For Olan Roger’s scholarship application, he asked applicants to write about an experience that has made them who they are today. Here’s my letter to Olan:
In the Fall of 2010, I was nominated for a Student Media award for the best feature on my writing of the Chess Club (who would have thought that the Chess Club could be so interesting?), but I did not receive the award. The day of the award ceremonies I took to my blog and wrote that I didn’t know how to feel about the award. I was excited to get recognized for my writing, but I also didn’t want to be satisfied with the minimal effort I was putting into the paper. After all I was a college sophomore with no more experience with AP style and reporting than your garbage man.
I’ve improved since then. I have written features that have been published elsewhere since then, relaunched my blog, but most importantly I didn’t get comfortable. I have been volunteering as DJ, Producer, Copy Editor, Researcher, anything I can get my hands on to satisfy my natural desire to create. I was following a passion project and to this day, I am still chasing that satisfaction; not the award. I respect Olan immensely for being able to do what TRULY makes him happy and he shares with his audience making them happy people as well. I just wish that my career follows a similar path, whether I end up at a tech blog or an alternative newspaper in Atlanta, I never want the flame to die. But mostly, I just want to be Olan Rogers friend.
I am also a Crohn’s sufferer and I have undergone two invasive surgeries in the past 14 months.
I am 23.
And I have a foot less of intestines than I did when I was 22. For a while, I was pretty much only able to watch Olan Rogers videos (Ghosts in the Stalls has never been more appropriate, lol) Olan was there for me when I was losing 10 pounds a week and laying in bed in pain. Real talk.
I have no clue how this disease will affect my life and in all honesty, as much as I’d like to say that the scholarship money should go toward my artistic merit, I most direly need the assistance as a disabled student. If not just to get the debt collectors to stop calling.
Through all the misery, though, I had an amazing experience that has made me who I am today. I met a beautiful young secondary education major in between my first surgery in October 2012 and my second surgery in July 2013, the most important person in my life, my girlfriend, Brittany Rainey. I remember trying to hold back the tears the first time we talked about the disease which was no more than 4 weeks into the relationship. And when I say talk, I don’t mean the descriptive “1 in 200 people have it” talk. No, not the, “it’s IBD not IBS, there’s a difference” talk. I’m talking about the steroid educed mood swing sob fest talk. The “will I live or die?” talk.
She’s the girl that kissed away the tears as I wrote this. She is the girl that ran a cold sponge over my lips in the hospital. She is the girl that drove an hour to and from the hospital around her class schedule and paid full price for overnight parking just to clean up after me in the hospital. She’s a saint for simply living breathing in the noxious fumes my upset stomach
sometimes always produces. She is the best thing that has ever happened to me. And it’s funny, she says that I am her “rock.” Well if I’m her rock, she’s my Stone Mountain.
Well, now that everyone is sufficiently bummed out I will end my application with a little encouraging Ben Franklin maxim I tell myself all the time, “Either write something worth writing, or do something worth writing.”
Hey, maybe one day we could all get a slice of pizza, non-dairy of course