Applying to graduate school is expensive – application fees, taking tests, seemingly endless transcript requests and score reports, and miscellaneous travel expenses that weren’t reimbursed. All in all, it cost me about $1500 to apply to grad school. If that number seems high to you, consider that many people applying for degrees beyond undergrad pay much more. I knew applying to grad school wouldn’t be cheap so I budgeted for it and didn’t run into any problems.
I also knew that moving for school would be expensive, but I’m not as prepared for that expense as I’d hoped. That’s partly because I’m not getting paid as much as I expected because of the changed finances of my lab. It’s also partly because moving is going to cost a lot more than I expected since I’m leaving the US. To make it work, I’ll need spend money I don’t have, which I hate to do.
So you can imagine how thrilled I was to find out that I’d been selected for a very fancy fellowship. And how terrible it was to find out that this is the first year the fellowship can’t be used outside the US. I haven’t officially turned the fellowship down yet because I need to go buy some chocolate ice-cream before I click the ‘reject’ button on upwards of $120,000.
While the stipend I’ve been offered at Awesome International isn’t as high as the one I would have gotten under the fancy fellowship, it’s still quite good. It’s even high enough to cover my moving expenses and buy a new computer if I’m careful. The problem is that I probably won’t see my stipend until October, so I have to get through several months of unusually high expenses on no income.
As whiney as I’m being here, my situation isn’t as terrible as it seems – once I get my stipend, I can pay off any debt I’ve racked up over the summer.