One of the major drawbacks to being a graduate student at Rice (and probably at many universities) is that I lose my funding during the summer months.  These three months of financial panic almost counteract the wonderfulness of getting paid to read, research, and — only occasionally — teach.  Almost.  Because, for the most part, I’ve been able to secure some sort of income over the summer that tides me over until my sweet sweet stipend checks begin arriving again in late August.  I’ve worked at SEL, or I’ve gotten prospectus-research funding from the women and gender program, or I’ve edited for Feminist Economics.

This summer, however, may spell doom!  I’m offering a course on children’s literature in the summer session, and if I actually get to teach this class, my making-the-rent problems are solved.  But no one has registered yet.  WTF?  It’s a class on children’s literature, people.  I need a minimum of five students by May 15th.  Things look bleak.  I’m hoping for a registration surge in the final weeks of the semester.  I also plan on continuing my tutoring job at Houston Community College over the summer, but unless I can double my hours, that will not pay rent.  Most tutoring agencies pay well, but they either don’t call me back or expect me to teach math.  HA!  Math.  Silly tutoring agencies. 

While I’m not above getting a retail job or something equally mindless, most — even if I worked full-time — would barely pay rent.  And I doubt any retail place would really give me forty hours a week, a schedule that would preclude any dissertation progress, anyway.  So why spend all that time folding tee-shirts at the Gap or shelving books at Borders when they’re only going to pay me $8/hour?

I probably didn’t pursue the whole summer job thing with enough perseverence and attention earlier in the spring, because I had high yet naive hopes that I would be teaching my class.  And I was writing my dissertation, which has filled my brain to such capacity that sometimes I forget to perform basic day-to-day activities.  Now I’m a little screwed.

Woe.

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9 thoughts on “

  1. I’m so sorry you’re feeling panicky. Just remember, something always seems to come through. Mind, I don’t know if I’m going to be able to get through the summer without hitting the credit card either. I’m hoping I’ll hear about SEL at least soon.

    But I do believe people will enroll in your class–how could they not?

    • I really do hope I get a few students. I am worried that the early hour (9 am) and the vague description (it’s a “various topics” course) aren’t helping the situation.

      But you’re right. Something always does come through. It’s times like these when I wish my life was more like a Dickens novel. I certainly wouldn’t mind money from Magwitch. I’m not as morally squeamish about it as Pip.

      • Oh, I think (hope) it’s primarily a question of whether they’ll give me the schedule I want and let me do some work over the summer.

        Also, you need to think about Mr. Micawber–something will turn up!

  2. I doubt you’d want a job all the way out in the Woodlands, but I’ll be quitting work at the Windsor Lodge soon, and they’ll likely look for a girl to fill my spot (I think I’m the only guy they’ve hired, the front desk still only has an “In the Ladies Room” laminated sign). I’m sure they are strapped for employees, so I’d imagine you could get plenty of hours.

    The job is ideal for schoolwork and research, considering you just sit in a lobby for hours with a computer. It would only be $8/hr. though.

    • I definitely appreciate the offer, but I think the drive would prove a problem, especially with gas prices.

      Does this mean that when you leave the desk, everyone thinks you’re in the ladies’? Scandalous!

  3. I would suggest seeking out a temp agency, esp as there a lot of people go on vacation in the summer so you’d have even more opportunities to find work. They could easily place you with a decently-paid office job. Or, since you’re a PhD student with teaching experience, def look into tutoring! (SAT, etc.)

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