Monday, March 17, 2008

A Thank you

This Thursday, I'll be traveling to Richmond for a scholarship program and luncheon with Phillip Morris. (I have included a picture of me two years ago in the luxurious hotel during the luncheon).

Randolph Macon students have a strong history of making this elite list of few students in Virgnia. Staci Mason won it the year before me, and current junior Liz Nguyen got it last year.

My sophomore year of college, the financial aid office here contacted me about a really amazing scholarship for students studying accounting, business, economics, or biology. It was being offered by Phillip Morris USA and the Virginia Federation of Independent Colleges. Once I saw how large the scholarship was, I was very doubtful that I would be in the running for such an award. I had only completed two years of my economics courses, and my hopes for the future strongly included politics more so than economics. I had also recently taken Arabic (not one of my better decisions) and a very challenging economics course, so my grades were not their strongest at that point.

I decided to apply anyways. I hesitated at first, since my grandmother was a smoker for years and had heart attacks very early in her life. Although as my mother says, be grateful for someone trying to help you out. I truly would not have made it through college without the dozen scholarships I have received (not even counting pageant-related scholarships), so I am extremely grateful.

I got a letter and a phone call a few months after completing the scholarship telling me that I had received the $10,000 scholarship for my junior and senior years of college. This was an incredible blessing-the numerous scholarships I had received near my high school graduation had paid off the first two years of college, but I was certainly faced with a challenge for the last two years. I couldn't take out any private loans (nor did I want to) and I was attending a private instituion billing at over $30,000 per year. This scholarship made all the difference for me, and truly opened the door to studying abroad. Prior to receiving this scholarship, I was extremely nervous about being able to stay in college financially. College has always been my responsibility and it has at many points seemed like there was no other way. But God is always opening windows for me, and I am very grateful for that.

A part of this scholarship is attending a luncheon to meet with executives as well as the CEO of Phillip Morris himself. I went my sophomore year and was picked up by a black sedan that drove me to Richmond. We were treated like superstars. I was surrounded by MBA candidates at my table as well as Phillip Morris workers. It was a little intimidating being 20 years old and a sophomore from a woman's college, but it was a great experience. I couldn't attend the luncheon last year due to being in England (thank you, Phillip Morris!) so I am excited about traveling there this Thursday and Friday. It looks like we will be seeing more of the company and taking a tour ( no cameras allowed though).

My Community Advisor bumped into me this morning and reminded me that we have six weeks until graduation. It's exciting and simultaneously terrifying. Will I be working and living in Lynchburg? Will I move to Northern Virginia? Will I become a Hokie? Who knows, but I am trying to be patient and see how things pan out.

It does seem like graduation is coming up soon, and I've wanted to make a post about all the people who have helped me through this amazing four year experience and I will do that soon. I recently submitted my senior information to the yearbook, and it took me the longest to find a quote that truly describes my life motto :never give up and just keep working hard. This applies to my life in and out of the classroom and on and off the pageant stage.

So I will close with the Frank Lloyd Wright quote I found and turned in:
"I know the price of success: dedication, hard work, and an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen."

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