Imagine getting something you don’t deserve. No one but you knows that you didn’t earn it, and you see people around you who are upset at not getting it. They wonder what they are going to do now, and some might have had their entire life resting on getting it. Dreams have been crushed based on your actions, there is no one to blame but yourself.
According to my Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) any scholarship I get is falsely earned and at the expense of someone else who needs it much more than I do. While I do understand that there are scholarships specifically for financial need, I feel extreme guilt whenever I go to apply for a merit based scholarship. At this point I’ve avoided countless scholarships and keep avoiding current ones until the deadlines pass.
The first way I avoid applying for scholarships is by not having letters of recommendation. Normally I have no problem asking teachers to be references, so asking for a recommendation letter should have been easy. However, since part of working on my OCD involved spending more time with peers and less time with teachers, my OCD made asking for a letter a bad thing to do. According to my OCD, asking for a recommendation letter would make me a manipulative and horrible person because I’d only be going to teachers when I need something.
Eventually I was convinced to ask for letters of recommendation, but my OCD still found a way in. In order to be able to ask a teacher I had to find some way to see them that wasn’t related to scholarships, then I could go back a different day to ask for the letter. My OCD rationalized that by seeing them before without the motive of the recommendation letter I wouldn’t be a bad person. Additionally, I only asked for two letters of recommendation so I could avoid any of the applications that required more than two letters.
Even with the newly acquired letters or recommendation my OCD found ways to get me to not apply. My OCD told me that I wasn’t deserving of the merit based scholarships because I took an easy class load so I could get help for my OCD. I was worried that writing about my journey for the essay questions would take away scholarship money from those who had a normal and challenging high school career. All I had to do is stall until the application deadlines, and I wouldn’t have to worry about stealing money from deserving people.
Due to low applicant numbers, some of the school scholarships extended the application deadline, which presented a perfect opportunity for me to challenge my OCD. Not only would I be submitting an application, but I would be submitting it late. My OCD thought that it wasn’t fair to those who submitted their applications on time.
Nevertheless, I submitted some applications. It took an entire evening, quite a bit of panicking, and accepting that I might get money I didn’t feel like I earned. There are still some applications open that I put on my calendar so that they will be harder to ignore. With at least four years of college I have a lot of future scholarship applications, and I proved to myself that I can do it.