I've been mulling it over for several weeks now, really, for several months, but with registration for spring semester coming up in a few weeks, I decided that I needed to make a decision about whether to stay in the MSIS program, or apply to the PhD program. I talked with many people. I didn't find a single person who discouraged me from getting the PhD. It certainly seems to fit my research goals more generally and it was getting hard for me to imagine how I could achieve what I wanted to in just 2 years. At first 2 years seemed like a long time. Now it seems like a blink of an eye.
So, I am going to apply in December and see what happens. I'll register for classes for spring that work in both programs. I'm still on for going to France to do research in the summer, and I'm taking the advanced placement exam Monday to see whether I can place out of enough French to take a 3rd year course. Upper division courses outside the I School are the only ones that count towards any graduate degree. But the bottom line is that I need to study French before I go, whether I get credit for it or not. Problem is that if I'm not getting credit for it, it just adds either to the time it takes me to complete my degree, or to the work load. Neither is a particularly attractive choice. Well, I'll "jump off that bridge" when I come to it, as Phil said his brother usually says. I like that. It fits right now.
So, other than this, things are going ok. I finally have a scheduling routine that seems to be keeping my head above water, though work things tend to come out of nowhere and freak me out from time to time. They are "real" in a way that even deadlines for projects are not. At least I feel that I can pull attention away from a school project to focus on work with the only consequence being some possible effect on a grade. I can't fail anyone's expectations when it comes to work, however. It's not about a grade there. It's about integrity, trust, confidence, and future work!
Priorities are sorting themselves out. It is still taking all my time, but hey, what else would I like to be doing right now? This is fun.