Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Where will Mike choose?

I have been talking about my knee on this blog a lot lately.  It's only natural that I talk about it a lot because it is what I am dealing with right now.  But there are two other things coming up that are beginning to be on my mind a lot more lately:  Mike's deployment and moving.  Even though Mike's deployment is coming sooner than the move, I think I'll just go ahead and NOT think about it for now.  As it gets closer I obviously think of it more and more but it makes me anxious so I just try not to think about it.  So for now I just want to write about the move.

Mike was given a slot for getting his PhD back in July (Aug?).  This means that he now has to get accepted a a school, get his PhD in 3 years and then we move to another duty station--probably a lab.  After that duty station we move back to Colorado Springs where Mike teaches again.  So in six years we will be back.  Mike took the GRE and got an almost perfect score.  The test has changed the way they score things now.  He got a 168 out of 170 on Math, 169 out of 170 on Verbal, and a 5.5 out of 6 on his writing.  I'm really proud of him.  I know that Mike is smart but he also is blessed by Heavenly Father a lot.  He really knows how to study and how to take tests.  I also think it helped that he got a blessing the night before the test.  And also, that he put us first.  He really didn't have a lot of time to study because I had my surgery and he had so much more responsibilities at home to take care of.  He really made us the priority and I could tell that the test was weighing on his mind as it got closer and he still hadn't had a chance to study much.  When his mom got here his responsibilities were lessened and he was able to spend some time studying.  I personally believe that God blessed him on his test because even though he could have made studying his priority, he made us his priority.

Anyway, he did so well on his test that he can really apply wherever he wants to.  He has always talked about MIT and how he could never get in and now that he got such good scores, he actually maybe could get in.  So Boston has become high on his list of schools to apply for.  He originally thought about going to Purdue, Oregon, and Tennessee but Oregon never got back to him and Purdue doesn't really have what he wants to do and Tennessee only has one professor that he could work with.  So he is currently considering MIT and Texas A&M.

There are some really great things about both.  MIT is well, MIT.  How many people can say they scored well enough to get in to MIT?  And then, how many people can say they went to MIT and didn't have to pay for it?  Plus, Mike is someone who just does his thing.  He doesn't need to be the best.  He doesn't need to have some fancy school on his resume.  He just is happy to do his thing.  But also, because of that, he doesn't always challenge himself.  He told me that he feels like maybe now is the time to really challenge himself and that he feels like when he does challenge himself he usually excels and he is tired of always just being satisfied with mediocre.  Not that I believe he is mediocre in anything.  But I do understand what he is saying.  I have the same feelings as him.  On the one hand, I am proud of Mike regardless of where he goes to school.  I don't really need him to go to a fancy school.  I don't really need to have the satisfaction of saying, "My husband got a PhD from MIT."  And I really value my time with him.  I really like having him home.  And Mike challenging himself by going to MIT means a challenge for me as well because I'm the one holding down the fort while he is doing crazy school all the time.  And honestly, I have felt pretty challenged enough the last few years.  I feel like I could use a break from challenge...But on the other hand, I really want Mike to succeed in whatever he does.  I really want him to feel satisfied and proud of his accomplishments.  I don't want him to settle.  We tell the boys all the time that we just want them to do their best and put their best foot forward and I think that Mike going to MIT could really be a good example of that.  They can see their dad working really hard to succeed.

Aside from the school, Boston is crazy expensive.  We would need to live at least 45 min. from campus to be able to afford a place to rent and it's the East which means that traffic is horrific so he would need to ride a train to school each day.  And three years at MIT is pushing it.  It can be done but it's tough.  So that is a concern for Mike.  If he doesn't finish his degree in the three years allotted to him it would look really bad on his record.  He would have to move to his next duty station and finish his degree from there while working full time.  But I've always loved the East and it would be super cool to get a chance to live there for a few years.

Then there is Texas A&M.  The professors at Texas have been by far the most friendly and helpful.  They have just what Mike wants to do and they are rated fourth for the degree he wants to get.  It is a really good school for what he is interested in.  And with all the talk about how hard MIT is, it's not like Texas A&M will be a cake-walk.  When I think about Texas I just feel more comfortable about things.  We lived in Oklahoma for four years and Texas is similar to Oklahoma and I just think that for our family, Texas would be a much more comfortable move.  I think we would adjust to life quicker there than we would in Boston.  And housing is so much cheaper!

Mike asked me to come with him and check out Texas A&M in a few weeks so that we could both go down there and just get a feel for the school and area.  I'm hoping when we get there we will feel more direction.  (and truthfully, he might not get accepted to either school and then we will have to figure out another plan)  I am confident that we can make the right decision for Mike's career and our family and find the place that we will be most happy all around.  Mike is filling out applications and then we will find out probably in January if he is accepted and then we will make the decision about where our family needs to be.  I'm grateful we don't have to make the decision alone.  I really know that Heavenly Father guides our family to each place.  Even though it sometimes seems like being in the Military you just get sent wherever the military needs you, I have seen clear reasons for our family being in each place we have moved to and I know this move will be the same.  I really believe that our family can be happy anywhere we are sent.  It doesn't always seem that way right away.  Like when we first moved to Oklahoma I really wondered why on earth we needed to be there and felt lonely and sad but it wasn't long before we just jumped in and made it our home and when we moved I was so sad.  I really came to love it there so much and I know that wherever we are, we can have the same experience.


The Duke said...

I'm excited to see where you end up. I think I would love to live in the East for a while to see all the history that's there.
But if you end up at Texas A&M, I will probably enlist our friends, Roger and Julie Gold to adopt you as theirs so your kids will have an extra set of grandparents. And your kids will love this set!

Papa Doc said...

I think any where you go you will do great and be happy since that is how you both are naturally. I had forgotten about the Golds. That is a positive. Roger was my counselor in the Bishopric.

My friend, Bill McCurdy has a son, his wife, and grandson living in Boston. It would be great to visit them. The grandson is about seven, I think, and is very intelligent. He plays three musical instruments, too.

I wish we had money to go visit wherever you go. How cool would that be.

Dad Clark