Inside Out: Saved by the clock!


By Destinee Murray, features editor

There’s one thing in life that can make a big difference if forgotten, missed, or, in my case, extended: deadlines. Seniors this time of year are either finishing up college applications or delving into the highly competitive race of scholarships.

Just this week, I completed one of my scholarships with the deadline two feet in front of me. The worst part is that I started my application for the Gates Millennium Scholarship in October and had three months to complete it and acquire a Nominator and Recommender.

I can’t even begin to explain how anxious I was to get all eight of my essays in on time. Not only did I have to force myself to sit at my computer for long hours, I had to find two references with only three days left. Fortunately, my outreach counselor and my language arts teacher, both agreed to fill out the complex Gates Millenium forms.

I was so scared to ask teachers to be my references because I had waited so long, and the longer I waited, the closer the deadline got. I didn’t work up enough courage to ask until three days before the deadline.

Then it got worse when I couldn’t send an invite to my language arts teacher. I sent three invitations and…nothing. Eventually, I had to put on my investigation cap and look for another way for her to be my reference. Luckily, the website had an alternative way for recommenders to fill out the forms. My life was saved.

However, by the time the problem was fixed, there were only five hours left to complete my application. Time was of the essence. You never get it back once it’s lost.

The clock was ticking, and I had to revise my eight essays. Talk about Mission Impossible.

Then it happened. I logged into my application profile on the scholarship website and in a red bar at the top of the page I read “The GMS Application Deadline is Extended to January 15, 2015 5:00 p.m. EST.”

They turned back the clock and gave me 17 hours more. Saved by the bell? More like saved by the clock! It would have been better to get another full day or two, but I was so grateful for that extension.

In the end, everything was turned in on time. Even though I know my chances of getting such a prestigious scholarship is one in a million, I was so proud of myself for even taking on such a challenge.

I guess what I’m trying to say here is, don’t procrastinate. If I had just asked for references earlier rather than waiting until the last minute and didn’t waste so much time doing other things when I could have been writing my essays, everything would have run smoother.

I suggest writing down all your deadlines. As soon as you are told to get a reference, ask a teacher right away. Teachers are just as busy are you are and could reject your request if they feel pressured. I was lucky. I didn’t even expect any teacher to agree to be my reference, but not every teacher will react the same way mine did.

So remember to keep your eye on the clock and don’t forget your deadlines!