NB: I have to say, the word “horror” is one of my least favorite words. Whenever I say it, it sounds like “whore,” and if I try and enunciate it so that it doesn’t, then it just sounds lame.
In honor of the era of the political sound bite, I bring you: FELLOWSHIP-GATE ’08! (It even rhymes!)
So, I got into my office yesterday after class to find out that I hadn’t received the fellowship after all. I was very disappointed, but after reading the email more closely, it sounds like the fellowship was awarded before I even had my interview last week…to someone that the English department had never heard of (just to clarify: although this is a Judaic Studies fellowship, there is no graduate program in JS, so it’s open to students from other departments who have a Jewish Studies focus in their work. In addition, the director of JS is also an English professor, and the fellowship specifically notes that applicants coming from a literature background are preferred). Apparently, a “different channel” had been set up for nominations and they didn’t bother telling the interim director of Judaic Studies about it. In fact, despite the fact that he’s the one who put up the announcements about the fellowship in the first place, no one bothered to tell him that they had awarded the fellowship at all! And it looks like my nomination might not have even gone to the right people in the first place…so it’s as if my application never existed (hey, at least I can say it wasn’t me–that might not be true, I might still have lost it even if I was nominated correctly; I am just an M.A. student rather than a Ph.D. student after all–but it makes me feel better).
Anyhoo, I emailed the my DGS right away to make sure that I was still in the running for the TA packages, because no funding = no degree for me. Not to worry, I’m first in line for funding–instead of TA-ing Jewish literature classes or serving as an RA, I’ll be teaching/tutoring in the writing center. Not as nice as the fellowship, but I like to make lemonade out of lemons (and I’m not going to gripe about these lemons, let me tell you). I could use teaching experience, and it would be nice to be able to commiserate with the rest of my cohort when it comes to grading, etc.
BUT. I seem to have stirred up a wasp’s nest. The department is royally ticked off that the fellowship was awarded without their knowledge, so the chair has been on the phone to the dean and other higher ups to figure out if it’s really gone and so on and so forth. Quite exciting!