Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Problem

It feels like the obstacles are mounting. I knew it wouldn't be easy in this doctoral program, but I took a risk and here I am. I am in my third year and was beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But the funding for my assistantship has been eliminated. My major professor has scraped enough money together to keep me until the end of the spring semester. He said there is no hope of getting more money in time to keep my assistantship from ending.

The program that I am in does not require a dissertation. We take 90 credits of classes and 30 credits of internships. I do not have a research project that will be interrupted or not funded. I just put in several hours of work every week doing whatever my boss (major professor) wants me to do. I would love to not have to work those hours, but I can't afford to be without a stipend. So, I have already started looking for another assistantship, but everyone that I've talked to so far only has M.S. assistantships to offer. I already have an M.S.; I don't need another one.

So, this is just one obstacle out of several that I am dealing with. Maybe I'll write about the others another time.

4 comments:

makita said...

Hi Joyce,
Sorry to hear about your trouble. Did you check with the program director. He may know who has funding for your kind of thing. He also has something at stake here. It doesn't look too good for the program if students have to drop out more than halfway through for lack of funding. Not a lot of new students will be willing to join, the risk is just too high. Good luck.

Joyce said...

Hi Makita,
I did check with the director and I was not at all happy with what I heard. The program only has funding for first year students and they don't take third or fourth year students into the clinic. His suggestion to me was to find a full time job and drop down to part-time student. He said that if I could get a job at DXX (the state building around the corner) they would waive most of the remaining classes after the spring semester. If? Over there? He must know what the economy is like in this state. I am going to apply for every scholarship and fellowship that I possibly can and I am expecting to max out to my student loan limits. It's very depressing, but after everything that I have been through I can't give up now.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't say much about the program and the curriculum if the "director" is willing to "waive most of the remaining classes after the spring semester". If the courses can be waived whenever they feel like, why take them in the first place? Does this mean they are not important? I would guess they are, but it looks like they are more interested in keeping you than you getting a proper education. From what you have said, I would assume the following:
1. They are more interested in attracting students than keeping them (thus funding for 1 year only)
2. They would prefer to throw you to the dogs after the first couple of years. Who cares, since they will get new students, right?
3. The program you are describing obviously has some real problems.
Good Luck

Joyce said...

Hi Anonymous,
Thank you for your wishes of good luck. I certainly need it. There are a couple of things in your comment that I want to respond to.
1. After the spring semester, I will have four classes remaining that I have to take. The rest of my requirements will be internships. The reason the program director said they would waive most of the remaining classes if I get a job at DXX is because the type of work done there is very relevant to my program of study and the courses that I have left to take. So, I would be learning what I need to know if I were to get a job there. However, I am not planning to apply for a job there. So, I am not expecting to have any of my courses waived.
2. It certainly does feel like the students are being thrown to the dogs after the first year. It's not intentional. The core of the problem is lack of money and bad planning on the part of the university. The program is very new. Someone, a few years ago came up with the great idea of having this program, the university thought it was great, and so the program came into being. But they didn't provide an endowment or major source of funding for it. There is just enough to fund first year students and then the students are on their own to look for funding. In spite of the funding issues, retention is pretty good. Based on some quick rudimentary calculations here it's about 85%. So, why do students stay and put up with the funding issues and dozens of graduate classes? Because graduates are in demand and the money is good.