Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Spring break

I recently discovered some unexpected challenges in my graduate school funding. It turns out that I have a whole summer (2010) without any funds -none from Fulbright and none from the university. My Fulbright grant terminates in Spring 2010, which leaves me with a whole summer and a semester without their support. I am still negotiating with Fulbright to extend some funds for me until summer 2010 even if I am not enrolled in courses, especially since the grant supposedly covers two academic years. Although Fall 2010 will require a lot of belt tightening, it will be a bit easier since I still have a graduate assistantship that will cover my tuition fee and half of my regular stipend.

For a couple of days, I have been waking up with a killer headache from spending restless sleep during which I am still constantly thinking of a solution.The practical part of me tells me to cancel all of my planned travels and activities and just save as much as I could in preparation for next year. However,I know that these travels also enrich me personally, academically and even professionally, and have been sources of inspiration for some of my projects.

And so, I finally purchased my tickets to New York City today. I will still exercise smart spending (as I always do) but will not let this impede learning opportunities. I am exploring other possible sources of funding for 2010 and looking at possibilities of engaging in a paid internship at a museum (which still requires approval from Fulbright). If worse comes to worst, I will give up my apartment in Florida and ask a friend to adopt me for the whole summer in exchange for a baby sitter, cook, arts and crafts teacher, researcher, graphic designer, photographer etc. for three months!

I recently told a friend, "Don't stress too much, it will all work out in the end, sometimes even better than you hoped or ever imagined." It's time I heed my own advice! I will consider this trip to New York as my reward for an excellent first semester! :)