Thursday, November 1, 2012

Feeling Groovy

So we fought the law and... we won?

My cohort and I staged a little mini-revolution this past week.  The requirements for some of our classes (the online ones in particular) were INSANE. So, we rebelled, and called a meeting, and presented a list of demands, and it seems like the school has backed down. Yea!

Lest you think we are a chronically lazy bunch, please believe that the requirements were whackadoodle.  For example-- We had 3 group projects due PER WEEK (group projects in an online course? Whose brilliant idea was this?), 2-4 major writing assignments per week, 3 forum posts due per week, and 200+ pages of reading due per week (plus often a video or two to respond to.)  We are taking FIVE classes, and these are the recs for just ONE, and we have about 10 hours of clinic work on top of that, and then whatever else life throws at us.... (I can't even imagine my colleagues with kids... One woman in my classes has 3 kids under the age of 5 and is doing all of this. Insanity!)  The major thing though was that the assignments weren't particularly useful-- they felt like "check box" assignments to make sure that we had done our reading.  I think this is because it's the first time the school is doing online courses, and they're really not sure how to deal with it.

So, our cohort had our meeting, and we got them to significantly modify the workload and streamline it. Yea!

The reason I'm feeling groovy though is because I've been talking to a woman who was a recent graduate of the MA portion of the program I'm in.  Jedi and I have been talking, and I think I've come to the conclusion that if I can't get someone else to pay for the PhD, I'm going to be done with school-- it just doesn't make financial sense to continue, I think, in other circumstances.  The school I'm currently at, I can continue with the PhD there, but financially I just don't think I'll want to.

Well, the recent alumna is in a great program that not only covers the cost of the PhD, but also offers an amazing stipend-- $25k.  (As I was talking to her my ears perked up wildly when I heard that!) They do only accept 2-3 people a year, which is not surprising given the incentives. The work done is also pretty interesting-- it's the only program in the country that has this particular focus, so it's pretty unique, which gives it's graduates a nice niche. She gave me some great advice too, and one of them was to do my upcoming Spring internship at a regional hospital that is affiliated with this PhD program to up my future chances.  So, you know how I like plans... It's nice to have something to plan towards!

Jedi is also rooting for this particular program over others I'm looking at because it's in his childhood hometown. (Not that most of his friends live there anymore, mind you!)  When I mentioned the program he was ready to start packing boxes then and there-- (which speaks more to how ready he is to move out of where we are now, I think, than to anything else actually!)

So, feeling good, finding a routine, making plans for the future...

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