Only 37 days...  Boy, am I happy!  I am finally going to accomplish the goal that I set out for myself since the beginning of college.

It all started 4 years ago at Leeward Community College.  While I was waiting for class to start,  I came across a poster advertising a prestigious program called the "Monbukagakusho Scholarship."  It was a three year all-expenses-covered study abroad program in the country of Japan.  All it required was an essay, an application, a few tests, and an interview.  There was only one thing going for me at the time, the application.  Writing an essay was never my strong suit during high school, the materials stated on the tests were a bit above my level, and I had never been on an interview before.  The application was straightforward and easy.  It didn't require much writing or knowledge, and it was a "test" that I knew all the answers to.

After a couple of weeks of working my brains, I finished the essay and mailed in my papers.  All there was left to do was to study for the tests.  The tests were going to be easy... or so I wished.  The material was not a bit above my level but a lot above my level.  The level of Math problems and English questions they were going to put on the test were way above my current knowledge at the time.  I would've had to take a year's worth of classes in Math and English just to pass the tests.  I felt like a 5 year old boy attempting to do a slam dunk on an NBA sized basketball hoop.  It seemed impossible.

I knew that if there was any chance for me to pass these tests, it would be me spending endless hours studying until my brains were numb.  I wanted it so badly; I was willing to do just that.   I was set on making that slam dunk.  10 feet high or 100 feet high, it didn't matter.  I was going to find my way up there one way or another!  With only two weeks to go before the test, I studied as hard as I could.  I studied more than all of the time I spent studying in high school combined.  When the day came, I did my test, finished the interview, and one week later, I got an email from the scholarship committee.
"We are sorry to inform that you have not been nominated for the Monbukagakusho Scholarship."

Boy, did it hurt.  It felt like getting dumped for the first time, or writing a twenty page essay on your computer only to find out the next day that you forgot to save it.

Luckily for me, I was too stubborn.  If I couldn't study abroad through the Monbukagakusho way, you better believe I would do it another way.  I was determined to get to Japan.  In the next few years, I joined school clubs and aimed for an A grade in all of my classes.  Every semester, I would add more to my plate, pushing my limits further and further to get as academically polished as possible, creating a solid track record.  I took everything my teachers taught me to heart and retained as much knowledge as I could.

Over the years, I found more reasons to study abroad.  With every reason came a stronger desire to go to Japan.  It was no longer a goal, but a dream.  Thank you to all the students who have encouraged me, the friends who have inspired me, the teachers who have guided me, and the scholarships that have invested their money in me.  I am finally going to Japan!

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