• Lulu Johnson

Waiting Process: Part 2

Wow is all I can say. A lot has happened between January 22nd, 2020 and March 26th, 2020. I didn't think all of this could happen within a two-month span, but man has it been a crazy few months. I assume most who are reading know about what has been occurring around the world with Covid-19. At the beginning of March 2020 my mind was on my Fulbright status. Many of the other countries had notified their recipients of the status in early March and I was impatient for my own country. There were concerns of whether the process would be delayed due to Covid-19. However, we were told by the Fulbright committee, decisions were being sent out like normal. I had been occupying my time with work and studying for the MCAT, but the two months still seemed like it was dragging on.

But finally, on March 26th, 2020 around 16:30, I received an email from Fulbright stating my application status had been updated. Unlike last time, I did not have to think about whether I was going to immediately check my portal or wait because I was not at work this time. Without a second thought, I quickly logged into my Fulbright portal, took one deep breath, and clicked on the link that would decide what I would do in the upcoming months. I had to reread the letter a couple of times to make sure I was not making things up in my mind, but I am happy to say I was selected as a Fulbright finalist for South Korea ETA.

By the time I found out my finalist status with Fulbright, Covid-19 had spread and infected hundreds of thousands of Americans and killed thousands of Americans. What this meant for me was that all Fulbright stuff for 2020-2021 was dependent on what happens with Covid-19. However, to our knowledge, Fulbright was going ahead as planned. It was such a relief to finally know what my status was but at the same time stressful as well due to Covid-19. Everything was up in the air and there were still no definite answers or timeline for anything. Now in the upcoming months, I hope to be amid preparing for South Korea and studying for my MCAT in May.

1. A lot of people have asked me: If I did not receive the Fulbright scholarship, what would I have done?

I do not think I would have reapplied for the Fulbright Program. Even though Fulbright is an amazing opportunity it is also very time consuming. The application cycle for me took just about a year to complete (started the application 04/05/2019, found out my status on 03/26/2020). For some people, they may not find out their status until late June 2020. I don't think I could do the entire process again because of the time commitment and I would have felt the need to start my medical journey. If I had not received the Fulbright scholarship, I would have just continued with my medical pursuits by taking the MCAT and applying to medical school while continuing to work at my medical scribing job.

2. People have also asked me: What will you do after the Fulbright grant year if you receive one?

There is an option to renew your contract for a second or third year for the Fulbright ETA program, but I still want to become a surgeon. Currently, I don't want to delay my medical journey for another year as I have already delayed it by two years with the gap year and Fulbright year. I cannot envision myself as a teacher for the long hall and still believe medicine is my career path. I want to continue my pursue in the medical field and hope I can use what I learned during my Fulbright time in the medical field as well.

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