Sunday, April 29, 2012

"Follow the Money"

I've decided to go to UofUtah. I'm excited and scared to move so far away. The actual process of moving terrifies me more than being relocated and settled. I acclimate pretty well. It's the packing everything up, and moving it across the country....
So, Utah for a number of reasons:
1) They offered me full funding
2) I'm jazzed about their class selection
3) Terry Tempest Williams
4) They'll allow me to transfer my credits from MSU
5) Duke's counter offer was insignificant and I dont want to be in debt my whole life.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Thoughts on Decision-Making and My Current Situation.

I'm making decisions about really important things. I'm pressed for time, and these decisions will impact and shape my future. They require foresight. I must admit, decision-making has never been a strength of mine due to my inability to envision the future. I'm working on it though.... I'm working on it.

I've decided that I'm moving back to the OBX for a month (mid May to mid June) to help the reservations department. Not only will this help me out financially, but it's a place where I find a lot of solace and peace. The ocean, the dolphins, the sunshine, paddling in a kayak, and surrounding myself with a lot of people who I love will set the stage for an awesome summer. It'll help build my confidence again and it will remind me of my ability to make friends in foreign places.

I'm deciding which school to attend for the next two years.

Option 1) Duke University. Professional Masters Degree/Environmental Management. Ivy league/private university. They have a phenomenal program... top in the nation, I'm told. However, cost of attendance/living exceeds $40,000/year and they are only offering me $13,000 (tuition NOT included in stipend).
The classes they offer and the program in general seems like a phenomenal opportunity and I'm excited about them. I'd also be able to take a semester of courses on an island in southern NC. They also have a wonderful "career services" department that works really hard to place each and every graduate right into a job.
Another perk, the university is only like 3.5 hours from the OBX, so I could continue to visit there often (for breaks and long weekends). Not to mention, it'd only be like 12 hours from mid-Michigan.

Option 2) University of Utah. Master's Degree/Environmental Humanities. Public university/top tier research school. They've awarded me a fellowship that would cover tuition, most of my health insurance plan, as well as a stipend for living. They haven't decided what that fellowship  means.... RA/TA but either way.... free graduate school!
The program has two specializations: writing and conservation (both interest me). The classes are super interesting, and seem to focus largely on how and why we view the environment how we do. I'd be able to explore place, culture, and the development of our collective environmental stance(s). Also, Terry Tempest Williams (TTW), naturalist/writer, works for the department and would be accessible as a resource.
I haven't spent much time in the American West, though. I have no connections out there, and it scares me to be like 25 hours away. There isn't enough time to fly to Utah and explore campus and the program before having to make a decision, so I'm going into this blind.
I'm intrigued by the landscapes of the area. I would be able to explore The Great Salt Lake, deserts, and national parks. I've been reading Refuge by TTW, and her perspectives on the landscapes of Utah comfort me. I moved to Louisiana and didn't know the area or anyone down there..... I can do it again.

As one of my mentors mentioned today, "Either decision requires a leap of faith."
A Leap of Faith.
Every decision that involves an element of the unknown requires some sort of faith that things will work out in one's favor. Aimee explained faith as "trust in the unknown." It's a solid description of the intangible. Terrifying, though. I'm trying to have faith in me, my potential, and my future. I'm trying to set goals and work toward them (allowing myself to alter the path as my perspectives change).

One day at a time.