I am Oluwatoni Honour Afinjuomo, popularly known as the Scholars Blogger Girl. My story is not the generic type of story; it is one that is set to leave people in awe and to restore hope to those that have given up on the process of their becoming. I am a definition of “the girl who dares”. Follow me as we delve together into my success story.
One of my greatest fears as a growing child is to settle for less and not become all that I need to become. This really shaped my habits and relationships as well. I was scared of living the conventional lifestyle that most people live which is (marrying, giving birth, do 9-5 jobs for maybe 50 years, and dying). This propelled me to begin to take certain steps to become who God has created me to be; one of which is becoming a voice in the academic ecosystem. During my undergraduate days, I particularly did not have A grades in my courses (this is because I was kinda lazy and in a way was okay with B, and C grades) until when I was in my final year and I studied so hard. I made “A” s in most of my courses to the point that one of my lecturers had to recheck his raw score to be sure he did not over mark my script. This scenario reawakened something in me: “I have been limiting myself”. Right there and then, I told myself (babe wake up, do not settle for less). I was so happy with the final year results that I decided to begin to pursue my dreams in alignment with God with utmost dexterity. When asked “Did you finish with first class”; my response goes “I am a first-class material” and I leave the person confused the more…. anyways leaving people confused is part of the beauty of life.
I started applying for scholarships in January 2020 while I was in my National Youth Service program in Calabar, Cross River state; the same year I started my blog (honournaija blog) officially. For me, it was more about going to school than just “japa”. My parents in all honesty cannot afford to send us for further studies and honestly, I cannot settle for B.Sc. so I needed to carry my cross. My friend, Rhoda Ayoola introduced me to Coursera’ an online platform to take online courses, so I started taking plenty of online courses during my NYSC program. She also shared scholarship opportunities with me and I kept applying. I started receiving rejection letters, but I really did not care at that time; I am naturally a very patient person, and I am patient with things until they begin to choke me and I cry out.
Amidst applying for scholarships, I was also hustling to get a job upon completion of my NYSC program. It was a tough one for me as I was receiving rejection letters both from job applications and scholarships. Sometimes, I cry; other times I hiss at the email. I applied for scholarships from January 2020 through to December 2022, and I must say these periods birth in me a high level of strength and tenacity.
In the year 2020 around December, I started a program called “SCHOLARS SPOTLIGHT” an idea founded on God however, my big bro shed some light on how to go about it (THANK YOU). I was skeptical about this program because I am not even a scholarship holder, how will scholars take me seriously? I prayed about it and spoke with a friend (Ifeoluwa Olarere) about what I had in mind. He was delighted and spoke with a few scholars he knew, and the few scholars spoke with some of their friends, and they agreed to share their stories on my blog….booooom. They were the first set of scholars I will interview, I read their stories and I said to myself (omo, you never start o). I again ignited my appetite to win a scholarship and kept applying.
During this first episode, the scholars I interviewed were on a group page called POTENTIAL SCHOLARS group and I never knew they were sharing my stories on the platform. One of the days, the founder of the group page (Ademola Aiyenuro) reached out to me and said someone rooted for me to join his group page and asked if I would like to join which I accepted. On joining the group, I was made the leader of giveaways for those that want to celebrate their wins or birthdays. Several times while conducting giveaways on the group or running my scholars spotlight programs, rejection emails were entering my phone; it was a tough pill to swallow. I remembered in 2021 when I received a rejection email from a scholarship that I literally gave my all for, I wept badly, and I told my friend Esther Olayemi (how will I be promoting scholarships and interviewing scholars, and yet, I am not winning), she replied with “it will come” and I screamed whennnnnnn on then hung the call. I still showed up to run another scholar’s spotlight program for scholars same month. Along the line, I started a weekly series called SCHOLARS MONDAY where I address issues pertaining to scholarship applicants that are not frequently addressed; this has been so inspiring, at every step; I was glad I was giving back to the society and touching lives even when I was yet to win one. I kept advising, encouraging, and giving tips as little as I know to help people while still receiving love letters.
