How did you find out about the UWI Development Fund (UWIDEF)?

My application for the UWIDEF bursary was a last-minute decision. With one week to go before the deadline, I saw the advertisement posted as a social media status by one of my peers. Before that, while doing studies online, I saw the UWI Banner popping up.

Admittedly, I thought this would have been a tedious process and I did not think it was something I could have achieved. So at one point, I simply ignored the idea of applying. But good sense prevailed. I said, “You know what? Let’s try. Let’s see if I can get through.” So I went for it and planned my next steps.

The application was a learning curve for me because I was not used to doing a lot of things – like getting confirmation from my parents, even information on my mom’s salary. I also found out that I needed everything approved by an Office of Affidavits. Considering that I had a week left before deadline, that process took some time to complete. It took three days to curate information, print, and have it stamped. But once I had those in hand, it was a straightforward process thereafter.

When did you find out you were approved for UWIDEF?

But my story gets more interesting from here. My expectations were managed when I submitted as I was advised that if I did not receive any notification by the end of the calendar year, it meant I was not selected. But deep inside, I was looking forward to a response. Yet, at the same time, I didn’t want to get my hopes too high for fear of disappointment.

By the time November arrived, I prepared myself, saying it’s probably gone. By early December, there was no email. Yet, I decided to double-check and emailed the Bursary. I said “Hey, I know you said you won’t respond to me if I was not accepted, but I just want to know when you would be sending out these awards?” That way, I would have known for sure the time had passed and finally admit to myself, okay, I was not chosen.

So here is the plot twist. They sent a response. They said, “Hey, you were actually accepted. Didn’t you receive our email?” They resent the communication and I followed up by sending all the necessary documents to complete the process to claim the funds. It was still a shock to see my name on the list.

I would apply again if I could. My advice to friends, apply and achieve that academic success.

CARLONN RIVERS, UWI DEF RECIPIENT
How did you use your scholarship?

I used the funds to purchase a laptop – a necessity for a computer science major. My old laptop would shut off randomly, thankfully not during exams. But if I missed part of a lecture or presentation during class, I would have to watch the recordings to make sure I was up to speed.

The new laptop has opened the door to other opportunities. I’ve actually been able to apply for some online, remote jobs, to ease the financial burden on my family. My mom is a single parent, and I used the part-time jobs to assist my siblings as well. At least, periodically the remote jobs can ease that burden so I could focus more on my studies.

Would you encourage other students to apply?

Has it been worth it? Yes, it has. I would apply again if I could. My advice to friends, apply and achieve that academic success. That financial opportunity can give you thestep that you need, that temporary ease. Or aim higher and apply for a scholarship instead of a bursary.

Go through the trouble to apply, spend a little $50 or $40, because, come on, you’re going to get so much more than that. It’s going to be so useful. You will be motivated. I am so thankful.