To be completely honest, I had no idea what STEP was when I somewhat abstractedly checked the box that would enter me in the pool of applicants to be chosen for participation in the program. It wasn’t even something that I gave a second thought to until I received an email saying, “Congratulations! We are pleased to inform you that you have been selected to participate in the inaugural class of STEP, the Second-year Transformational Experience Program at Ohio State.”
I remember being confused. It wasn’t until a bit (a lot) later that I recalled the innocuous inquiry that I had admittedly glazed over when filling out my housing application.
I didn’t attend the kick-off event.
Frankly, I didn’t care too much. At the time it was just another mandatory, superfluous… thing I had to attend–a thing that I was disgruntled to admit I had gotten myself into.
I forgot about it again over the summer.
We received our first “update” mid-way through June. I raised a skeptical eyebrow at the notification on my phone before deciding skimming over it wouldn’t grievously hurt me. The other eyebrow shot up as soon as I saw “$2000 fellowship.”
It was like in the cartoons: Cash registers were ringing in my head, and dollar signs floated in front of my vision.
It sounds shallow. It was shallow. But I was (am) a broke college student, and it was like God Himself reaching down with a big, fat check in His hand, with my name written in golden ink.
And suddenly STEP didn’t seem too bad.
Fast forward four months. We’re eight weeks into the program now, and I admit it–I am genuinely, pleasantly surprised by how much I actually enjoy it. I like the people, I like what we do, and I still really like the $2000 fellowship waiting for me at the finish line, so long as I keep up with what we’re doing–which to my own chagrin, is not the strenuous nightmare I had painted in the canvas of my own mind.
The timing is uncannily serendipitous. I’ve recently taken the first step (pun intended) toward participating in the Global May UK program offered in spring. It’s so perfect it’s like it was tailored to me, and before, it was out of reach. But with the fellowship, I actually have the chance to not only experience what I’ve been dreaming about since I was six, but to go beyond the opportunity I’ve been given. I can explore Europe and see these cultures and peoples and countries firsthand, and even now it feels absolutely unreal.
STEP has taught me a lot so far. It’s taught me not to be presumptuous. It’s taught me to be grateful. But I think above all, it’s taught me patience–that good things come to those who wait. That, while whatever hand you’ve been dealt may seem like the biggest crock of bull at first, it can turn around at the drop of a hat and be one of the best things that’s happened in a while.