My first scholarship!
My first scholarship award was the beginning of a great scholarship career, which is the genesis of my life’s project in ScholarshipJamaica.com and the ability for me to write this piece in sharing my experience with you.
I would like to express a MASSIVE THANK YOU to the staff of the National Water Commission (NWC) Morant Bay branch in St. Thomas. This was where I worked for my first scholarship award back in 1997/1998 academic year worth J$7500. From a very poor and rural background, this meant I was able to sit six (6) CXC subjects, which I passed with honors!
Please note the word “worked” in the previous paragraph – meaning that my first scholarship wasn’t given to me, rather – I worked for it!
I worked for it! Scholarships are awards that someone like me and you can win by working towards a goal set by the donor or by yourself, such as getting a GPA of 3.99 or writing a winning essay for the donor or community service or through volunteering in your community.
As a senior student at the Seaforth High School in Seaforth, St. Thomas, I was fortunate to be placed at the Morant Bay branch of the NWC for my work experience training back in 1998. This was my first taste of the professional working world and I loved it. I can even remember how the office environment felt as I write this article. While there for the two or three weeks, I worked and volunteered in all departments from accounts, teller, legal, and compliance to customer service and the manager’s office.
Within that short stint at NWC, I was able to establish a working relationship with all the staff where we referred to each other by first name basis. I used the opportunity, without even recognizing, as an extended interview and a medium to showcase my ability to work, express myself and interest to help others.
At the end of my work experience stint, I was able to add so much experiences to my resume, had a wider knowledge of what we did in school such as accounts, principles of business and information technology. I saw how it was applied to solving problems and creating a plan for success. This is an experience I refer to even to this day.
I remember clearly that on my last day (being a procrastinator) at about 2:30pm right before I leave work, I was telling my good byes and walked into the branch manager’s office and informed her of how I enjoyed the site and my next move forward. In this conversation I outlined my parent’s financial status and how I was seeking assistance to cover the cost of my CXC fees.
Wow (I am now getting the goosebumps just thinking of the entire event), she said “hold on, I will be back in a minute”. In about five (5) minutes she returned with an envelope of J$7,500 and said, “leave now and go and pay for your CXCs”. I almost cried. I ran out of the office went up to the BNS branch and paid for my subjects immediately. The following Monday I went directly to my Guidance Counselor, gave her the receipt and informed her of the entire event. She was so happy for me and profoundly said, “this is a great example of using a simple opportunity to make a big impact on others”.
My first scholarship can be yours!
Do you know what I took from this experience? Take the opportunities you get in life as a student or as an adult and make the best of it. The opportunity is all you get! Don’t be shy, you will never know if a person, business or group can assist you with a scholarship or grant until you ask. Not all scholarships are advertised and sometimes potential donors don’t think about offering scholarships until the idea is presented to them.
Look around you and identify the various groups (church, community youth clubs, sports clubs), businesses in your community and business that cater to you and your family, and employers.
Go out there and find your first scholarship!