Sunday, February 10, 2013

From Point A to Point UK: A Diary of a Creative Writing PhD student


This time last year I just finished applying for a PhD position at Lancaster University. I was being a mom, writing, teaching, living in Maryland. Every once in a while I let the words roll around in my mouth: Dr. Yvonne Battle-Felton; Yvonne Battle-Felton, PhD.  But it was too soon to take the words seriously. I had only pressed send on my application package a few moments—or weeks before.

“I don’t see where to show if I want to study online or in the UK,”  I mentioned as casually as a mother can tell her 16 year-old that she’s considering making a big move—a very big move.

“Really?”

“That could mean spending your last year in high school in another country…”

My daughter’s brown eyes looked hesitant, like me she was gauging reactions.  “That could be fun.”

I smiled. “Yeah, but they also have classes online. I’ll be happy either way.”

I wasn’t sure that was true. I would love to be a full-time college student; to walk along the corridors of a prestigious university; to get lost for hours in a library.

I had tested the waters and they were at least warm.

A few weeks later my acceptance letter came.

I read the email a few times before I told my children.

“Congratulations!”

“So…I don’t see where it says I’m studying in the UK or online. I’d better check.”

My children didn’t seem too worried.

“They said I’ve been accepted to study in the UK. They assumed I’d want to…”

They assumed right.

I wasn’t sure what my family or friends would think.

Was it crazy to move my family around the world to pursue words?

Was it selfish to immerse myself in academia?

Definitely, but my friends and family supported me anyway. It took moving around the world to realize how close we have become.

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