Greetings Physics Forums, I would like to propose a funding scenario; please tell me what you would do. You have been accepted to graduate school with six years of fellowships (3 through NSF, 3 through the school, though the latter are actually 9-month periods). As an entering first-year student, you have the option of either a) being a TA with most of the other incoming students, or b) using a year of the fellowships and just focusing on courses. Please consider the following points: 1) I have TA'd fourteen courses as an undergraduate; most were labs, but a couple were recitations for things like numerical methods. I enjoy TAing and am pretty good at it (have won several awards), so I have no problem TAing. 2) The stipend from the fellowship is ~$2k more than the teaching assistantship offered. 3) The fellowship can be split into semesters; I can TA one semester and not the next, or vice versa. 4) An average student in this program graduates in ~6 years. I have talked to the DGS, who encouraged me to take the TA position (while saying that the decision was entirely up to me), but I'm not sure if this is just because they need TAs. When I asked if I could be a TA while still accepting the fellowship, I did not hear back (maybe a stupid question). On one hand, I don't want to find out in 6 years that I need to stay a 7th, and need my research advisor to pay me with a research assistantship. On the other hand, I don't want to find out in 6 years that I have wasted a year of a fellowship by TAing my first year. Again, this decision isn't dire - either way will be fine. I'm just browsing for some opinions :) I need to make a decision in the next two weeks, so I won't have the opportunity to talk to many graduate students. Thanks for your input!