September 11, 2012

"May the Best Man Win"

I remember going to study abroad fairs pretty regularly throughout my college experience as a freshman, sophomore, and junior.  Every fair I would ask the presenters at the tables about their travel stories, best memories, and overall impression of their completed program.  The presenters from different semesters probably didn't all know each other.  However, they all managed to answer my questions practically the same way: "It's not something that you can put into words, you just have to go and find out for yourself," or some derivative of that reply.  I guess because I saw so few student representatives during these fairs, that I conclusively thought a small number of students actually applied to the abroad programs. 
When I finally chose Bond University as my program for the spring semester, I naively thought that maybe 3-4 students would also be joining me from SUNY Plattsburgh.  Truthfully, I don't know how many students per semester apply to study abroad and which programs attract the most traffic.  But I have this unsettling feeling that I have heavy competition for the complementing scholarships that go along with the Bond application form.  The other day, I met another girl on my way to get an administrative signature for my application who was also doing the same thing.  She too was applying to Bond University and would be going out for the scholarships offered with the application.  All I could think was, "What if I don't get any funding for this trip?  What if the surplus of applicants means that I end up with a measly scholarship that hardly covers my textbooks?  What if my application isn't even accepted because there were too many people going to Bond University from Plattsburgh?!"  ...Yes, I was freaking out.  Studying abroad may be a worthwhile experience, but the steps that it takes to have that experience are stressful.  I know it sounds greedy, but I want ALL the scholarships that SUNY Plattsburgh has to offer.  It would be nice if I was the only one applying for them and I received them all by default so that no one was left without funding, but now I know that that is not possible.  Other students will be competing for those scholarships and I had best put on my dancing shoes.  Okay, even I don't know what that meant.  I guess what I'm trying to say is that if I want to win badly enough, I have to put up a bigger fight and better effort than everyone else.  May the best man win. 

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