Saturday, March 1, 2008

All about Ohio

It currently looks like we may be going (knock on wood) to Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. The update on our roller-coaster college application search is that Avram isn't in Johns Hopkins, leaving only Yale to hear from. Understandably, we're expecting a rejection from them. So, it's between Wisconsin and Ohio. However, Avram did not receive a fellowship from Wisconsin, and although he could still receive a TA-ship, they usually don't give them to first year students. So all our hopes and dreams are on Ohio.

Avram wrote an email to Ohio asking about his admission and funding, and heard back from them this morning (well, they wrote it yesterday afternoon). They sent a letter on February 8th, so it must be on the slow boat to England (ok, I added the last bit). Which is good to hear, because I had started to worry that maybe there was a glitch in their system, and we weren't really accepted at all (the month of February was not good for my paranoia). The email also said that funding isn't decided yet, but they'll let him know when they know. This is actually a very nice thing to know, because we know that the Fellowships haven't been announced yet, and so maybe since they don't know yet he's been recommended for a fellowship (crosses fingers, says another prayer). Having done some research on their website, I now know way too much about Fellowships at Ohio State.

Avram's department gets to recommend three people for a fellowship from the University, which recommendation (with all the forms in quadruplicate) must be turned in by February 8th (I may be off by a day or two). Every department gets to recommend people, anywhere from three for the small departments to 45 for the dentistry school. Then, a committee of 20 decides who gets them (it doesn't say what percentage of these they pick for fellowships), and this is available to the general school faculty by March 4. By March 7 the letters to the winners are sent out. So....if Avram was recommended, which we dearly hope he was, they wouldn't know about his funding yet.

For those who don't keep their ears metaphorically to the railroad tracks of academia to understand all comings and goings, I'll explain briefly what money sources I'm always talking about. Fellowships are a tuition waiver, health subsidy, and a stipend (they have two levels at Ohio, the 1800 a month stipend and the 1250 a month one). It's given for two years; the first year of a student's attendance, and the fifth year, which is usually when a student starts dissertating, so it lets them write full time. Fellowships have no duties attached, ie they give them to recruit people, and all you have to do in return is do well at studying. If you do receive a fellowship, then the department is required to give you a similar amount of money/waivers for your second, third and fourth year, although these usually involve TA-ships.

TA stands for Teaching Assistantship, and you work for 20 hours a week teaching or helping teach classes. When you're a TA you also don't pay tuition and get a health insurance subsidy.

Ideally (knock on wood and say lots of prayers for us), Avram would receive the fellowship and then TA ships for the rest of the time. Although even if they said that he would receive a tuition waiver and health subsidy and a stipend for cleaning toilets with a toothbrush, we'd jump at that as well. Because it's really the tuition, especially the first year when he's not a resident yet so the tuition will be around 25,000 for the year, that we really can't pay. Hopefully if he doesn't get a fellowship he'll still be given a TA-ship for the first year.

Anyway, all our hopes are on this, so pray a lot for Avram and funding from Ohio State. We've been praying a lot, and Avram fasted on Thursday (yes, we know that it's also fast Sunday on Sunday, but this matter needs a lot of fasting and prayer).

Regardless, this post was supposed to be about potentially living in Columbus, Ohio, until it was hijacked by my own worries and thoughts. So, back to business.

1. All about the city: Columbus, according to Wikipedia (who cites Money Magazine for this) is the eighth best large city to live in. It has a population of 711,470 as of 2000, and is the capitol of Ohio. It has a lot of deciduous trees (which will make Avram happy).

2. The University: The Ohio State University is the largest college campus in the nation (ie, most students: 52,000). Its colors are scarlet and gray, and these are its doctoral robes:

Avram likes them, as he doesn't like just plain black robes, but colorful robes instead. As he says, one of the cool parts of academia is the pomp and circumstance, one of these being regalia. I want him to get a tam, instead of a mortorboard. They are velvet, and either four, six, or eight sided. I like them, and think they are much more distinguished looking than a flat head hat. Of course, he wouldn't buy his official robes until he had a tenure track position, because they're ridiculously expensive. The mascot is a buckeye, which Avram kept on telling me was a nut, but I didn't believe him until he finally showed me a picture of them. I couldn't believe that a school would have a nut as a mascot, but it's true. Apparently they are good for throwing at people.

3. Gaming: It's Origins, and for $45 and the price of a bus ticket, Avram can go to the second largest gaming convention in the US (this is role-playing, miniature gaming, European board games, and all kinds of groovy things). It's every year at the end of June/beginning of July in Columbus. He went there before once, just after his mission, and has always intended to go back. Living in Columbus would make it really easy and affordable, and turns going from a huge vacation expense to something that's actually feasible to do.

4. We would probably live in Buckeye Village, the on campus family housing. Although houses are cheap in Columbus, we have no capital, hardly any income, and only a small credit history, so buying most likely isn't an option for us. On the plus side, they come with air conditioning, which is nice, because Columbus has hot, muggy summers. It's about two miles from Avram's would-be department, so a nice, short bike ride. And Columbus is flat, so that's nice too (I love the mountains, but I like to bike-ride on nice, flat surfaces).

5. The nearest temple is nine miles away. This isn't bad, although not quite as good as our Provo temple, which was only about a quarter to a half mile away (although people would still drive there from my's how you knew they were truly Mormon), but I doubt we'll ever live that close to a temple again. It's a small temple.
6. Columbus is a 7 1/2 hour drive from Mom and Dad Shannon in Virginia, so not too bad of a drive at all. Supposedly a one way trip between the two would only be $50 in gas (according to the AAA fuel cost estimator for a trip), which seems too cheap to me, but hey, would be nice if that's all it was.

That's all that I've found so far, really. It's funny because on the one hand we're trying to not get excited at all, because we don't know about funding, but on the other hand we so badly want to get the funding, that it's hard to not get a little bit excited, interested in where we'll hopefully be in the fall.


  1. It's hard to be on these pins and needles with change in the air but nothing decided so you can't really plan. Describes my life right now too. Just finished our last turn at the temple--lots of loves, gifts, a few tears. Now we are doing laundry and packing. Tomorrow stake conference and a dinner invitation. Monday we clean. Tuesday, good-bye. I won't begin to feel settled until we have permanent housing which probably won't be nearly as quick as I wish.

  2. Just here to say that I know what a buckeye is :)
    Oh, and best of luck to you!
    I've always liked Ohio and think it sounds like a great place to live. And if you can, visit Kirtland!

  3. Herewith a few other weird college mascots from

    Sammy The Banana Slug: University of California-Santa Cruz.

    Texas Christian University has been using the horned toad as a mascot since 1897.

    Artie the Fighting Artichoke: Scottsdale Community College.

    Delta State University: The Fighting Okra.

    The Fighting Pickle: North Carolina School of the Arts.

  4. Panguitch Penguins!

    They're not, but oh, how I wish they were.

    I have a vague sense of what a buckeye is, but couldn't identify one if I met it on the street. Come to think of it, I probably couldn't identify the state of Ohio if I met it on the street. That not-quite-east-not-quite-midwest area of the country completely mystifies me.

  5. And don't forget the Stanford Cardinal.. Not the bird, mind you, or still less the Cleric, but the color. The color red.

  6. Hey, would you guys drop me an email? I think I met you at BYU, and I'm interested in the oxford thing. benspackman at geemail dot com (but do the gmail thing right.)