Thursday, August 5, 2010

My Scholarship Story

So, I thought that I should FINALLY post about this, since it's kind of

I've been putting it off because this is a long story, but its definitely worth telling, even if it's a month late.

So, after Spring semester in 2009, my 2 year academic scholarship from USU was up. I was going to start applying, but i was going to China and and had forever to start applying.....

Of course, me being the procrastinator that I am, never applied for a new one. When I got back from China, I was kinda like, oh crap.

That's when my mom and I started looking everywhere for new scholarships.  We figured there had to be a scholarship for people with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, and we spent hours upon hours looking up different scholarships online.

One Sunday I had just come back from spending Spring Break in Moab. I was really sick of driving, so I didn't want to drive all the way back to Logan that day too, so I stayed at my parents house and was going to drive back up in the morning.  When I woke up it was snowing (of course) so my mom and I thought we'd look at scholarships while we were waiting for the road to clear. Out of no where, we found a scholarship for EXACTLY what we had been looking for.  A pharmaceutical company called UCB was giving away 30 $10,000 scholarships to people with Rheumatoid Arthritis.  When my mom and I saw this we couldn't believe it. It was perfect. Then we noticed something. Something really bad. We had missed the deadline. The scholarship applications were supposed to be turned in the previous Friday. We had barely missed it.

My mom didn't want to give up, so she decided to call the number on the site and see if there was any way we could still send in the application. The lady on the phone had really good news- they had decided to extend the applications for one more week!

We both had to scramble to start getting everything ready. I had to write a 2 page essay on how I have tried to reach past the boundaries of my Rheumatoid Arthritis, and live my life to the fullest. I also had to have two letters of recommendation, a Doctor's note with my diagnosis, a picture of myself and the application filled out.

So, my week was crazy. I was able to get a letter from my Aerobics teacher, and also from my favorite Professor at school, my Differential Equations & Linear Algebra teacher Professor Bornholdt. He wrote an AMAZING letter. I really don't thing you could get a better one than the one he wrote for me. I also finished my essay, and it turned out perfect due to my technical writing major friend Brittany, who edited and arranged everything so it was at its best.

My only problem was that my mom had all of my medical records, and she was in South Jordan, and I was in Logan.  So my mom drove up to Logan to bring my my Doctor's note and to finish putting everything together. Before she came up I realized that my mom had written on the back of the scholarship application. Of course I didn't want to turn that one in, so I got back online to print out a new one. I looked all over the entire site, and there was no longer a link to print the application. I called my mom, panicking, and she said she would call again and see if there was some way to print off a new one.

Here is where the story starts to get good. My mom calls, and a lady answers. My mom explains our situation, and asks if there is anyway to get a new application. The lady says that it isn't a problem at all, that she can email it to us. So, while she is emailing it, my mom strikes up a conversation with her. For those of you who know my mom, you know that she does this with everyone. Normally, it really bugs me. But this time, I was very thankful. It turns out that the lady on the phone was quite the talker, and she and my mom had a lengthy half hour conversation about our family, and her family. This lady (who is from South Carolina) couldn't believe that my mom had 5 kids, and that one had RA and one was autistic. All she had was a 3 year old daughter, who was more than enough work. By the end of all this talking, the lady asked if she could get my name. My mom said sure, and told her and spelled out my name for her. The lady then goes on to say that her name is Amy, and that she is actually the President of the company, and that she rates the applications from best to worst so that the panel who chooses doesn't have to go through the 100's of applicants. She said she probably shouldn't answer the phones, because she tends to become biased towards those she had talked to and rate them higher. (This is sounding better by the minute) She then says that she will keep an eye out for my application!

So, my mom comes up and we're both very excited about the phone call. We get all of my application stuff together and send it in the mail. And then we wait. And wait. And wait.

And wait.

And wait some more.

After three months of waiting, June FINALLY get excited, because if I didn't win, I REALLY didn't want to have my hopes high. I mean, what if my letter just got lost in the mail, and June 30th comes and I hadn't received a letter or a call??
(Which, by the way, is something that would totally happen to me.)

On the morning of June 30th, I couldn't even think straight I was so nervous. I knew the phone call would becoming from Georgia, and that they were 2 hours ahead of us. So I figured I should be getting the call by 3:00 that day if i was going to get one. Nine o'clock rolls by, ten o'clock, eleven, twelve, one, one thirty, two.... By this point I was an emotional wreck, I'm not going to lie. I wanted this scholarship SO BAD. If I didn't get it, I wasn't going to be able to go back to school in the fall because neither me or my parents would be able to afford the tuition. I was SO nervous. I couldn't understand why I hadn't had a phone call or a letter, and I was so afraid that my worst fears were coming true, and that my letter really was lost in the mail. On top of that, I had to be in to work at 3:30, and I wasn't looking forward to selling shoes while my whole world was balancing on a stupid phone call.

By two thirty I couldn't handle it anymore. I had to know, because if I didn't get the scholarship I some how had to get over it and cope before I went to work. So I had my mom call the number again. Of course, Amy picks up. My mom goes on to say that her daughter had applied and that she hadn't received a letter or a phone call, and that we were curious to know the outcome. Amy asks what the applicant's name was, and my mom says "its Keara Brady."

(Insert cute southern accent here)

Amy: "Oh! Mrs. Brady! I was so hoping you would call!"
Mom:: "Hi Amy. I was hoping we would get to talk again too! Is there any way we can find out about Keara? She's just dying here waiting to find out."
Amy: "Oh shoot. Shoot, shoot."
Mom: "What??"
Amy: "Oh shoot. I'm not supposed to say. Oh shoot!"
Mom: "You can't tell us?"
Amy: "Oh shoot. Oh, well, don't tell Keara, but, SHE WON! I was so hoping she would! But don't tell Keara! I told the committee that I really liked her, and I was really pulling for her to win, and when I found out she did I was just so happy! But, don't tell Keara!"
Mom: "She is sitting right in front of me!
Amy: "She's there??"
Mom: "Yes, she's sitting right across from me, reading everything that goes across my face."
Amy: "Oh shoot! Well... okay, well... oh shoot! Just tell her, and give her a big hug for me!"
Mom: (to me) "Keara, you won!!"

Right here I burst into tears, I was so happy and emotional from all the stress.

So, I WON!!!!!

Amy went on to tell us that when I do receive the phone call, that I had to act really surprised, because the man that calls is the one who gives the actual money away, and calling and telling the people that they had won was his favorite part, and hearing how excited they were.

So, at 3:20 when I FINALLY received the call, I played my part, Maybe too well, because the guy said that if I was driving, I should pull over, haha. He also told me about the awards banquet that they are having during the first weekend of November in Atlanta, Georgia, and that they will fly me and one person out, all expenses paid.

So, me and of course my mom will be going. And we will get to meet Amy. :)

This scholarship really was SUCH a blessing. When I applied for it back in March, I didn't even realize HOW badly I would need this scholarship. I mean, yeah $10,000 sounded really nice then, but I didn't realize how much my life would change  months that would cause me have no way of paying for my schooling. I am SO THANKFUL. This was a testimony builder for me that the Lord really does look out for us, and has a plan for us. He watches out for us before we even know we need to be watched out for. I know He has a plan for me, and He will help me succeed on the path that He has laid out for me.

And trust me, there is NO WAY I'm wasting this amazing blessing.