For background, last year, I wasn't eligible for summer teaching because I was on a fellowship during the year. So, I received a fellowship during the summer from my department, and I applied for a fellowship from an external source which I was fortunate enough to receive. As such, I was able to travel to Greece for the first time and it was an absolutely amazing summer.
This year, I have been TAing. I planned to stay here at my apartment for the summer so I would have access to the university library while Egnatius and I were studying for our various comprehensive exams. I was told that there was usually enough summer teaching to go around. Unfortunately, it does not look like that is going to be the case this year (although it is difficult to tell). As such, I'm kind of stuck. I applied for two other fellowships as a backup plan-- one was denied because I was not ABD (a stipulation I did not notice on the website) and the other was denied because it was the external fellowship I received last year and they rarely grant the fellowship multiple years in a row in order to spread out the funding. While waiting around to hear about those fellowships, I lingered hoping that one of them or TAing would come through. Afterward, a lot of grants and fellowships I found subsequently had deadlines that had already passed. At the moment I'm stuck with applying for two highly prestigious research fellowships that I'm unlikely to get due to the extremely stiff competition (especially of people who are further along in their PhD programs) and office jobs on campus, which are definitely not my first choice.
An even less appealing option would be to sublet my apartment and move home. Moving home might actually be nice-- I would at least have family, kitties, a dishwasher, and air conditioning (none of which are part of my apartment in grad school). Subletting, however, is a massive nightmare. I sublet last year and it was this horrible game of trying to hook someone who was going to stay for long enough in the apartment to cover my rent while I was gone. We're not allowed to rent our apartments for any more than we're paying for them, which makes it difficult, especially because the rent increases at the beginning of every July so you have to work out some detailed math to explain to the person renting. Moreover, the renter is responsible for any damage that the person subletting might inflict and the people who run campus housing won't help with disputes but they do insist on approving the person subletting and forcing everyone to go through a massive paperwork process.
So here is my advice: the second the summer is over, start looking for funding for the following summer. Some of the more prestigious and desirable fellowships have deadlines in October or November, so it's important to hunt those down. Even more importantly, keep continually searching for alternative possibilities. Bizarre things are constantly popping up all over the place, you just have to find them.
For those of you who are, like me, in the humanities, here are some possible summer funding links (all of these have passed as I post this, but they will be around next year):
- NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes (February deadline)-- these hold two to three spots for graduate students. Click these links for General Information, a list of programs.
- ACLS (November deadline): I swear that I once saw a predissertation fellowship for general travel, but I must have been mistaken. There is currently a predissertation fellowship for summer travel in China. They also have a summer + 1 year fellowship in American Art.
- SSRC: There is a large list of fellowships, including some that include summer funding.