15 April 2008

Technically they’re bison

Posted by Jessica Ball

Final decision is in, papers are signed in triplicate, faxed, emailed and overnighted, and it looks like I’ll be going to SUNY Buffalo in the fall.

I want to thank everyone who offered me their advice over the past few days. I can be a remarkably insecure, nervous person when I have to make big decisions, and it was immensely reassuring to have people reinforce my gut feeling about the choice I had to make. While I loved Seattle and the University of Washington, I felt like I really couldn’t pass up the chance to work with the group at SUNY Buffalo, especially since I would have the opportunity to do work at a volcano observatory and on active mountains.

And, as everyone has said, it’s only for two years. I may think that the campus (the North one, anyway) looks like a prison complex and that Buffalo is a dreary former industrial city (which it is at this time of year), but I will also have a wonderful advisor, a great project and, since the cost of living is so much lower in Buffalo, I will not be extremely poor. Everything else is just details.

What really sucks is writing/calling everyone else to let them know I won’t be working with them. I’m trying to be as polite as possible, but I still feel like a horrible person. And how the heck do I approach them later on, if I want to work on a PhD at one of those places? “Sorry I didn’t choose you the first time around, but hopefully you can ignore that whole rejection thing?”

Oh well. Even if two years go fast, it’s still two years. And I suppose they deal with this often anyway…but it doesn’t make me any less uncomfortable. At least I can’t dither anymore, since today’s the deadline and everything is signed, sealed and sent.