I got a job in 2022, while I was being interviewed by the Managing Director of the company after I had told her what I do with my blog; she asked me “You are yet to win a scholarship, how have you been able to make people trust you and your blog”……and I said to her “people want to share their stories and also people want to learn from those that have been there; I bridge this gap, from reading scholars stories, applicants get inspired to keep applying”, she smiled and said “brilliant”; well….. I got the job the same day. Through my two years of applying for scholarships; I applied to 38 fully funded scholarships and sent out 40 cold emails to professors across the globe (I am sure they are more, might have deleted some; I counted these figures from my emails) and they came with rejection letters. Despite all the rejections over the period of two full years and two months, I did not give up and eventually now a prestigious scholarship awardee. I am a recipient of the fully funded Pan African Scholarship (https://web.facebook.com/pauafrica/) funded by African Union to study a Masters in Climate Change Policy at University of Tlemcen, Algeria (https://www.univ-tlemcen.dz/en)
WHAT DID I DO DIFFERENTLY TO WIN A SCHOLARSHIP?
Well, I will say IT WAS MY TIME TO WIN a scholarship. I will be honest, there was nothing new I did, I have always been taking online courses, attending virtual conferences, and volunteering right from my 300l, I already had a solid profile before I started applying in 2020 and yet, I still receive rejections. However, I would like to mention two things I become international about; “my CV and having a publication”. Being a reflective person, I always ask myself at every phase; “what am I doing wrong or right”? In 2021, I was about to applying for MasterCard Scholarship for the third time and I just could not bear seeing another rejection email, so I was linked with Fajeshimin Emmanuel; a MasterCard scholar in South Africa. During our conversation, he requested to see my CV first and upon seeing my CV, he said “Honour, you have a solid profile but a poor CV, we need to rework on this CV, perhaps this is why you have not been offered one”. I agreed, and we started work on my CV, refurbished it. Afterward, I started using the new CV to send cold mails to professors, honestly; I started getting affirmation from professors such as “Hello Honour, I love your CV but oh, I do not have funding at this time”. I was actually happy to know that atleast “dem dey see me” unlike before where I get NO RESPONSE.
Secondly, I also pressed to collaborate with some team of scholars on research that talked about my line of interest in the long term (Climate change). I infused that I am on research on the said topic in my CV even when the research was not yet published. At this point I will say I still was served rejection email even with a solid CV and research publication in the pipeline (my 1st academic publication came after I had won my current scholarship); this is to say THERE IS NO FORMULA TO WIN A SCHOLARSHIP, YOU JUST NEED TO KEEP APPLYING AND KEEP BUILDING YOURSELF. I have seen people with a lot of publications, first class, efficient work still has not secured a scholarship and I have seen those without publication, no conference etc. and win scholarships (there is no rocket science to winning one, when IT IS TIME; IT IS TIME!!!!!!!!). This does not negate the importance of building your profile because they are added advantages but then, after all the building and rejection emails keep coming; stay focus and press more.
LESSONS LEARNED DURING MY WAITING TIME.
- Know your God: oh yeah, I am a Christian and not just a churchgoer, and I have learned to ALWAYS inquire from God what path to take on every DETAIL of my life. At a point, with the voluminous rejection emails, I went to God in fasting and prayers not void of tears, and asked him “Father, do you really want me to study outside Nigeria”? And he affirmed. When I knew God was in support, I ignited the fire to apply more. During my waiting phase, I saw that God was building in me the tenacity to last through all that was to come. He also wanted me to be a blessing first to people that are in need of what I am in need of. He didn’t want me to be “just anyhow scholar that is just in graduate school but a light in the scholarship ecosystem” and I am grateful for the grace to go through it all. God is a God of time, when it is not your time, you, you will not receive; if you force it, it won’t last. Daniel 11:32b says “Those that know their God, they shall be strong and do exploit”. To journey excellently well through life and also to be relevant on earth; please KNOW GOD WELL.
