Passion

Don't Wear Yourself Out

I know, I know, I've been pushing you to add in more research and time to write, so why am I saying "Don't wear yourself out?" Seems contradictory, doesn't it? I limit my number of applications each year to only one or two major programs, and perhaps a few small applications (e.g. for conference scholarships) sprinkled in. Much more than that and I feel like I'm depleting my resources. 

We know a few dance and yoga teachers who go full speed ahead, teaching five, six, seven, eight classes a week. But inevitably, they all hit a wall. And they don't come down softly. It's like juggling too many balls until they all crash at the same time. You don't have time for crash, let alone have a backup plan for the downfall. It just happens where things all unravel at the same time. 

Spare yourself, it's not a pretty picture. Applying for a fellowship, scholarship, or grant takes a large toll on you mentally, physically, and emotionally. It's better to save up your creative juices and focus on the few big things that you want instead of tossing your valuable energy to the four directions. Once you have those refined applications, you can always come back to them and alter them for another project later. 

Save up your motivation and your passion for what you truly want to be doing. It will shine through the writing and the project, which will make you a better applicant. Plus, working on the application will be more fun that way!

Making Your Passion Persuasive

In ninth grade, we were assigned to write a paper on something we were passionate about. Even back then, I felt so violated and distressed about how humans treat mother nature. I wrote about how we needed, as a species, to change the way that our selfish behaviors destroy the planet. I got a C- on my report. I completely shut down, thinking that my topic was stupid or unworthy. In fact, it was how I stated my feelings. 

Capture Your Passion

Capture Your Passion

In order to be successful and persuasive in the fellowships sphere, you have to CARE about something. Passion drives you study and pursue a topic, but oftentimes our feelings block logical argument and articulate dialogue. This certainly happens to me when I try to calmly discuss politics. 

This also happened to me when wrote the first draft of my Fulbright statement of purpose essay. I wanted to describe how beautiful the Senegalese culture is. And yet, the words were so . . . dull. I couldn't articulate my feelings of love, sophistication, implication in an essay form because they were just so visceral to me. Not being able to describe how the dance made me feel was a just roadblock. 

If you are lucky enough to be passionate about something, how do you transform it into a document or relatable form? I think it helps to bounce ideas off of other people. When you have a vision in your head, it's hard to know which parts of it are coming across when you describe it. Write down, or talk about your topic and then have someone who is unfamiliar with the subject read or hear it. Ask them to repeat back what they heard, and start to note the gaps in the story. 

Having a passion is one of the great joys and distresses in life. Caring so deeply about the planet, or protecting children from abuse, or an element of culture is a gift. So try to use that gift to make a difference in the world. But don't get discouraged if your first attempt to communicate falls flat.