At the grand old age of thirty-seven I am applying to a local university.  You see, I am a BIG LOSER.  And not of the weight-loss variety.  (Damn!)  Of the “start college, drop out of college, start college, drop out of college, start college, drop out of college” variety.

(Yes, it took me a LONG time to get my shit together.)

Thus I have decided to take last year’s personal economic downturn and turn it into Swedish Visiting Cake.     (Really you HAVE to try that recipe.  It’s like sugar cookie dough in cake form.  Wrapped in kittens.)

I have 108 hours of college credit towards a math degree.   But, really, what are the odds that, now, seven years later, I can still do calculus?   (Five out of four people say I have a NEGATIVE 37.4% chance of  computing the derivative of f(x) of anything!)

I’ve filled out a FAFSA, applied at a university and am now working on a scholarship essay.  The assigned topic:

” Why obtaining a college degree is important to you, and why you are applying for scholarships”

 Wouldn’t working in the scholarship office, reading all those essays be really exciting

“A college degree would further my career.  Blah, blah, blah.   I am applying for the scholarship because it would remove the burden of paying for school from my family.  Yadda. Yadda. Yadda.”

I’ve written the essay once.  A plain, practical offering with correct punctuation, grammar and spelling.  Not being seventeen, I’ve even avoided using text/IM speak.  Not a single LOL in the whole damn thing.

However, I haven’t submitted it yet, as the lack of personality, the limp lifelessness it portrays is mind-numbing.   Thus, I’m attempting a re-write.  A re-write that is more humorous, yet still formal enough for the situation.

And I’m struggling.  

There seems to be no “in-between” for me.  Either I’m “striving towards the life long goal of completing a bachelor’s degree while rasing two teenagers and working full-time” or:

“I would like to earn a degree because, otherwise I will continue to be a big fat loser.  I mean, really, who doesn’t have at least a bachelor’s degree?  Losers.  Losers that lose.  For example, I bet the gangly, stringy-haired lady that makes my pizza at Casey’s gas station doesn’t have a degree.   And, if my current job ended, guess who would be the new chubby, limp-haired lady at Casey’s, trying to work her way UP to pizza maker?  Me.  Then I’d have to cower in shame when all the other mothers, those skinny perfect bitches, bring their manicured nails in to giddily grab a sugar free iced tea with lemon?  THAT’S why I want a degree.

Why do I need financial aid?  For one, my husband took a commission-only job last year.  In other words, he spent almost a full year digging our financial grave.   My bank balance?  Well, let me put it this way, some days when I swipe my debit card for gas, I REALLY hope it doesn’t get declined.   Plus, do you have teenagers?   Damn, those kids are expensive.  Their braces are worth more than my car!”    

I know, I know, NOT appropriate.   

My friend Tom recommended that I add a humorous tale from my real life to make my essay more interesting and real.   Good suggestion.  However, I’m struggling to come up with an anecdote that doesn’t involve poop, vomit or getting flipped the bird

Plus, I’m constrained by the essay being only one page.   Most of my best stories, the ones that involve well-endowed one armed men, for example, are at least a page and a half long.

Any suggestions?    

I only ask because I doubt my own judgment.  Not too long ago I filled out a job application, and, in an effort to be funny, put “Hambone” under the area for “Other names by which you are known.”   (At the time I thought that was VERY funny, but it strikes me now that they probably meant the name I use on stage.  You know, “Jennifer Ferocious,” or maybe, just maybe, they meant my maiden name?)

I did not get a call for an interview.   And I REALLY can’t afford not to get a scholarship, so this essay has to be good!  (That’s why I’m asking the internet, LOL.)  

  

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13 Responses to “”

  1. blueollie Says:

    First, I wouldn’t try to be humorous. But you might say something about having an unfulfilled longing and a love of learning.

    As far as calculus: a mathematics major needs, more than anything, an ability to think logically and abstractly. Not having that ability has knocked out more aspiring math majors than anything else.

  2. Themis Says:

    Go for the humorous one. It really is the only way to demonstrate your uniqueness and that’s what most are looking for. You should have read the doozy I wrote to get into law school. I should dig it out and frame it. On second thought, neh. It’s best stored away in whatever file/box it ever fell into.

  3. Brick Says:

    I’d say be yourself. Work some wit into a traditional-ish essay. But be careful — humor can be difficult to write, and if they don’t “get it,” you might be in trouble.

    Then again, I’m not on the scholarship committee. So, please ignore me.

    Online advice: http://www.quintcareers.com/collegegate3.html (dealing with admission essays, which should apply equally to scholarships) Because we all know online advice is the best advice.

  4. Vanilla Bean Counter Says:

    Humor is tricky when you don’t really know your audience. Unfortunately there are a lot of humorless people in the world. It is very cool that you are going back to school. I wish I was brave enough to put myself out there.

  5. Katie Says:

    I think what Brick said.

    Bring it to book club. All of us can discuss and help. Maybe we can make up some more fun phrases that need to be worked in. It cold be really fun!

  6. adventuresandmusings Says:

    You’re a shoein if you can work in “cat raping thundercunt”

  7. Cameron Says:

    How about a limerick? Everybody likes a good limerick.

    Another option, submit a video of your talents.

    FYI – my advise is toxic, please disregard.

  8. EyePulp Says:

    Go for the understated, sardonic route. Keep it dry, but get at least one smile out of them. Mention your desire to join their hacky sack team. Hint at your superior computer hacking / nunchuk skills.

    Bake them a cake?

  9. Ms. PH Says:

    I seriously can’t remember what I wrote for either my college or law school essays. I’m sure that they were perfectly appropriate and self-important like all 18 and 25 year olds tend to be.

    Here’s the thing . . . you are going to get the scholarship no matter what. Unlike your average 18 year old, they know you are going to use a degree to the best of your ability because you have been out in the real world for a long time without one. You know how much a degree matters in this world. You have lived the life without one and now you are making a committment to live it with one.

  10. idonotknowme Says:

    Depends on the rest of your application materials and on what the scholarship is based. If it is based on grades and scores, your numbers will likely override anything in the essay. If it is based on some “need” then you need a story of struggle and suffering. If it is based on some “minority” status then you need a story of struggle and suffering caused by your minority status. You have to get into the head of the person who is reading and judging your essay. Who or what administers this scholarship? What is his or its agenda? What is their purpose for the scholarship? Are they trying to promote education among a certain group or for a certain field?

  11. Kristin Says:

    I have no advice for your essay, I just wanted to say Good Luck and Good For You for continuing to pursue your dreams! It is never too late, and you are not a Big Loser! I love math, so I say you are headed in the right direction too. 🙂

  12. Kristin Says:

    Oh, and I too LOVE the Swedish Visiting Cake. I think it’s my favorite thing I’ve made in Baking so far, it is so good, so incredibly easy, and looks so beautiful! What more can you ask for?

  13. Lola Takes Pictures Says:

    I like what you wrote about being the future replacement for the stringy-haired lady at the gas station. That was humorous enough for me! I don’t think those 18 year olds can compete with that!

    Welcome back to college, btw. I started back at the same age as you and FINALLY got my degree in ’07 (after 2.5 years of straight plugging away at it–thank you student loan!). It’s currently sitting with a pile of other “important” papers somewhere on my desk. 😉 Seriously though, I think you’ll enjoy college more this time around.

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