The downside of a scholarship

I have likely received a scholarship for this fall. I say likely, because my department has put me forward for one, but there’s always the rare chance that university decides I don’t actually meet the criteria and doesn’t give it to me.

On one hand, this is great news. It means my supervisor doesn’t have to find as much money in order to fund me this fall (which leaves more available for people to go to conferences and such). It also means I’ll “make” more than I would as a research assistant (RA). It means I can still pay my rent and buy food and live this fall (especially good since there’s a slim to rare chance that we’d be making enough from our start-up to be able to start paying people anytime soon.

On the downside, it also takes away some of the pressure/motivation to graduate as quickly as possible. I don’t have the looming threat of no funding hanging over my head. Knowing I have funding available all the way through next April, makes it hard to completely rationalize graduating before then (the moment I defend, I will lose the rest of the money, because I would no longer be a student). Which means, dragging it out provides more time to work on the startup while having money coming in (and therefore avoiding becoming a starving entrepreneur for a little longer).

Of course, the downside of the downside, is that I remain a student that much longer, have to deal with academia and the internal ‘politics’ that much longer, and have to pay tuition for that much longer.

It makes me want to do what a friend did – try to finish stuff up with an earlier goal (I’m thinking January/February defense), and then just not formally submit the final dissertation until April (the funding cutoff is tied to submission since that’s the actual point of being “done”). Of course, to do that, I’d have to get my supervisor on my side – and could only really justify it if I continued to do some research after defending. And, of course, the only way I’m possibly going to be able to defend in January or February would be that I start writing, because that stuff always ends up dragging on much longer than planned.

After my big push on the startup last week, I was hoping I might be able to split time more this week, but that hasn’t happened yet. And now, I’m not so hopeful that next week will be any better. Oh well, at some point I will be officially back to research (September 1st at the latest), and so I will have to dedicate time then.


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