While applying for scholarships, it is important to get yourself busy by engaging in impactful activities.
Upon winning a scholarship, it is pertinent to guide others along the journey as well. Today, we have a great scholar in the house who is impactful and has a track record of excellence as well as guiding people through the scholarship journey.
Welcome to honournaija_blog, can we meet you?
Thank you very much for having me here on your blog. I am Aaron Akpu Philip from Nasarawa State, Nigeria. I am a public health practitioner with six years experience. I worked and volunteered in United Kingdom, Australia and Nigeria as well. I hold a First degree in Microbiology from Nasarawa State University in Kefi, Nigeria. I had my Masters in Public health promotion from the Leeds Beckett University, United Kingdom. I am currently a Doctoral Researcher at Queensland University of Technology, Australia where I am researching on issues relating to disability and HIV. I have worked as a sessional academic at Queensland University and supported the learning of First year students. I am currently the Higher degree research representative of the school of public health and social work.
I have been fortunate to benefit from various scholarships throughout my academic journey, some of which includes Queensland University of Technology Postgraduate Research Award, Commonwealth Shared Scholarship which was for my Masters degree, World Health Organization Tropical Disease Research Masters scholarship which was meant to be in Zambia which I declined to pick up other awards such as Total Exploration and Production undergraduate award which I benefited from during my undergraduate days.
I am passionate to share my story in order to stir others towards their personal community development while I am driven with the mantra of Untill we all win , no one has won. I spend my time in supporting others towards navigating their scholarships and development journey.
This is massive sir. What inspired you to seek scholarship and to study outside Nigeria?
My drive for studying outside Nigeria was partly because of the need to learn and also as I mentioned earlier that I benefitted from a scholarship while I was an undergraduate student which was a turn around for me at that time. I said to myself, If I was able to secure scholarship as an undergraduate student, it will be great to win a scholarship to study outside Nigeria. In the year 2009/2010, I started researching on how to secure scholarship abroad. That sparked me up and I kept working, volunteering till 2016 when I secured my first scholarship to study abroad.
Great. What were the challenges you faced while applying for scholarships?
I think the challenges I faced while applying for scholarships are similar to what others have experienced which is the challenge of rejection. When I started applying, I got many rejections that could set one back. Rejection made me question my intelligence and capabilities. It was a process of reevaluation which allowed me to go back to the drawing board to see what and what I did not do right. For each rejection, I always do something better either by writing my essays in a different way or asking people to review my essays. I always made sure I applied to more scholarships and eventually, I got one.
Excellent. Were you rejected?? how did you handle it?
Yes I was rejected many times. I surrounded myself with people that were enthusiastic about scholarship; for every rejection, I go back to them and told them about it. Basically, I surrounded myself with people that understood my journey so I was not alone. Also, I kept applying for more, It kept me in the game and I was positive that I will get one.
How did you feel when you got a yes? Share your experience.
I got a YES in 2016. At that time, I had applied to some scholarships such as the WHO scholarship in Zambia, Commonwealth scholarship and Chevening. Chevening came with a rejection though. When I first got the email from Commonwealth Shared Scholarship that I have been nominated, I was overwhelmed. It felt like a rumour, I could not sleep that night as I kept checking the email to be sure. Shortly after that, the WHO scholarship came through which left me with choices but eventually, I choose Commonwealth Shared Scholarship, United Kingdom. It was a powerful moment, it made up for the rejections I had received all along.
From your experience, what are the needful things to be done before securing a scholarship?
From my experience, I will say get your documents ready, write out the list of scholarships you will like to apply to and check their requirements. You can also get adequate information on www.scholarshipposition.com. Searching on this platform will give you an idea of what to apply to. Also, reach out to people who have won a scholarship, ask them to review your essays, build a solid CV as well.
Studying outside Nigeria, how does it feel?? Stressful, tasking or quite with ease? Share your experience.
I miss home a lot, I miss family and friends. Also, the good part is I am educated for free over here and getting the exposure to build myself in all areas.
What are your words of advice to intending scholarship applicant?
I will say there is need to build a strong network as you go through application processes. Also, apply to scholarships as many as possible. Start early and keep applying as well. Apply! Apply!! Apply!!!
Academically, what was your experience transcending from elementary school up to the University level?
Oh, nothing so fascinating about my transition. It was a usual one just like any average Nigerian child. It was eventful as I had the needed support around me.
Thank you for coming. Any word for Honournaija_blog?
Wow, you are doing a massive work. What you are doing inspires. Keep up the good work.
It has been an amazing time with you sir. Thank you for sharing so much. Your story inspires.