Waiting Process: Part 1
After submitting a Fulbright application, there are 2 stages of acceptance. The first step was to see if you were selected as a semi-finalist. I had a nice long wait to see if I became a semi-finalist (four months to be exact). During this wait, I got numerous questions from family, friends, and coworkers on when I would find out, what I was doing with my life and what happens if I got the Fulbright. I didn't know what to tell people. Decisions for semi-finalist were supposed to come out before January 31st, 2020 but some countries got notified earlier. What I would do in the next year somewhat depended on if I received the Fulbright award but, in the meantime, I was working as a medical scribe and studying for the MCAT. What would happen if I got the Fulbright, I don't know. I didn't want to produce all these things in my head and then be disappointed if I did not get the Fulbright, so I tried not to think about it.
About four months after submitting my application, on January 22nd, 2020, I received a bunch of group messages from my Slack account saying applicants should check their Fulbright portal as the status of semi-finalist had been sent. I was at work during this time and I didn't know what to do. Do I open my email during work or wait until the end of the day when I am alone in my room? Initially, I decided to wait until I got home so that in case of unwelcome news, it would not affect my work and I could cry at home. But my phone kept going off with people stating their status which made me nervous about my own status. So, I made an impulse decision that day and quickly logged into my portal to check my status. When I opened my letter, the first sentence it read was "Dear LuJing, we are pleased to inform you that you have been recommended as a semi-finalist." I screamed out of excitement and scared the doctor I was working with, however, on that day I had become a semi-finalist. I was extremely proud of myself because, like I said before, I did not think I had the qualifications to apply or receive a Fulbright grant.
It was such a relief to get that notification, but you may ask, what now? You are a semi-finalist! What are the next steps? Well, I still had to wait a couple of more months so that the South Korean commission could decide who the finalists are from the semi-finalist pool.