The world makes room for someone that knows where he/she is going.!! The question is do you know where you are going? Today, we have a scholar in the house who made room for herself through growth and development. Lets get to meet her🌺.
Welcome to honournaija_blog, can we meet you??
It is my pleasure to be interviewed today on this platform. I’m Nancy Sunday (Nee Okoye) from Anambra State, Nigeria. I am a versatile, resourceful, flexible and goal-oriented pharmacist as well as a public health enthusiast, keen on building and advancing an excellent career in public health, with growing interests in population health and public health. I obtained a Master of Public Health degree from the University of British Columbia, UBC, Vancouver, Canada, as well as hold a Bachelor and Doctor of Pharmacy degrees from the University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria, with a CGPA of 4.60 and 4.76 respectively. Things I do for fun includes watching movies, travelling and playing chess.
Lovely. What inspired you to seek for scholarship and to study outside Nigeria?
After in-depth inquiries from different Nigerian Universities’ curriculum, I discovered they do not include courses on population health, especially as it relates to global health. Also, the University of British Columbia, UBC’s fantastic practicum opportunity which provides a platform for students to integrate classroom learning and practice in a population or public health work environment is highly lacking in the Nigerian curriculum. For my practicum, I had the privilege of working with amazing staff of the British Columbia Center for Disease Control. Also, I had always wanted to meet and network with people from diverse cultures which Canadian universities offer.
Were you rejected?? how did you handle it? share your experience.
Oh yes, I was rejected by some schools. My application to grad school commenced in 2016 during my pharmacy internship in Nigeria 🇳🇬 when I applied to 4 schools in the states 🇺🇸 and got denied by all four schools, then in 2017, I signed up with EducationUSA in Abuja and was coached by the amazing librarians on how to write a good grad essay during when I applied to 5 schools (4 in US and 1 in Canada).
At this point, my expectations were high and my faith was rekindled as I was guided by experts. Then came April 2018 when the emails started rolling in “ALL DENIED” and at that point I gave up as I had spent so much paying for application fees to schools that cared less. The next application cycle approached (September 2018), the push to apply just one more time was so intense, then I applied to the MasterCard Foundation (MCF) Scholarship at The University of British Columbia (UBC), Canada 🇨🇦 as well as 3 schools in the United States 🇺🇸. UBC MCF Scholarship granted my application which turned out to be the best 🙌🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾
Excellent.! I love your excellent spirit. How many scholarships did you apply for before hitting the jackpot?
I applied to over 10 opportunities before finally securing the Jackpot, including Chevening, PTDF, OPEC, but to name a few. It was exhausting to keep track of every application, but what kept me going was the picture of what I wanted my future to look like. I am indeed grateful that I did not give up.
Tenacity. Did you feel excited after getting one? Share your experience.
Words cannot express how thrilled I was when I got a phone call from the Mastercard Foundation Scholarship. It was Gina on the phone, program manager of the MPH SPPH UBC – her congratulatory words ran down my spine with chills throughout my body. To be honest with you, I stopped hearing after she said, “Congratulations Nancy, you have been awarded the Master…”. I screamed on the phone; tears rolled down uncontrollably. What is more, I could not concentrate at work anymore that evening, so I had to take a break to call my hubby, and family. It remains a memorable day for me ‘March 29th, 2019’.
Smiless. I want to say congratulations too😀. From your experience, what are the needful things to be done before securing a scholarship?
In my opinion, it does not require a one-size-fit-all approach. There are different kinds of scholarships out there; some require you to have an outstanding CGPA and/or a research background, while others require you either come from a poor family or possess leadership/athletic skills. My advice is to understand the requirements of the scholarship/assistantship and finetune your application by projecting those skills you have in a presentable manner. It is also crucial to have friends and scholars review your essays before submitting any application.
True words. Any platform that students can get scholarships from? please share.
I find LinkedIn a very helpful resource for scholarship networking. It is an indispensable platform to join. Also, Scholarship aids and Scholarship positions are of great help. Finally, Intending scholars interested in schooling in the United States of America can contact EducationUSA (Abuja or Lagos) by email – a library within the US Embassy.
Detailed. Studying outside Nigeria, how does it feel?? Stressful, tasking or quite with ease? Share your experience.
Studying in Canada exposed me to the “reverse classroom approach”, where we are given several resources to study before showing up in class. It was very tough, especially at the beginning because it was very different from the Nigerian school approach. I found the assignments and quizzes quite stressful and challenging. What beat my imagination was seeing my classmates hold conversations at such high level with the professors which got me think if I was in the right class, lol. Overtime, I blended into the system and was able to cope for the rest of program.
Lovely. What are your words of advice to intending scholarship applicants.??
As an aspiring scholar, take advantage of your network. Involve God almighty in your journey. Be confident, seek guidance from scholars and professionals. And most importantly, “DON’T GIVE UP” because the next application might be the jackpot you have been aiming for. ‘When opportunity meets preparation, success is sure’, so be always prepared. It is very important to call your lecturers from time to time just so they are happy to write you a strong recommendation letter during your scholarship/school applications. Finally, have an open mind to writing tests like GRE, TOEFL, IELTS, GMAT, as well as completing the WES document evaluation because these extra steps might just be the distinguishing factor that sets you apart from other applicants. I wish you the very best in your pursuit, and IT WILL END IN PRAISE.
Woooow.!! The way you answered my questions shows a high level of intelligence. I love your excellent spirit too. Thank you soo much for pouring so much🌺