DC Life

Visiting with Catholic U was pleasant and informative. Financial aid wasn't too helpful, and the department chair told me that there isn't much offered in the way of financial aid because CUA is a "poor" school. Great. They also told me that as a grad student I can expect to pay up to $50,000. I was too shocked at the price to ask for a breakdown of that, but I'm going to call and Monday and ask about it. They also told me that I was "awarded" $20,500 in Stafford loans. Oh joy. More loans! They also told me I can take up to the rest in grad PLUS loans and Direct loans. Sweet. I'll try looking for more ideas. I also went into Housing and asked about student housing. They said that there's maybe one opening for graduate housing for next year, but they did give me a nice book full of apartment options in DC and the surrounding counties in MD and VA.

So that was really the only bad news. Everyone at the department was really nice. There's maybe only 20 students in the whole department, and the Akkadian class I sat in on had 4 students. They told me that nearly all the classes for the department are taught in that room. The department is in the basement, or "garden level" of the Library and they have their own library down there with them. The professors told me they have a special little connection with JHU, too, so I could potentially take some courses there, as well.

The students said that you can expect a pretty rigorous curriculum and that there's a close connection with the professors. This is good. One of the students was older, maybe late 40s, early 50s, and she didn't seem too thrilled about everything. She said that if she had the choice like me she would have chosen NYC. She said there was too much of a political atmosphere. She didn't seem to get along well with the other students and the one professor, though, so I'm thinking it was maybe just her. Anyway, I wouldn't mind the political atmosphere, I'd feel I was a part of something and I'd actually maybe get to keep up with current events! haha.

The campus was gorgeous, too. Of course the basilica is the main highlight, but the rest of the campus was just as beautiful. Everywhere that I would be is all located right in the middle of campus and next to all the administrative buildings, which is so helpful. I really enjoyed the Arabic poetry reading I attended, too. Arabic sounds so awesome. I really want to learn it. The speakers handed out Arabic and English translations of the poems. I was actually able to pick out a couple letters! This pleased me. I figured out the "-ee" sound and letter "s", both when they're at the end of the word. Awesome!!! I was so proud of myself for figuring that out! I was trying really hard to work out Akkadian while in the class, but that was a little more difficult as they're different combinations of wedge-shapes that make up sounds instead of letters.

Overall, there were parts that made me more attracted to the campus and parts that made me less attracted (especially the money). But looking through the little book for apartment hunting makes me really excited to live in DC. However, I really need to take a look at JTS before making a final decision. It may end up that money decides it for me, as they've already given me 1/4 tuition scholarship, which could be up to $5,000, and they're tuition is already 2/3 of the price of Catholic U.

As far as exactly what I'm hoping for in my education, neither really gives me exactly what I want, namely, some archaeology background and a stronger focus on other Semitic languages besides Hebrew. I love Hebrew, but I want to know just as much Akkadian and Ugaritic or anything else, not just lots of Hebrew and some of the other stuff. I want to know them equally, and I may not get that at either school. However, CUA has that connection with JHU. If I went to CUA and made an impression with JHU profs, I may have a better chance of getting into a PhD program there. Again, JTS has connections with universities in Israel. Buuut...I don't want to just be in Israel, either.

I'll have a clearer decision once I see JTS! ...Let's see when THAT'S going to happen. I don't think anytime before May. :(


The Beginning of a Big Decision

Tomorrow I go to Catholic U! I'll meet with financial aid in the morning. I guess I should have made an appointment, but they said that I didn't need one, I could just walk right in. Oh well, I'll make sure I get in there with a lot of extra time before my meeting at 3:30 with the department faculty! They invited me to join them for an Arabic Poetry Reading and to the reception afterward! There I'll mingle with various students (I hope I can get up the guts to approach them...maybe one of the faculty will introduce me?) and see what a student's perspective of the department is.

Then I'm meeting up with Laura for drinks under the cherry blossoms!!! haha. I believe last weekend was the cherry blossom festival, so they should still look quite beautiful. Though after the violent rainstorm the whole North East is expected to get, there may not be much left to them. boo. I'm also meeting up with Melissa sometime Saturday evening. I would say afternoon, but I doubt she'll be up and ready before 5pm. haha.

The Week:
I've also had a big week, and even last weekend was crazy. Last weekend at Bally was horrible. First another aid and I put diesel in the van when it took regular, then we lost the stupid gas card and receipt, and then Monday another aid accidentally took the keys home with her and the supervisor needed the van for the next day for an appointment. It was a complete disaster.

But I started teaching 5th and 7th grad science this week. I also took over the CARES program for good, since the 5th grad teacher had her baby. The 5th grade science class is going really well, but I feel like I'm starting to flounder with 7th grade already. It's tough science! I severely dislike biology, and even more so when it's on the cellular level. I can't wait to get through the Plant Kingdom and start talking about Ecology because I can understand that so much better. I must have like 6th grade science level, haha. Except in Earth Science. Kick butt there. That's stuff's awesome!

My days are really long (at school by 7:30, don't leave until 6pm), but the work isn't too hard. Not like it is at the home. I am totally stoked for that first paycheck, though. haha. I can buy my new laptop by the end of the school year now, instead of seeing if I can scrape something up by the end of the summer. And by new laptop, I mean a Macbook. Oh yea, goin' Pro. It's really nice being home in the evenings too, even if I am so exhausted that I don't want even want to think about lesson plans. But I must. Especially, I should be working on them NOW but I can't make myself do it!!! uuuuugh.

Alright, enough of this, printing out my directions and then I'm working on these stupid lesson plans!