Be deaf to external noise: okay, we are in a system where people just feel they know what you should be doing with your life; friends, families etc; if they are allowed, they will want to dictate how you should live your life and that is a NO for me. I remembered during after NYSC, I told a few friends and even families that I would like to further my studies outside Nigeria and I got remarks like “It is hard to win a scholarship, bera go and marry, you can be working and be going to school too in Nigeria” and my response that day till when I won this scholarship has always been “I WILL WIN A SCHOLARSHIP”. I never bought the idea of running my master’s in Nigeria and still doing part-time work somewhere to fend for myself and pay schools fees etc (that is too much stress for me, I did that during my Undergraduate, and I cannot suffer twice being a student not even for Masters). Each time, the idea was sold to me, especially by elderly people, I politely refuse. To win in the game of life, you have to make selfish decisions in areas that YOU ARE CONCERN. Be not afraid to stand alone and stay true to a cause especially when you know you are made for MORE in life. There will always be noises, in fact, they increase as you climb the ladder of success, you have to develop a thick skin to nib them in the bud respectfully while you go for what you want. Being deaf to external noise helped me to stay focused and determined.
Be productive: it is one thing to find your purpose, it is another thing to be productive with it. Productivity is not really about being busy but instead about having results and building track records to show what you do. Being productive is about using your skills, and field of interest to solve problems for people. I didn’t just fold my hands and sit in self-pity as rejection emails were coming, instead, I used what I am good at which is writing and blogging to inspire people and give light to the paths of those who needed it. During my waiting periods, I was very intentional about my blog (I knew that was the best time to lay some solid foundations as a scholarship might come anytime, and I will be in school) and this fetched me an award as THE YOUNG BLOGGER OF THE YEAR’22, an award sponsored by THE ROARINGLION, New York. This made me build, and leverage and I got visibility. I also wrote my first book (titled; SCHOOL NA SCAM) which was about scholars achieving academic excellence despite all odds (if you have not gotten yours, feel free to ask me). I volunteered as a content writer with Edenworld Initiative and I got promoted early this year as the HEAD OF GREEN-TALK, a monthly virtual program that brings on board experts to talk about the green economy, conservation, climate change, and the environment at large. Furthermore, I was also productive with people, I strategically connected with quality people in line with who and where I am going and time wasters. Harness all necessary tools to be productive to God, yourself, and people in your waiting seasons.
Build quality relationships: I cannot overemphasize this. Our generation no longer invests in friendships, but instead, they are about what they can get from you and move on. Investing in friendships does not mean giving money or your body but a sincere show of care such as calls to check, genuinely asking people how they are, celebrating them, and encouraging them when needed. Quality relationships also mean, knowing those that should be in a journey and honoring them. When I started my scholars spotlight program on my blog, I built friendships with some of the first set of scholars. I kept in touch, showed care, asked how school was going, crack jokes when needed, and showed respect as needed. When I wanted to run my second spotlight program, they recommended their friends to me and it continued. Their referral made my work easier and relieved me of the stress to look for scholars. I won’t fail to also mention how some of them keep asking how my applications are doing and offering to review my essays as needed etc. YOU DON’T NEED MUCH TO SHOW YOU ARE A TRUE FRIEND; ONLY A SINCERE HEART WILL DO. To build quality relationships, you have to be a quality person too; you cannot recognize quality if you are a superficial person.
Build good relationships with your lecturers/recommenders: my dears, never overlook a good recommendation from a superior person. Our lecturers are a one-way ticket to getting recommendation letters, and it is expedient to treat them with utmost honour while being under them as a student. It is not enough to just go to classes but once in a while, a good check-up on them in their offices is needed, sending a thank-you message or celebrating them on their big wins or D-days will always go a long way. I would like to also emphasize the need for well-behaved conduct while working with an organization. I remembered when serving with Nigeria Conservation Foundation (NCF), Calabar; I was the only Corp member, but then I built a relationship with our secretary so well. Even after my service year, I do reach out to them to check up and see how they are doing. Along the line, I needed a recommendation letter from an organization for NAWA scholarship, I contacted NCF, and I was given my recommendation letter. I am super grateful to my two amazing lecturers DR FOLARANMI DIPO BABALOLA and DR TAJUDEEN OKEKUNLE AMUSA for their immense support towards my applications. I also will want to appreciate DR JUDE MAJASAN who is my big brother and a research associate at University College, London. Furthermore, I will not fail to recognize Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) for sending me a recommendation letter when needed. Alex Onatunji and Esther Chinweuba were senior colleagues from the school who also wrote my recommendation letter for some applications.
