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Believe in You!

When I was in college, one of my male mentors gave me an advice which has made a huge difference to my life since. We were talking about graduate schools and I was going on about how none of the Ivy League colleges would look at my applications because I was in a small Liberal Arts college in Ohio that they probably had never heard about. I had believed in this myth and internalized it, because one of my professors had said to me that I shouldn't bother to apply to these schools for this reason. I had believed him. But my mentor would hear none of it. It was then that he told me to never give anyone a reason not to offer me a position, an award, a promotion etc. I should always believe that I can do it and go ahead and do myself a favor, and apply for ANY position that I have a strong passion for, or any Award that I feel like I deserve, or ANY school that I desire to attend because it is a great school and I am great candidate. After that, if they say NO, then at least I gave myself a chance at the opportunity. And, trying is always good training.It was all that male confidence that Sheryl Sandberg was talking about in her book "Lean In". I took in his advice. I did apply to several schools including Cornell University's Analytical Chemistry program. Although I did not get into Cornell, I got into the #2 school in Analytical Chemistry in the US: Purdue University and worked with a world renowned Distinguished Professor of Analytical Chemistry: Prof: Richard Graham Cooks.Purdue was a great experience and I shall forever be thankful for my experiences there. Beside graduate school application, I applied his advice for the rest of my years in college. I applied to all the Awards that I believed I was a qualified candidate for and got ALL of them. It amazed me how I had short changed myself before and how many excuses I had come up with for not applying before. I had to go back to this advice when I was applying for jobs as well after graduation. Go ahead and apply instead of second guessing your abilities. If they think you won't fit in their company or you are not the person they were thinking of, they will let you know by saying no. And a "no" is not even the worst thing that could happen. The worst thing that could happen, is you telling yourself NO first, without giving yourself a chance at the opportunity at hand. So I have to keep reminding myself every now and then, whenever I have those moments of second guessing. And I wanted to let you in on this advice too. Believe in yourself. Always.


olutosin's picture


How can anyone believe in us if we do not believe in ourselves. We are valuable assets and we must see ourselves as assets.

Thanks for sharing this experience. It works for me too.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town


Harriet Kamashanyu's picture


I have grown up as the only inspiration to myself...
I have heard less from the entire surrounding because of the common stereotype of never amounting to anything when i lost my dear father....Even my very mum was always skeptical about my future...
I derived my greatest strength from within..... I BELIEVED IN MYSELF....
Right now, i can not say i have acquired it all, but at least the journey gets brighter day by day!!

Thanks for the inspiration.

Harriet Kamashanyu.
"A woman is not born but rather becomes!"

oradusa's picture


Thanks for reading and for being encouraged! Wish you both well as we continue to conquer our fears and strive for excellence..

Wendyiscalm's picture

WOW Oradusa,, You are not

WOW Oradusa,,

You are not only simply amazing but you are a huge inspiration and role model for everyone - women, men and children. Such a message and told so well. You are the first to mention Lean In which is a fantastic book. You also make a good point about something I have always believed which is that women must be careful in our striving for equality that we do not put men down or ignore what they already know that has made them great. They have much to teach us also.

Ubu ntu,


Wendy Stebbins
I AM ONE IN A MILLION Non-Profit Organization focused on helping street orphans and vulnerable children in Livingstone, Zambia Africa.

Harisoa's picture

thanks Oradusa

I really like it when you say 'No" is not even the worst thing that could happen. And this is true. I'll use it for me and I have one more lesson to teach my children. Thank you for sharing!

Susan K.A.'s picture

Thanks for sharing!

Dear Oradusa,

Great advice! I love it. Like Harisoa says, another lesson to teach our children (and an important reminder for our grown-up selves!) Thanks for sharing your thoughts.



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