Aside from several airport delays getting in and out of Chicago on Sunday (into Monday), my Michigan trip went very well. I had a moderate freak out when I got there Thursday night, however, as I realized that I had not made UPenn's first cut. (Other people had heard from them, and were scheduled to go to a similar visit weekend in Philadelphia.) Ultimately, that put much more pressure on the Michigan visit, as it was officially became the only program in play. Compounding this nerve-racking state of affairs was that it seemed everyone else visiting had several other visit weekends lined up at places like Penn, Brown, Berkeley... and I just had this one. Granted, I didn't apply to most of those places, because I didn't want to go there and I felt that I could get into a place I actually did want to go, so why bother, but it didn't help the nerves every time someone asked "So what other programs are you visiting?" for me to say "None."
But that was Thursday, and by Friday and Saturday I had calmed down somewhat. I was able to spend some time with people I know from Kedesh - a huge boon in such a stressful and odd scenario - and I had lovely conversations with several professors. I never felt like I was particularly being grilled or evaluated; it was all very informal receptions, dinners, tours, and so on. I was most impressed with the library resources (one librarian assigned just to archaeology and Classics, who buys books specifically related to what students and faculty are working on! A book-generating machine!) and the collegial atmosphere among graduate students and faculty. The people all seemed to genuinely like and respect each other. Unlike Minnesota, where professors are all "Professor", professors at Michigan were universally called by their first names. I take this as a very strong sign of the suitability of a department to my personal style and preferences - and I'm not a girl who stands on formality. This is all on top of what I already knew about the program: that it is one of the top three in reputation and training in the country, that it encourages museum research and offers a museum studies certificate, and that students are competitive for research fellowships and international programs.
Today, I officially found out that I would receive full funding - tuition and fees, health insurance, and a modest but adequate living stipend - for the 5-6 years it will take me to finish my PhD. Finally, finally, after years of hard work and dreaming, my future in this field is at least somewhat assured. I will earn a PhD in Classical Art and Archaeology, from the University of Michigan no less. This will be my career, this will be my life.
PhD, University of Michigan, 2015!