Dangling at the precipice of a looming graduation, we stare down the barrel of a big decision.
While a May (Spring) graduation was not meant to be, I will most likely be graduating inshallah in August 2015. Yes, that is only a few months away! While I am very excited to take my degree, that leaves us in a precarious situation. The time has come to make a decision about Turkey.
The hubster has shot his final bullet, attempted the last remaining problem that he could think to take on. His adviser was very supportive of this topic and he has been working on it since November 2014. Come to find out… it has been solved already, two years ago by a research team that he knows, in Turkey. The day we found out was devastating. I can’t even find a stronger word to describe the inner turmoil. With only one year left on his visa/ scholarship and nothing to show, we are left with the soul-crushing decision of “is enough finally enough?” When is staying in the US doing more harm than good? For me? Well, I will be graduated in August inshallah and it makes no difference for me. To be quite honest…this would be a good time for me to uproot and leave. If we were to stay another year, I would have to find a job and a source of insurance due to the new “you must have insurance” law (at the moment, the school provides it for me). This would be the ideal time to make a clean break…well, as clean as it can be when you are leaving your home country to start a new life.
But for him. For him…no. There is no clean break. There cannot be a clean break until he obtains his PhD. At this point…is it even feasible? That is the question we are saddled with. The psychological damage caused by our latest revelation, along with years of abuse from his adviser (see previous posts for those stories…some were not even mentioned), he can see no shining light at the end of the tunnel. This leads us to ask- is staying in the US another year worth the time? We aren’t getting any younger. True, if we stayed another year that is more money in our pocket to help start our lives in Turkey…but that is a year of “working debt” that he has to endure, regardless of what degree he returns with. Even more, if he wants to continue pining for his PhD in Turkey, that is a year he could have been working on it there. We are wondering if staying is just prolonging the inevitable defeat. Of course, being the optimist, I am always encouraging him and telling him that his degree is still possible. But it would take a miracle. I’m constantly praying for one.
At the moment he is saying that going back to Turkey is the likely choice (we’ve given ourselves until April to decide). But we both know that his heart is not in this decision, and it is still clinging to the chance at a PhD. I can’t even describe my frustrations at this situation. He isn’t lazy, he isn’t stupid. He is one of the smartest people I’ve met in my life mashallah and if this life was fair, he would have his PhD in hand by now.
Please keep us in your prayers as this life-changing decision looms before us.
As stated above, the time is coming for our departure (either now or a year from now), and we could use your help. If you are looking for someone in need to donate your sadaqa (charity) to, look no further. In order to start a new life abroad, it costs money. Beginning your life over with nothing but two suitcases is a challenge. We have some funds, but two plane tickets would go a long way in helping us out. Visit the link below to donate. Even $5 can help us.
A lot has been going on recently, especially with the hubsy’s PhD! He put his foot down with his advisor saying that he only has a little bit of time left in the US before he MUST return to Turkey, PhD or no PhD, and he has no time for classes! His advisor was shocked, expecting many more years out of the hubster before he could graduate. Well, long story short, it seems that he is done with classes after this term! YAY!
Also, he took his qualifies (the exam that means you can continue your PhD studies…like a GRE for PhDs) and PASSED! Alhamdulillah!
These are all the things that we were looking for as signs that his PhD is attainable and we should stay after I graduate this coming summer. Inshallah it all works out! Sorry I can’t be more detailed, I have to study for an exam. I hope my next post will be as happy!
Every day things look worse and worse for us here. I really have no idea what we are going to do…and what will happen. When you don’t know how it is going to end, it is hard to care about the assignments in front of you. For instance, I have a paper due (the lit review of my masters thesis proposal) as a class assignment for one of my courses, at the end of this semester…but oh how hard it is to give two cares when I probably won’t see next semester. At first I was partially excited to return to Turkey, imagining the days spent without any stress or concern, baking and watching TV all day with no end to the relaxation in sight…
But then there’s the money problem.
The stipend for PhD students is minimal at best, if you get any at all. With uni being free in Turkey, the stipend side is iffy. Here, if you get an assistantship to pay tuition, more likely than not you get a stipend as well. Not so in Turkey.
Also, if he decides, or comes to the point, where he will be working solely from his Master degree, he will receive a monthly pay (thats how they do it, a monthly rate instead of hourly) of approximately as much as the stipend he is receiving now to take his PhD in the US. Two people living off the measily stipend of a student? Good luck with that. Yes, Turkey is a much cheaper place to live…because many of the comforts we enjoy in the US are not as common place there. I am quite certain I cannot work on a resident permit, let alone work without a grasp of Turkish. This adds to my concerns. It was hard enough starting over in a new state when we were able to drag everything we owned with us (pots, pans, linens, etc), let alone starting off in a new COUNTRY where all we have is what could fit in 4 suitcases!
