Bipolar Lives Scholarship 2011 Winners Announced

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The four winners of the 2011 Bipolar Lives Scholarship (http://www.bipolar-lives.com/2011-Bipolar-Lives-Scholarship.html) showed excellent research skills and provided practical and achievable advice for persons living with bipolar disorder. Now in its fourth year, this scholarship provides much needed support to college students and in the words of one of our winners, “a voice to those who need it most.”

This year, the 2011 Bipolar Lives Scholarship (http://www.bipolar-lives.com/2011-Bipolar-Lives-Scholarship.html) has been awarded to four talented students. All four of these submissions share some impressive qualities. They are intimate and personal, but are much more than just stirring personal narratives. The winning entries all also provide detailed and practical blueprints for achieving mood stability and success.

The first winner, M.C. is a student from Austin, Texas majoring in Accounting. (We use initials only in some cases to protect privacy.) M.C. wrote passionately about the potential for bipolar disorder to devastate personal relationships. Using the powerful metaphor of fire, M.C. explains how easily family and spouses can get burnt. However, M.C. also offers compelling examples of how couples who understand the disorder can triumph with a successful marriage.    

Our second winner, A.D., a media and communications student from New Jersey, writes instructively about the five habits of a successful bipolar patient. More than a personal account of A.D.'s own struggles, this entry provides pragmatic, detailed advice on not only how to manage the disorder but how to live a full and rewarding life.

The third winner, A.J., a graduate student from Missouri, contributed an illuminating guide on surviving and thriving in college, despite being a student with a mood disorder. A.J.’s piece is a true must read - and a must heed - for any student, whether in the process of choosing a college or already enrolled.    

Our final winner is Kathleen Herndon, a doctoral student in Virginia. In many ways Kathleen's essay exemplifies everything the Bipolar Lives Scholarship stands for. It is extremely moving but practical and contrsuctive advice on how to fight and win a custody battle with a spouse who seeks to exploit an ex's mental health history to gain an unfair advantage in court.

According to scholarship donor Sarah Freeman:

“This year the quality of the applications was exceptionally strong. They just keep getting better every year. In fact, the entries were so strong the judges decided to divide the first prize equally between four winning entries. It is wonderful to see the scholarship enter its fourth year and to see interest growing every year. Since we started in 2008 we have doubled the amount of cash awarded. In the next few years, we expect to offer even more scholarship money to deserving students. As the Bipolar Lives website continues to grow, this goal is definitely in sight."

When notified she was a co-winner, Kathleen had this to say: "I am delighted to be recognized as a winner of the Bipolar-Lives.com scholarship! Understanding and coping with bipolar disorder is a struggle for so many, and I hope that my efforts to educate myself and achieve wellness and stability will inspire others to do the same. I am grateful to Bipolar-Lives.com (http://www.bipolar-lives.com) for their effort to create a community of understanding among those who fear the worst from themselves, and I hope that others facing bipolar disorder will find strength, knowledge and acceptance through this site."

When A.J. learned she was a co-winner, she told us: "Currently in grad school myself, I have learned some coping skills and tips that have helped me succeed and have shown me that, although school is tough with bipolar disorder, it is possible and does not have to keep a person from his or her dreams. I am hoping that others can benefit from what I have learned."

The 2012 Bipolar Lives Scholarship opens for submissions on September 1st, 2011. The deadline for submissions will be June 1, 2012 and a $1000 scholarship will be awarded. Depending on the judge’s decision, the scholarship will be awarded to one winner or like this year, divided equally among two or more winners.    Entry is free - there are no application fees of any kind. For the 2012 scholarship, applicants will post their submissions directly on the Bipolar Lives website. The winning submission will be featured permanently on the website with its own webpage.

This year, we are expanding scholarship eligibility to students who are 18 years old or older on or before July 1, 2011 and studying at a U.S. college, community college, or a technical or trade school. Both undergraduate students and students seeking a graduate degree are eligible. A complete list of suggested topics, rules, and submission requirements for 2012’s scholarship is available on the Bipolar Lives website.

Bipolar-Lives.com (http://www.bipolar-lives.com) is a leading website in its field, providing a unique mix of personal stories, up to date research and practical tools. For additional information, contact Sarah Freeman or visit the 2011 Bipolar Lives Scholarship at http://www.bipolar-lives.com/2011-Bipolar-Lives-Scholarship.html

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