Undergraduate Student Blog, Speaking of Princeton

Undergraduate Student Blog

Author: Abigail Denton ’20

Mobile, Alabama • Comparative Literature View Profile

Opportunity Never Stops Knocking, So Open the Door Already!

As a Princeton student, I feel like I am constantly bombarded with internship or study abroad opportunities. It feels like there's something for absolutely any traveling or working dream. And when you find that program or scholarship that offers exactly what you want, that's when the fun begins.

For me, it was the Dale Scholarship, a $5,000 scholarship given out to a few select sophomores to enable them to live out a transformative experience during the summer. My dream has always been to go to the United Kingdom. I even attribute my love of writing and reading -which has obviously affected my academic interests and potential career choices - to Harry Potter, which was one of the first series my father ever read to me when I was really young. My tastes have always run to British literature. Jane Austen, Agatha Christie, Charlotte Bronte, J.K. Rowling - I love them all. So when I heard that I had a chance to secure a scholarship to do essentially anything I want for the summer, I knew I had to go there.

All I had to do was to figure out how I could turn this trip into an informative experience. I thought that that would be the hard work, that coming up with a transformative experience and then setting a budget and all that pesky research would just be a real drag.

I was completely wrong.

Once I had come up with the idea of going to various real-life locations that were inspirations for fictional settings and writing short stories in those places, everything began to fall into place. I was excited rather than bored as I checked prices of hotels and planes and train; I could imagine myself surrounded by a new environment; I fantasized about the end product of the trip. All the work that I put in to my project felt like it was worth it, even if I don’t get the scholarship. There is something so satisfying about planning such an adventure that it begins to feel more like an extracurricular activity than an academic pursuit.

I don’t yet know whether I will receive the scholarship money to go and live my dream. If I post a blog about my trip next year, you’ll know that I was successful. But at this point, I’m just grateful that the Dale Scholarship gave me the opportunity to pursue a passion and do something I love. I think that anytime an application process is as smooth and enjoyable as mine was, that’s the right program for you.