Rick James, Gambles, & High School
I’ve been planning out my life since I was in middle school. I wanted to be a musician and a journalist. After reading The Hot Zone, I briefly went into a period when I was certain that I would also add virologist to my many titles. Then, as I transitioned into high school that dream turned away from music and science, and towards storytelling. I wanted to be an author and after a year in college I knew that I wanted to obtain my PhD in Creative Writing and become a professor.
I never imagined living abroad and teaching English in those plans because it always seemed unattainable. I’d never been able to afford study abroad in school and while my major was in the English department—creative writing degrees are much more about how to poetically break every rule of English than grammar and conjugation. However, during the summer of 2014 I decided to take a gamble and finish my application for Fulbright.
Gambles aren’t exactly my fortitudes and I wish I had a poetic reason for going through with it. My French was becoming dismal when I applied and for the past year all I had lived and breathed was my honors thesis. When I started this process I told myself that the reason I was applying to Fulbright was because it would be great practice for those pesky graduate school applications that were right around the corner. However, during July when I was rewriting personal statement essays between babysitting my cousin and working part-time, I realized that I needed this gamble because I’d done too many revisions on my life’s projection. I applied because I needed change. Fortunately, there’s nothing quite like 75 teenagers to help provide a new challenge.