“You are not a failure until you stop trying.” …………………………..Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein, who is widely regarded as the father of Modern Physics, knew exactly what persistence was. After publishing his famous ‘5 papers’ which encapsulated revolutionary ideas in physics like the equivalence of mass and energy and the theory of special relativity in 1905, it took this scientist 10 more years to arrive at his outstanding general theory of relativity. During this decade of inquiry and research, he doubted his own work several times along the way, but he managed to keep on until he arrived at his dream theory, and stood out among his contemporary physicists. Anyway, aside from history, it’s time for me to recount a little bit of my own experience – how having a positive mindset rewarded my efforts to get a good university education.
All smiles, with the Principal of the University of Edinburgh
During my time at secondary school, I had always dreamt of pursuing my university studies at a reputable institution of higher education in Cameroon. I was well aware of the competitive nature of admissions (which are almost entirely based on academic merit) into home-based universities This motivated me to put more efforts in my high school studies, in order to obtain the required grades. When my physics teacher introduced me to Open Dreams in Lower Sixth (the equivalent of eleventh grade in the US), I was delighted at the prospect of getting a full scholarship to study at a foreign university. From the time I encountered Open Dreams, I never stopped dreaming of obtaining a full scholarship, given that I myself saw that I had the potential to obtain one.
Many a time I ended up with either incomplete college applications, or rejection letters from the universities I had applied to. All of these happened because occasionally I doubted myself and the college application process – especially the latter because it was seemingly too complicated. In the meantime, I got into an engineering programme at a home-based university. To be frank, I was not satisfied with the kind of training I received at that university, because it was per se too theoretical. In consonance with what Einstein said: “In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity”, I decided to turn the tide I faced in my education in my favour. I saw my frustration from my engineering education as a motivation to apply for a fully funded scholarship. I read more and more books and articles on technology, entrepreneurship and solutions to societal issues plaguing the world and Africa in particular. In addition to this, I used my free time at this university to explore what I really loved and wanted to study at the university, as I juxtaposed several degree programmes to see what would be a good fit for me, should I be given the opportunity to get a fresh start into another university.
In time (ultimately God’s time for me), I got the MasterCard Foundation Scholarship to study at the University of Edinburgh. And guess what? I chose to study Computer Science rather than engineering, because after careful thought and examination, I discovered that I wasn’t so enthusiastic to pursue a career in engineering, as opposed to one in IT. Moreover, my passion for mathematics, computation and their respective applications in tech, also led me to switch to my present choice of degree. As I peer closely into the past, I cannot help but sincerely express my heartfelt gratitude to all who supported me throughout the college application process, including but not limited to my family, church, Open Dreams and friends. And I strongly believe my journey into a blissful future has just begun…