I had a tough day. Last night I got a notice from the Financial Aid Office of the University I attend. I had been on probation for three semesters because I failed an organic chemistry class - the University requires a 2.0 GPA for financle aid. This spring, I had a lot of things happen at once, and I just stopped going to class. (“Things happening” was a potent combination of depression, getting married and my adopted mother being hospitalized. Yes, I know this is a lousy excuse.) Since I didn’t finish the classes, the Financial Aid office is denying me aid for the coming fall semester.
For the past five years, I have been an employee of the same University. My first two years, I was an animal care technician, maintaining the transgenic mice the researchers use. Actually doing research and making more money motivated me to go to school. Now I am a professional research assistant (PRA) for the organ transplant biology department. The PRA position typically requires a BS, but I was able to get the job because I had animal breeding and manipulation experience.
Walking down the hall today, a young woman approached me, “Hi, do you remember me?”
“Sorry, I don’t.”
“I’m S__; you taught me how to hold mice when I was a student worker. It was a few years ago, I was a junior in college.”
“Oh. How are you doing?”
“Good. I’m here to get signatures from my committee.”
“You’re a PhD?”
“Yep. I’m a doctor. You were taking classes, how did that go for you?”
“Uh. . . I’m still going to school. Going part time takes a long time. So, Dr. S, got any plans for your future?”
After some small talk about S___’s plans, I excused myself. Walked down the hall, went in to the bathroom, and cried my eyes out.
Even with a degree, the position I have now is as far as my career can go. A bachelor’s of science degree is just a small, shriveled carrot on the end on a very long stick.