Academic Signing Day

56 pages, a 30 minutes of oral presentation, and 30 minutes of Q&A later. I can gladly share that I passed my Master's Thesis Defense and have officially submitted my thesis to the Graduate School.

I. AM. DONE.

I'd also like to share that I had a really, really successful Ph.D application cycle. Per my last post, I applied to six doctoral program. I was rejected from Harvard and UNC-Chapel Hill and I was accepted into UCLA, University of Michigan, Drexel University, and University of Minnesota. They were all essentially fully funded. 

This is a pretty big deal to me because I have been told to "just get a job" instead of thinking about doctoral programs when I started my MPH program AND I nearly had my spirit broken during my fellowship in Tanzania.

Example: I had a potential recommendation writer tell me partway through the application cycle told "I' don't have enough practical skills to get into a Ph.D program" and pulled his offer for the letter. 

First of all, most people in academia don't have "practical" skills, but I digress.  

I say that to say, if you want something, do it, and surround yourself with individuals that will not only support you but hold you accountable to your goals and aspirations. The accountability part is a major key. In all seriousness, if I didn't have those people who knew that pre-Tanzania Taylor really wanted this, I wouldn't have bothered with the process.

Any who, it took me a very long time to decide on a program. Literally January to April. There are a ton of moving parts to consider such as program fit, prestige, mentorship, location, proximity to home, vibe, location, traffic, weather, cost of living, car insurance, job placement of previous students, diversity, etc. The list goes on and it gets longer as time goes by.  I did three visits, talked to tons of faculty, students, alumni in person, via telephone, email, Skype, you name it. As an introvert, it was exhausting.

After weeks on weeks of soul-searching, I was able to confidently make a decision. Ultimately, I followed my heart, chose the best "fitting" program, and negotiated in order to make choose the program where I could be my best and most productive self.

In September, I will start a fully-funded Ph.D program in Health Policy and Management from...

*drum roll please*

If anyone is interested in learning about navigating admission or funding Masters and Ph.D programs, I'd be happy to share my "how-to" in my next post. Let me know!