Chosen for Chevening

I’ve been chosen as a Chevening scholar for 2019/2020, and I’m going to study International Planning and Sustainable Development at the University of Westminster, London.

Thank You, Lord.

To be honest, I’m overwhelmed. I still can’t fully absorb the reality of Chevening, because I treat alums in the network as, well, unreachable beings, like Revan, Darth Traya, ganyan.

Going through the process was surreal. It was my first time to apply—I filed essays on the last few days of submission (when the site kept crashing), hounded my character references on the day of the deadline, and completely forgot about my application for a few months (I was throwing up tequila in almost every bar in Poblacion). I ignored the longlist announcement, and panicked when the embassy said I was up for an interview. Wag tularan, not a good example.

Panic was on my side, though; it pushed me to reach out to a Chevening alum friend for advice. That was a slap on the cheek—take this seriously, he said. He told me what to expect for my interview, which I barely practiced for because of my distracted nature. It was only when I sought his advice that I realized I was already running late to apply for my universities (it was already the end of March), so I also crammed that. But si friend, he just continued to encourage me, told me about an applicants’ support group which I also did not join until two days before scholarship results came out. Again, wag tularan.

The good news came out early June—I was conditionally selected. I cried in disbelief, then smiled, but that lasted for about twenty-four hours. My university results came out, and I only got conditional offers because I applied very late, and because of an unfinished MA degree. So I swallowed that strong, bitter pill of preparing myself to not push through with the scholarship. I created my Plan B’s, went about writing and civic things, and secured my future work.

But then, some angels are just always there to guide you. Si friend, he didn’t give up on me. Call your uni, he said. Ask our other alum friends about their experience; you’re not the first to go through this. Pray, pray, and pray, he reminded me. I was reluctant, but I took the advice.

After a gruelling waiting game, my prayers were answered. I got my unconditional offer about a week before the deadline. So I’m pushing through. I killed all my excitement while preparing for Plan B, so it’s another emotional struggle to bring it back. Now that I’m negotiating the down payment for my flat in London, the excitement is starting to burn again.

These past months brought me closer to people I’m thankful for. Of course, Mom, who believed in me 100%, and who always told me to claim and believe. (When I was all anxious about uni results, saying “If I get to go/If I don’t,” she simply replied, “You’re still not sure? Because I already know you’re going.”) Then there’s my sis Tish, who rolls her eyes and snorts at posts like this, but keeps buying me things to cram into the luggage.

Ben, may sarili kang paragraph. He’s the friend I referred to earlier. Thank you for standing by my side. Every. Single. Step. Of. The. Way. Thank you for believing I’d get selected from the time I shared all of this with you, for keeping it quiet for months, and for stubbornly pushing me in the right direction despite my doubts. (I can see you smiling with ngiting nakapanalo ng kaso right now, saying “Told you,” pero whatever, you little prince.) Seriously, salamat, can’t say that enough. Even if you prefer pineapple juice to pilsen, cheers.

And my friends: Gwen, who was a comforting embrace, my pocketful of wisdom and constant prayers. Jake, Mia, and Lesley, who took time to write my references and who touched me in their writings and kind words. Zaxx, Tanya, Ica, Abbey, David, for the guidance I needed to hear at the right time; Ate Kaye and Lean, for going out of your way for me while in London; Yowee, for grounding me, as always; Julia, my ultimate sunshine and for being more excited for me than anyone else; Ma’am Carmi, who never hesitated helping whenever I needed support. My porglets Tin and Dani, for calling on the Force. Mumshie, Yoti, Patty, Ysh, Myles, PJ and Cam, Jen and Roel, Trin, Sarah, Benj, Kring, Mark—I asked you all for prayers and positive energy for my results. I didn’t share all the details, but your being there means so much. Then to the people I look up to, Sir Yen, Sir Dinky, Benjamin, Father Louie, you have the sweetest reactions. And those who PM’ed (nagpost kasi si British Embassy so di na tuloy ako makatago), salamat.

Again, always, Lord, thank You. It’s Your will, Your design, Your plan. Continue to guide me on this journey, give me the strength and grace to go through the upcoming challenges, and make me Your instrument for our people and the environment. UIOGD.

Here’s to women planners and urbanists, placemakers, creative minds, and activists. And to dreamers—you can do it, too. Chevening applications for the 2020/2021 academic year are now open. As I learned, if it’s for you, it’s for you. Apply here: www.chevening.org/apply. I’ll be glad to help out with applications, as a friend did for me. In a responsible way, that is.

Pilipinas, panandaliang paalam muna. Laging karangalang dalhin ang watawat para sa’yo. London, I’ll see you very soon.

#MyCheveningJourney #ChosenForChevening #CheveningPH #WeAreWestminster

Originally posted on my Facebook.