Friday, December 4, 2009

the transition zone has its advantages

As so many people do, I submitted my PhD thesis and promptly started working a “post-doctoral” job whilst the examiners looked it over and the wheels of University bureaucracy processed the paperwork necessary to eventually grant my degree. As a result I am both a “full time student” and a “professional geoscientist”, at the same time. Based upon the various e-mails exchanged with the university, I am on track to have my degree awarded with the December 2009 graduating class (so, basically, I get the degree for my birthday this year). However, since I am still, technically, enrolled as a student, when I filled out my AGU abstract submission forms I also submitted a request for student travel funding, letting them know in the forms the details of my status and the fact that while the degree isn’t yet complete, I have moved on and commenced employment. Much to my delight, my request for funding has been approved.

Today I found out that the way the AGU funding works is that we pick up a check when we arrive at the conference, and we have until the 15th of January to turn in all of our receipts for the expenses. Apparently if our total expenses are less than our accumulated expenses we need to then give back to AGU any funds we didn’t need. If I had opted to stay in a hotel during the conference my total expenses would easily exceed the total amount of the available funding. However, a very good friend of mine happens to live in the city, fairly near the conference venue. Therefore, instead of staying in a hotel, I’ll be staying with friends. Because I managed to find a very good deal on my air fare (as one does when one has to front the money oneself and one’s budget is tight just now) I strongly suspect that I won’t actually accumulate enough additional receipts to use up all of the funding available to me. (They won’t fund more than $45/day for food, so don’t suggest going to really high end restaurants to use it up.) Therefore, so that I don’t feel like giving their money back is an expense, my plan is to record both the influx of the advance, and, on the same day, enter in the outgo of the change I owe them. Initially, I’ll record the value of that “change” as the difference between the total funding available and the cost of the air fare. Then, each time I spend money on food or public transit during the conference, I’ll change the number in the “unused funding” entry. I don’t expect that I’ll manage to reduce that number all the way to zero, but it will be interesting watching it change as the expenses accumulate.

2 comments:

Clare said...

Just found your blog on the AGU blogroll. Looks like your research interests are similar to mine - though I don't do experimental petrology. Looking forward to reading your views on AGU!

A Life Long Scholar said...

Thanks! I'll do my best to actually remember to post while I'm there, despite the temptations to interact with humans instead of hanging out on line...