Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Wish I Could Just Flip A Coin

Decision time. The University of Washington has accepted my application. The application for the University of Maine was late. UW spots are filling and if I want to go there I need to confirm soon. UW has no money to offer me though. No assistance with tuition, no Peace Corps Fellowship program, no mercy scholarship to help with the first year to bait me. They have an amazing reputation, a fun city, a beautiful state with lots to offer and a small network of my friends and family in the region. If my memory serves me correctly Maine won't accept a student unless they have the research funding to support them. Assuming I get accepted to Maine, my interpretation is that I would have money for school. That's a big decision riding on limited information. The decisions are many and the variables are vast.

  • Do I accept the offer to Washington without hearing anything from Maine?
  • Do I accept the offer to Washington without a scholarship or grant offered by the school to pay for my first year?
  • Do I take a loan for the first year with the assumption that I will academically kick butt and will get a fat grant or fellowship to pay for the second year?
  • Do I accept Washington with the intentions of a getting a job to keep scraping together money for school and not being focused on the task at hand?
  • Do I pass up Washington no matter what because of the lack of funding offered and hope for the best with Maine?
  • If Maine doesn't come through with what I want do I wait until next year and apply again? Which would mean taking the GREs over again ($120 and countless hours of studying), go through the application process again (Over $100 a pop plus countless hours of writing essays) and scour a country for a job where none seem to be had.

So many worries and so many questions. Money seems to be the biggest problem right now. There was a point in my undergrad degree when I was working at three different jobs. It took me five years to graduate, I have terrible grades on my transcript (and dropped classes to keep them out of my GPA) and more student loan debt than I would like to admit for a mediocre university degree. I want to travel and play. Go back to Alaska and train another dog team, sprint racing this time. I want to be with my friends at fish camp for a summer eating salmon twice a day and kayaking through the bay. But instead reality is knocking on my door soliciting adulthood and painting a gruesome picture if I don't buy in.


  1. Having experienced both, I vote for Washington.

  2. I've been right where you were. In the end I went to the grad school that offered some money, and then as it turned out, I got more than I'd expected and it all worked out. The next two years I got a fellowship and didn't have to work another job. I'd say go where the money is because even with a graduate degree, a good job is not certain and you don't really need additional educational debt. You have so many options for the next year, you can always try again and make some contacts at schools where you really want to go so you're not applying cold again.

  3. Just come to Washington. ;)

  4. Sounds like you should go to Washington! I figure I'm going to have debt for a really, really long time and that's kind of okay with me. It's just another monthly bill - plus, hello deferment!