To be an Atlas Corps Fellow is not the same for all of us, for me I crossed many blockades and these struggles will be reflected in my brief story of perseverance.  

Born in lower middle-class family, I wasn’t able to attend primary and secondary education, but that didn’t stop me from self-studying and attempted high school exams with above average results. I am the first in my family who completed undergraduate and postgraduate studies at university. During my undergraduate studies, I was very keen to travel especially to USA for learning and exposure, I have applied to many cultural and youth training programs but I received regret emails more than 19 times in different youth training programs around the world.

Source: https://pixabay.com/photos/man-runner-running-fitness-canal-4800810/

However, these attempts didn’t go in vain but proved as steppingstones to my career success, eventually I was selected for Coke-MENA (Global Business Institute -2014) cultural exchange program held in Kelley School of Business, Indiana, Atlanta Georgia and Washington DC. And then I was selected in International Student Festival in Trondheim, Norway (2015). Later I went to U.S. again for attending a summer seminar on ‘Liberty, free government, society and trade 2016’. Ultimately, these all experiences and learnings helped me to be recruited by a prominent university in Pakistan to guide students where I was ambitious to study.

 Moreover, The years of pandemic was really tough on all of us but it was productive for me, I was able to complete an extra-ordinary (blended) Masters in International Education Management -INEMA a joint degree from Ludwigsburg University of Education Germany and Helwan University Egypt. All these achievements are the outcome of a tenacious efforts and unconditional support from mentors.

Lessons Learnt during the journey

You are almost there, DON’T GIVE UP!

With no doubt the journey was full of thorns, patience and struggles, I revised my application statements more than 150 times. Be open to learning, new ideas and transformations.

Seek help of Mentor(s) and Professionals in the field

Whenever my application could not get through with the selection committees, I would share my experience with mentor or someone who went through the process, for me, their feedback was source of inspiration and motivation.

Do your Research!

While applying for a program, look into it from lenses of the selection committee like what they are looking for in candidates, and how your profile is aligned with the opportunity. Read, read, read and then write and revise continuously to be successful in the competitive process of applications.