Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Piggy in the Middle

Or, "The Woeful Life of the Trans-Continental Academe"

Its amazing the things that I manage to feel sorry for myself about. Today it is that I damn near finished my AHRC application (for doctoral funding) only to find that I am actually not eligible. And for once this misunderstanding is not entirely due to my own laziness (like, 'Oops, totally missed the deadline!'), but rather my ability for wishful thinking. See, the AHRC likes British students. Real ones, that were born here, or who have lived here for many years for proper reasons. What they do not like is Americans who come over here to do degrees and take a long time in order to draw out their visas and take advantage of free birth-control pills on the NHS, steal away British men, and practise fakey, Madonna-style Anglo-American accents.* I convinced myself that I fell into a nice, safe residency eligibility-- to apply you must have been resident in the UK for three years or more. I have lived here for 3 and 1/2 years. What I ignored was the bit where it says you must be resident for three years for some good reason, like having been born here, or having a parent who was, or having been working a good job, or being a refugee. It does not count if you have been living here on a student visa and count yourself as a 'political refugee' from the Bush administration.

This shouldn't be a problem, because one would assume that some funding body in the States would offer poor American ex-patriot wastrels some sort of funding. Except they don't. The Marshall Scholarship (oh, yes, the eviler cousin of the Marshall Plan) is the big one for Americans doing post-grads abroad, but I fail on pretty much every count there: they want newcomers to the UK, first-time grad-students, and (the one that really rankles) I am TOO OLD. Oh yes. Your programme must begin on or before your 25th birthday.

Which brings me to the thing I was complaining about before I realised how terribly mistreated I am in terms of public funding: being forced to look my impending (biological, not mental) maturity in its beady little eye. This was pointed out to me when I called my sister earlier this week to tell her that an adored friend from High School and her boyfriend were visiting and had just gotten engaged. My sister immediately remarked: 'Damn, Dev, your friends are dropping like flies! You're so old!' Now, I don't mind being old-- I quite like that I am now elderly enough to rent a car, and I never, ever do that faux-girlie thing and cringe when people ask how old I turned on my birthday**-- but I do mind that all this nuptuality seems to require some sort of forced maturity, if not on my part, at least on that of my friends.

And mostly that reminds me of the fact that I am not really an adult in any way, which is quite scary, and that since I won't finish my PhD for another three years, I won't become an adult any time soon. I think eventually my friends will realise this, and I will no longer be asked to be a bridesmaid anymore, but a flower girl, instead. I look terrible with floral wreaths on my head.

*By the way, I am proud of my fake accent. It is mostly inadvertent, but when it does appear it is apparently extremely posh, and even regionalised to a place I have never been, Buckinghamshire. Because I have never been there I can pretend that it is entirely full of rolling green hills, thatched cottages, free-range livestock, and ponies.
** This might, maybe be a little, tiny bit because I am rather proud that I have gotten this far without anyone trying to kill me for being obnoxious and negative like, ALL THE TIME.


Blogger TooBlue said...

Uh, so what does this mean in real terms? Aside from the fact that you wasted a bunch of time applying for something, are getting tossed out of the country, sans degree, on your keister or what?

And we love your approximated Buckinghamshire accent too. It's really just the way you were destined to speak, wasn't it? O.C. origins be damned.

4:39 PM  
Blogger dev said...

It means exactly that-- I wasted my time filling out a useless application. I don't get deported, I just get annoyed that I wasted my time.

9:11 AM  

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