February 28, 2005

Unusual Circumstances

I had to write a paragraph or two about "Unusual Circumstances" that I have gone through for a scholarship application. Apparently, I need to have suffered difficulties for the organization to give me money for college. I have applied for this scholarship 4 times now, and have never received a dime. I can't help but think that this segment is what's holding me back.

The first year, I wrote about my parents' divorce. This was pretty hard on me, so I thought it to be eligible. However, I later realized that 50% of families are divorced. So this would actually be considered "usual". The second year, I wrote about my dad teaching me lessons about working hard, as he climbed his way out of a small farming town to college and beyond. This was also to no avail. I'm guessing it must not be a "circumstance". Last year, I wrote about how I came into college with AP credit and was then subjected with taking classes that were more advanced (and therefore more difficult than I was ready for), since I had credit for a lot of my 101 and gen ed classes. They didn't like this either. So this year I tried something new. Here it is:

Unusual Circumstance: I’m typical. My unusual circumstance is that I don’t have any unusual circumstances. As a 20 year old white male, I’m just like everyone else. I’m marginalized by society and put through the motions with the millions just like me. I don’t receive the perks of being from a minority, such as special scholarships or other awards. My achievements do not get recognized because I didn’t come from a poor urban neighborhood, nor did I have to overcome a handicap to get here.

I worked hard to be where I am, and I continue to. I juggle more than a quarter’s worth of classes, work, and extracurricular organizations and struggle to maintain my place at this university, but I am always overlooked. Currently I am set to graduate at the end of three years with a major, minor and certificate, then to continue my studies at Ohio University for a master’s degree. Simply choosing to try hard and set my aims high aren’t enough, even when I succeed.

I wasn’t blessed with a difficult background to struggle out of to merit any special recognition. I have never received any sort of scholarship at all, including this one, for which I am applying for the fourth time. I’m only applicable for loans, according to FAFSA. My father apparently makes too much money to get any other federal money, despite the fact that I’m the one paying these loans for the next 10 years, like so many others.

Fortunately, I’m getting used to it. As I get older, it becomes easier to accept my inevitable fade into the marginalized mediocrity that society has set out for me.

Thanks CJ for suggesting this. I enjoyed writing it, maybe because I'm a little bitter. I also want to say that I mean in no way to take away from those who are disadvantaged by race, class, economic status, or other means. I have nothing but the utmost respect for those that have overcome the odds and disadvantages to get where they are. I'm just saying that there are some challenges in being a white boy from suburbia. Let me know what you think.