I learned how to take NO for an answer and also how to celebrate my small win: I was placed on the reserved list by the Commonwealth shared scholarship in 2022. I was so happy, and I told myself, if I can be placed on reserve then I can actually win one. Furthermore, I took myself out to celebrate my reserve win (it was a big deal for me). Receiving rejection emails helped me to handle taking NO for a response, it redirected my mind to the fact that we cannot always get our desired results; it is more about our becoming in the process. Rejections taught me to know that it is not me that was rejected but my application. It also does not mean that I have not submitted a good application, but instead, I need a better application to be selected. Have you been rejected in any way? See it as an avenue to be better each time.
Love yourself: my friends know that “Honour no like stress especially one that is not productive”. No one can love you more than YOU. Loving yourself is knowing what works for you. Loving yourself means you can turn deaf ears to negative remarks about yourself. I remember in some instances, I hear remarks from so-called friends like “This one wey you dey blog scholarship when you go win one” ……I heard worst remarks than this, some people meant well though but a lot just wanted to make fun of me and what I do, sometimes; I weep and sometimes I ignore. Well, over time, I stopped caring about what people think and I kept pressing. It is important to fight for your sanity and peace and never let people settle the dust on you. I love myself to know when to go off social media and I can’t hold it together, sometimes… I go off social media especially WhatsApp because I wanted to take some online courses and I need maximum attention, sometimes, I sense I need some time with God, so I go off the radar. Love yourself even when things are not going as planned. Loving yourself means not giving up on yourself.
MEET SCHOLARS THAT WERE MY SUPPORTIVE SYSTEM
Alex Bimbo Onatunji
I met Alex while I was in 300l and as of then, he was in 400l and was serving as the Vice President of the department. As a new person in the department and still trying to find my way, I needed someone to hold my hands through the forestry academic system and he was that ideal person. We became friends; one that was purposeful. All through my undergraduate studies, he taught me how to write essays, apply for grants, and do anything related to paperwork. Alex entrusted some of his work in my hands such as drafting letters to be sent to forestry headquarters in Germany; when I don’t do it well; he corrects me. Alex was one person that sends me on errands such as printing documents, and sending emails (not buying his food or washing clothes o) but errands that were academically inclined and that will aid my growth.
At that time, the department needed someone to serve as the Chief-in-editor and Alex nominated me for the office and I became the Chief-in-editor. Alex taught me how to arrange books of the department with their serial numbers for easy access in the library. While Alex was in 500l, he was to take up a higher position as one of the executives for the International Forestry Association (IFSA), and technically, the shoe of the vice-president need to be worn. Alex said to me “Honour, go for the office of the vice-president” and I said to him “noooo, ha, vice-president ke, what will I do, I am shy o, so I cannot blah blah”. I gave all the excuses I can but all fell on deaf ears as he made up his mind to push me to become the vice president. Eventually, he succeeded, and I became the vice president of my department. During my tenure, Alex taught me how to lead and get involved in things such as planning an international conference that housed about 150 forestry students across the globe. This training phase Alex put me through was not easy then but I am grateful for it all and I am happy I was teachable too.
Alex eventually called me when I was serving that he won the Erasmus Mudus Scholarship to Italy, I was so happy. He sent me his essays and the list of scholarships he applied to before he won Erasmus. He encouraged me to keep applying, reviewed my essays, and sent recommendation letters several times. Sometimes, when I tell him I am tired of applying, his words are “If you need to take a break, please do but one thing I know is that it will come but I don’t know when so keep applying but no pressure”. In the year 2021, Alex encouraged me to apply for the University of Padova admission and scholarship and that he will pay for the application fees. I was super excited; I made the application and was quite hopeful. I got the admission but no funding. I felt quite bad and told Alex I felt I wasted his money because I didn’t win the scholarship, he said to me “Don’t worry about that, we will not kill ourselves over an application, you did your best”. That was a rare one as not many people will do that for an applicant. Alex has been a very big support system to me both financially, spiritually, and academically. One of Alex’s advices for me is not to waste my stipends on clothes and I should make sure I eat well too (I will not forget them). In 2021, Alex agreed to be the one to share my success story when I win one and I am glad; it is a reality today. Alex do not fail to share ideas about academics and life issues; he is one person I drew wisdom from.
