I was notified today that I have been awarded funding for the summer. Like last year, this means I’ll spend half of my summer being a TA and the other half doing whatever. Technically, I’ll have to enroll for 12 credit hours, which is crazy because (a) there are no graduate level philosophy courses offered in the summer, and (b) they currently only require us to take nine hours during the normal (and hence more manageable) semesters. It’s a bit absurd that they would require us to take more credit hours when nothing is offered and yet the semester is condensed. But that’s okay. I’m sure I’ll be able to work it out so that I’m taking what are best described as “filler hours.” I call them filler hours not because they don’t really apply to anything, but because the actual number of credit hours you take doesn’t mean much. This year, for instance, I’m hoping to spend my summer preparing for a special area exam, which I aim to take early in the fall. (Passing a customized special area exam is a prerequisite to submitting and defending a dissertation prospectus. Successfully defending a dissertation prospectus is a prerequisite to taking dissertation hours, which you can use to fill up your schedule as you work, more or less exclusively, on your dissertation from that point forward.) So, I will be working, and ideally working quite hard, this summer. Nevertheless, figuring out exactly how to fill those 12 credit hours, at least on my official school record, is a technical formality I’ll have to deal with.
The best part of being funded, of course, is the funding. (I wouldn’t want to TA this summer for the sheer fun of it, that’s for sure!) By TA’ing this summer, I’ll receive an additional $2,150. Half of that will go right back to the school in the name of student fees, etc. It’s rather ridiculous. Still, an extra thousand will help. It’ll cover a month of rent and a year or so of Mountain Dew. So that’s something.