Sunday, February 28, 2010

In a state of uncomfortable limbo...

...So why the soothing green trail pic then?  Because it is just that, soothing...and where I hope to be in a few months.

The position I find myself in as of late is very reminiscent of this exact time of year in 2007.  I was sitting at a coffee house in Cleveland, deciding on whether I should start grad school and if I did, where to find an apartment, when to quit my job, and how to logistically attempt an AT thru-hike in 3.5 months during the summer.

I sit here now, similarly at a coffee house, trying to plan out my next 4-5 years.  I recently finished up my Masters and survived my 2nd field season in Antarctica.  Tomorrow is March 1st, and I have a lot to accomplish in the next 2 months.  But like 3 years ago, a very important component to all of my decisions is the ability to take some time off this summer.  There are a lot of people that finish their masters degree and immediately begin their PhD.  I am not one of these people.  I need a mental decompression in order to prepare me for a 4-5 year academic commitment.   The problem is that I have so many components of my life that are simply waiting on what decisions I make in the next few weeks. Above all, I must commit to a graduate school.  I have the option of staying with my advisor at Penn State....a very good option.  It would mean that I wouldn't have to take very many classes and could immediately begin preparing for my candidacy exam.  If I go somewhere else, it would give me the opportunity to work with someone else in the field of ice paleoclimatology.  More than anything I want to go and visit the schools I applied to, the problem is that I have not heard from any of them yet.  Time is running out and I'm more and more tempted to simply stay at Penn State because it's the "easy" solution.  Don't get me wrong, there's a very good chance I would decide to stay at Penn State anyway, it's just that deciding that now, would defeat the whole purpose of me even applying to other schools. In the meantime,  I have a landlord breathing down my neck wanting to know if I am going to renew, and various other folks that need verbal commitments about next year and potential antarctic field seasons.  

So this week, I am going to work on getting my thesis published, and patiently wait for grad school responses.  I will also pull together some gear and supplies for some kind of summer travel adventure of regardless of what it may be.  Lastly, I will take a few deep breaths, count to ten, and have faith the that answers are on their way...



Carri Westbrook (sister) said...

Keep your head up!!! Everything will work out just as it is supposed to, no worries. Start planning some exciting trip this summer that maybe I can come pick you up at the end with mom. Whatever you choose to do or wherever you go to school will be the right decision in the end.
My fingers are crossed!!!!

doIhavetoReally said...

Sure are lot of changes...just keep it going and hopefully you will get some answers this week.
I thought you finished the thesis? Formatting changes, eh?

All the best for summer trip!!

Lakewood said...


yeah the thesis is done and turned in to the grad school. I am trying to get it submitted to a journal now for publication and it requires some editing and formatting.

R A said...

It would probably take more time than you thought (depends on how you presented your thesis too). All the best on churning out RAs.