The news is definitely good, all the way around. But there is a big monkey wrench in the middle of it all. I cannot believe I am going to have to make this HUGE decision without Leo's input! I am so afraid!
I left Houston about 2:30 in order to get home in plenty of time to attend the annual "Bevo Bash". This is an event where the Calhoun County Texas Exes (those of us who graduated from the University of Texas) get together and visit, conduct a bit of business, and prepare to distribute scholarship money to one (or more) Calhoun seniors. Other than the fact that Leo was not with me, since he REALLY would have enjoyed it, I had an absolute blast. But, that's not my story tonight. So, let me back up just a bit. After I arrived in the parking lot of the restaurant, I decided to check my email on my iPhone. I couldn't believe I had a message waiting on me from Texas Tech. I sat in my truck a few minutes while I tried to open and read the Word document on my tiny iPhone screen. Here's how the message started...
29 April 2009. Dear Belinda, I am pleased to write you with the news that the technical communication and rhetoric faculty has decided to admit you into our online PhD program. We chose you from a large and talented pool of applicants, rejecting 79% of this round's group. Congratulations.
WHOO HOO! I can't believe it! I made the cut! They want me!
I was on cloud 9 throughout the entire meal. I tried to focus on having a good time with my new UT neighbors, but on the way home, all by myself in the truck, I was really whooping it up. I just couldn't believe it.
But, wait for the punchline. You see, there's more.
I made a few phone calls, to daughters and sis, and I headed straight for Jesse's to share the news with him. Since he watches my twitter posts here, he already knew. He was almost as pleased as I was. He reminded me that the really good part, the part where they let me know that want me, was the easy part. Now I have to decide whether I'm really up for the challenge, whether I really want to take it on, and whether or not I can (want to) pay for it. Yup. He's definitely right.
Hang on. I'm getting to the monkey wrench.
Finally I sit down at a computer and log in to my email and read the message properly. No mistake, they want me, but they also want me to decide quickly. No problem...I've almost decided.
Then I notice that there is a second attachment. Hmm...what's this? Just a few minutes ago I opened the second letter. I had to pick myself up off the floor after that one. Here is a [long] excerpt:
Your qualities and scholarly promise stand out in your application materials; accordingly, Technical Communication and Rhetoric faculty is excited to offer you a $25,000 fellowship as part of a newly created university initiative.
According to the university rules, the fellowship recipients must be new doctoral students who attend courses on the Lubbock campus. Therefore, in order to accept this fellowship, you would have to be in a position to take a 1‐year leave of absence from your current situation; in this case, you would join this fall's on‐campus doctoral class.
This fellowship will be given with no requirement or expectation that you teach, thereby allowing you the possibility of completing most of your doctoral coursework in one year, accelerating your degree progress by a full year over your online classmates. If you choose to accept this fellowship, you will be expected to make rapid progress on the degree in the first year, taking 12 hours of courses in the fall and spring semesters. Also in this year, you will be expected to apply for external grants/ residencies/ fellowships/ prizes (training will be provided for this effort) that might provide support for subsequent semesters of study. If external funding is unavailable, you will have a guaranteed graduate teaching appointment in years two through four at the going stipend rate if you choose to stay on campus, or you may return to your online cohort to finish your coursework, qualifying exams, and dissertation...
Now can you see my problem? I am so VERY HONORED to have been offered this. I mean, a "fellowship"? Me? That is absolutely incredible! But many of you have been following me closely enough to know that I also have other fish to fry. I mean, I am expecting to be living and working overseas before the end of the year. I expect to have a lot more work come up in the next few months. I expect that I will put a great deal of effort into my studies AND my work, just as I did while at the University of Texas. But to commit to an accelerated program, on campus in Lubbock? Oh my. Oh my, oh my, oh my. I do NOT know what to do!
Hope you'll keep me in your thoughts and prayers as I struggle to make sense of this. I do not have a clue what I am going to do. Not a clue.