Sunday, April 6, 2008

One Down...Two To Go!

As anyone who's visited this blog more than once already knows, I'm working on getting into grad school for my M.S. in entomology. I received some news along those lines this week and decided the catharsis of blogging might save me from burning another hole in my athletic shoes.

Between my prospective faculty's efforts and mine, we have three funding options in the works. I just heard back about one this week -- a fellowship. Didn't get it.

It was by far the more competitive of the fellowships I applied for: a national fellowship open to students in a broad spectrum of the sciences. Having learned of it last fall just five days in advance of the due date, I knew it'd be a long shot. My application was good, but it couldn't possibly compete with the other's, who began their essays weeks before me and perhaps even attended one of the workshops on how to apply (again, as a non-student and not someone based on a main university campus, I learned about all this after the fact). But I decided to give it my best go, and managed to receive "Honorable Mention" nonetheless (approx. 17% among more than 9,000 were recognized). Honorable mention doesn't mean a whole lot in terms of funding, but it's a nice rudder and lets me know I'm on track.

While this is all a pretty big deal -- my future, after all -- it's hard not to see it as the game it is. The game of life. Writing grants at work for implementing projects is one thing, writing fellowships for conducting research is another (apparently). I welcome the learning curve, so long as I don't fall flat on my face.

For now, more waiting... The remaining two funding possibilities include a fellowship from me and a big-deal grant (narrow chance of funding) submitted by my prospective advisors. Of course, it wouldn't be a good game without strategy, so I have innovated a secret back-up plan should there be any flat face-falling in the near future.

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