Scholar: Elizabeth Adeyemo
Undergraduate degree and University: B.A. Archaeology, University of Ibadan (First Class)
Graduate degree and University: MSc. Conservation Studies, University College London (UCL) Qatar
My Introduction to the Cultural Heritage Award
I got to know about the UCL in Qatar, and the funding opportunity from a senior colleague. He also attended and graduated from UCL Qatar. He had gone through the application experience, and this was very valuable when I started my application process. Funding was key to my studying in Qatar. I was awarded the Cultural Heritage award by Qatar Foundation that saw me through the duration of the programme. This great experience laid the foundation for my international academic, and career trajectory.
Key Decisions that made me stand out
I had always wanted to work and study in the field of heritage. I was fortunate to have spent the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) year at the Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilization (CBAAC). This was my first professional experience after graduation. Also, while I was applying to Doctoral programmes, I worked at the National Museum. These experiences have been valuable over the years. I have also volunteered with a number of organizations and on archaeology/conservation projects. They gave me the healthy work-study balance that I currently maintain, and I believe provided leverage upon application to Doctoral programmes.
My network has been my greatest resource so far, intentionally curating, and maintaining my professional network. This is not unidirectional. I am accessible to a number of persons, there are also people within the heritage field around the globe who have been pivotal to my success so far.
The internet has also been a resource that has played an important role in how far I have been able to progress in my career. I would spend a copious amount of time on my mobile device seeking institutions that I could apply to with available funding.
The primary challenge I faced was combining so many responsibilities and tasks during the application.
I was working, and volunteering at every period of my application to Grad school. Prioritizing and effective time allocation helped me manage this challenge. I identified that my job was an achieved, and immediate goal, but Grad school was a long-term goal (but Grad school is also short-term if you think about the long career life post-grad school). I even took the time (about two weeks) off work and other things to concentrate on putting together my application portfolio.
Again, identify the reasons you want to go to grad school, and let that be your guiding star.
I also got a couple of rejections, but I didn’t let that deter my pursuits. In retrospect, it feels like a baking period for me to get well cooked, figuratively. I was not redundant in my Grad school waiting room. I was always busy in a way that contributed to my portfolio. Baring it all, during this time, I also got accepted to Cambridge University, with a partial scholarship, and I could not afford the tuition or living expense. Gofundme appeared very juicy in my desperation to get to Grad School and Cambridge for that matter. However, I did not feel led to create a Gofundme account for that (different strokes for different folks). I also attempted different loan options, but that was not to happen. Honestly, this was the highest test of my patience and it was a tough decision, but I had to let it go.
Identifying your “Why” is key
Identifying your “Why” is key, then progressing to the Planning stage is pivotal to your application and Grad school success. These significantly help to create the right mental space such that even unexpected opportunities can be identified, and maximized.
You have to be open to learning, unlearning, and relearning through the application processes. I consider myself a writer, however, I have learned that a second opinion is key, a third, even better. Opinion here means consulting experienced individuals/organizations to assist with the entire process. This starts from putting the application portfolio together, and down through the visa application process, to actually moving into your apartment and settling into the new school. This might read as an exaggeration, but I tell you it does makes the difference. You can never have too many reliable supports through these processes.