Thank you, Alex, for EVERYTHING!! Thank you for kindness and thank you for letting God use you for me. God bless you. (Alex is married to a beautiful lady).
In 2021, I wanted to apply for SUFONAMA under Erasmus scholarship and I needed someone who is a scholar in that field to guide me through my application process. I got a link up with Olamide; our first contact on phone was quite exciting and he offered to help. Two things he said to me were “We will work on your CV first and essay”. Now, it is normal for scholars to just review essays for applicants and leave them at that but please if you have those that are not just going to review but sit with you to put you through on how to construct each line, where to put ” and” and “yet” in your essays; hold them tight o. I told him I want to apply for SUFONAMA and he asked me “how badly do I want a win” and I said very badly. He asked me to prepare my Europass CV, on sending it to him, he said “it’s not bad but it can be better”; (Europass CV is only used for Erasmus applications). We sat with the CV, removing and adding where necessary. When that was done, we worked on the essay and make my application. I will like to say here that most likely; I would have won the scholarship because the scholarship body reached to me to send my IELTS result and I did not have it. I knew I submitted a solid application and I requested a waiver for the IELTS but I was refused hence love letter came.
What stood out for about Olamide was his genuine interest in me and what I do. He is more interested in my blog than even my scholarship and that was quite fascinating. Several times, he puts a call through to ask how my blog is doing and share insightful ideas for my blog and I must say that is so sweet of him. Sometimes I will tell him I am still applying for scholarships just to make sure baba still remembers and he will respond with ” I know na, you will win soon”. He saw how hard I was pushing my blog and do not fail to refer people to get interviewed by my blog. His conversations are always refreshing; not void of encouragements and true words. Sometimes he will tell me “Honour you are doing your best but its not enough” and I am like “ga, really” and he responds with “You know I will tell you the truth”. His words spark fire in me and I will always want to do more.
On hearing that about my win, he offered assistance willingly and kept tabs on how my shopping is going, travelling here and there and is preparation coming. Beyond scholarship, he became a good friend; one that is kind.
Thank you so much for all you do. Thank you for knowing when to show up and give me that pushing nudge I need. You are blessed.
Chinedu Candidus Nsude
In the year 2021 precisely March/April; I wanted to apply for Commonwealth Shared scholarship for the first time. I needed someone who is a commonwealth shared scholar to help me in reviewing my essay. I reached out to Alex, he mentioned he has a friend but kinda busy however he will plead with him to assist me. Afterwards, Alex linked me up with Chinedu to help me review my essay. After reviewing my essay, he saw how well I wrote for the first time and also knowing how competitive the scholarship can be; he said to me “let’s keep hope alive but even if
. In 2021, while he was still in Nigeria, he was to work on a pangolin project and he needed a translator. He reached out to me and entrusted some part of the work into my hands. I saw it as my way to help a friend with a project and did my best, I was not expecting anything in return. What stood out for me was that after few months that the work was completed, Chinedu reached out to me and requested for my account number and paid me for the work. Oh, I failed to mention that for the project, he was not paid but he chooses to recognize my little effort and paid me from his pocket (that is a rare and a kind one). The money went a long way because as at that time, I was VERY broke; he was a life saver.
Preparing to transit from one country to another is not a walk in a park, I understand the financial situations of graduate students hence I did not bother a lot about the need for any form of assistance as I was preparing for my journey. I was quite surprise when Chinedu reached out few days to my trip and offered to send some money to me to aid in getting somethings. I needed the money though but also felt I don’t want to be a bother so I politely declined. He refused to take no for an answer and looked for my account number (he was part of my book launchers) and sent it. I must say that was so thoughtful. He is a super busy person but I must say I appreciate him for always making out time even when it is not convenient.
Chinedu eventually got a PhD program in US and as we know, graduate school is quite demanding but there is no time I need him to help review my essay or prep me for an interview that he won’t make out time. I remembered he told me to apply to US schools in 2021 and I told him I was not interested; he gave me reasons why I should. He really wanted to see me win and I am glad I won one eventually. Chinedu was someone that has been intentional about me from day 1 and do not fail to offer that help and push when needed.
