Dear John Doe, The Scholarship Applicant,

I would like to share two stories with you. The stories which will help you understand your “decision” of not applying any more to scholarships. These stories are life lesson, not only to applying for scholarships. Because you have applied two times and didn’t get through, you have decided to quit. You have decided that you will no longer apply for scholarships, as you told me in your e-mail that scholarships are special students and favoritism everywhere.

Clare Francisca is my 1-year-old daughter. As any other child, at 6 months old she started eating other food options apart from her mother’s milk. She started seating on her own. She was falling down many times, trying so hard to sit down. Recently she is standing up by her own, without holding anything. But until to reach that milestone, Clare tried and fell over thousand times. She cried, stood up again, again and again.

John Doe, 1-year-old Clare didn’t quit. She didn’t sit down, keep crying and decide I will forever sit down. She always stood up. She found ways to hold up still. She was holding anything around to give her assistance to stand on her own. Now, she is standing up without holding anything for as long as she wants.

John Doe, I have one question for you. Is Clare Francisca, my 1-year-old daughter smarter than you? The answer is no, she is not. This is a point where I 100% agree with Carl Brashear (The 1st African American to become the Master Diver in the U.S. Navy) once he said, “IT’S NOT A SIN TO GET KNOCKED DOWN; IT’S A SIN TO STAY DOWN”. You tell me John Doe; do you want to commit that sinful act of staying down? Do you want to tell me your brain is less developed than Clare’s?

I have a secret for you, Jon Doe as the principle of success. The is your brain. The only thing that keeps you away from your dreams and achievements is your brain. You have told your brain that, you are a quitter. God has never created a loser or quitter. God only creates Human being after His likeness. He creates THE MASTERPIECE only. John Doe, you are the masterpiece so as Clare. Block all outside noise and everyone says you can’t do this because is above your paygrade, no one has ever come closer to this in your family, community or country. You can always be the first one, or the second or in the middle but with greater impact to your family, friends, community and world at large.

John Doe, the second story is about me. I received 3 major scholarships worthy over $120,000 just within 24 months’ period. Am I more intelligent than you? Am I smarter than you? The answer is NO. The only thing I possess is the Masterpiece brain given by God. The brain which refuses to accept that I can’t reach my final life destination.

In anything you do, John Doe, whether is applying scholarship or another thing, have a masterplan and perfect it. At the time, I was looking for scholarships, there was no such advancements of social media, cell phones with internet in Africa and interconnectedness in your fingertips. Only internet café with the slowest internet you might ever imagine were available in very few places I lived. Yahoo Messenger, hi5, Myspace were the hottest social network at the time, but I had to perfect my games. I used floppy disk, which the modern generation does not know even the terminology by itself.

I spent hundreds of hours in internet, searching for scholarships. I taught myself, got scammed couple times by what they call themselves scholarship consultants. I knew almost everything in scholarship industry. I was talking scholarships, dreaming of scholarships and I became addicted to scholarship opportunities around the world. I learnt what it takes to get scholarships, what mistakes people make and above all how to always be positive and competitive even though you don’t get it.

John Doe, I got my first scholarship while I was in my final year of Bachelor’s degree. I won Fulbright Scholarship, the most prestigious scholarship in the world to come to America and be a Fulbright scholar at Marshall University in West Virginia. Later when I was applying for other scholarships for masters and later PhD studies, I always applied for at least 20 programs. I did not to have any room for error, and that’s one of the principles of winning. I received so many letters from admissions office with results which I did not want to hear. Did I quit like you, John Doe? That gave me energy to review my application package, improve everything I got and apply to another university.

John Doe, no one gets everything as imagine for the first time. Don’t commit the most sinful act of staying down after being knocked down. Be smarter than my 1-year-old Clare, stand up, find something to hold on until you stand still and move. Always remember, you are God’s Masterpiece.

All the best in your scholarship applications and life’s decisions

It’s me,
Ernest Boniface Makulilo

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