester that takes cats, which is hard in this town, and will likely be much more expensive than what I pay now.  Or I could live on someone’s couch…

Writing: If I stay, I’d have the benefits of being here with access to my advisors, stats consultants, libraries, and other folks on campus.  On the other hand, I’d also be teaching, and that will take a big chunk of time away from writing.  If I go, I’ll have more uninterrupted time to write, but also less support for doing so.

Timing: At the moment, it seems like I will be able to get my work done here this summer.  But, things have a way of not always working out as planned.  If I stayed for the fall, I would have more flexibility with finishing all my labwork and not be under such intense pressure to finish everything this summer.

Looking for advice dear readers…I really want to go hang out on Marian’s front porch in the Smokies and write – it sounds idyllic and much more pleasant than staying here.  But, at what financial and academic cost?

Thanks in advance for any thoughts!

2 Responses to Decisions, Decisions

  1. Auntie Gael says:

    Hi Heidi,
    My experience with working or living away from school, thinking you will work on your thesis, is that you prolong your degree and increase the risk you may never finish! That is a huge risk and one you would regret if it didn’t happen. So, I suggest you stick it out at least one semester in WI so you have all the data analyzed, draft completed and reviewed, and last input from your professors. Perhaps you could just complete the whole thing by then? I suggest you work only part-time job near or on campus for balance so you do not jeapardize your work. If all goes a planned, you can go off into the big wide world absolutely sure you will get the final degree or you stay through your defense. If you really want to move, set a goal of finishing everything by Xmas, and then it’s all behind you. You could do student teaching somewhere nice and warm spring semester and mooch off your friends if needed then. You’ll never regret completing this ASAP. Everyone I know that didn’t stick around has regretted it. The thesis hangs over their heads, they hate their subject, they loose track of timelines, and feel guilty every day that they aren’t finished.

    Wish you luck in this… we’ll see you soon!

  2. Harry Bissell says:

    Dear Heidi: I would have to agree with Gael: Above all, finish what you started and the rest will take care of itself Are you sure you really want to teach the rest of your life? After you receive your PHD take a year off and really decide your future. You have so much to offer!! We can talk more about this in Alaska!! Love Grandpa