Funding the lucky few

Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 10.58.24 AMI’m lucky. That’s all. I was lucky in December when some faculty members at the History Department at York met to decide which SSHRC proposals they would ship down the line, to the Faculty of Graduate Studies. Someone liked mine. Maybe two someones. I thank them, whoever they are. Then I got lucky again, when even more anonymous someones from different York faculties found my proposal worthy. What constitutes worthiness, in this case, is more luck, plus a dash of sex appeal. My proposal isn’t safe sexy. It’s more American Horror Story sexy. I study a virus that wiped out between 50 to 100 million people, most of them, over the course of about four months. You would have to be in a coma or studying for comps not to notice the appalling viruses that have been all over the news for the past year or so. I also benefit from a great news hook – the 100th anniversary of the 1918 influenza pandemic is coming up. That’s it. That’s why my proposal was sent on to Ottawa, while the majority of those of my equally hard-working and talented fellow grad students in the department of History at York, were not. And now, my odds of securing a SSHRC are about 50/50. So, not great. And, if I get lucky again in the spring, and do secure a SSHRC, I will have reached the pinnacle of what most full-time grad students can ever hope for: $20,000 a year for three years.┬áThis is how much we value scholarship in Canada.

Tell me what you really think.