For the life of me I can not make myself look good on an application. Whether for scholarships or for jobs, everything I've done and am about just doesn't get me any rewards.
I first realized this in 10th grade, I applied for the North Carolina School of Science and Math. This is an elite school in Durham, where you live on campus and get a terrific math and science education for your last two years of high school. Then you can go to any NC college for free. Dream come true. Sure you have to leave your family and friends behind, but you have to do that anyway when you go to college. I became invested in this application process from the essays, to the recommendations, to taking the SAT. There was even a weekend where you visit the school learn more about it, and they test you. It was intense, but I was excited. Unfortunately my application was rejected, no acceptance, no waiting list for me, just flat out rejection. I was crushed, all I wanted was a school that would challenge me for once in my life and I was being denied that opportunity. I didn't eat, I didn't talk, I just cried, that was the day my dreams were crushed and my heart hardened. Just writing this makes the tears come to my eyes. Perhaps the worst part of that rejection is that I had to tell everyone that I had failed. I don't like to fail, it's not me. I want to be the best at everything, so this just made me look awful. I didn't feel smart at all. I felt worthless. Of course with my rejection came an appeal, which I filled out basically begging them to reconsider my application, but to no avail.
I ended up getting an invitation into their brand new online program which consisted of taking classes online, on my own time, and visiting the school twice a semester to do lab work and bonding activities with my other classmates. The experience was rewarding personally, meeting new people, taking special classes. My high school unfortunately didn't care about my extra effort. At first my counselor made an effort to ask how it was going, but it was a shame I couldn't get credit towards my GPA, or even do the work during school hours. When I graduated they wouldn't even let me include the title of NCSSM Online graduate beside my name. That's okay, I wore the medal I received from graduating NCSSM when I graduated my high school, my last chance to stick it to the man.
Senior year basically consists of applying to colleges and then scholarships, lots and lots of scholarships. My older brother, was co-valedictorian of his class, received a full ride to NC-State. I was pretty hopeful when I filled out my scholarship applications, I was in the top ten of my class, with stellar grades ( 1 B?), I had been a Girl Scout since first grade, I was actively involved in my church, and gave back to the community in countless ways, oh yeah and I had a NEED for the money. What did I end up receiving? Nothing. Great more tears.
I couldn't understand, you couldn't ask for better grades or community service. I was a good kid, I worked my tail off in high school, let's not forget I was taking extra classes (NCSSM), there was no doubt I would do great things, so where was my money? Granted I was involved in a sports team but I had tons of other after-school activities. It just makes me so angry, especially because the kids that got the scholarships had parents who were doctors. The whole application process was rigged, it depends on who your parents knew in the community.
This meant my second dream was crushed, attending Elon University. It's a small private school outside of Burlington, NC. It had the exact program I was looking for, 5 year engineering, earning me a masters. It was the right size, beautiful, academic, a perfect fit for me. I attended many open houses, tours, even had some scholarship interviews there, bought the sweatshirt, got the acceptance letter, put the sticker on my car. All to not get a single penny from them or any other scholarship, in the end I couldn't afford it. Bring on the tears. The worst part of all my sadness is that it made my friends happy, they were glad I didn't go away to NCSSM, and they were happy I wouldn't be going to college 3+ hours away (most of them were staying local). My youth group was glad I'd still be able to help them out. Don't get me wrong I was glad too, but at the same time I was yearning to go on and do bigger and better things. I need to make the difference I know I'm capable of. I want a challenge, I want to excel.
I don't want to keep all this bottled up inside, I've had my share of hardships, I've hardened my heart, had my dreams crushed, it's made me who I am today and I don't want to pretend like getting to this point wasn't a struggle. It was.
Now I'm getting ready for my first summer of college, and I'm looking for a job. An internship in my area of interest would be great, a solar company, somewhere I could learn the ropes, even if it's not paid and all I do is paperwork. I need to experience something to know if I'm on the right track. I'm all for other jobs too, grocery stores, restaurants, fast-food, stores, anything! I could use the money and I'll do the work. So far I've sent off one internship application and two other applications at a grocery store and a drug store. No results. I can already feel the tears building up. Why can't I get my application to look good?