Submitting the Application
I started my Fulbright application on April 5th, 2019 (it opens on April 1st, 2019) and I did not submit my application until October 4th, 2019 (due date is October 8th, 2019). I had completed about 90% of my application within the first couple of weeks by filling out all the easy questions. But then the next couple of months consisted of me writing drafts after drafts of my Personal Statement and Statement of Grant Purpose. These main two essays are what the Fulbright committee focuses on when evaluating the applications. Down below are descriptions of what the essays should contain from the Fulbright website.
Personal Statement: This statement provides you with an opportunity to introduce yourself to the screening committee members on a personal level. The content should convey your background and your motivation for applying to the specific Fulbright Program in question and how this background relates to the proposed project and your future goals.
Statement of Grant Purpose: Why do you wish to undertake an ETA opportunity? Why are you applying to this specific country? What do you bring to the classroom that will enrich the learning experience of English language learners overseas? What specific ideas do you have for engaging with students and helping them to learn English? What specific qualifications, training, or experiences do you have to prepare you to serve as an ETA? How do you expect to benefit from the assignment? What plans do you have for civic engagement outside the classroom?
I spent months trying to write my drafts and had numerous people read, edit, and comment on my essays (thank you to all those who helped me). By the end of it all, I had rewritten my essays about 10 to 15 times. It got to the point where I kept making all these minor changes that probably did not even matter but, in my head, I thought made the biggest difference. After months of editing, I finally felt confident enough in my essays to submit them to the Fulbright committee. I was going to submit my essays at the beginning of September prior to me getting my wisdom teeth removal in September 2019 but life through a curve ball.
At the beginning of September 2019, I developed an appendicitis and needed emergency surgery to remove my appendix. This health issue delayed my Fulbright application because, honestly, it was not on my mind after the surgery. I could not submit my application after my appendix surgery because I still needed to get my wisdom teeth removed and ended up getting my wisdom teeth removed two weeks after my appendectomy. I had already postponed my wisdom teeth removal and did not want to postpone it again because I have had a long journey with dental/oral care and surgeries due to my cleft lip and cleft palate.
I felt like I would never be able to submit my application but at the same time wanted to be clear minded and drug free when I did submit my application (just to be clear, when I say drug free, I mean post-operative pain medications free). I was cutting it so close to the deadline which was stressing me even more. But finally, on October 4th, 2019 after having a clear and healthy mind (and body) I was able to make final edits to my essays and submit my application. Submitting the application was such a stress reliever and felt like such an accomplishment because of the months of work I put into it. Now all I had to do was wait.