the fork

(read all the way to the bottom to take my poll)

Ok, so here’s the story….

Before Matt and I got married we were thinking that we’d to overseas to teach english to make some money and travel at the same time. But as we started the process, our hearts just weren’t in it. We were too happy in our little co-op, too in love with our neighbourhood and our friends and family. Thankfully, we both felt the gentle tug that teaching english wasn’t for us at this time.

But…we also knew that our current jobs weren’t where we wanted to be either. So the wheels started turning and we began plotting our next move. In the end, we both decided to apply to school.

The moment that I decided to apply to school happened in a meeting at work where two PhDs came in to share some of their research on girls. I remembered how much I loved academic discussion but I also knew that I couldn’t apply to just any program. The wheels were turning.

After a bit of research, I found the one and only PhD program that I was interested in–a Women’s Studies program that was interdisciplinary that also housed the International Women in Conflict Zones Research Network. It perfectly married my two research interests–women and nonviolence (or the peace movement).

So, I applied. It took an UNGODLY amount of time to gather reference letters, writing samples, transcripts. And it was expensive. I knew that they only accepted 10 people into the program- but I was so desperate for a change, that I knew I needed to apply.

At the same time…

I started thinking about Midwifery..yes, as in being a midwife. I have a friend who is a midwife that was just finishing school and I was pretty intrigued. When I was first applying to universities out of high school I thought about applying to midwifery, but the idea was quickly pooh-poohed.

So, again, I did some research (seriously friends, what did we DO before the internet?) and decided to apply. This was an easy decision because the only real pain in the ass was that it cost $220. Ugh–Midwifery is an undergrad program so I had to apply through the Ontario Universities Application centre…and just like out of high school applications, you pay to apply to 3 schools/programs (hence the $220). I applied to one.

All that I needed to do for midwifery was apply online, order a transcript online and wait. No resume, no application package. And wait I did…until I got an interview. There were tears of happiness in my eyes.

Apparently over 200 people apply to the program, and I think they interviewed 60.

Then I had my interview. It was this format. Totally scary, but I had some friends who had done it for their grad programs…so I asked loads of questions.

The interview came and went and about 8 of the 10 stations went well. I clumsily talked through the “apocalypse” question where the world is exploding type thing, but in front of you is a list of 10 people, you can save 3–it lists their age, gender, and occupation, and I chose a 20 year old male exotic dancer…ugh…i was thinking procreation!

It couldn’t have gone that poorly, because yesterday I found out I got accepted.

And I was floored.

All along people asked me what I would do if I got accepted into both–and I just never thought that was a possibility. Both programs are extremely small programs (PhD 10ish, Midwifery 30)

So, here is where you come in –my real-life friends and blog friends.

What do you think I should choose?

Here are some facts about both to help you:

PhD in Women Studies at York

  1. At least 4 years
  2. Would be funded and have a TA position
  3. Commuting to York a few days a week on a bus probably
  4. Super interesting classes
  5. no SET job once graduated–but could teach university classes

Midwifery at McMaster

  1. 4 year program with 2.5 years of almost entirely clinical placements
  2. Can work a part time job for the first year and a half (but not during placements)
  3. in Hamilton–can ride my bike- no commute
  4. practical and will have skills that will lead to a job once graduated
  5. will take anatomy and health classes–which i think are really interesting
  6. hands-on (literally!) helping women

Ok–here’s your part– what would YOU do if you were me?

Take my poll and leave a comment!

And naturally, I want to say THANK YOU to everyone who has been there all along–supporting, praying, listening. I know I say this ALL the freakin’ time, but I’d never get anywhere without you all.

[photo via]


9 thoughts on “the fork

  1. I’m not ready to vote yet. I need more time. One hour I think PhD and the next I think midwifery…let me pray some more before I place my official vote, that can maybe help you decide.

  2. I think your heart is in the midwifery stream….you are amazing with children, it will as you say, give you a career and think about it really….what you will be bringing into this world???? how much more could you want? but….I am your mom, and all I ever told you was… something with your life that you can wake up in the morning with and want so badly to get to that you cannot stand it….and be totally happy going to.

  3. I’m on the midwife bandwagon because I think it will be a more satisfying career. I’ve only been present for one birth but it was such an awe inspiring experience. You get to help bring life into this world. How cool is that??
    Either way you will end up a crazy old lady just as planned 😉

  4. Cait. As your mythical New Zealand blog friend of a friend I feel hardly qualified to comment on this decision BUT on a purely quantative survey of your post I say midwifery as there were 6 things vs 5. From reading the lists there is almost a language bias towards midwifery as well… things phrased in a more positive light?

    Also. I feel that you are a do-er and want to help people by doing things. Midwifery will get you to that doing stage earlier. Tears in the eyes is often also a good indication of where your heart is.

    I also think (and this perhaps is where I am also struggling at the moment) that no decision is final and apparently our generation will have 10 – 15 jobs / careers / vocations before we retire. One does not cancel out the other one, but might change the form in which it presents itself.

    Good luck! I have no doubt that whatever you choose you will go on to make a fantastic difference in the lives of the people who’s paths you cross while travelling down your own path.


  5. My vote is in, and I voted PhD.

    I have to agree with everything your Mom, Philipa and Deb said. I think your heart is leaning a little more towards midwifery and that is a good thing. I like the emphasis on relationships that this program will offer. There isn’t a wrong or bad choice here. Whatever choice you make will be a good one and one I will feel excited about BUT…

    I went with the PhD because I think you have something to say to the world. Few people ever get the chance to get this much education and when I I think about who you are and your potential to challenge, grow and love… I just think you should be in a school, changing the way ppl think. I think the many gifts God has blessed you with will have the chance to really shine in a PhD program. (I know that sounds like a 1980’s worship song.) When I imagine you years down the road the idea of flying around the world to speak and teach at conferences in academic world, studying IMPORTANT things that could change the course of history, support peace and stick up for the little guys…I just think this is a good place for you.

    I know that practically this is the harder choice but I think it’s worth it. I also have been praying lots about it and at first I was midwifery’s biggest fan, but my mind has changed and not through my own doing. I just feel a gentle pull in the PhD way. I think it has your name written all over it!

    Love and good luck! Whatever you pick will be great!

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