So today, seemingly out of nowhere, I decided to visit area university websites for a graduate program. Not really sure why I up and started looking around. Visited UCA first, but there weren't really any PhD programs. I don't really want to go to UALR, but I looked. Yah, nothing doing. (I just rolled my eyes thinking about what to type for the next sentence.) I looked at UAMS. Even though I had such a bad experience there, it was really my only option left for this area. And as a colleague told me later on, it really was just the department I was in that was the issue.
I clicked through different programs and stopped on Interdisciplinary Toxicology. Hmmmm.... Given my continued interest in drug forensics, I read into it. Basically, this is the study of the biological effects of poisonous substances, from environmental to whole organism to cellular level. Now when I left the crime lab, I had just received training and certification as a Site Safety Officer for chemically hazardous crime scenes. I had also attended a couple of conferences with interesting studies about the hazards and effects of methamphetamine manufacturing. Although my job wasn't investigating these aspects, it was very interesting to me nonetheless.
I inquired to the program. I read through the research going on...four or five labs are working on drug dependency studies. Could be possibilities there. But what I don't know is how I could maintain a job with going back to school. I'm at the point I have to keep working. So that was part of my inquiry....how would that work? Right now I have a flexible enough job where I could attend classes. Albeit if I go this route, going back to the crime lab at the beginning of the year would probably be out because I would lose that flexibility. I think I'm okay with that for now. So let's just say this does work out...makes me kind of feel like this could be the higher purpose to my taking this position at PTC.
It has always been my desire to finish what I started, namely a PhD. It's just I had no experience in research laboratories at the time I went to UAMS and that made it very difficult for me. All the other students in my class had some connection to a professor and knew what they were going to do. I didn't. And it created a lot of conflict. Enough that I stopped, earned my MS, and got out.
I have an appointment next week to talk to the department chair for more information. Nervous, excited, anticipatory...all the usual emotions. We'll see where this goes...