I found out yesterday that my university has changed their policy on tuition waivers for graduate teaching assistants. Our tuition is now only covered for a portion of the number of credits that we need to take each semester to stay on a 3-year graduation track.

My options are (a) take 9 free credit hours per semester (2 classes and 1 directed study) and propose my thesis a year from now (the beginning of my third year, turning this into a 4 year program), or (b) pay the ~$800 per semester (thank jebus for in-state tuition) to stay on track and take 12 credit hours (3 classes) and propose in the spring.

I will more than likely do option (b), but it just means that now I can’t take any classes outside the department, unless I really want to start shelling out lots of money. Languages are out of the question, at least until I propose my thesis.

The pressing question for this semester is, do I exchange one of my classes for a directed study? Admittedly, I’m not terribly passionate about any of my prospective classes for the fall. My adviser had told me that it is possible to take the thesis writing course the semester before you propose, meaning that I could have a 4-credit directed study, giving me 3 classes, and then propose in the spring.

The visiting professor who is teaching critical thought/contemporary art is very knowledgeable about communes, the 60s, etc. I’m thinking that my thesis will take the direction of situating contemporary interactive art as a descendant of both happenings and the situationists, so he’s definitely my guy. If I went through thesis writing now, it would help me solidify my ideas, then I’d just need to do 12 more credits in the spring and propose. In the end, the possibility of doing two massive directed studies might help me to write my thesis more quickly. But of course, since he’s not permanent faculty, I’m left without a committee chair until next year when the permanent 20th century professor returns from his fellowship, at which time everything may change.

I meet with my (other) adviser tomorrow…so far the number one thing that grad school has taught me is not to plan too far in advance for anything…professors leave, universities change policies, nothing is writ in stone.