Grad school? Paid for? Say whaaaat?!

I've had some people ask me how I got my graduate education paid for.
Well I'm going to tell you.
I applied to schools that I looked into and decided that I wanted to go to and then made a pact with myself that if anyone of them offered to pay for my schooling that would be the one I would attend.
Well nobody wanted to give me a scholarship/fellowship for my fabulousness, but the government was ready to throw me loans, neither of which I was happy with. (I just don't like paying for things, 20 grand in the hole when I got out wasn't appealing.) So I looked into assistantships.
There was a assistantship form to fill out online to almost every one of the universities I applied to. So I filled it out. But what does a form say about me? Nothing. So I did research and found out who was the director of the Graduate/Teaching Assistantships of the colleges I applied to. I would dress up professionally and go to the school and meet her/him, drop off my resume, say hello, and wow them with my charm (with what little charm I did have). That whole experience made me re-learn, yet again, that it really takes being proactive and knowing someone to get your foot through a door.
I knew one of the graduate students at FAU and I dropped her name when I met the director of GA's/TA's at FAU. Now I don't think I'll ever know for sure if it was just being proactive or name-dropping...or maybe both...that got me my GA-ship at FAU. But I got the GA-ship at FAU and not at any of the other colleges.
The benefit of my assistantship is that they waive my tuition (excluding parking fees, technology fees, etc.) and I receive a stipend on top of that. I know. Be jealous.
It's not a lot...I still have to scrape by...I still have Ramen Noodle soup. But when I get out, I'm not in debt, which was my goal.
So yay. I got this great awesome opportunity. How is it turning out?
Well the college took on other grad students, in addition to myself, to fill certain positions that needed to be filled. There were teaching positions and one lone graduate assistant position that required you to work on grant with a professor that needed to be filled. Well, I took the grant. The grant was awarded to the school in the form of AmeriCorp. My job is to manage/be the liaison between the students and non-profit organizations and complete the (extensive) paperwork for them. The whole process takes about 20 hours a week (which is the amount of hours required from each TA/GA).
It's been very interesting. I like the professor I work with, she is very willing to teach me whatever I would like to know about the grant process. I also get my own least for the time being. In October the college is going to move into a new building and I might not have one then....but I digress.
The whole thing is rather new, but very educational. If you don't know anything about AmeriCorp (which is pronounced like "Ameri-Core") it's a scholarship program awarded to students that put in exceptional volunteer service at non-profit organizations while at the same time taking a specific class for the program. I know, it may sound slightly confusing, but that's the best way that I can describe it.
So far, it's been just a lot of paperwork. A lot. Which isn't bad....just slightly tedious. So it's been teaching me patience...and how to avoid paper cuts. Both which will benefit me in the long run ;)
Overall though I have to say it's a pretty sweet deal. I scratch my schools back, they scratch mine; can't complain.
And...I get another joyous opportunity to live off Ramen Noodle soup. My favourite.

No comments: