Some say you cannot have it all figured out-this may be true- but you need to have a plan. I have had a plan to study abroad and compete globally since I completed my secondary school education. I was admitted to a Canadian university in 2014 but I didn’t get a scholarship. I proceeded to University of Ibadan and bagged a First Class in Industrial Chemistry. For 4 – 5 years, I had planned to apply to an organization for an aid which will take care of all fees during my graduate admission application process and offer the best advice. In 2019, I applied, interviewed but wasn’t selected.
In August 2019, I didn’t know what I would do but I have always told myself to never allow finance be the reason I won’t do something. Maybe, if my family was still as buoyant as some years ago, the fees won’t be too much of a problem. I am the first of 7 children and the financial situation of my family was the worst. Where will I get the money for the whole application process which seemed not less than $1000, always deep in thought, my smile was wearing out -is this where my plan crafted for years will end. Today, with a fully funded PhD offer, I can say I have only spent $120 (about 43,000 naira).
I’d usually mark important messages on WhatsApp, I went through my messages and saw an advert which a friend had sent to me -stating that some well-meaning Nigerians were willing to fund GRE fees for 3 persons. I told myself, we can start from here – one step at a time. I submitted the documents requested on the deadline day (August 30, 2019) and the results were to be released in a week. Amazingly, I received a congratulatory email on September 7, 2019 which served as a huge boost – I told myself God doesn’t leave His own. My GRE exam registration was completed on September 14, 2019. With GRE fees down, there was another exam fee to tackle, TOEFL, where will I get that. If I had to save my full allowance (19,800) to pay for the exam, it will take me 4months at least. On our WhatsApp group, Mr. Victor sent a message stating that scholars should discuss their plans for TOEFL – I couldn’t say anything as I had no money, so no plans but then I discussed my plight with Dr. Femi Akanbi with no idea of what our sponsors were working on. Our dear sponsors had been seeking for funds for TOEFL for scholars as they saw that both exams were necessary to make a competitive application. I woke up one morning and saw a message sent on the group, our sponsors had gotten TOEFL funds for 4 scholars and I was among the selected scholars – Wow, again God doesn’t leave His own. That is how I got funding for my GRE and TOEFL.
Asides this, our sponsors walked through the application process with us, offering the advice whenever needed. My greatest highlight of this initiative is that 20 scholars were funded whereas the initial plan was to fund only 3 scholars. Additionally, 7 scholars were funded for TOEFL too. I applied to 7 schools, I got fee waivers in 3 schools, I paid the fees ($120) in 2 schools and a sponsor paid in the last school. Yes, a sponsor was willing to pay the application fees for scholars.
In life, we should always make the best use of every opportunity we have and try to remain self- motivated in the face of challenges. I am completely grateful to organizer and every partner, thank you for giving me a golden opportunity.