I need a new plan

I’ve been feeling a little all over the place and when I do, when I don’t have things figured out I withdraw. Another thing I do when I need to sort things out is write, so here I am trying to see if I can vent as much as I need in the hopes that leads to sorting out a plan or two. I like plans, they keep me focused and give me comfort.

Anyhow, this is the deal, the plan I had of defending my dissertation this summer is not going to come to fruition. Why you ask, because summer defenses apparently don’t take place in August, as I thought they might, but in June, and I’m not near ready to defend in June. So by a struck of luck and the hand of God, I found out I could renew my I-20 for one more year and my sponsor, who is retiring, agreed she would be around to see me through next Fall or even the following Spring if it came to that.

All in all, I see it as a good thing. The job market currently, as you all know, is quite slim, and I was having the hardest time finding positions to apply to for a September. So I figured one more year of student status would not only give me more time to finish my dissertation, but it would also give the economy a little more time to recuperate and may bring more job opportunities for next year (hopefully this is not just wishful thinking).

The thing is, the actual problem, is I didn’t plan ahead for this. Meaning I didn’t apply for fellowships, scholarships or any financial help because I was not going to be a student next year and didn’t qualify for it, plus with a full time paying job, I wouldn’t need it. Now that things have changed I find myself with no financial resources for next year.

On the job front, as a student looking at part time positions for next year, things are looking bleak too. You see, as an international student I can only work 20 hours per week (part time) and within the university circuit. Meaning I can’t take a job in my local bakery, as I wish I could, at least not a legally paying one.

The principal of the middle school in which I was doing my fellowship wants to hire me and they actually qualify, since they are part of the Columbia community, so I have that option. My boss, I’m sure would like me to stay and work for her for one more year too. But you see, I’ve done these things for the past two years, I’m kinda done with them. I want something different, something where I will actually be challenged and learn something new.

The other thing is that I could do these badly paid jobs these past years because on top of my part time salary I had a fellowship, which actually paid more a year than I made at work. Meaning that without the fellowship I will be very, very broke next year. Yeah, I guess I could take out a lone as most students do, but I hate dept and so far my dept is minimal and I would really like to keep it that way.

Do see my conundrum? Do you see why I like plans so much? At least the ones that actually stick and come through, not the ones that fall apart midway. I had a plan, a good plan and since it’s gone haywire now I’m caught in this not so great financial/work situation.

I am applying to other positions (only two have come up, my options within the university are limited) and I’m looking for summer jobs to see if I can not only get paid to pay my bills during the summer months, but save some money for next fall and spring. You see I can work full time over summer, because Immigration Services are nice that way.

An option that came up yesterday while talking to my mom was to go to Caracas for the summer. The plan includes leaving my apartment during the months of July and August, hopefully in good hands, and staying at my parents in Caracas and maybe teaching at the university a course or two. That would definitely provide for money saving and give me a little cushion for the Fall. Of course, for this to happen I would need to leave things in order here so that bills are payed in my absence and buy a ticket and head south.

To tell the truth, so far this is sounding like the best plan I’ve got. We’ll see. Sometime away from the US might be just what I need, and I would get to avoid the sticky, humid, overpoweringly hot NYC weather while I’m at it. We’ll see.

In the mean time I’m wrapping up work here and finishing data analysis, getting ready for a conference in Chicago mid June and trying not to lose all my hair because of the uncertainties of the future. Fun, right? Right!

So there you have it, if you have any other brilliant ideas, please, this no time to be shy. Shoot them my way. I will highly appreciate it.


4 responses to “I need a new plan

  1. I’m a plan kind of girl myself and when things don’t go to plan, I get all kinds of upset inside.I don’t have any suggestions for you, but spending time with your parents this summer and resting sounds pretty darn good to me.

  2. “Swing the axe, and let the chips fall where they may”… You have planned too long- do something, even if it’s wrong! Even a mistake is a positive learning experience…

  3. I don't have specific advice. But, I can tell you that my father (a professor at another Ivy League) has had some financial opportunities related to the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act. Essentially, he is likely to get a pretty large grant to be used in the next year. A big chunk of that money is going to pay some grad students to help him with his work. I wouldn't be surprised if some of your connections at Columbia are in the same situation. Maybe there are some opportunities coming up now that did not exist before? Keep asking. Keep talking. Keep looking. Things will fall into place.

  4. Kate – yep, it sounds good to me too. I’m hoping for that one.Buffalodick – No worries I do something every single day and mistakes, I’ve made a ton of those, so I’m guessing am good here.Nilsa – That’s exactly how I get paid currently. I work at a little research center, which has grants for projects and I have a piece of one of those projects. But the money is close to nothing and very hard to live on. We’ll see, I’m sure something will come up, hopefully sooner than later ; )

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