My name is Chinaza Arinzechukwu and this is my story.
So, the story is how I started my scholarship journey in 2017, during my National Youth Service Corps
(NYSC) in Ogun state, Nigeria. As at then I had no laptop, thank God for Mazi Bright Chime a wonderful friend who was always willing to lend me his laptop, until God provided one for me in the process. My first mentor was Anizoba Ezinne Zine-Zi, she was good enough to give me unforgettable directives that I needed to succeed in the whole process. I saved up some money from my NYSC Allowance to get my two transcripts, and later sat for International English Language Testing System (IELTS) examinations in March, 2018. Thank God for a partial funding I received from a senior friend.
When I got my transcript ready in 2017, I submitted a few applications, which turned out unsuccessful. Since I was still new in the process, I did not relent. I motivated myself and kept on submitting various scholarship and job applications too, but nothing. It has always been my desire to study abroad, to gain the experience and become an expert in my chosen field/career. Also to contribute significantly in the global and national Food and Agricultural space.
In 2018, I experienced another set of blow! Rejection emails! I cried more than I did in 2017 because I thought I put in great effort. Of course I did, but because every year there are too many Brilliant Nigerians and people from different parts of the world applying for various scholarships, everyone stands a very thin chance of winning any of the scholarships.
In 2019, the rejection letters rained again, and this time in the space of two weeks, especially from the more than 10 Commonwealth Shared Scholarship courses I applied for. Oops. One thing I know is that as the journey became tougher, I became tougher and more intentional. I did not want to think that my 4.0 Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) was one of the reasons for not getting a scholarship. I persisted because I really wanted to see my dream come through.
It wasn’t an easy journey because I spent days and nights searching for information, writing essays, trying to improve my writing skill and building my network. I was also working as Agricultural Extension Officer with the Anambra State Value Chain Development Program and that same period in 2019, the enemy wanted to destroy my skin with a sickness that I didn’t understand where it came from, but he failed. So, I was really depressed in the period of making my applications in 2019 for the 2020 academic session. Sometimes I looked at myself in the mirror and say to myself ”Chinaza you are strong, and you can achieve whatever you set your heart to achieve”. It helped to keep me focused.
Fast forward to the year 2020, The year I had always prayed for. The year God saved me from writing another IELTS 😂. 𝐎𝐮𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝟏𝟔 𝐬𝐜𝐡𝐨𝐥𝐚𝐫𝐬𝐡𝐢𝐩𝐬 𝐚𝐩𝐩𝐥𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬 𝐈 𝐬𝐮𝐛𝐦𝐢𝐭𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝟐𝟎𝟐𝟎 𝐚𝐜𝐚𝐝𝐞𝐦𝐢𝐜 𝐬𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐨𝐧, 𝐈 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐂𝐡𝐨𝐬𝐞𝐧 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐏𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐠𝐢𝐨𝐮𝐬 𝐄𝐫𝐚𝐬𝐦𝐮𝐬 𝐌𝐮𝐧𝐝𝐮𝐬 𝐒𝐜𝐡𝐨𝐥𝐚𝐫𝐬𝐡𝐢𝐩 (𝟏𝟎𝟑 𝐍𝐢𝐠𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐚𝐧𝐬 𝐂𝐡𝐨𝐬𝐞𝐧 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐥𝐝), 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐏𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐠𝐢𝐨𝐮𝐬 𝐂𝐡𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐒𝐜𝐡𝐨𝐥𝐚𝐫𝐬𝐡𝐢𝐩 (𝟒𝟗 𝐜𝐡𝐨𝐬𝐞𝐧 𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝟖,𝟎𝟎𝟎 𝐍𝐢𝐠𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐚𝐧 𝐚𝐩𝐩𝐥𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐧𝐭𝐬) 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐩𝐥𝐚𝐜𝐞𝐝 𝐨𝐧 𝐑𝐞𝐬𝐞𝐫𝐯𝐞 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐅𝐀𝐎 𝐇𝐮𝐧𝐠𝐚𝐫𝐢𝐚𝐧 𝐒𝐜𝐡𝐨𝐥𝐚𝐫𝐬𝐡𝐢𝐩. Honestly, I was spoilt with choices that it became tough to make decisions. But in all things, it was God working out his purposes out.
Dear friend, if you have read to this line, I will like you to know that in this journey, I got 50+ rejections. It did not come easy and as a result I have chosen to share this story to encourage you and spur you to always persist, work hard and trust God in any situation. There were a lot of spiritual commitments too, but I do not want to go into that, it was more of personal directions as led by God, bearing in mind that I am a devoted Christian. Be encouraged. Your dream is achievable, Your Hard work will pay off, Your Prayers will be answered, Just persist and be consistent’ Believe in yourself.
I wrote this story to inspire anyone who might have been in my shoes and is currently feeling like giving up. Whatever dream it is, just keep believing and working towards it, steadfastly. Do not just dream before it becomes a nightmare, WORK. I know a few people from my network that have said to me ‘Naza, I want to be like you’ (jokingly perhaps) but I always say ‘no please your process should be easier and shorter’ because mine took so long and to some, I will be like ‘please don’t covet yet, hear the story first’.
Once again, my name is Chinaza Arinzechukwu and I secure two prestigious scholarships because I didn’t give up.