Thursday, June 17, 2010

decisions, decisions

Back in October I wrote about the phd programs I was looking into. I spent the year writing essays, ordering academic records & test scores, and submitting my applications to two different grad schools.

One is in-state, less than 5 minutes from my current school. An easy commute & in-state tuition. How can you go wrong?

The other is in DC, which means out of state tuition, as well as commuting into the city and trying to find parking in order to attend classes. Or late nights waiting on the metro and then the bus to take me home.

I have been accepted into both of them, and am desperately trying to decide what to do.

The absolute logic side of life tells me to go to the in-state program. Then again, the absolute logic side of life tells me to not get a phd at all, and enjoy my life as it is.

Sometimes logic is stupid.

When I discovered the DC program two years ago I immediately knew I had to go. Part of the program's description is:

The program incorporates the changing knowledge landscape of human growth and development by offering opportunities to translate and apply new neuroscience research for populations at risk for atypical development and learning processes. The special education curriculum and student research opportunities are aligned with developing knowledge about the plasticity of the brain and neurological processes as they relate to cognition, language and social-affective development. The course work is designed to deepen knowledge of disability in society and understanding of the response of social institutions to atypical development.

When I first read that I wanted to cry. I want to take those classes. I want that knowledge.

If it was not for that description I would not have even considered a phd program. Maybe another masters in a few years, but why get a phd?

In fact, getting a phd can actually make me a less desirable applicant in some school districts because I would require a higher pay check. More education will actually make it harder to get a job in education.

And if I want to leave schools? What are the chances I'll get a job that pays better than my public school salary? So I'll pay lots of money to educate myself out of having the job I love, and possibly educate myself out of getting paid a somewhat comfortable salary.

So what am I thinking?

But how do I NOT go? Ever since I've learned about this program it's been almost all I've thought about. As I finished my masters courses I would occasionally go back to the website just to read and re-read the program description and the course catalogue. I want this. I want the knowledge, the opportunities it may open up, the challenge, the experience.

I could of course, go half-way, and settle for the in-state program, getting a phd and not going into extreme debt. But if the program is not perfect, what is the purpose of going? I don't necessarily want to have a phd, I want the knowledge of the DC program.

Do I need to be an adult and make the grown up decision of not going into debt?
Or can I go after what I want?

Any one know of someone who wants to pay for me to get my doctorate? Any grants out there that will help me? Any one looking to hire someone for the summer so I can make some extra cash?


luckeyfrog said...

What would you tell one of your students?

Go for it. You'll find a way to make it work.

Mary said...

Gosh, that is such a tough choice!!!

Have you considered being a college professor after getting your PhD? Or doing research at a large university? Since the DC program excites you so much, just imagine how much you could add to that after graduating!

Good luck, I know you'll be great!