I’m going to delve into a short(ish) stream of consciousness for a bit here, because there’s a lot on my mind that I’ve wanted to share, but I can’t really put it into a coherent form. At the same time, I have several people asking me how things are going with my visa and what my plans are for the summer. So, this might help to explain to you that I really don’t know.
Are you ready for this? Here goes!
In my dream world, I will be starting my PhD at the University of Glasgow in September. Only I need to find a way to pay for it. At the same time, I have run into some glitches with my work visa that mean I may have to go home for the summer and apply for my student visa from the States.*
On one hand, it all seems simple: Pack my bags, hop on a plane to the States for the summer, apply for a new visa, hop on a plane back to Scotland, and live happily-ever-after.
But life isn’t simple, is it?
I mean, if it were simple, there wouldn’t have been any visa glitches and I would just be transferring into a new student visa from within the walls of the UK. But, as mentioned in the footnotes below, that is a long story. I digress …
Frustratingly, the complexity of it all comes down to money. (Isn’t that always the way?)
If I had money—or if I knew, without a doubt, that the scholarships I’ve applied for would come through—I would pack my bags today and cheerfully head to the Homeland to enjoy a carefree summer with family and friends, safe in the knowledge that my heart’s home would be waiting for my return in the autumn.
If I had money, I would be able to leave today, knowing that it was only temporary—that I was only going on a long holiday.
But since I don’t have money—nor do I know for sure that I will get the money I need—I am making plans to return to the Homeland without the confidence of knowing what happens next.
Since I don’t have money, I have to plan for several things all at once. I have to plan for how I will come up with the money for my PhD if the scholarships don’t come through. I have to plan for how I will continue my journey if I’m unable to accept the placement at Glasgow because of a lack of funds. I have to plan for how my mental and emotional health will overcome the devastating blow of giving up the dream of living in Scotland—or of getting my PhD.
And not only do I have to try to figure out the PhD funding stuff, but I also have to figure out the practical stuff like: When do I leave my job? When do I give notice at my flat? And what do I do with my possessions? I mean, there’s no point in taking everything back to America with me if I’m only gone for two months, but I’ll need the stuff when I return so I can’t just take it to the charity shop.
Anyhow, all of this uncertainty and concurrent planning is really wearing me down. I can’t make any definite plans more than 2-3 weeks out because I don’t know what I’ll be doing—or where I’ll be living. And I can’t make any plans for post-August for the same reason.
So, that’s where I am. I am busy working on all of these things so that I can (hopefully) line up all of the stars so that my metaphorical ship can make its way to the metaphorical dock.
In the weeks to come, you may see me posting more about preparing for a summer in America or more about my search for PhD funding. Or, you may notice that I’m a bit quiet because the stress has made me retreat a bit. But I am pleased to say that I have a strong support network surrounding me at the moment (as always!), helping me get through the madness.
* This is a long story that I will share later, once I have everything sorted. For now, please know that I am still covered by my current visa and legal to remain and work in the UK.