Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My First Grant

The Grant
This entry title is a slight misnomer... I have yet to actually complete my first grant. However, I have completed versions 1,2,3,4,5 and 6. Unsatisfactory versions in between versions 1-6 were trashed. Tomorrow will inevitably bring more versions, but by Friday at 5pm, those versions will be inconsequential.

Today is important, because I have completed all the aspects required of me on the application, regardless of how terribly written or what glaring grammatical errors may still be left.

This grant and I... I noticed him from across a smoky bar known as the internet and he quickly gave me his digits. As I've gotten to know him, I learned how much money he had, how much I could ask of him. I learned what he expected of me (he wants it all on paper) and I learned he had a deadline. There are others out there vying for his attention (and money), and I had a deadline to impress him by.

Commence freak out. Commence overreaction. Commence stress.

I have never written a grant before. Now, I legitimately enjoy writing. But this wasn't my opinion of Henrik Ibsen* for a professor to glaze over and throw in a pile. This was asking for money so underprivileged children could have access to educational software. If I messed this up, there were larger, more implicit, ramifications than subtle drop in my GPA.

I brought it home this past weekend. Yes, the grant and I were getting serious. Sadly, I left him ignored in a pile on the floor and kicked my shoes over him until Monday night. Monday night I spent a handful of hours organizing my thoughts, kicking my five year-old MacBook for not being more responsive, and trying to plot out the best argument for this nonprofit. By the time I came in to work on Tuesday, I was unsatisfied with my work.

My Supervisor (new Supervisor, not Britannica) was a Godsend today. She is graciously and patiently explaining some of the most basic concepts to me and beating me over the head with the reminder "to not reinvent the wheel." I stayed late at the office today, cranking this grant out. I am determined to give myself at least one full day of edits before submitting it.
Hopefully, I'll win this thing.

Alone at the Office
Our office is an old house. I have a love-hate relationship with it. I love that it has character, I love that when we have lunch we gather around a dining room table, I love that we have a full kitchen and I love that the building itself is adorable. I hate that it's drafty and creaky.

The draftiness has yet to be a real issue thanks to this bipolar weather Roanoke's trying on for size. There was one day the other week that was particularly cold, but I found a spaceheater that Britannica abandoned and was fine. The creakiness has also been a non-issue because the office is generally so full of people, laughter, OfficeMate's singing, Across-the-Hall coworker yelling at OfficeMate to not sing, and our affordable intercom (yelling) that the creakiness goes unnoticed.

Today 5pm rolls around and OfficeMate and Across-the-Hall dip out. It's 5pm, we're the last ones there, it makes sense. I would generally go, too. Except, I have this grant. No big deal. I'm on a mission. I'm committed. I get into my writing mode. Off come the shoes. Forget the sweater. Turn off classic rock, bust out the Juan Luis Guerra. The cursor is blinking and I am feeling the good grant vibes rushing through me. That could just be the sugar rush from the diet coke and half a bag of candy corn, but I told myself they were good grant vibes. And then I heard it.
thunk thunk thunk
I figured it was the door, so I put the shoes and sweater back on, turn down the music, and head downstairs. No one was at either door, so I went back upstairs. Sweater and shoes off, music up.
If there is anything that's an incentive to finish your work early, it's a creaky house. I went back downstairs, again in vain, and accepted the fact that the house was rejecting my being there. It proceeded to continuously proclaim its dislike for the next few hours, but I did not leave until I was satisfied with my writing. Or, semi satisfied. All in a day's work.

*Henrik Ibsen, I'm not a huge fan.


  1. oh mv, i love you so much! i am sure you will write a super successful grant and get lots of $$$ for underprivileged children! but, if not, then i say break up with him and find someone new :)

  2. MV! I love this post..I helped write my first grant this summer at the Foodbank and it was quite a scary process.....but we WON!

    Seriously, the biggest thing that helped me was looking at how other grants were formatted and put together (COMPLETELY DIFFERENT from undergrad essays).

    Anyway, good luck! You are quite brilliant so I'm sure you'll do fine. :)

  3. Congrats on yet another accomplishment in the making (and I still owe you a call, I know, I'm sorry.)

    Hang in there, you'll do great!