Each year, scholars write letters of encouragement to students applying for the Flinn scholarship. Here’s what Annie Carson has to say.
Hello hello hello!
I am so excited to be writing you this email. If I knew all your addresses and had a reel of stamps I would write this letter to each of you by hand just to express the degree of my happiness for you as you apply for the Flinn Scholarship. Only a year ago I was right where you were, on the receiving end of this email, wanting so desperately to be the one writing next year’s. And here I am, a few weeks into my first year of college, loving life more than I ever expected. In between here and there, of course, there were hours of writing and revising, waiting-waiting-waiting, practicing interview questions with my parents in the long car rides to Central Phoenix, and one very happy phone call.
If you are overwhelmed right now, that means you’re doing it right. You are ready for this – entirely ready for the Flinn. Now your biggest task is to direct that brilliance. I’m sure that space to list activities and involvement on your application has you wondering what level of impressive they are looking for because you can only fill up half the spaces. To attack some of those blank spots on my application, I included “making claymations in high school” in my activities list. During my interview this came up and I got to spend 4 of my 20 minutes explaining the creative process of fashioning figures out of clay, the patience of taking 1,500 photos for a 5 minute clip, and my craziness to do this process multiple times. The moral of this vignette is not only that claymation movies are awesome and worth their time, but that Flinn cares about what makes you tick, what has you staying up till 3 am to get just-a-little-farther. You are not made up of the long list of activities you’ve ever considered, but the few interests you really care about.
That’s why I chose to study in Arizona as a Flinn scholar – this community invests in the interests I really care about. Before Flinn I wanted to go to the out of state liberal arts colleges: I was sure my heart belonged to Scripps or Kenyon College. But for me to study creative writing at these colleges, I would be accumulating a serious amount of debt before even embarking on my planned journey to medical school. With the Flinn, I can study creative writing while I prepare for med school, consider adding a double major in Global Health or Chinese, and hopefully spend a semester in Africa. The possibilities here are endless, being part of a community designed to fan your spark of passion into the brightest flame it can be.
As you embark on this long and rigorous and rather scary application process, let that flame of passion guide you. Focus your brilliance. You got this.
I can’t wait to write these letters with you next year. If not by hand, let’s track down a typewriter.