|A future of unpayable student debt and exploitative|
part-time work is not the future for me.
Photo created on atom.smasher.org
Lately my days have been filled with working items off of my bottomless to-do list. A return to the U.S. after almost a year and half of field work finds me jobless and out of money. Perhaps this was poor planning on my part, but research funding never came through despite repeated and ongoing efforts that started over a year before my fieldwork and continued while I was in the field for almost a year. I thought my effort put into grant writing would pay off, and I was wrong. Still, my fieldwork needed to be done, or I would risk floundering around campus for who knows how many years. One colleague in my department wrote grants for 5 years before finally getting one that allowed her to do her research.
For me, already pushing 40, I didn't see waiting around as a real option, especially after already delaying my fieldwork for over a year. Instead I depleted my meager savings, and went further into student debt to get out into the field and get my research done. To be fair, I did receive one small research grant that basically paid for my airfare, and while this was a big help, it was really just a drop in the bucket of costs for a long-term field project. All the while, I had to pay tuition three times per year to stay continuously enrolled, a nice budget-draining touch from the university administration.