No April’s Fools for me today, just some self-questioning about things I have been taking for granted lately. It may not be the first day of the new year anymore, but April this year seems to start on a renewal note.
Visiting my department this week is Nancy Armstrong (wow, she has a Wiki entry?), a famous scholar whose work in Victorian fiction makes knowing her scholarship very important to my own research. I’ve been to her seminar on Monday morning, had lunch with her along with other students right after, and she held office hours this morning which I attended as well. Monday, she convinced me to remain a Victorianist; today, she may have changed my professional path.
More than provide me with useful insights about my current project (“but what does it DO to the principles of artistic representations of history?”), she made suggestions about how I could capitalize on my bilingualism for my PhD dissertation. She’s offered to look over my proposal, to keep giving me feedback on my project, and even, if I did decide to recant myself and actually apply to an American university, to look over my statement of purpose.
Ever since I got burned by three American unis (Cornell, Stanford, Columbia), with an excellent GPA, amazing GRE scores and a very good project, I decided to not apply over the border again; also because I know my boyfriend would not follow me across the border in any circumstances. Now that the need to find a PhD dissertation topic approaches, however, I need to consider my options. Out of the best three places to be in Canada, I would only go to one: University of British Columbia. Toronto is a no-no, and I have a natural loathing for McGill. Nevertheless I will probably end up applying to all of them, and then some; I’d have to start researching on Canadian Victorianists again.
So here is my dilemma: do I betray both myself and my boyfriend and apply to Duke, knowing that my chances are slim BUT better with a personal contact like Dr. Armstrong on my side, and knowing that an American degree gives me much better chances of eventually finding a tenured job, or do I stay true to myself and my relationship and stay in Canada, where even if separated (he wants to go to law school, we may not end up in the same school, even less in the same city), it’s still in the same country. He followed me here when he could have stayed in Montréal; I do not want to render meaningless the sacrifices he made (and is still making) to be here with me.