I am telling this story to encourage you to apply for scholarships even when it seems hopeless. You never know. April/May is peak admission season for September start and many schools and organisations will be offering some scholarships.
Apply. Apply. Apply. 📌
These scholarships can save your life. 💯
In 2019, I got a scholarship worth £15,000 (N10,125,000) from Glasgow Caledonian University and I applied on deadline day!
I was informed of the scholarship on the deadline day by 10am by one of the school's Nigerian agent. He wanted to know why I have done nothing with regards to the admission I had been given.
"I don't have the money," I told him. The day before, I had cleared my account and sent money to my wife. She was entering Canada to deliver our second son and needed some extra funds just in case they make a fuss at the port of entry.
He asked me whether I have heard of the Postgraduate Ambassador Scholarship. I said No. He asked me to Google it and that that day might be the deadline. I researched it quickly and my heart sank for 3 reasons.
1.It was a full tuition scholarship worth £15,000 with part-time job placement as well.
2.It was ending that day.
3.I needed to present a proof of funds of at least N4.5 million to show that if given the scholarship, I can pay for accommodation and feeding.
I had just arrived work at the hospital which is sited 30 mins from town and I had less than 6 hours to raise N4.5 million in my bank account. I had till midnight to start and complete my scholarship application.
The hurdle was just too high. And after all the stress, I had no guarantee to get the scholarship.
I decided to give it a shot. But I didn't know where to start. I had barely N300K in my account.
I called my wife to inform her of my predicament. She told me she had crossed the Canadian border and didn't need the $2000 I sent the day before and she is sending it. The worry is whether it will hit my account early enough. Miraculously, it reflected immediately.
I ran around trying to see who can give me money just to reflect in my account with the promise to send it back by midnight. No one agreed they had significant money and I understood. 😊
A female colleague of mine, seeing how distraught I was, shocked me. She told me she will give me N2.1 million. This was the money she was saving in her children's bank account for years and she agreed to touch it for me. I will remain eternally grateful for her kindness. Another colleague in the US sent me N1m. By 3.30pm, I took permission from my Consultant to go with my female colleague to GTB. We got to the bank just before the gates were closed and she was able to transfer the N2.1m.
In all I was able to raise about N4.2 million. Just within 6 hours! Thanks to God and amazing friends.
After transferring the entire money, a problem arose. My bank balance was still showing N300K! I reported to the bank officials who told me that it will reflect only after midnight. See wàhálà. 🙃
I left the bank and started working on my application. One of my saving graces was that I had uploaded some of the pictures of outreaches I did on Facebook as well as pictures of my NYSC award. I downloaded them, compiled it in a single document and attached it as evidence of how I have served others in the community. At midnight, I downloaded a signed digital copy of my bank statement, attached it to my application and submitted 2 minutes after the deadline. I spent the next ten minutes returning the funds to the friends who contributed and thanked them profusely. 🙏
The outcome of the scholarship was all in God's hands now and I promptly forgot about it.
Imagine my shock on the 26th June, 2019. I was scanning a patient when my phone kept ringing persistently. When I was done, it rang again and I responded to the UK number.
"Are you Uzoma Alaneme?"
"OK. I am calling to inform you that you won the Postgraduate Ambassador Scholarship. We have emailed you three times and got no response from you and we want to know if you are no longer interested in the scholarship so we can give it to someone else."
"Ha! I didn't see the email. Can you resend it? I am interested in the scholarship and will send an acceptance immediately."
When they resent the email, I saw it was the fourth time. I responded immediately and we began the process of getting my CAS and Visa.
The rest they say, is history.
Coming to the UK 🇬🇧 for my Masters opened several doors and my family and I still benefit from the blessings that scholarship brought till date.
The moral of this story is: Never stop believing. There is always a way, whenever there is a will. Sometimes, the net appears only when you leap.
I know it can be scary. Daunting, even. But, you can do it.
You can beat the odds and excel beyond your wildest imagination.