After I finished undergrad, I went backpacking with a friend in South America. Before I left I had spoken with Prof Scott Keogh at the ANU about doing a PhD, and the difficulty in getting international scholarships. I was planning on starting the application process after our trip.
While we were backpacking, I got news from Prof. Keogh that the ANU was offering a special, unexpected round of international scholarships. The application deadline was one week after the announcement, so I had to get a PhD application together and submitted quickly. When we arrived in Santa Fe, Venezuela, my time was running out. International scholarships are hard to get, and having such a short window to submit an application meant that the competition would be greatly reduced, so obviously I had to try my best to get mine in.
My friend and I were supposed to go dolphin-watching and island-beach-bumming in Santa Fe. She ended up going by herself, and took my camera. These pictures are all hers, taken while watching the dolphins frolic and relaxing on the beach. Meanwhile, I was trying desperately to get some kind of respectable application together.
I was frantic. Santa Fe is a small place, with only one Internet cafe. The computers I was on were running Windows 98. They didn't have any version of Microsoft Office on them, instead they had some open source, Spanish word processing program I'd never heard of. I don't even think there was the option to save anything as .doc. I just saved everything as whatever and hoped for the best.
I was e-mailing my parents, getting them to send me transcripts and CVs. Meanwhile, I was trolling through my Sent Mail box to see what bits and pieces I could scrape together from attachments I had previously sent. I was running (and paying for) three computers at once: one for downloading documents from my e-mail to a USB key, one for typing, and one for uploading. The kids who usually used those computers for gaming were not impressed.
Life on the Caribbean is not set-up for the frantic. The Internet cafe closed for a three hour siesta from 11-2, and the tired old lady who ran the place wasn't about to give that up.
I did end up getting an application together on time, with a lot of assistance, support and sympathy from Prof. Keogh and my parents. But I also learned that sometimes you just can't live in the moment, no matter what TV and that hippy from Iowa who makes figurines out of wire to sell to tourists on the beach in Colombia try to teach you.