When One Door Closes: The Fulbright Decision

The last year and a half has been kind of insane. I studied in Oxford the end of 2013. I went from barely knowing what I wanted to do with my life to being pretty sure I was going to move to England to finish school and (maybe) live and teach. I applied to Grad school and got accepted into the program I had fallen in love with. I graduated college. And, most recently, I’ve been waiting for the decision on my application for a Fulbright Grant.

When I found out I had been accepted to the Master’s program of my choice, I was thrilled but a little bit terrified. How on earth am I supposed to afford to live and study in England? But instead of accepting the possibility that I might not be able to afford this program, I got to work. I’ve been saving every spare dollar I have. I’ve been looking for a better job with more hours. I’ve considered every scenario in my head that could help me pay for this.

The one program that I was really banking on, though, was the Fulbright Grant. This grant promised everything I had ever dreamed of – being a part of a group of fellow scholars. Not having to worry about tuition or housing expenses. It would be like getting paid to get my Master’s degree.

And today I got the email. The subject line read “Fulbright Application Status.” I had been waiting for this email, the one that would tell me if I had been recommended for further consideration. I opened the email, closed my eyes and inhaled slowly. As I opened my eyes and scanned the paragraphs quickly, I found the words nestled at the bottom of the first paragraph:

I regret to inform you that your application is not among those recommended for further consideration.

I exhaled. I hadn’t realize I had been holding my breath. I closed my eyes again, reminded myself I knew that it was likely this would happen, and whispered the words

God, I know you have a plan. I know your plan is better than mine. I’m learning to trust. I’m learning to wait. Help me to trust your will.

I opened my eyes, took in another breath, and smiled. I could choose to cry and say that I’m never going to get to England, but what good would that do? The only thing I can do right now is pray and keep working. I’ll make it to England. I don’t know how and I don’t completely know when, but I know I will get there. I know this is one of the most cliche things I could say right now, but when one door closes another one is bound to open.

I just wasn’t expecting one to open so soon.

As I sat on my bed, writing this blog post only minutes after reading that email, I remembered that I needed to call into work to confirm my schedule this weekend. The person who picked up the phone told me that a cleaning position had opened up right before I called. She offered me the position on top of my weekend shifts. Oh, and I’m also starting my second job this next week. Between the two, I’ll be getting at least 44 hours of work each week.

The door in front of the Fulbright Grant might have been closed, but there are so many other doors and windows that are being pushed open. I’m going to England, I promise you that. I’m just going to have to work a little bit harder to get there, and that’s more than okay.

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