The admissions committee for Columbia's PhD in Sustainable Development contacted me yesterday to tell me that I've officially been offered admission!
The program only admit six people a year, it's connected to the hugely famous Earth Institute, it's almost the only PhD available in international development, and it's the most immensely interdisciplinary program mixing topics from engineering with social science. I probably couldn't do better... except maybe for the other programs that I'm still waiting to hear from. Columbia sent me an email to talk "if I need any help making my decision", but I'm torn.
The other programs issue:
I also applied to American University's Development Management program, which is also unique, more geared toward going out and doing things, and part of the School for International Service, a world-renowned hotbed of people working to better the world. And I took the LSAT so I could apply to Duke's combined Law and Development degree, and be able to lawyer good into a world defined by its laws. How do you compare apples to hammers?
The Flame issue:
Flame and I both applied to schools in DC and NYC so we could keep doing our thing. But she hasn't heard back from anywhere yet. If she doesn't get into NYU, and we both get into AU, that probably tilts the balance. Except that her program is six years and mine is just two. Is a great relationship more important than a great degree?
The money issue:
Columbia will probably offer me $22,500 a year. That's just enough money in NYC to eat rice and beans for the next six years. Or I can try to work part time at my current job remotely, doing good for a little more money. Or I can get some contract work at a for-exploitation company for more money. I didn't work during semesters for undergrad, and it meant so much more energy I could put toward projects I cared about. Is it even possible to live in NYC on 22k, or do I need to invest myself just partly in my education?
I'm very excited that No matter what happens, I *will* be going to grad school! But I can't stop thinking about all the unknowns.