Sharing A Coffee With Your Future Self: A Student’s Fresh Take on Applying for a CST Graduate Award

Lucas Olscamp CST

By Lucas Olscamp

It’s difficult for me to comprehend how my parents ever looked upon my newborn face, and thought to themselves, “This child will go to university.” But, I’m sure glad they did.

It was my parents, holding my fragile body in their arms, smiling as I cried furiously into the world, who had faith not only in who I was, but who I would one day become. Their decision to invest in the Canadian Scholarship Trust Plan began the first of many conversations they, and I, would share.

Fast forward 18 years, two provinces, and many more furious cries to the world later, and my parent’s hopeful predictions for the future came true: I was accepted to university. The next four years of intensive intercultural and interdisciplinary liberal arts education at New York University Abu Dhabi would dramatically shift the way I engaged with the world around me. Travelling to over sixteen countries and performing in over twenty theatrical productions.

I graduated with honours and knew immediately that I wanted to return to Canada to pursue a graduate education in theatre design. It was through the continued advice of my parents that I came across the Canadian Scholarship Trust Foundation Graduate Awards and took the leap to apply.

When it came time to finally sit down and write out the application for the Canadian Scholarship Trust Foundation Graduate Award, I spent a great deal of time feverishly documenting all the significant achievements I had ever completed in my 22 years of life. When completed, this list, a tangible archive of my success, was perceivably impressive but felt void of meaning. The person I was describing, a confident and passionate small town Canadian who travelled around the world and studied interdisciplinary performing arts, was light years away from the reality of who I was in that moment: anxious, confused, frustrated, and terrified for the future.

Leaning back in my chair, staring at the blinking cursor on my screen, I hovered my finger over the ominous Delete Button, took a long and sustained breath in, and pressed down until the scribble of letters vanished before my eyes. I immediately stood up, left my apartment, walked briskly to the closest cafe, ordered myself an extra large Americano, grabbed a table for two, and silently (but with great attentiveness) had a conversation with my future self.

Sitting in that cafe, I thought back to the image of my parent’s holding me as a baby and how they saw in me, more than I could ever see in myself and how this application was going to be read by individuals just like them: people who not only cared about who I was, but who I could become.

Completing your application for the Canadian Scholarship Trust Foundation Graduate Awards shouldn’t be a chore and instead think of it as an incredible opportunity for you to reflect and imagine your future honestly and openly with others. Whether or not you win the award, the lessons you will learn from actively thinking, reflecting, and dreaming up a future you are immense. Use this application as a moment of stillness before the inevitable storm of change sitting on the horizon.

Embrace your anxieties and acknowledge that it’s okay to not know; who you are, where you’re going, what you’re doing, or who you will become. The future is always filled with more questions than answers, and your application should reflect that. What questions and concerns for the world and how you engage with it fuel you each and every day? What don’t you know but yearn to learn more about? What issues in the world, however big or small, drive you to pursue further education in order to tackle them? Let these questions inspire/motivate/activate you - not scare you.

In the end, sharing a coffee with your future self may seem silly at first, but know that it’s these silent ponderings, like the whispered wishes your parents sang to your unborn self, that can manifest and inspire a brighter future for the person you will one day become. Take this incredible opportunity to apply to the 2018 Canadian Scholarship Trust Foundation Graduate Awards and invest in the continued dream of others who want to invest in you.