Thank you for all that you represent. You are blessed.
Tosin Sarah Fashagba
Tosin connected with me through the potential scholar’s platform 2021. Our first chat was about assisting her to conduct a giveaway to celebrate her friend’s birthday. Afterwards, we became great friends. She won the Pan African Scholarship then and she shared her win with me. I love Tosin because of her free nature more so she is warmly. She kept encouraging me to keep applying. Last year August which was 2022 precisely August, she reached out to me and asked me to apply for the Pan African Scholarship; I told her I was tired and I was not applying. She said “Ha, you cannot be tired o, scholars’ blogger, please apply”; so I told her I will apply but she will review my essay. She did review my essay and I was shortlisted for the interview. A day before the interview, she prep me, told me how to answer the questions etc; I mostly responded with emoji to her because honestly, I was tired of doing interviews without results. After the interview during our conversation, she said you have done your part, let’s leave the rest to God. Lo and behold, she sent me the PDF list of those awarded the scholarship with this message in my DM ” Babe, God has done it”. I was inside the taxi going to church and I screamed. She has been quite helpful in providing details about all I needed to know before embarking on my trip to graduate school. She was not tired of my endless questions while providing detail responses. I was super happy to know I have someone that I am an affiliate with in same graduate school. Ever since I arrived, she has been taking care of me and I must say I am overwhelmed. Thank you Tosin for been a kind friend, one that sees value and appreciates it. I love you.
Emmanuel Adebowale Fajemisin
I needed to apply to MasterCard scholarship, University of Cape Town, South Africa and I needed a guide. I reached out to Adetimehin (Thank you). He linked me up with Emmanuel who is a MasterCard scholar. On our first connect, Emmanuel asked me to send my CV to peruse. I sent it and the first question he asked was “Honour, is this the CV you have been using for applications?”; I said ” yes” and he said your CV need reworking quickly. He alongside one of his friends in UCT sat with my CV and did a during arrangement; I was wowed at the arrangement. Then I proceeded with my applications. He sent me his essays and all I needed for the application. He saw me through from the beginning to the end, Emmanuel is quite thorough and I didn’t submit anyhow application. I applied to MCF twice and they came with love letters. He wanted me to apply the third time and I refused. He was sooooo upset with me, he said to me “you cannot give up o Honour, you have to keep applying, you have potentials and you have to keep pushing”; I still refused to apply because I lost energy to go through the stress of validating documents at the court again. He cares genuinely, he is another scholar that cheers me up as regards my blog and that is fascinating. I got a job on the Lagos Island in 2022 and I didn’t have money on me at all to resume work and getting needed things; I needed someone to loan me some cash and he came through. He do not fail to encourage me when needed.
Thank you for your friendship and support. You are blessed.
Badiu Akinola Akinbode
During my first episode of scholar’s spotlight program on my blog in 2021, some scholars who were on potential scholars’ group that I had interviewed unknowingly were resharing their stories on the group page. One of the days, the founder of the group (Ademola Aiyenuro) reached out to me and mentioned that someone rooted for me to join the group having seen my amazing work; he asked me if I will like to join and I affirmed. On joining the group, Badiu was the first to welcome me, afterwards; we had amazing chats. One striking thing about Badiu is his openness; he immediately shared essays with me on scholarships and told me we should apply to Commonwealth shared scholarship that year (he was yet to win one at that time). The fun part was we told ourselves how many schools we are applying to and we kept tabs on each other to make sure no one was slacking. We spent days and nights applying, writing essays and all. During the course of application, he won the prestigious Erasmus Mudun scholarship. He called me on video call with tears in his eyes, I saw the tears of joy. Badiu never fail to link scholars up for my interview, he kept in touch and asking about my applications. Badiu I will say is a man of the people and he does not fail to go all out to show his support. Well, I am not sure I would have known potential scholars’ group at that time if not for him.
Thank you for being a big encouragement to me and others on this journey of scholarship application. (He is married to a beautiful lady).
