So who wants to play a game of good news/bad news? :)
Here I sit, while at my internship trying to become a real-life rocket scientist, and I have some exciting news to share. I have had some mixed feelings about this up until a few days ago, but now I am actually pretty glad it is looking like it's going to work out :)
So I got this scholarship that pays for my school and gives me a fancy little stipend to live off of while I'm in grad school, and then I have a service commitment that I have to complete upon graduation where I work for them for the number of years that they paid for my school. They require you do an internship at your future job site during the summer, hence why I am in Ridgecrest, America. Sounds simple, right? Well...last summer, at orientation for said scholarship, they basically threatened our lives that if we didn't graduate exactly when we originally said we would, we could be held responsible for paying back every dime they've ever paid on our behalf (stipend, tuition, fees, internship money, etc.) with interest. YIKES. So I had been a little terrified of the idea of, "What if I don't get done one time?!"
They definitely do have good reasons for this policy. But turns out, it's really more of a scare tactic. It's really up to the facility that hired you (the place I am doing my internship and ultimately where I will be fulfilling my service commitment)...if they are able to hire you at a later date, it can get approved and you don't have to pay back a fortune.
So since I've been here on my internship, I have had the opportunity to really get a good feel for what this place hired me for, and exactly what they want me to do when I work here full time after I graduate. Turns out it's not exactly lined up with my current PhD research efforts, but it is definitely along similar lines of what my advisor back home specializes in. In other words...I don't quite have the full set of skills required to do said job, but with a little bit of time and practice, I am definitely capable of being taught.
Long story short...I can start preparing now for my future job by tweaking my PhD research a bit, and doing either the same or at least similar things. However, it might take me a little longer at school to fully develop this skill set I'm going for. So...after talking to the bosses on both ends, we have come to a great solution: One extra year in God's Country! :)
I was originally planning on graduating in May 2012, but now I am hoping to push it back a year, and spend two more years at the University of Arkansas instead of just one. I'd actually get to combine my research for my dissertation with the work that I'll be doing at my internships/big kid job when I graduate...so really, it's a huge benefit to all involved. I get to stay in Arkansas another year - in case you missed it, this is the good news! - and I'm also getting a head start on the work that my facility is hiring me to do, so I'll pretty much be an expert at my job by the time they get me ;)
The bad news is...delaying my graduation a year, also means I have an extra year of service commitment. In other words...hello THREE years in California instead of just two.
Really though, it's not all that bad. Ridgecrest isn't my favorite place, but once my soldier is here with me, I can be content just about anywhere :) Plus, it means I have a guaranteed job for at least 3 years after I graduate. In this economy...that is huge. I truly believe God has blessed me immensely with this scholarship...both because of the funds, and because of the job!
Also, bigger picture...there is more good news. My hubby-to-be was planning on cramming in over 20 hours of class next spring in order to graduate on time so we could both finish school and move out here together. While I love him for that...this would give him the opportunity to spread those hours out over a few semesters and make his life a whole lot easier. It would also free up some time where he could work part time while in school, which would allow us to save up more money. We are really hoping to have all debt paid off, and a solid savings by the time we move out here for good, and preferably have enough to buy me a new(ish) car. While I love the Silver Bullet, I'm not sure it can handle 4 more cross-country road trips in the dead of summer.
All that to say...I think this is the best thing for everyone. Both for Walter and I, and where my future career is concerned. Plus I am looking forward to spending one more year in God's Country, and close to our families.
I filled out all the paperwork today to request the change...Now all I have to do is get the scholarhip company to actually approve the date change...cross your fingers! :)