What It Feels Like To Wait
Taking standardized tests, writing powerful essays, searching for recommenders, tracking college emails, putting together documents and all what it takes to put together a strong college or scholarship application might make you feel you have gone through it all. It makes the College/Scholarship application process scary.
When I became an Open Dreams scholar, I knew I had to brace up for all this and to tell you the truth; I was ready for every bit of it. My internal drive was so high. I dived into the college application process like I had been preparing for it my entire life. It’s exhausting and exciting! Traveling in and out of town to take standardized tests, writing essays all night and tracking college applications is a difficult task. Sometimes, I feel like every bit of strength in me had been sapped out but I always find some tiny reason to be strong. Fortunately for me, my Open Dreams family, and most especially my mentor Amy, has always been here to give me that assurance that the future I am working towards is worth the challenges I am facing. My mentor got me an amazing surprise when I was going in for my standardized tests which helped to ease my nervousness.
So after putting through most of my most important college and scholarship applications by mid January, I knew the exhaustion was going to reduce greatly. I did not know there was something tougher coming ahead. I received several emails from colleges and scholarships confirming receipt of my applications and telling me they are going to get back to me soon. What are they going to tell me when they get back to me soon? That is what gives the real anxiety. It gave me sleepless nights and a never-resting brain. Waiting for just one mail that defines my entire future, rewards me for all the work I have done and also put a smile on the faces of those who have sacrificed a lot for me. I live in constant fear of getting a NO from something I had put so much time and effort into. What did the others do that I did not do? The first thing I did every morning for the past weeks was check my emails. When I noticed the email from a college was labeled ‘’Promotions’’, I felt like dashing my phone against the wall. Sometimes, I read again through my applications and essays and asked myself, what is there about this essay that would make me stand out? Or I read through a recommendation and asked what did my recommender say that will set me apart from over a million applicants? I found myself reading through my application essays and recommendation letters more than I read through them before submitting them. More often, I felt so exhausted that I did not know how to complete yet another application. I even ran out of ideas to write in my essays or vocabulary to spice them up. It’s so hard to wait! Harder than coming out with a strong scholarship or complete application.
Each day, when I woke up and I felt like things were not moving, I simply asked myself; “Daphne, why did you start in the first place?” It takes just that one question for me to regain strength, get back on track and keep on walking. Because I know there is a goal I want to achieve and I may not be able to reach if I let my anxiety stop me from working. Most times, I talked it out with my mentor. After our regular calls, she usually asked me: “Anything else you’d like to talk about, Daphne?” And I would immediately tell her about the anxiety that comes with waiting for college application decisions. She told me a story how she felt when she applied to college, how she got rejected by some schools but still finally enrolled at a good university. These conversations always helped to give me hope that I may not get accepted into every school or scholarship I apply to, but a schools that sees my potential fit for their environment and scholarship program would give me a spot.
I am writing this blog post to encourage everyone who might feel applying to a scholarship is the most tedious part of the process. Yes, it is difficult, time consuming and also needs a lot of energy but it is not the most difficult part of it. The hardest part is to waiting. Waiting for just one mail that defines my entire future, rewards me for all the work I have done and also put a smile on the faces of those who have sacrificed a lot for me.
You might be going through the same waiting period and application anxiety right now or maybe you will in the upcoming months.. Do not relent! You may have to count down the months, weeks, days, hours, minutes to a scholarship decision, but it is worth the wait. You will break down. You will question your own decisions. You may end start regretting while you started on the first place. But just imagine you after waiting, after the breakdowns or maybe some crying sessions, you are a winner. You have overcome what you thought you will never be able to get through and you have achieved what you thought was impossible. I encourage you to trust the process and it the words of Michelle Obama, I have to remind you that “All this is not supposed to be easy, so if it’s not easy for you, you are still okay. You are right on track.”