Saturday, May 19, 2012

Graduate Research Mentorship Fellowship


Hi Maria A Acuna,
You were nominated for the following fellowship(s):
Research Mentorship Prog. -- Awarded
Congratulation, we are very pleased to inform you that you have been awarded this fellowship.  The fellowship will provide student fees in the amount of $14,617.89 and a stipend in the amount of $--,---. 
I woke up this morning (Saturday, 6am!) to this notification.  God loves me :)

I submitted my application for this fellowship on the day it was due.  I hastily put it together because I really needed funding in order to work less (in order to finish my dissertation and get back to work full time to support myself and my daughter).  I was competing against a large cohort of second year doctoral students.  My adviser nearly declined to submit a letter because my request was short notice and came at a busy time for him (he is in the middle of writing a book).  I had to tell him about my personal situation (I am separated and financially responsible for myself, my daughter and my mortgage).  He wrote a beautiful three page letter immediately.  He is a heavyweight in the department so I am sure his letter helped me secure the funding.

The truth is, his decision to be my adviser three years ago was a vote of confidence.  One of my mentors said that he usually takes on the stars himself.  He was the editor of the most respected social work journal.  Water seeks its own level.  I am proud and humbled that he saw me as such.  Sometimes it takes expert eyes to help us see ourselves in a way that we had never imagined.

On my daughters birthday, I ran out of gas on the freeway on my way home after buying 40 cupcakes for her class.  I called triple A and help came out in five minutes (for free).  I was going to settle in and skype with a friend until help arrived but I didn't even get a chance to make the phone call.  I took a pic of the man who filled my car with gas.

He said, "You took a picture?"
I said, "Yes,  it is a sign of my disorganized life right now that somehow works out."
He asked, "Why does it work out?"
I responded, "Because God loves me."
He said, "God loves everyone!"
I said, "Yes, that's true!"

It will work out somehow, everyone!

Recently and through a medium, my mom told me not to take the slow route in finishing up the program.  She said that if I am worried about the money to consult her and she would help me figure it out.

The truth is, I never worry about money.  I have learned how to make money and I have learned how to manage it.  God has always taken very good care of me.

My daughter will get her braces - no more waiting.  We will go to France when I am done - she's been jonesing to get on a plane for nearly three years now.

I will finish my dissertation proposal, defend it, conduct my study (mixed methods), and defend my dissertation.  I will revise my publishable paper and submit it to the department and then to a journal for publication.  I will secure an assistant professor position.  My life will continue to find a delicious balance between love, work and play.  No more workaholism - those days are finally over.  I am free.  I will teach because it is what I was born to do - it makes me feel as solid and creative as a jazz musician.  I will do research - I love using my imagination to develop hypotheses for testing.  I am curious about the world and the power of relationships.

It is happening.  I have so much juicy work to do.  All there is left to say is, "Thank you, Yesus!"  This one is pretty special so I am saying it on my knees and smiling.

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