Today, February 15, is the day that my application for a graduate assistantship will land on someone's desk.
Someone will look through my application, my essay and my recommendation letters. Someone will decide if I am a good candidate for the job. Some will decide--and I know they know it--whether I will go to school in Flagstaff.
Funding is a big deal for grad students. A BIG deal. At this point, we've chosen a field that we are spiritually invested in and we have given up most of our soul to writing papers, doing research and filling out applications. Most of us are also broke. I wouldn't feel good about calling us greedy, but we do want our achievement and our potential to be recognized in the form of a big fat check.
If I don't get a graduate assistantship out of the English department, there is a slim chance that I could find a GA-ship in another department, or find another on-campus job to offset the out-of-state tuition; but let's get real. Out-of-state tuition is nearly triple what an Arizonan would pay. We're talking the price of a new BMW. Come on.
I put my soul into school, and I'm not ready (or financially able) to fork over that kind of money for a degree of any sort. I know I can find a way around paying through the nose.
I hear Payap University in Thailand has a kickin' and affordable MA TESOL. Actually, I could do most of the things I want to do without a Masters degree, so I'm feeling pretty liberated--except the part where I'm totally depending on someone else's decision.
But, my best scenario includes an English Department GA-ship at Northern Arizona, a cheap apartment that allows a little kitty to be my roommate, and free (good) coffee.
I hope the grad school gods smile upon me and my application. For now, I'll just have to wait.