Whoa. You actually did it. You actually voted, actually campaigned, actually helped me win!
And then, I won. $10,000 for my education. It may just be a twentieth of the cost, but it’s a tenth of my loans, and it came from you.
Technically it came from CollegeScholarships.org, a website designed to help students find scholarships. Really though, it came from you.
You gave me a scholarship! 11,902 votes were cast for me. It seems like wild amount, but to be clear, I don’t have that many friends. It breaks down to something more like 900 votes a day, since voting is allowed once a day. Hmm… Full disclosure, that is still more friends than I have.
It isn’t more friends than we have, though. We have 990 friends a day, because we voted from the USA, Vietnam, New Zealand, Japan, Cambodia, Thailand, China, Peru, Australia, Ukraine, England, Scotland, Ireland, France, and places I may not even know about. You came from classrooms and offices and Facebook. Many of you I know, even more I’ve met, and many, many, many are people I’ve never heard of.
That’s why we came away from this with a win though, because you didn’t just vote, you sent out the darn link to everybody you knew. You used influence, persuasion, seduction, intimidation, and pity to get those friends to vote.
So for all that, I thank you. I wanted to thank every single person I could find that voted for me, but it was brought to my attention that some people might not actually want their names broadcasted at the world. Plus, I’d surely miss about 9,000 people.
However, I do want to thank the people who did more than vote. I’m sure I’ll miss some of you as well, but you really made this happen, especially that tough last day and a half. When I went to bed last night, I was sure we were cooked. When I woke up, we were on the way.
Before I thank you all for making this an award winning blog and me a less indebted college student, I want to tell you what’s next. What sort of career did you sponsor, exactly?
Wait I have a career? I don’t actually. I have been working as a journalist these past six months while traveling and writing this blog, and during the Occupy movement. In fact an article I wrote was published today at CampusTalkBlog:
Aside from that, I’m a college student. I want to be more though. I wrote a novel based on this road trip adventure, with lots of boring stuff taken out and interesting conversations thrown in and some stories made up where I wished they had happened but didn’t. It is not an autobiography, it’s a book based on a true story. It delves deeply into the mindset of a teenager traveling alone on his own, dealing with the relationships, the people, the culture, and the physical world around him. It gets heavily into the psychology of youth solo travel, and the general absurdities that enter the mind of a nineteen year old when all he has to distract himself is trying to hit all the bumps on the lane divider on the highway. My record was 112.
It’s a first draft, but I’d like to get it published someday in hopes that I can bring the really great parts of the story on this blog to other people, and because I’ve always loved reading and writing and thought it would be amazing to actually do it for a living.
So that’s what I hope this contest results in. A book! Whether or not I stay a writer or become a wind turbine engineer, I have no idea, but I want to play this thing out until the end. I’ve got a draft of a novel, and if you help me, hopefully then some publisher somewhere is looking for that nineteen year old with a road trip novel. …Know anybody?!
So we’ll see what happens. Thanks for everything…
First, a special thanks to Ginny Deckelmann. I don’t know what she did for this campaign, but she was the first fan for this blog and my work, I won’t ever forget that.
Second, to my followers and readers. I’d name you, but WordPress does not actually tell me most of your names, and you might not like that anyway. You guys are the best.
My campaign team
My mom and dad, because if I working like a dog, they’ve been working like a dog sled team. Things aren’t easy financially as they once were, and they have stuck it out like champs, waiting for me to get my act together and get a scholarship.
My trusty college advisor Don Forsyth, who recommended I apply and laughed at me the whole time while I begged you all to support me.
My old trusty high school advisor, Matthew Ives, and the rest of the Masters Faculty and Administration for putting up with me through high school and helping me out when I really needed it.
The McAuliff and McDonnell clans, for their support and dedication to helping out one of their own.
My faithful social media assistant, Shelley Sauerhaft. Without her, I’d be facebook illiterate. With her, I had a group with several thousand members helping me.
Craig Calhoun and the Social Science Research Council, you all powered a fledging candidacy and made it a winner.
My brother, sister, and girlfriend. They weren’t calling every single person they knew, but I’ll be damned if they didn’t get real close.
