Thursday, August 4, 2011

Day 132: Underemployed + Something in my Eye!

Image found here.
Earlier today I visited Wendy, the Graduate Advisor in the UCLA Sociology Department.  I had to notify Wendy that I'll be taking a leave of absence from UCLA for Fall and Winter quarters of this coming school year.  I'd been avoiding this conversation.  I don't actually WANT to take a leave of absence, but (depressingly) I didn't get any of the scholarships I applied for, and my teaching contract with UCLA expired.  With the budget cuts at UCLA, funds are really tight and there weren't enough teaching positions in my department for all of us.

Basically, this means that I'll continue working on my dissertation, but I won't be an enrolled student, and I won't be earning any income for 6 months, starting in October (thankfully, I have a teaching job lined up for spring quarter).   Being unfunded and technically unemployed is a bummer, (and feels kind of embarrassing) but I'm coming to terms with it.  Hey, at least I don't have to schedule my honeymoon around finals week!

Anyhoo... So I stopped by Wendy's office to update her on my decision.  She was super cool about it, and gave me the lowdown on which UCLA perks I'll keep (email, library card, office space), and which I'll lose (health insurance - yikes!).  About halfway through the conversation, I noticed that something didn't feel quite right in my left eye.  At first I thought my contact lens was just a bit dry, but then it felt worse and I started tearing up in a big way.  I rubbed my eyes a bit, hoping to shift things back into balance, but it didn't work.  Tears began streaming down my face. Naturally, Wendy assumed that I was crying about the leave of absence situation (granted, I did cry a bit about that, but not in her office!).

She asked if I was okay, and started to give me a "there there.... don't worry, it'll all be okay" speech. I interrupted to say that there was something in my eye.  "Oh!" she replied, "do you want a mirror?!"  She started to hand me a makeup compact, and I hurriedly (still crying) said "No!  I can't look in mirrors."  She looked confused (at least out of my right eye) so I proceeded to blumber on about the no mirrors project. Wendy just sat there and nodded as though I wasn't weeping, and was talking about something normal.  Ugh.  Aaaaawkward!!!!

I ended up having to take out and then put back my contact lens.  Wendy was "amazed" that I could do this without looking in the mirror, but I was just amazed that the "put your contact in your mouth to re-wet it" trick actually works (at least until I get pinkeye in a few days!).  And thus the eyeball crisis passed.  Hopefully the unemployment crisis will too, in time!

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  1. Perhaps this unsolicited leave of absence will make you very productive on the writing project...and perhaps Wendy will visit the blog.

  2. On both points - one can only hope! Thanks for the words of encouragement. :)

  3. I just wanted to say that I hope you manage to work things out - you are an inspiring person and I am enjoying reading your blog and I'm sure your academic work is just as valuable! Good luck!

  4. I'm sorry to hear about this difficult situation and also that awkward moment at the office; as if things weren't difficult enough! It's good to know there are some perks that remain and you are remaining very realistic yet staying positive about your situation, which I find very inspiring.

    I'm currently an undergrad in my junior year and am slightly losing my marbles due to the finances that come with attending. On top of being a full-time student, I'll be needing to hold down a work study and a part-time (perhaps maybe a full-time) job, just to help ensure I can stay till the end as well as avoid very bad health issues (a.k.a. not being able to afford eating when I have to). I know that if you can manage with all that you have going on, I surely can too.

    Best of luck and thank you!

  5. Look on the bright side. You'll have several months of leisure to adjust to married life.

    And think of all the fabulous feasts Michael will find waiting for him when he returns from work to his new bride! You can decorate and clean to your heart's desire! Uh-oh. As a feminist, this is probably your worst nightmare! My sympathies. I hope something works out to keep you from going insane.

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