19 October 2011

Vacancy.com Scholarship Post-- My ideal apartment in my ideal city

(balcony view from Arena Crossings)

Looking forward to the next step in my education (a little ways off yet, but still worth considering) I've been plotting and investigating PhD opportunities. Ohio State University has an amazing program that is HIGH on my list of possible landing places. That means looking at the housing market in Columbus, OH and seeing what's there.

Arena Crossing--a property in the heart of Columbus--offers several irresistible features: generously sized layouts in modern buildings, balconies for personal outside space, security, 24-hr service, proximity to the downtown amenities, and a price that seems quite reasonable to my Chicago-jaded eyes. The most important factor in my search was commut-ability to the Ohio State campus without a car. The property's location near High St public transportation and only 2 miles from the main campus means that I can get to and from school without having to rely on car transportation every day. The only thing that would make it more perfect was if there was more green space in the immediate area. I know that is hard to come by in an urban setting, but it is something that is close to my heart.

New use for the blog?

So, I have not updated this blog in a VERY LONG time. I've been using Facebook for the majority of tasks that I've used this blog for in the past, so it has stood neglected. However, a new use has suddenly come to the fore: scholarship applications.

There are several scholarships that ask that you post on your blog and link back as part of the application process. As I navigate this somewhat tortuous path through grad school I am seeking to be the best steward possible of my time and finances. That means applying for any and all scholarships that cross my horizon and fit my goals and purpose.

To that end, I may be posting some pretty random posts over the next couple months. Since I seem to still have a couple of faithful readers, I will try to include some with actual life content as well in thanks for your continued readership.

Quick update:

I am currently in the MA English Literature program at Northeastern Illinois University. I started this fall and hope to finish the program in May 2013. I am currently taking two classes and working full-time at my current job, but plan to move to working part-time in January so that I can take a full course load for the remaining 3 semesters. While NEIU is small state school only 4 miles from my apartment, the professors in the program are energetic, young, and interested in changing the way English graduate work is done. This makes the program more interesting and challenges my own growth as a scholar in fruitful ways.

I owe a deep debt of gratitude to Sara Rhatican Gambill for all the support that she is offering me during this process. We have now lived together for the better part of 6 years and she is unfailingly gracious and generous with her time and energy to help make this a success. Over the last 12-14 months we have worked very diligently to pay off all of our debt and I am proud to say that by October 31st we will be entirely debt free! We aren't sure about the grand total yet, but it looks like we have paid off approx. $20,000 of credit card, school loan, and person loan debt. God has really shown up as we have sought to be good stewards. He has allowed us to increase our giving and still quickly advance out of debt.

Because of this move out of indebtedness, Sara has arranged our budget so that my full-time income is not necessary to keep our household afloat. As long as I can fund my education without debt and put aside my part-time income for savings, she is willing to use her full-time income to cover our household expenses. To keep up my end of the bargain I am energetically in pursuit of scholarship funds and looking for the best part-time work situation for our household. I know that God will provide exactly what we need when we need it which makes this both exhilarating and sometimes terrifying.

The path that lies before me pretty much looks like this. I can see only a little way ahead and sometimes the branches seem to be blocking the way. The long-term plan is a PhD in English or Comparative Literature and a full-time professorate at a college or university, preferable in the Appalachian region of Ohio, Kentucky, North Carolina, Western Virginia, Tennessee, etc. I am acutely aware that that dream is impossible on my own strength. However, I can see God's hand all over the path that has brought me this far, so I am earnestly seeking to just rest in Christ and trust that when the need is there, so will His provision be.

Please feel free to comment or email me if you have an questions. I realize that some of you are more up to date about life because you are friends with me on facebook, but some of you don't do the facebook thing :-)