Well well, look who’s writing another update. Remember when I swore, in a fit of poverty-induced rage, that I’d never blog again? Guess how well that’s going?
My pledge to never blog again is going about as well as my life, which is an unmitigated disaster. More on that later.
Things have not gone well over the past seven months. For starters, I dropped out of school.
I haven’t written much about the past two years, but from what I’ve posted, you might be able to gather that they were stressful. There was a lot that I hadn’t processed before starting my Ph.D. program, and I found that I was less able to cope with stress than I used to be. That’s not a great way to succeed as a Ph.D. student.
Money was also an issue.
I’m no stranger to being broke, by American standards, since I just finished two years earning practically nothing in AmeriCorps. But trying to make it in Maine on a graduate stipend was nearly impossible. Some numbers:
- My stipend was $20,000 a year, paid out monthly for nine months. Before taxes, that would result in a monthly income of about $2,222.
- Before accepting my Ph.D. position, I constructed an estimated budget based on the above numbers. I figured that money would be tight, but that $2,222/month would be enough to be somewhat comfortable.
- However, I didn’t realize that I’d be sending $378 right back to the university each month for insurance and fees. This pretty much destroyed the estimated budget I’d made, and severely restricted my housing options.
Long story short, I ended up being considerably more broke as a Ph.D. student than when I was a full-time volunteer, and living in ways that I swore I’d never do again.
As a result of the above factors – and others that I’ve chosen not to share – I withdrew from my Ph.D. program. I’m not thrilled about this decision, but the way I was living wasn’t working, so I had to make room for something better.
The good part of my Ph.D. misadventure was Maine. I met many good people in Maine, and made more friends in a shorter amount of time than anywhere else I’d been.
In fact, the Northeast in general seems like a nice part of the United States. I’d consider living there long-term, provided I could make enough to be financially stable.
The good news for you is that I now have the space to figure out what to do with this blog.
I have lots to process from the past two years, so in the short term this blog will become my platform for working through my memories of Colorado and Montana.
In the long run, I need to either streamline and update this site to make it faster and more SEO-friendly, or transfer The Jaguar and Allies to a new platform.
I should also let you know that you’ll be seeing more guest posts in the near future. I’ll be working with a marketing company to let them publish relevant posts on this blog about four times a month, as a way for me to publish content more regularly without having to spend all of my time on this blog.
I won’t be getting paid for anything related to these guest posts, so please don’t report me to the copyright gods. The main way I’ll benefit from this marketing partnership will be through repairing this site’s search rankings, so that I can keep growing it. The Jaguar and Allies now has over 6,000 subscribers, despite my attempts to kill it, so it’s time for me to take this blogging thing more seriously.
Expect new posts soon.