Reminiscing on my entire journey to graduate school and iSI application selection is a story of coupling God’s grace, hard and smart work, and a network of vision helpers. I would not say I had a rosy ride. Perhaps, I believe the i-Scholar Initiative selected me because of the consistency of the theme of my SOP. Since my undergrad day, I have always envisioned myself studying abroad, especially in the US, because it’s the heart of the petroleum and energy industry. The goal of this dream stems from a passion for learning, gaining up-to-date knowledge, and germane skillsets needed to be a seasoned petroleum engineer in the oil and gas industry 4.0 era. However, the fear of not being able to afford the standardized exams and application fees left me in self-doubt, knowing fully the financial constraints I had to overcome during my undergraduate years.
So, in my earlier graduate school and scholarship voyage immediately after my graduation, with little or no experience. I started searching haphazardly for scholarships everywhere, doing online courses on data-driven skills, writing SOP (of which when I read these SOPs nowadays, I just laugh and wonder how naïve I was to believe that I was going to win a competitive scholarship with such type of SOP). But I believed in myself, trusted the process, and kept pushing (unlearn, learn, and re-learn). In 2019, during my NYSC, a friend first informed me about the maiden edition of the iSI scholarship that funds GRE and TOEFL exams; I didn’t apply that year because my requirements were not completed. So, I promised and prepared myself not to miss out on the next iteration in 2020, of which I didn’t as I was chosen among 50 enlisted. That selection from iSI scholarship was the game-changer for me; it engendered confidence and winsome demeanors that I am a competitive prospective student. Finally, the light had shone at the end of my tunnel: God started connecting the dots and t’s. Through iSI, I got all the necessary information for successful admission and graduate scholarship application, primarily in the US and other institutions at large. Today, the rest is history and those experiences I have archived to help the next seeking person on the line.
I am proud to say that I had several admissions, partial and full funding from universities across Asia, Europe, and the US during my grad school journey. Fortunately, I can only firm my loyalty to one. I am forever grateful to all individuals (partners, sponsors, and scholars) at i-scholar initiatives who have contributed their tangible and intangible resources to the growth of this great organization. To our iSI mentors, Mr. Victor Ogunmola., Dr. Femi Fajolu, Dr. Akanbi, et al., special thanks for your unending words of encouragement, care, and support throughout the journey; a journey that almost looks like it has no end. And to my past and 2020 iSI scholars, thank you guys for all your supports, testimonies (wins), and encouragement; directly and indirectly, I see in us all Nigeria’s only hope for tomorrow. For those still waiting, be strong and keep the faith till we see your light at the end of your tunnel. Our new iSI’21 scholar, I wish you all a successful graduate school application season in your respective programs, and please, I enjoin you to leverage and maximize the intellectual, social and financial resources available to you at iSI. We move till we all win.
To every prospective scholar, I have to say that applying to schools and securing funding/scholarship opportunities is a pain-rewardful process filled with rejections, self-discovery, knowing your passion and motivation, strength, and weakness. As a best practice, I advise you should earnestly prepare all essential documents/requirements (SOPs, Passport, LOR, GRE&TOEFL if mandated, etc.) ready for the days of battle and not on the day of battle.
My name is Promise O. Longe. I had my bachelor’s degree in Petroleum Engineering at the Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun, with First-class Honours. I am a new Ph.D. student in Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at the University of Kansas, USA.