Which would you like first? OK, everyone always wants the good news first.
Good: I got accepted to the PhD program in Illinois (first choice).
Bad: They did not offer me an assistantship. Yet. I've been waitlisted.
Now, I should explain that I'm incredibly relieved, pissed, and conflicted...all at once.
I'm relieved that I was accepted at all because apparently it was a very competitive year. I'm pissed because the lack of assistantship is a kick in the crotch. I will be unable to attend if they don't come through because I refuse to go another 50,000 dollars in debt by paying out-of-state tuition. I'm relieved because if they don't come through I can turn the offer down without guilt and without letting Thesis Director down.
Those of you who have been following this crazy graduate school debacle for the last almost-two-years know that I'm rather burned out.
Very. Burned. Out.
There are other things going on in my life that are exciting...aside from the PhD possibilities. Estella's Revenge is truckin' right along, I'm having A LOT of ideas for writing projects (a book idea, review stuff, etc. etc.), and there's a man in my life who I'd love to be with. In short, a normal life is looking really good right now. Get a job. Pay off loans. Buy a house. Start a family.
The niggling elitist in the back of my head keeps screaming, "TERMINAL DEGREE!!!!! If you get a PhD you will have gone as far as one can go in terms of degrees!" I keep trying to squelch that fuckin' annoying voice to get to what I really want.
I really want the freedom of the normal life. As exhilarating as academia can be, the reality is that I will have to live this crazy, insane, exhausting, break-neck life for at least another 10 years if I get the PhD and go into a tenure-track position. 4 years for the PhD, and at least six to get tenure. Thinking about it sort of makes me want to die.
It's all scary.
Edit: Perhaps I should clarify the use of the word "normal." It is certainly not a negative thing, in my opinion. And I highly doubt anyone would count the life of a graduate student (filled with obscure philosophy, all-night drinking parties, rampant fornication, professional depression, etc. etc.) normal or necessarily healthy.