I really wanted to write a blogpost since the beginning of last week, I even had all the photos ready to share a really delicious recipe with you … And then I had a really sh*tty week.
Those of you who have been reading this blog regularly might remember that I want to get a PhD in History of Christianity and that I applied for two scholarships to fund my dissertation. One scholarship was provided by an organisation, the other one by a university due to the soon-to-come 500-year anniversary of the Reformation (2017 will be the year).
I hadn’t heard from the university yet and had developed the habit of checking my E-Mails very early in the morning (as if they’d post it at 8.30 am) and I was getting really nervous. Last Tuesday, I got a letter in the mail telling me that I did not get accepted into their scholarship program.
I was so disappointed. I had figured my chances were quite good – my exposé was really good (really. My professor is quite demanding when it comes to quality and she was very pleased), the topic suited the scholarship’s requirements … and truth be told, I had expected they’d take me into that program.
I cried a lot that day. I was tired and furious and disappointed and sad and anxious. I wrote to my professor and asked for a meeting so we could talk about my application for the second scholarship again. In the evening, she answered that e-mail and told me, sure, I should come into her office to talk everything through. On Wednesday, I didn’t have to work, and at about half past four, I finally drew myself out of all the misery and told myself to get some shopping done and get out and stretch my legs to get other thoughts into my head.
On my way out, I checked our mailbox and found a letter from the organisation, two weeks earlier than expected. And that was Letter of Refusal Number Two.
I felt numb. Suddenly, all my hopes and dreams for my dissertation were shattered and had broken into a thousand tiny pieces. I had hoped to be able to focus on my scientific work – for the first time in 10 years – and to concentrate on writing my dissertation, by being payed for what I loved to do.
Then the pain and the dispair kicked in. I won’t go into details here, but let me tell you, I was devastated. I don’t know if I told you, but since January, my hours at the office have been reduced, so I am earning even less money than before, and that hurts a lot, financially. Should I get a 9-5 job? But where? Should I quit my PhD and write the whole thing off, because, apparently, nobody was interested in the topic being researched? (Yes, I know – being rejected in these programs is very common.)
Philipp (who was ace last week, I don’t know what I would have done without his support) told me to think it over for a couple of days. He, too, was disappointed but told me to talk with my professor and think about what I wanted to do.
I guess, I already know what I wanted. On Thursday, I went to see my professor, and we had a good long talk about everything. She had been thinking already about other possibilities for me to get funding and she told me that she had hoped for me to get one of the scholarships, as she knew that I could finish writing the dissertation in 2 years. She also assured me that it probably wasn’t my fault that I didn’t get chosen (which is true, there can be 1000+ reasons …), that my exposé had been really good (especially the second one, for the university) and reminded me that my master thesis had been praised a lot by the second referee, who really liked the work.
I walked out of that office with hope and gratitude for my professor.
So here I am, telling you that I am going to write my dissertation and get my PhD. I do not have the conditions that I wanted, but I know that I have been wanting to get my PhD since the day I started university. It is my dream and my wish to contribute to academic writing, to study and to do research. I do not know whether I want to become a university professor (right now, I don’t want to do that), but I want to get my Dr. theol. and am going to make it, with or without funding. If money is tight, I am going to find myself a better-payed part-time job. I have picked myself up off the floor and I won’t be letting others take my dream and my goal from me. I have been working during all these years of university, and I managed to get out with a Master’s Degree (with an awesome grade!).
I want to congratulate all the lucky folks who got funding for their projcts this year and I wish you so much fun and success with your research!
As for the organisations: Watch me doing it without your help. It woulda been nice, but I don’t need you to fulfill my dreams.
I wish you a great start to your week, folks! Normal blog postings will resume soon. 😉
Lots of love!