This Week I Learned…My Fulbright Status

Since the start of this blog, I have been documenting my Fulbright Norway journey. While I submitted the application in October 2022, three months before the beginning of the blog, I have wrote about being a semi-finalist and going through the interview process. This week, I finally learned the result of my efforts during the past year or so. And the results are more surprising than a black and white answer.

The Fulbright Proposal:

My Fulbright project proposed to study the perceptions and aesthetic judgments of Norwegian, Swedish, American, and non-cultural internet memes with Norwegian-raised citizens. The proposal draws on seminal and widely-accepted theories in social psychology like optimal distinctiveness theory and applies them to modern digital behaviors. The plan was to work with my renowned co-advisor, Professor Rolf Reber, at the University of Oslo to measure unconscious information processing data that could contribute to the judgements of cultural internet memes.

The Result:

This week, I was informed by the Institute of International Education that my project was selected as an alternate to the Fulbright Norway grant. This means that my proposal was not selected to receive one of the available grants but it was not rejected either. Basically, I am on the waitlist.

Fulbright chances

The Aftermath:

Learning about my Fulbright status was a weird mix of emotions. First and obviously: disappointment. Fulbright is a very competitive program. But, I was still disappointed that my efforts did not yield an immediate positive response.

Next, I felt relief? The responsibilities of the Fulbright scholarship are substantial, especially since the funding comes from the Department of State. In addition, a 10-month grant is a big commitment that requires much confidence to undertake. Although I loved the proposal and the city of Oslo, I was still scared of the possibility.

Finally, I felt acceptance. Mainly due to my history with waitlists.

Back when I was applying for college, my first choice was the University of Washington, even though it was in another state and 4x as expensive as a public university in California. I was put on the waitlist and ultimately rejected. So, I went to UC Santa Cruz instead. Now looking back, I can confidently say UCSC was exactly where I belonged. And for every UCSC class waitlist I was on, I had a 100% success rate!

Final Remarks:

Although the big door for the Fulbright Norway program has closed, there’s still a small window of chance. Whatever happens from here on, I am proud of myself for taking the chance, for proposing a great project, for being vulnerable in my application, and for doing everything I can control to the best of my ability. Everything else is up to the universe.

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