Mercy Mayowa Ojetunde, i-Scholar Initiative -Scorecard Series XXXII – My graduate school journey and iSI scholarship news is a story worth sharing. I will not say it was easy, but my consistency, persistency, and determination have brought me this far. My dreams and aspirations have always been towards doing outstanding research in science while I contribute to finding solutions to diseases of global health concerns. I was determined to do top-notch research abroad, where I have access to resources, funding, and superb facilities. This interest has been my greatest motivation towards graduate school abroad.
The journey began in 2019 during my NYSC, where I had to start preparing myself for graduate school. Even though I was not connected with many scholars, I started looking out for opportunities. Eventually, I submitted applications to three (3) schools in the United States based on my superficial knowledge about graduate school applications. I got rejected after all, maybe because I was not getting things right. I was perplexed and needed to get connected to people who have access to information. I joined some scholarship WhatsApp groups and became so focused on my graduate school journey. Later in 2019, I saw the i-scholar Initiative funding advert on one of the WhatsApp groups. I was skeptical about applying because I thought I wouldn’t get it since I did not get admission to the USA schools. I was already losing hope, but I had to remind myself of my dreams. I eventually submitted my application a night before the application deadline.
From the little orientation I got about graduate school, I had to improve my profile by engaging in activities like internships relevant to my career path, research writing, voluntary research exercises, etc. I believed it would increase my chances of getting into graduate school. While working on my profile, I got the iSI scholarship news which brought my hopes alive. The GRE and TOEFL sponsorship was a great relief because the exams were quite expensive. iSI Scholarship has been recorded as my first scholarship, and it is indeed an OPEN DOOR. I began to see great possibilities about studying abroad. My iSI mentor (Dr. Akanbi Olufemi) was also interested in my progress. iSI has contributed significantly to my graduate school journey because the opportunity was an “open door” to greater scholarship opportunities. I attended webinars organised by iSI, which gave me more insight into navigating my graduate school applications. ISI gave me the chance to meet people who have great dreams and visions, and I see myself winning because I am in the winning circle. Since I was part of the family, I began to see myself closer to reality and became more intentional about graduate studies abroad.
Before the end of 2020, I struggled to submit applications to two schools (one in the US and one in Canada) because I was so engrossed in research activities. I got rejected by the two schools, but I did not give up. In 2021, I submitted applications to three schools in the UK and applied for the Prestigious Commonwealth Scholarship. I was optimistic about the scholarship because I knew I was already in the right circle, and I have done my part to some extent. Eventually, I got admission news from the three UK schools and got a nomination for the Commonwealth Shared Scholarship from one of the schools I had applied to in the UK. Being a part of the iSI family gives me great joy because I see myself as one of the highflyers.
I want to admonish prospective scholars not to give up on their dreams. Accept yourself and believe that you can achieve. Delay is not denial. The waiting period is an opportunity to do more work and explore opportunities. Please don’t sleep on opportunities; explore them. The famous saying says, “Nothing good comes easy” Be proactive, work hard and let opportunities meet you prepared. Don’t forget that there is always room for improvement. Connect with people who have information about your interest, do not isolate yourself from people. Ask questions!! Understand the place of process, and trust the process. Your dreams are valid!!! Above all, commit your ways to God, and He will direct your path. He knows everything, and He will help you.
Your dreams are valid, work hard!
I want to use this medium to appreciate the iSI management, sponsors, and partners for the significant investment in my career pursuit.
I am Mercy Mayowa Ojetunde, a First-Class Graduate of Microbiology from Osun State University, Osogbo. I am currently a Commonwealth Shared Scholar studying Biotechnology at the University of the West of Scotland, United Kingdom. I have participated in various research activities, held different leadership positions, and participated in various voluntary activities.
Thank You, iSI Family