Our department recently completed a search for a new tenure-track position. I loved meeting all of the candidates and going to their seminars, especially since I expect that whomever is hired for the position will be on my committee. I think I was much more invested in this particular search than most other students in the department. I had a clear favorite candidate when the interviews were finished, and I found out this week that she is being offered the position! I really hope she accepts. Her research fits extremely well with my interests, and I think she gave the best seminar.
I also learned that I have more options than I thought I did for teaching (and thus financially supporting myself) this summer. At some point I need to go to my field site (Nyota) and start my research. If I receive the NSF GRF, I can start getting paid by it this summer (instead of fall) if I choose, which I would. [Note: my friend who received the GRF in 2004 did this, so I am crossing my fingers that I would also have that option- I don't know for sure] If I don't receive the GRF, I need to have a backup plan for how I will teach and do research halfway around the world. Yesterday I found out that I might be able to TA for Chip (one of the best teachers I've ever had) for the first part of the summer, and then be in Africa for the second part. Otherwise, I have to squeeze my whole field season into the first part of the summer so that I can teach for the second part. I just can't go three months without a paycheck when we still have to pay rent.
Summer seem to be full of complicated decisions for grad students. I won't bore you with the details of fees, health insurance, and gym access, but it's complicated. I'm going to solicit the advice of older, wiser, more experienced grad students.