Tuesday, October 26, 2010

what? like it's hard?

I am in the process of applying for a pretty important scholarship. It's a nationally competitive award, and every time I remind myself of this, I mentally crunch the numbers and immediately get discouraged. I've barely wet my feet in this ordeal and I am already planning escape routes. Is it too late to back out? Can't I just apply to a bunch of other little scholarships? I really don't have what they want for this thing. Why waste the energy worrying over it?

Today, I took a shower in the middle of the day. Partly because I was gross (we had our Call Center supervisor meeting outside today, and let me tell you, late October does not translate to cool - or even comfortable- weather) but also because I just needed to think without being tempted to fade into homework or surf the web. And I came to what I like to think of as an "Elle Woods revelation."

Instead of finding another excuse not to do something just because it might stress me out, or because I might not get the money, I'm going to do it to prove that I am a powerful woman and I'm not going to be controlled by anxiety.

In order for this to work, I have developed some guidelines for my success; things that will give me peace of mind while allowing me to accomplish this task with minimal emotional disturbance:
  • I aim to complete the nearest approximation of every requirement. What is (or what was) really keeping me down is thinking that I am not the perfect candidate for this award. If it asks for three recommendations and I have two great letters lined up but one so-so, I will not worry about it. I will fill out the application to the best of my ability and allow the committees to sort it out from there. 
  • I will make a daily list of accomplishments, not just for progress on the scholarship, but for my day in general.  I came out of my initial meeting with my adviser feeling like I don't do enough, like I don't do enough volunteer work, or have enough "true" leadership roles, or that most of the stuff I do do isn't important. To combat this, I have already started my daily affirmations AND I made a list of the activities I take part in just for this year and it is several pages long. I feel better already.
I have also decided to take things step by step. To-do lists aren't going to work for this. A daily reminder of ALL the things that need to get done only serves to compound my stress. It's like instead of the header reading "To-Do" it says "Here is a list of things you should feel bad for not doing right. now."
  1. Step One: remind myself why I am awesome, why I deserve this scholarship, and why I should absolutely never feel like I don't do enough. (updated resume, made a list of activities, organizations, leadership roles, and relevant work experiences- check)
  2. Step Two: Set realistic, non-demanding goals that may be implemented one step at a time.
  3. Step Three: read example responses to see what they are looking for/what works.
  4. Step Four: ...haven't gotten this far. Just thinking a step or two ahead. Like a carpenter. Who builds stairs. 
In the meantime, I will also be reading the NYT. Today I learned about a rapping video of an Obama impersonator, so I'm gonna go check that out. Peace.


  1. I love you Clairie. And I will remind you every day how awesome you are if it will help.
    You rock!


  2. My e-reader was not picking up on your blog :( You have been writing all this time! ADD A SMS reader to your blog!

    Some good ideas there! Especially the reminding yourself why you totally rock!!

    Love you

  3. See, THIS is how everyone who proclaims they want to "get their shit together" should ACTUALLY go about doing it. Good on you, Claire, and good luck!

  4. not only can you get $30,000 for grad school, but you can make a dang good apple cake, dress up for Halloween in a kick-ass costume and still be coherent enough to make such thoughtful to-do lists. you are a rock star.

  5. You ever look into "Getting Things Done?" It's a way of making big to-do lists into small, manageable ones. I've found it to be very helpful personally.