7 August, 2001
I tell my students to "Follow their dreams." When I heard about the TEA program and the chance to go to Antarctica, it was my turn to pursue a dream.
I spent many hours writing and re-writing my application, and to be honest, I almost quit more than once. I kept thinking, if I don't mail the application it will be for sure that I don't go, so I stuck with it to at least have a chance.
My completed application was mailed before the May 1st deadline, and then the wait began. I tried not to think about it, but everyday I wondered if mine had any chance of being chosen. When June arrived I knew I would hear soon, so I began to check my e-mail for any "re:" line that might indicate National Science Foundation or TEA, and I would warily eye the stack of mail for a large envelope. I imagined that IF I was chosen I would receive a package of instructions, but if I was NOT chosen it would be a regular envelope with a letter beginning: "Dear Applicant, Thank you submitting your application. We had so many wonderful ones that the choice was exceedingly difficult...BLAH BLAH BLAH." I was caught completely off guard when driving home during rush hour traffic from teaching a summer science workshop for teachers, my son called my cell phone and said, "Dr. Sukow from the National Science Foundation called and wants you to call him back tomorrow."
A lightning bolt zigzagged through my heart and I sat up straighter. Surely they wouldn't call me long distance to tell me I had NOT been chosen--would they?!? But then again, could the call just be that I had dues due for something, or a bill for a journal due? I called the NSF--and got an answering machine. I called Cody back to check to be sure he had given me the correct phone number. While I was talking to Cody, I missed another call and Dr. Sukow left a voice mail. I called him back and finally heard his voice saying, "Are you sitting down?"
I said, "Well, kind of--I'm in traffic, and this call makes me very nervous."
He said, "You should be, because you're going."
Trying not to scream, I said "I feel like I've won the lottery!"
He said, "You have."
Dr. Sukow said that in the past during this initial phone call he had also given lots of information to the winners, but found that most were unable to focus on the directions. I know I wasn't able to focus--I was completely blown away! It took all of my composure to keep from squealing into the phone and I had to focus mightily to keep driving the car.
I'm looking forward to hearing the details of the next steps.
I still wake up every morning with a start and my first thoughts are, "Oh my gosh--I'm going to Antarctica!"
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