The exciting thing is this: I just got the email that I've been accepted to the fellowship I applied to! The fellowship was offered by my program "for students dedicated to careers in conservation biology and environmental science in the state of Hawai`i" (that's me), with a "preference for applicants who graduated from a high school in Hawai`i" (also me) "for applicants with a track record of supporting Hawai`i’s environment (e.g., internships, volunteer opportunities, etc.) and demonstrated commitment to pursuing and attaining a long term career in conservation biology and environmental science in Hawai`i" (holy shit it's like they are talking about me). ...Okay so I knew I was an excellent candidate and also I wrote a really fucking excellent application essay if I do say so myself, but the program only offers three of these fellowships per year and I didn't really know what my competition was like (still don't), so I've kind of been chewing my nails off waiting to hear.
But I got it, yay! I mean, REALLY, REALLY YAY, because the fellowship waives my tuition, pays me a salary of $18,000/year, and gives me an extra $5,000 for books, fees, travel to conferences, and supplies. That's right. I'm going to graduate school for free, and getting paid to do it.
FUCKING YES OH MY GOD. *happy dance* *oh, it is the happiest*
So... this is really happening. I'm going to get my Master of Science in Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science. And then I'm going to save the world. (Well, some of it.)
I want to dedicate this win to my grandfather and granduncle, because they inspired me and helped make me into the person I am, and also I name-dropped the hell out of them in my essay so they almost definitely helped me get this fellowship in a more direct fashion. I know they're dead and all (so it goes) and I'm not religious, but I hope they're proud of me anyway. I've always been proud of them.