Pursuit of Opportunity: Venkat Panchapakesan Memorial Scholarship 2018 — Part 4
The wait was long. There was an update at the beginning of September stating that our applications were being reviewed and the verdict would be out by September end. By October first week, a follow up update informed us that the result would be out by October 13th. And finally on October 12th at 11.53PM, it came.
I did not get selected for the scholarship. Though it felt like a blow at my self esteem, when I took some time to think about the reasons, it helped me find my mistakes and possibilities why it did not get selected. I wish to share these with you, in the hopes that it may bring light to your application in the future.
- To being with, my application essay for the first question had the same content as the video. So the review panel did not get to see a new perspective of my works and repetition meant improper utilization of opportunity to shine at my end. I could have spent the 60 seconds of the video explaining my pursuit and drive in life and how that took shape in small ideas that I carried out instead of the final product itself.
- There was very little evidence to back up my claims to add authenticity. This lack of external validation meant skepticism at the end of the reviewers.
- My recommender letters were not quite at synchrony with my claims and words. One my recommender was my professor at College, who explained all my pursuits and actions in the past. While the other LoR, from a senior from a non-profit I previously worked in, explained the non-technical phase of my personality. These varying views and excess words might not have met the reviewers expectations.
- I did not give due credit to my team members who worked behind the Academic Support ChatBot. I made it sound as if it was my own project and this indicated a lack of team working ability within me. Though I genuinely did not intend to do so, in the short time span the detail was missed out.
- I still have a lot more to do to add to the authenticity of my application. This scholarship being the very first of the applications I made so far, it is a lesson to learn from, improve and strike again in the future.
Yet again, I cannot be sure what exactly were the thoughts that went through the minds of the reviewers but if I were in their shoes, these would be the highlights in my mind.
Surprisingly enough, I was not dishearten to get the news. Applying for the Venkat Panchapakesan Memorial Scholarship after the nudge from Arya and SKG helped me come out of my shell and speak up. In the time that came later, I gained the confidence to speak on stage, take actions and work to improve the lives of those in my vicinity. I became more inclined to try and fail rather than shy and regret, and I feel this transition is essential for every undergrad. I gained confidence in my potential, started seeing opportunities with more clarity and finally gained the ability to think and act boldly. All the ideas that come in my mind now are channeled well through my work and most importantly, the flow of thought is now very clear in my mind.
So did I fail? I gained much more than what I bargained.
I urge every student to risk everything and apply for opportunities that come their way. The fear of failure is the worst of its kind, and so when one learns to embrace rejections, he transcends beyond the rest and learns to see the world through a new lens — one of determination and optimism, with absolutely nothing to loose.
I informed Arya and Sijo about the result and expressed these same thoughts. They encouraged me to stay strong and not to give up due to one rejection. They validated my works by saying I was on the right track and that in time, things will fall in place. I guess Steve Jobs was right when he said:
“We join the dots when we look back in time”
So what comes next?
When one door closes, a dozen more opens up. Now I keep a keen eye open at other opportunities when they open up. I take an effort to discover the potential in those within my vicinity and encourage them to take their first step to move towards discovering their ability. I am part of FOSSMEC, a significant club of Model Engineering College through which I wish to provide our juniors with the guidance and safe space to learn and grow that I wish I had in my initial undergrad years.
Most importantly, I am now an opportunist and look to find means to uncover greatness even in simplicity. You can always find my work through this blog and my twitter handle. All the TWTW and the small ideas in my mind are meant to serve as buffers for my long term growth, and I am picking up skills on the way.
Thank you for taking out the time and patience to read my application process for this opportunity. I congratulate the 2018 cohort of the opportunity and wish all the very best to the future applicants. Until the next opportunity strikes the door, goodbye!