I received a fellowship for a journalism conference on covering suburban poverty. The conference is this week at Hofstra University in Long Island, N.Y.
I saw a blurb about the conference calling for applicants. I’ve seen these kinds of things countless times before and thought, “There’s no way I’d ever get that” and have never applied.
For some reason when I saw this one I instead thought, “Why not,” and applied right away. And then I forgot about it. I still forget what I said in my application letter.
A few months later I got an e-mail informing me I was one of 25 out of the hundreds of applicants chosen. WHAT!?!?
I was so elated. I immediately forwarded the e-mail to my mom and then my editor. I was so excited (and inpatient) I called my editor saying, “Check your e-mail!” She did and with equaled enthusiasm congratulated me. Before I’d even made it back to the office from my assignment she’d already bragged about the fellowship to my co-workers.
This was about two months ago. I booked the tickets and kind of forgot about it and got back to the daily grind. Then the conference organizers started a Facebook group for the attendees asking each of us to introduce ourselves. I was one of the first to join the group but was certainly not going to be the first to post. I sat back and watched.
The caliber of people who started to introduce themselves immediately made me figuratively slink down in my chair. These journalists are coming from much bigger markets and more fancy pants media (it’s an official thing, fancy pants that is). I started to doubt I belonged and was almost embarrassed to introduce myself.
But then I thought about it, they picked me for a reason. I applied for a reason. And I started to get over myself.
I’m still a little anxious. But you know what, I belong. I’ve earned it. And I’ll learn a lot. I’ll take what I learned and hopefully come back here and apply it and do a great story that explores the topic of suburban poverty in the Tri-State area.
So, if you don’t hear from me for the next few days it just means that I got lost in NYC or too busy with my conference. I hope to blog (and foresee a crazy travel story) while I’m gone.
Have any of you every had to a take a leap of faith to grow?