Last year I decided it would be a good idea to apply for two scholarships/fellowships for 2013. I was beginning to feel a little set in my ways at work and thought these would be a good idea for an opportunity to travel, learn, and come back rejuvenated with new ideas for my day to day work.
So over the course of several months last year I duly completed applications forms for both. One was a travel fellowship that is open to all UK citizens of any profession/background...the other was a leadership scholarship for nurses, midwives and allied health professionals - but for which I proposed to undertake a trip as a visiting scholar to several overseas institutions. When I submitted them both last autumn I was hopeful that I might be awarded one...I never dreamed that I would be in the running for both.
As the year drew to a close, the news started to filter in. I was called to an interview for one in November, and also advised that I had been short-listed for the second (involving the completion of a further application and an interview in January). Although I didn't feel terribly confident after the November interview, I heard at the beginning of December that I had been awarded the leadership scholarship. Just before I flew to Australia in January I duly attended the interview for the travel fellowship - I thought that this interview performance was much better, but knew I needed to wait a few weeks to hear the outcome.
Last Tuesday I received a thick letter in the post advising me that I had also been successful for this fellowship. So, I am now feeling delighted but daunted. At some point this year I need to fit in the planned programme for both awards, and still manage to have enough of a presence at work that they think it is worthwhile keeping my position.
I had hoped to complete the travel fellowship in April (to co-ordinate with my attendance at a conference in early May)...so I am now in mad panic mode about trying to confirm with my proposed host institutions that they are in fact happy to have me come...and then books flights...and accommodation etc etc. For someone who likes planning, order and structure, I am feeling a little chaotic this week as I am on tenterhooks waiting to hear back from the US about the trip...
...so, there is nothing like retreating to known comforts when life seems a little out of control. A cup of tea, a slice of cake and some knitting can always induce a feeling of calmness (or at least diversion and the opportunity to think about something else).
I'm hoping to have the April itinerary confirmed by the end of this week (which may be wishful thinking, but I have my fingers crossed). But, I have an orchestra concert to which to look forward on Wednesday evening (Dvorak's New World which has always been a favourite), and then a trip to Sussex this weekend to catch up with a good friend - so at least I have other diversions to help prevent my brain imploding!