The folks who posted the voting link on facebook and spread the message to all their friends. It made all the difference on that last night:
Sara Negovetic, Matt Eley, Joe Macewan, Robert McArdle, Susi Blitz, Amanda Coyne, Cristina Doi, Ali Goldman, Casey and Erin McAuliff, Shelley Sauerhaft, Stewart Wesley, Zach Fisch, Erin McAuliff, Meghan Maloney, Tara McAuliff, Liam McAuliff, Casey Minella, Hannah Miller, Anita Carroll, Jules Barbara, Long Nguyen, Harry Sudock, Dan Carlin, Noelle Turtur, Siena Naumann, Becky Plotkin, Rachel Citron, Stefan Kelley, Whitney De Luca, Carl Ceraolo, Mitch Mosk, Kendal Newman, and many, many more I am not friends on facebook with so cannot see! Or just can’t find for some reason. If I missed you, just tell me and I’ll add you. If you don’t want to be here, tell me that as well!
As one of the many weird promises I made, I said each of you could have a handcarved Christmas ornament from my workshop. Since I don’t want to make more than people actually want, please email/message me and I’ll make one for you in time for or after Christmas…!
My editor over at CampusTalkBlog, Rick Sherrell, along with fellow candidate Shannyn Allen, Mike McAuliff at HuffPO, Amanda Coyne, Dan Carlin, Tien Le, Craig Calhoun, and others I can’t see because they didn’t say @johnmcauliff!
They commented on the comments thread beneath the vote chart:
Richard Simon, Ginny Deckelmann, Phuong Dang, Bhaskar, Rae Wainwright, Trinh Duy Luan and Kelsey L. There were a couple others before the first round was shut down, but I can’t see them now!
This campaign was won on email and in person. Social media came second. Many, many, many, many, people helped out sending this out to as many as possible, including a few other candidates. I will never know who the vast majority of you are, but you made those votes happen to keep me moving up every day by expanding my dedicated voting pool.
This is basically everyone I think voted for me. I suppose some of them might not have, and thousands of others did that aren’t visible to me, but these are the folks who lt me know they voted, or joined the Facebook group, or something awesome along those lines.
Everyone already listed and…
Chelsea Long, Michelle Polyak, Lisa Warren, Alex Williams, Memento Mori, Katarina Radovac, Kresimir Zadravec, Tea Swarovski, Majan Dreic, Dejn Do, Silvia Sabangi, Peter Prindiville, Jerrie Miller, Cindy Hall, Ruthie Kriedler, Peter Schuster, Lynn Heron, Elizabeth Dorton, Anthony Giambra, Shane O’Neil, Mimi Mudd, Sam Bernstein, Larry Chung, Zach Nichols, Anya Verkamp, Peter Mclaughlin, Paul Nirenberg, Anasa Fraser, Chris Colahan, Janki Patel, Ruba Dabash, Christian Reiger, Peter Gallagher, Matthew Lewis, Lindsay Hollander, Mitchell Grey, Gabby Chenel, Freddy Serrano, James Turnbull, Andrew Hsu, Perry Minella, Conor James, Dodge Landesman, Dale McGraw, Kendal Newman, Julia Picciotto, Elliot Michael Greenham, Todd Brewer, Jacob Sunshine, Natasha Angelovich, Eliezer Ayala, Tyler Pager, Hannah Perry, Jacob Dannett, Shana Wallace, Sophia Chianese, Mike Wiener, Mike Orlando, Dani Marryshaw, Kelly Kurz, Thomas Griego, Dylan Pager, Ruben Prince, Keith MacArtney, John Desan, Nick Fleder, MJ Marty, Lucas Buyon, Matt Koz, Melanie Hundt, Kory Diserens, Jaqueline Hunt, Sumi Nair, Hailey Randell, Erica Phillips, Dana Goin, Annie Hudson, Megan Calabrese, Alec Courtwright, Steph Vega, Alex Barie, Stephanie Ann, Ryan Malone, Shosha Spivack, Jess Gutfleish, Stephanie Tafur, Alina Bourke, Madison Brown, Katherine Ingersoll, Kristin Schwam, Rachel Ward, Julia Brimelow, Joanna Leff, Becca Mack, Emma Leeds, Felicia Butler, Emily Martin, Chris Frost, Brian Eckert.
Lastly, thanks to WindAid and everyone I met along the way that made this trip amazing.
I tried my best to make this as comprehensive as possible, but I know I missed literally, thousands of people. Thanks so much to them and everyone else who voted and to CollegeScholarships for hosting the contest!
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! I essentially haven’t slept since Thanksgiving, so I’m going to go get six hours or so before catching the 9 am train. Thanks again everyone!
P.S. If you still feel like a voting, a fellow traveler friend has the chance to go to Tanzania on a $5k scholarship, so help Kelly out with a daily vote at