This adds to the urgency of finishing up in the US. First, padding our savings with the stipend money that we try very hard to save could benefit us enormously when we move. Second, the starting salary he would receive from finishing his PhD would be a good 1,000TL higher a MONTH. Roughly, ofcourse.
We are trying our best to make it work here. He does NOT want to go back to Turkey empty handed, and neither do I. Clearly, staying in the US is the best option… if he can get his PhD. If not, there is no chance of being able to get it after waiting even one year. With military service looming overhead, he would not be able to finish a PhD in Turkey in time…the long term result being a minimal salary that couldn’t provide the lifestyle (or the family size) we had in mind.
He said already “Raziysan gel” (great song), and I agreed and came with him. Regardless of our situation, I will be with him in the end.
How many times must we come to this same point? Again we find ourselves at the never ending crossroads- the inevitable move to Turkey. It will happen one day, and each week the day changes. This time, it seems as though his advisor has declared he will never receive a PhD from this university…that is a strong statement to make. They are not going to work out, no matter how hard he tries to get along with his advisor. Now he is prepared to burn all the bridges and bring this ridiculous activity to the department chair. GOOD! That man is a bully and a jerk, he needs to be put in his place.
But what does that mean for us?
Obviously, if no new advisor is found it will be back to Turkey for us. At this point, I’m ok with that. WHATEVER it takes to make the madness stop. I can’t even enjoy the effort to receive my Master degree with a new crisis popping up each week. Seriously, at this point I don’t care where we end up, I just want it to end- and soon. There seems to be options in Turkey, a chance for me to continue my education at a predominantly international university. I’m not even worried about that right now, I’m just worried about having to pay back my assistantship or not. I’m not sure if I will have to, since I will be leaving the program…that is, if the advisor problem isnt fixed.
I demanded a decision in two months time. There is a very real possibility we will be on a plane to Turkey next summer, or even January.
And right when you though it was over, it starts again. This time with more to lose. Things have been going well for me on the academic side, even a little on the personal side as well. My classes are challenging but interesting, my advisor seems great, and my labmates are all friendly and easy to get along with. This is a much better start than I had in my undergrad, where I was basically a loner for about half of my time there and struggled to get a foothold in the university system. I suppose that’s the good part of graduate school, you know how school works and the department is smaller. I wish I could say the same for my husband though…
Now his advisor has basically refused to give him any more intellectual support. “Oh thats not my area really…you’re on your own”. What the hell is that? Why did you tell him to change his area if you were going to turn around and say its not your area and not help him? That is the only reason he changed- so that he could get the support he needed from his advisor. Now the hubby is saying he is going to talk to the international office lady (who has helped him through all his paperwork and problems) about whats going on and if there is something more that can be done. Doing a PhD on your own is…ridiculous. So will it be here? Or Turkey?
The thing is, I’m not sure he realizes that there is very little difference. Seeing as the classes are not his problem, its the people. People have been his problem since day 1, even during his undergrad experience in Turkey. Sure, when we think of Turkey we think of sunny skies, picnics, the beach, delicious food, and spending time with his family…because that’s what we did two years ago when we visited last. Turkey was a vacation. If we leave now, however, it won’t be. Turkey will be life again. Same people, same problems, different language. He’s too busy here to go on picnics, go to the beach, go to see my family (that are now 7hrs away)…the story will not change when we go to Turkey. Working in his PhD there, he will be too busy for fun and his family, also, will be around 7hrs away. It seems to me that Turkey as a solution is not all it is cracked up to be. I hope he realizes that before he makes a decision that changes both our lives completely. Maybe for the better. Maybe for the worse.
Birth, aging, death.
Wash, rinse, repeat.
Reduce, reuse, recycle.
We are all familiar with the various cycles/circles that we come across through out our day or lives. One cycle I am exceedingly familiar with is that of the cycle/circle of frustrations. It hasn’t been occurring in me as of late, but my husband. It goes something like this:
I can do it!
Difficulty occurs (be it mental, physical, or social)
I can’t do it!
Encouragement occurs (again, mental, physical, or social)
I can do it!
etc. etc. etc.
With each cycle comes a deeper sense of failure and greater, more diverse encouragement is required. It is getting to the point where my own encouragement to him is not enough, and he seeks support of his mentors (one of which is one of the difficulties that occurs).
It makes me so sad that he is constantly circling the drain of depression. I wish there was something I can do. As of late, it seems even going back to Turkey would not offer a reprieve. It seems that, since his Masters was without thesis here, he would be forced to retake his Masters in Turkey, instead of picking up at his PhD. This is a time wasting scenario he refuses (and for good reason!). We are at yet another crossroads, determining which way he will go in his research. This is a make or break point, since we are at the point of no return. I wish I knew what to tell him…