I cannot believe that I have one week left in the States. I remember every step of the Fulbright process and thinking how I would never get a chance to do something that great. I would stress over essay revisions and stare at my computer screen thinking “how could any committee accept this?” I am a pharmacy student trying to do research on smoking cessation. Will anyone understand why it is important that I do this project? How could I communicate that effectively? I harassed my mentors for nine months with emails and phone calls. I have always thought of myself as Type B with a little A for organization, but after that application process I have confirmed that I am definitely Type A. Once I submitted the application, I swore I would forget about it. I didn’t. Then, on March 10th, 2017, I got the email that changed my life.
Now I will admit taking a year off is not usual for professional students, but it is possible. Professional students are highly motivated, driven, and goal-seeking beings. It is also very expensive to go to professional school, so the faster we get done the less debt we have. For some reason, I never considered what taking a year off would mean for my future or my bank account; but, I am hoping that it only leads to positive things.
For those students who want to pursue opportunities abroad and feel like academics may get in the way, talk to people, your professors, or, in my case, your dean. People are there to help and give you the encouragement you need to have a once in a lifetime opportunity. So don’t be afraid. Take the risk. It is 100% worth it!
My first time leaving the country or even getting a passport was last year. Those things did not seem attainable to me because of money, but they are possible. So for all those students who think they will never have opportunities because of money, think again! There are so many amazing grants for professional , underrepresented, and minority students. The grant that I got last summer that took me to Romania was the Minority Health and Health Disparities International Research Training Program (MHIRT) for underrepresented students. Not only did it pay for everything, but it gave me research experience.
So out of all that, my message to you all is take a chance. Great things may and can happen!