Saturday, February 24, 2007

In the Clearinghouse

I don't often do full on diary-blog entries, but this one is a big one. I might be moving to a random U.S. city in June, sans mon femme. It's not a matter of any relationship problem: We're doing fine, and in fact, that's what makes this such a heart-breaker. Yesterday, I received news from the organization that matches psychology graduate students with psychology internships. An internship is the final piece of a Ph.D. in my field, and the application process has been going on for the last eight months or so.

I didn't match. My biggest problem is that I applied exclusively in Chicago, primarily so that I could be near my wife. That was both for the fact that she's my wife and that after a hard day on the job (and in my field, I have plenty of them... calling in allegations of child abuse is a thrill a minute), she's amazing at calming me down. The Chicago internship market, on the other hand, is brutal. There are only a few internship programs (or at least, fewer than might be expected), and a lot of people are drawn to them because they want to live in a big city after spending five years at a university in the middle of nowhere. Plus, many of them are hyper-specialized, and I'm not a specialist by nature.

Those who don't match go into what is euphemistically called "The Clearinghouse." What it means is that Monday morning, a free-for-all starts among those applicants who didn't match and those programs who still need to fill spots. Signs point to none of those spots being in Chicago. It forces me into a position of either waiting another year and doing this all again next year, or trying to find something in another city. The latter means a new city in June, for a year long posting. The former basically means a year of a holding pattern (I refrain from using the phrase "a year wasted") professionally.

This was not part of the master plan. But, the Good Lord has sent me many blessings dressed in ridiculous packaging before.

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