Feeling incredibly vulnerable to life

That is how I feel right now. I am so nervous and tense about my job/financial/school situation for the coming year (I lose funding in May). I know that one way or another things will progress and I will finish, but I am starting to lose sleep over it all. And today I heard that one option for funding has collapsed, so now I am doubly nervous...and all of this was relayed to me ten minutes before I had to teach my second class...on my favorite day of teaching the entire semester: the day I get to teach Tennyson's "The Lady of Shalott." So, I sucked it up and went into class to teach...because that is what I do and who I am. Inside I was panicking. Running possibilities and numbers and situations in my head while trying to teach four different interpretations of the poem. I think I handled it okay, but I was extremely upset because it really is the most fun thing to teach. Still, at least I can be proud of myself for holding it together. It took about twenty minutes for me to relax a little bit and slowly avoid thinking about everything. As for the actual funding option, I am still proud that I can say that my department as a whole was behind me and that I made a good showing for us (on paper, at any rate) in trying to obtain a very competitive award. And it is fine that I didn't get it because it isn't my path. The only thing I am worried about is whether or not my other options will fall through as well. STRESS, PEOPLE!! LOTS OF STRESS!!!

And I am not the only person going through this right now. There are several of us losing funding this year. I am grateful for my department's support over the last five years. It has been so incredibly generous and I have been treated very well. But, as anyone embarking on a PhD knows, five years just isn't long enough to finish. For me to finish in six is stretching it, but I WILL FINISH by next May, even if it kills me! So, worst case scenario is that I have to go outside of the university and try to work a 40 hr a week job to pay my tuition and bills. I can do it...if I can find such a job in this wonderful economic environment! But, like I said, I have a couple of other things/ideas in the works, so maybe it won't come down to that in the end...at least I hope not. I just hate being in a state of limbo and not knowing what is ahead for me. I like to be productive and settled...and I feel neither right now. I know the same can be said of my friends who are also in my situation.

And that being said, everything was put into perspective this afternoon. After a couple of hours freaking out, I met some friends at Barnes and Noble and heard an incredibly sad and scary story about a young person from another country who is being horribly abused and manipulated by a guardian with the young person. The evidence presented to me (physical evidence) was clear and it is happening. The bad part? The kid is now technically over age in our country and there is no legal recourse. Apparently, this has been going on for nearly a decade and now this person is in a situation that feels like a trap. So, even though my life feels horrid at the moment, I can't imagine what this child (because the person still is one, even if it is just mentally due to the power dynamic in the situation) feels like. Talk about feeling vulnerable to life. So tragic and sad. Some things are being done behind the scenes to help, hopefully, so we will see.

Anyway, that is about it for now. Hopefully, and hopefully very soon, I will have more positive news to report.


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