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How To Prepare For Opportunities After Rejections

Article By Adepeju Jaiyeoba

This week, the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Fulbright Application results as well as the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Program’s results came in.

I know how it feels to have expectations dashed when not selected so I decided to share with you some of my personal stories around application rejections.

In 2011, I had recently graduated and wanted to do my masters badly so I applied to several schools abroad but all my funding applications were rejected. I remembered how sad and disappointed I was. In 2016, one of the schools I had applied to in 2011 contacted me on LinkedIn, had a Skype session with me, asked me to apply for their MBA class while linking me with their funding department that was eagerly awaiting my application.

This experience made me understand that sometimes you think you are ready for something you aren’t really ready for. Build yourself with your work and engagements. They are the experience needed to take you to the next level. The thing you seek badly now may eventually seek you out in future. Keep pushing.

-In 2012, I attended the Coady International Institute program in Canada. My application to the Coady International Institute in 2012 when I was selected to be part of the Global Change Leaders program which was fully funded was not my first application to them. My 1st application to them in 2010 was accepted without funding and I couldn’t afford to go. Since 2012 when I first attended the institute, I have gone on to acquire two additional certificates from the prestigious institute in 2016, all of which were fully funded.

What changed between 2010 and 2012?
I focused on my community engagements. My inability to attend in 2010 didn’t stop me from applying again in 2012. I spent the gap years to continue the work I was doing, gain more experience which provided more justification on my need to attend the program.

-In 2016, I got the D-Prize award and funding in one of the global health challenges. However, 2016 wasn’t the first time I applied to D-Prize. My application to them in 2012 was rejected and I still have that rejection email 😄. Today, I absolutely love the team at D-Prize and we do so much more together beyond them just being a previous funder.

What changed between 2012 and 2016?
Before typing this, I took a look at my 2012 application to dprize and had a good laugh. Even me right now would not have funded me in 2012 😂. The more you work, the more you learn, the more you gain more insight and the more your needs are streamlined so you can be more specific and professional in your applications.

So what did I do after my rejections?

To help me prepare for other opportunities or another round of applications, I do the following:

1. Introspect– I have a very honest conversation with myself asking questions around whether what I’m doing is what I really want to do, what I can do differently, next steps and next activities to perform.

2. Work Harder– I try to work harder and double my effort in the areas I work after receiving a rejection email. I try to be innovative and think of better or more unique ways I can do the things I do because I know uniqueness will always stand out.

3. Allow Some Gap Period– I try to put in some gap period between the time i was rejected and the time I apply next. In the gap period, I try to give time for new impact figures from my work to be obtained and also effects of new product or services to be measured.

All these said, a huge congrats to everyone who participated by submitting your applications to these programs.

Let your rejections spur you to greatness!

Happy Friday everyone!

Wishing you the very best.

Cheers to a future so bright, you gat to wear shades 😎🤘🏼😄

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