Am I Smart Enough to be a Scholar?

Overcoming imposter syndrome when applying for a scholarship.

Thando MkandlaThis blog is about the first thought that came into my head when I found out about the Scholarship opportunity, and I’m sure for others too. Growing up I assumed that scholarships were reserved for child geniuses and prodigies, which made me doubt my chances of getting one. Although I was smart, I never thought of my ability as anything extraordinary. But I knew it was too good of an opportunity to miss, which is the first indicator that I was on the right track.

Now I am other side of it, I can offer some reasons why you should go for it too!

Your intentions are right

One thing I realised I was missing when I didn’t know if it was right for me is the purpose of it. As a teaching scholarship, the Mathematics Teacher Training Scholarships is looking for the best future teachers, not just the best mathematicians. That means your intention in pursuing the scholarship is centred around your passion for being the best educator and inspiring future mathematicians. While this requires you to have strong Maths knowledge and a passion for it, no one expects you to know it all!

The best teachers are even better learners

This is the main reason I knew I was justified in wanting to become a Scholar - I love learning. Having difficulty at stages in education means you have first-hand experience of the barriers we are trying to overcome as educators, equipping you to help others through it. Not knowing everything leaves you in a powerful position to go out and learn more, which is exactly what I have benefitted through joining the scholar community. As I am learning so much from others, I can walk students through with a genuine understanding, empathising with their position as learners.

You are willing to put in the work

There’s a famous quote that says, ‘hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard’, which I truly believe. Teaching requires people who are willing to invest time to improve themselves to benefit their students’ learning experiences. That means even if you can score 100% on every exam paper, you still need to be willing to develop your practice. Becoming a Maths Scholar isn’t a passive process; the Maths Scholarships wants us to all contribute to our field and community, which is hard to do without dedication.

If you have the commitment towards excelling as a scholar and educator, you are a strong candidate for the scholarship. Even after being accepted, you may feel like you don’t quite belong there but remember that we are all here to learn and grow together.

By Thando Mkandla


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