Oluwadunsin Adekola (PhD)
Dunsin was part of the first set of scholars to be interviewed by my blog and also, he was the ONLY scholar among those I interviewed then who asked me about my application and told me “Honour, I will be on top of your matter about winning a scholarship” and truly he was on top of my matter. One thing that stood out for me about him is how intentional he has been about me. Dunsin have always been there for me in terms of self-development and value. Sometimes he randomly asked me “what did you read in your bible today?”, what did you learn from Sunday’s sermon and I am like ” who is this guy o”. Whenever I send my essay to him for review, he will never fail to mention to me to always submit an excellent essay. Several times, he sends my essay back and ask me to justify my work and use Grammarly then send back to him. His slogan is “Excellence OR Excellence”; at first it was too much relating with him but I understood he wants me to be a person of excellence. His constructive criticism is top notch and that I will always appreciate. I wrote a book in 2021 about restructuring of the academic system in Nigeria and asked him to foreword the book. He read it and told me my idea is great but the book will be on pause; he gave me genuine reasons and one key thing he said was that ” Honour, I don’t want you to write a book and in few years’ time, you are regretting you published the book”. I listened to him (as I am a teachable person) and held on about the book (part of his constructive criticism). He gave me another idea as regards writing a different book; I adhered to his advice and built on the idea he gave me. The book is out now and was still forwarded by him. He believes in me so much and do not fail to show his support all the way.
Thank you for EVERYTHING. You are blessed. (He is married to a beautiful lady).
One of days during casual chats on potential scholars’ group, Vivian posted that she needed a friend; when I saw the post, I slide into her DM and told her I wanted to be her friend (jokingly). For me I felt it will be a casual friendship where you get to talk few times and only engage in viewing status but on the contrary; our bond grew into a fascinating friendship. Vivian is one person that loves me so much and truly go out of the way to make sure she offers all support she can give. Vivian has never failed to recommend me to professors when needed, work and anything relating to forestry and climate change. She not only believes in me and what I do but also in encouraging me to push harder. In 2022, Vivian won her funded assistance into one of the amazing schools in US. Prior to then, she had other offers which she apparently turned down but instead of just turning it down and moving on; she told the professor about me and asked me to send my details to him (what a friend). When it comes to my depressing days, oh Vivian is among my female friends that I can run to and will give pacifying words. Recently, I had to introduce her to a friend and I told the person “Vivian is my friend like sister o” because that is just how she is to me. She is an open book, one that has nothing to hide. She says things the way they are and how it should be.
When I went for my visa processing, I ran out cash and honestly, my transport fare back home was not complete. I never mentioned anything to her because I knew how much expenses she has incurred while travelling to the United States. I was shocked when I saw the alert of the exact money I needed from her without asking. I am most excites today to know that we both eventually are in graduate school and pursuing our dreams. Thank you so much for always recommending and showing how much you love Honour. I love you back.
In 2021, I needed an environmental NGO to volunteer with and I came across EdenWorld initiative. I spoke with Adetula who is one of the co-founders of organization. There was a scheduled interview for new blood and I told him I do not have data. To my amazement, he sent me data for the interview and that struck a chord in me. I was really grateful; eventually I was accepted to volunteer with them. He always kept in touch, sharing opportunities and kept telling me I will win. Late last year (2022), he introduced the different positions available under the organization. I told him I wanted to handle the blog and he told me it is taken and that how about being the head of green talk (a monthly virtual program he handles); I wanted to dodge it because I am camera shy, I prefer working behind the scene where no one sees me but he said “you will be the head of green talk and we will work together”. Well, I was happy to know I will work with him and I thought he will do most of the work but surprisingly, he left the stage for me. The first virtual program, I was so nervous but I got better with time (thanks to him). He has been very supportive to my growth, believes so much in me and gave me a platform to leverage on. On hearing about my win, he was super excited, helped out financially too. A day before my flight, i saw a prayerful message from him in my DM and it was relieving to know someone was thoughtful about me (I was getting nervous before my flight). Thank you, my boss and friend, for everything, I appreciate your essence.
