Sunday, April 17, 2011

Life Goes On

We decided. Alvin is not going to school this year. It was a difficult decision to say the least. Ultimately, the decision came down to the research projects. The schools that accepted him would have involved research projects that were not a good fit for Alvin's interests and career path. So he turned them down.

We will be staying in or near Salt Lake and Alvin will continue working at his current job, which he likes. We are looking forward to having the time and money to enjoy hobbies, family, and travel. We feel good about the decision. And now we get to once again decide what we want for our future. Lots to look forward to and plenty of possibilities. One possibility...after hearing about Alvin's decision to not attend Purdue, a professor there sent Alvin an encouraging email. He said to keep in touch - he's requesting funding for a project next year that Alvin would really enjoy.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Decisions, decisions

After a busy winter of filling out college applications, Skyping with potential advisors, and flying across the country to visit universities, Alvin is ready to decide which school to attend for his PhD in geology.
    Schools which have accepted Alvin:
  • Purdue University
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • University of North Carolina
      Schools which Alvin would like to attend:
    • University of Colorado
    • Oregon State University
    • Dartmouth
        Another option that we started discussing a week ago is this: not going to school at all. Alvin is already qualified for excellent geology-related jobs in industry. These positions pay very well, have increasing demand, and offer reasonable work hours. That option is very alluring, especially after finding out more about the academia option.
          A PhD takes 5 years to complete, most graduates do a 2-3 year post-doc, and the availability of tenure-track faculty positions is declining rapidly. Alvin has talked to current PhD students who work 50-70 hours a week for a paltry $20,000 annual stipend. Why would we do that when the job competition at the end of that path is so steep? Even if he were to find a job teaching at a college or university, he would have to work extremely hard to obtain tenure. You've heard it: publish or perish.
            Academia is not without its allure. A tenured professor enjoys job flexibility, variety of work, teaching, travel for field work, sabbatical every 7 years, and working with interesting, intelligent, driven people.
              We have until April 15 to decide. What should we do???