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Into the chasm: Broadening my research horizons

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Into the chasm: Broadening my research horizons

I find myself staring into space, my mind is racing and my heart’s pumping fast. That may sound like a heart attack or a panic attack, but not today.

Over a year ago I implemented my own advice, which included broadening my horizons and investing in my growth, both personally and professionally. I decided to apply for a particular scholarship. So I signed up online and began the application process… A few weeks later I received a call, letting me know that I had been shortlisted for an interview. I was overjoyed, but I certainly felt my heart cringe at the thought of being bombarded with questions that I didn’t know or couldn’t possibly answer. Luckily, I could do some online research, scout out the historical significance of the scholarship and even get in touch with a previous recipient of this scholarship. This detective work made a huge difference!

The interview came, a day after my birthday, and I felt Einstein enveloping me in relativity! That was probably the longest 30 minutes I have ever experienced! Then came the dreaded ‘DON’T CALL US, WE WILL CALL YOU’ line! And then I just had to wait.

I made it to the next rung on the ladder! And to my horror, I had to write a set of exams that would determine which university I would best fit into. Imagine how I must have felt (lol), not having written an exam in eons – and suddenly I had to prepare for one at short notice. I had less than 30 days to revise a mixture of high school and university syllabi! The nerves had me!

Well… to cut a long story short, a year later, I am packing up my life and embarking on a new journey along with eleven young women and men. We are all recipients of the Fulbright Scholarship (2017), and we are heading to the United States of America. With that, the next time I write a blog, it will be 13,020 km from home. It is my hope that I can share this experience with you, so you can also see the world through my eyes. Although change can sometimes be difficult, it often becomes a necessity in order to metamorphose.

Mathapelo Seopela (@mathapeloPS) is a chemistry doctoral student at the Tshwane University of Technology. This story was published on August 1, 2017, on SAYAS Blog (available here), and has been republished here with permission.

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Published on: May 15, 2019


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