I got connected with Enigma during a discussion on climate change and environmental issues on a group page. He saw I was interested in such topics and he offered to collaborate with me to work on research. At that time, we both were still hustling for scholarships. One fascinating thing about him is his thirst for academic excellence and exploring the research world. Sometimes, he calls to talk about research how it works and all; he also does not fail to encourage me to always put in my best and the win will come. I was quite delighted when he won his scholarship to US and kept telling me my win will come. I am an academic writer and sometimes, I need to run my clients work through plagiarism before I turn it in, I always reach out to him for help and he has never said no even if he is busy (I really appreciate this). Eventually, I alongside with him and few other people collaborated to work on research which got published recently and it added to my CV. Thank you Enigma for always coming through and for being a simple soul. I appreciate you.
Sodiq Solagbade Oguntade
I got connected with him when he posted on a group page that we both belong to that the NGO he works with needed a content writer to volunteer with them. I reached out to him and told him I was interested. He interviewed me and I got on board. Along the line, he chaired our research and was always coming through; during the period when people were non-responsive to submitting their drafts for research; he will tell me “Honour, I trust you to handle those people on the group” and it’s usually funny how he just trusts me to persuade people and have them submit their drafts (and I get it done). Aside academics, he is an amazing friend, he is one of those I chat with and I laugh all the way making me forget my worries. When I told him about my win, he said “I am not surprise because I know it will come”. He is a supportive friend and I am glad on how he pushed for our research to be accepted and published. Thank you so much for everything. God bless you. Thank you for always supporting my work with Turnitin too. He is married to a beautiful wife; also he got the highest traffic during his interview on my blog in his set.
In 2021, I needed to apply for European Forestry and I got linked up with him; he is an Erasmus Scholar in the field. Honestly, I was so happy at how he put me through the whole processes that seeing a love letter broke my heart; I wanted to win so that his effort will not go to waste. He encouraged me and told me to apply again. He encouraged me to take more online courses and volunteer more which I did. We rework on the essay last year and I was so optimistic only to receive love letter again (they should expect my come back). He has been there even when I do not reach out, he slides in subsequently and ask how are my applications doing. I appreciate you so much and that you for always cheering.
I call her my sister (right from UG, she has been sisterly). The love and support have been encompassing. The gist, laughter, advices and sharing of opportunities from her has been great. Several times, I tell her how tired and exhausted I am and she kept on pushing and encouraging me. Early this year, she came to my state and we saw; she held my hands and prayed with me asking God to make my scholarship come through and it happened. She has been a friend and sister, one that is near and dear.
Even when I do not want to apply, she keeps sending opportunities both scholarships, internships and work. Thank you for everything, for staying so near and dear. I much value you.
A big THANK YOU to my parents for their immerse support all through.
I also want to appreciate the Olutimehins family and my church; Citizens of Light, Ilorin for their support.
Special shout out to my dear friends turned family (mention a few) in the likes of Ayoola Shonowo, Esther Olayemi, Anu Akingboye, Shittu Balikis and Faith Sumaduniya, Olakunle Malik, Ayodeji Olaniran, Rhoda Ayoola, Mary, Shukoroh Lawal, Kemi Adeyera, Prestige Utin, Toyin Omobola, Oyoma Ajari, Dada Emmanuel, Owoyele Dare, Araoluwa, Blessing Dada, Ayomide Ajala, Glory James, Jumoke Lawal and Tutu Brown. They are priceless friends; always encouraging and giving all forms of support. From the day I won till I arrived my destination, they saw me through. I love you guys and will honestly missssssssss you. Keep soaring.
I won’t fail to recognize the efforts of Marian and Sussan for their immerse support towards my blog; thank you so much for all you do. I am grateful for the gift of you both. Also, special thanks to Awotunde Tosin for his cheering and love, honestly I appreciate your check-up calls, random chats to whine me and make me laugh too. My sincere appreciation goes to Scholar Femi Adekoya for his support towards his guide as regards writing commonwealth shared scholarship in 2021, THANK YOU.
I am more grateful to scholars who allowed me feature them on my blog, they believed in me and what I do, thank you for the referrals all the way; God bless you ALL. I also want to appreciate those I cannot remember or write due to space, THANK YOU.