Thank you so much for your application, and your interest in the programme; we’re sorry to say that your application was unsuccessful this time.

That’s all she wrote.

But not really. That’s actually all that I read when I finally opened my email after a long day at the Uganda Bureau of Statistics were I had gone fishing for some data.  As soon as I clicked the email, my eyes went darting around for the word I had been waiting for, “Congratulations”. Instead, this is what I saw. This is the biggest anti-climax I’ve had since 2015. I was so sure I had this fellowship in the bag. My application was so airtight. In my head, I was the perfect candidate. Clearly, I was wrong. Was I angry? Was I disappointed? Yes and Yes.

I had been expecting this email, you see, since 1st April. This isn’t what I was expecting it so say though. Maybe my mistake was looking forward to it in the first place. I’ve heard before that if you think about something you want too much, you jinx your chances. Heck, there’s even that african saying about watched pots that never boil. Then again, this was a fellowship that received over 700 submissions. They only had 10 slots to fill. What are the odds? Shitty odds, of course. Did I have a real chance? Yes.

So what am I going to do now?

Exactly, what I have been doing, but much much harder. If we all got everything at first try, life wouldn’t be worth much. Also, who doesn’t love a good challenge? In the days since I submitted my application, I’ve been working hard to accomplish something really important. It’s important to me and it’s going to propel me forward. I’m not counting my money at the table anymore. I intend to have something to show for what I’m trying to achieve.

I am not giving up. And when I apply again next year and get the fellowship, I’d have earned it. Then I’ll try even harder for the next big thing.

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