I thought I had everything worked out.  Well, at least mostly.

Of course, this means that Fate, Fortune, the Universe, God (whichever deity or force you believe in) has thrown me through a loop.  Of course.

I was set on Ustinov College.  It’s the only postgraduate-only college at Durham University and has a large international community.  Sure, it’s rather far from the city centre (comparatively) and has no dining service, but every student there will be going through the same “Holy crap!  What did I sign up for with this whole grad school thing?!”  I believe there would be a great sense of community, which is a key ingredient for my school experiences.  There are seminars where we present our research and bond with other postgrads.  It looks so great!

However…

This morning I got an e-mail saying that I had gotten the Hild Bede Scholarship, which is one of the very few funding opportunities for non-UK/EU students.  Money is fantastic!  Don’t get me wrong.  The HBS is full tuition at the EU/UK rate plus room and board and three squares a day.  It’s close to the city centre and almost all the academic departments and is supposed to be one of the most beautiful colleges at the university.

However…

Most of the students are undergraduates.  I have nothing against undergraduates, but they have not yet worked out their academic niches for the most part and don’t have the same types of classes or pressures as postgraduates.  From what I imagine of grad school, high school to college is a big leap, but classes are relatively the same format with homework, papers, and reading.  The type of social and community scenes are the largest difference.  From college to grad school, the workload changes (300 academic hours per class per term, bare minimum) and the classes are seminars once a week.  The reading, as I understand it, is more reading a lot of what is assigned, but not all, and the reading leads to a large paper which is the basis of the grade.  I didn’t really understand that until I took a graduate-level class and looked at a possible schedule for Durham.

So, what do I do?

Do I take the generous offer and possibly forsake close ties with many other postgraduate and international students at Ustinov or depend on my parents’ generosity more than before and forsake ready-made meals and all that money?  Either way, I’ll be at Durham, but the location of my accommodation and the price out-of-pocket for tuition and board will be different than I’d ideally like.  Why can’t Ustinov offer a scholarship?!

At any rate, I will doubtless have to spend more time on paperwork, as I will need to accept or reject the offer (if I can even reject it) and change my details on my enrolment (sic!  Britishism!) forms and visa paperwork.

I can’t make that decision now, but maybe a nice Italian meal and some bonding with Hamlet and Suetonius will help.  Chocolate never hurt, either.

Advertisements