Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Okay, this is going to be one of those entries in which I complain and feel sorry for myself (despite all the really wonderful things in my life for which I am truly grateful.) So, CAUTION! RAMPANT COMPLAINING AHEAD! (Avoid if you're already depressed, because I am going to get full-on cranky.)

When I applied to internship sites, I really didn't even look at the pay rate (or "stipend", as it is termed), because students in my brand-new program can't really afford to be choosers, due to our still-pending APA-approval status.

So now that I have two interviews, for which I counted myself lucky, I did finally look at some of those things. It turns out that my two interviewing sites are in the $11-12,000 range. This is already a drop from my current graduate-school stipend, and I can (obviously) no longer supplement it with student loans once I am no longer a student.

So, let's just say for argument's sake that I get the slightly lower, $11,000 position. After taxes off the top of my check, this will mean approximately $780 a month.

Now, where I currently live I kind of lucked out in having not only a relatively low rent for my place, but also kind of a scatterbrained (and kindly) landlord who hasn't raised my rent in the four years I've been here, so it's still $525. Let's just assume that I will be even luckier and miraculously find a place for the exact same amount in my new circumstances.

$ +780 <---(fat pay)
-525 rent
- 70 phone
- 30 lowball estimate of electric or whatever utilities I may have
= 155/month

...for everything else: food, clothing, dental and medical expenses (god help me if I get--oh, I don't know, bitten by a dog, or have an asthma attack or something), membership fees for the various psychological organizations I pretty much have to be in...

So, while I was kind of excited at the beginning of the week, this facet of the experience has been sinking in over the past couple of days. I considered how everyone else in my cohort might be dealing with this, and realized that for pretty much everyone else, they are either married or LTP (Living Together with Partner).

And also for pretty much everyone else, they have parents who have been helping them out in concrete ways such as: buying or fixing their cars, taking them grocery shopping from time to time, helping out with medical expenses, and just generally being parents. (Realistically speaking, this is probably also a big factor in my being car-free, although I'd like to claim it's entirely because I'm very environment-conscious.)

I guess I imagined that once we were into the internship phase, we'd start being treated like the professionals we're meant to act like. However, it looks instead like I will be expected to do all this high-level, sophisticated output and functioning, in a suit, for 60 hours a week--and then go home to write my dissertation on nights and weekends--all while receiving even less input than before. (Basically, the resources of a teenage runaway working illicitly at Burger King.)

I've literally been making myself sick with work for years on end, and the circumstances just keep getting harder, and harder, and harder. It just feels like every freakin' step of the way there's been this carrot dangling in front of me: "if you just push a little bit harder, work a little bit more just to get over the next hill, then things will finally start to be better."

Instead, every snowy hill I get over, there's a bigger, snowier hill on the other side, and generally someone takes away another piece of my equipment at the same time. Whoops! There go my snowshoes. Yoink! No coat and hat. Come on, you can travel at night, as well as during the day!

I spoke with a colleague this morning about internship sites. His lowest-paying interview site is $15,000. And he's married, and both he and his wife have parents who help them out.

Why did he get better-paying offers? Two reasons: 1. I only applied to sites within about 400 miles, while he applied to sites all over the country, and; 2. I got a lot fewer practicum hours/assessment hours last year than others in my cohort (for personal reasons that some of you know), making even more strikes against me in the competitive internship lottery.

So there is really no stick in this situation of which I don't have the short, sharp, pointy end.

(Well, I did warn you there'd be rampant complaining!)

(There, I feel better.)


Hindu said...

i have friends all over the states that own rental property. where are you planning on doing your internship? maybe i can help you find a deal on rent.

liz said...

Hmmm....here I am on a total rant, and then someone comes along to be kind and helpful!

Sounds potentially interesting! I am interviewing in Pennsylvania and Ohio. (Cultural hubs of the US, I know.)

Hindu said...

Penn could be a little challenging, but i have a good friend from Ohio. which part will you be interviewing in?

liz said...

Ohio site is near Akron, or "Acorn", as I like to call it.

(But--who knows yet if I'll even get it?)

argotnaut said...

I just can't even tell you how angry this makes me! How insulting! If only you were here, and not allergic . . . then there would be kein Problem.

Hindu said...

I have a couple people looking into it. I realized late yesterday that I have a buddy in Pittsburgh, is that where you are interviewing? You should also check out http://www.craigslist.org for rentals. I have used this site for years and it has always work out well for me.

liz said...

Yes, thanks--it's a good site. I think I will start worrying about possible rentals after I hear the results of the interviews!

liz said...

You know, when I was younger it seemed like it was okay to not have parental support. And I assumed I'd be able to catch up on my own accord.

Instead, it seems that the older I get, the *more* it has created a disparity between me and my peers. Resources build on resources.