I’m not talking about the old Nickelodeon show that puts a kid-spin on “American Gladiators.” I’m talking about my usual audacity for everything ambitious and new: a few weeks back, I submitted a paper to an international conference, with my thesis as the focal point. I look forward to this event: if anything, it will make or break my career as a social scientist. And it will make or break my opportunity to see a part of the world I may never get a chance to see.
On the matter of earning at least P100,000 to cover all the expenses of my possible trip, I’ve been thinking about writing solicitation letters, and perhaps work a few months to some companies I’ve applied for to cover my pocket money. I’ve scheduled myself for January to process travel documents (and a haircut) for my trip. But the magnitude of what I’ve done has only set in lately: here was an opportunity and I took it. How many times did I not do that?
It hit me: I suppose that with all the work I put into my thesis and to my paper, the possibility of going to America for that conference is not a remote one, ceteris paribus. I entered that conference because I wanted to prove that I can: in the dog-eat-dog world that is the academe, I’m not planning on being a teacher. But for all this talk of being a “scholar of the state,” I’m planning to earn my credits on being a scholar. And for all its faults, I want to see America up close and personal.
I was doing some calculations a few days ago, and wondered if $300 (roughly P12,000) would be enough to cover a week in America. Maybe I should cancel out the idea of meeting friends and relatives and think about a week of SPAM lunches and Hormel dinners. The most expensive factors for me would be plane tickets, registration fees, and my stay at a halfway decent hotel. I suppose if I worked freelance for three months, I would earn my $300 and see my bit of America.
That’s all I got left, basically: a dream.