Well, I sent my funding package confirmation to OISE/University of Toronto today. I am extremely grateful to be receiving funding, although this will cause a significant setback in my finances compared to previous years. The positive side is that I have the strong potential to get out of this degree relatively debt-free, if not completely debt-free. When I did my undergraduate degree at Carleton, I had a scholarship from the school, as well as a scholarship that my Dad had paid into. By time I graduated, I was $12,000 in debt. I was lucky though and I found work, so I was able to pay back the loan system of Ontario within the six-month grace period.
When I did my graduate degree at Concordia in Montréal, I ended up being $23,000 in debt. I was extremely fortunate to have a great common-law boyfriend at the time who helped me to pay off a lot of that debt. If you are reading this – I thank you to this day! At least I no longer have that sitting on my head. So, I guess I really should not complain because the goal ultimately is to make good money with this PhD, not to be in a ton of debt because of it.
My mother was also very supportive when I told her about my economic loss because she said “It’s not like you’re not working towards something – you’re not sitting around.” That was extremely kind of her and I appreciated the fact that she could acknowledge that I was already working hard with this degree, and also in fact loving every moment of it.
I am pushing really hard to try to get my committee together. I do not want to push so hard that I end up shooting myself in the foot. I guess it’s just that especially since my dissertation is an extension of my master’s research, I have written a book on the politics of black hair, plus been following the development of the topic over the 10, almost 11 years since I graduated from my master’s – I’m rearing to go! I do not feel in the lost state that some other students may be in at various schools all over the world who enter a PhD program and do not know really what they want to do. Plus, I will be 38 in August and I have maturity on my side. I am the oldest person in the intake of my cohort.
So…the journey continues. Despite these comments – I feel very happy. It is quite unlike the depressive state I was in when I started my graduate degree at Concordia. I guess being in Toronto and living close to family, friends and coworkers really helps with that. When I went to Montréal, if it were not for the two lovely souls I knew from Ottawa who I lived with – I really did not know a lot of people when I first went there. Toronto is a great city and I really hope it recovers well from all of this chaos that has gone on because of G20. God Bless Toronto – we really need it right now! God Bless the World – we all need it all of the time!