The only bad plan is the one that did not happen. A story of failures and how consistency paid off finally
I was in my mid-20s and applying for PhD positions abroad. I had made it my mind, that I will do PhD in a place where I will get full funding for tuition fees as well as living. Obviously, I was not in a position to spend 40 lakhs. I started with two applications! Both got rejected, not even clearing the first round. I realised, it was not my cup of tea. Everyone told me, quit your job, work for 6 months under a professor in India, then apply for PhD.
I was determined to make it happen along with my job. Somehow, quitting a job, finding a professor, did not strike me as a good idea. I set myself a target of 3 months! I will apply to more positions in 3 months, if it does not happen then, I will STOP applying. This pressure of only 3 months made me change quite a few things and become very productive. When I think back, these 3 months are the best ever time I had and made me a lot more confident, that I can achieve what I want to. From day 1, I changed my daily routines to be more productive! Irrespective of when you get up, morning is the most productive. I started getting up early, and got a solid 2 hours before I went for work. And, the moment I get free time in office, I start planning for the evening and next morning. This way, my best focus times went into preparing for PhD applications. Even, if it was for 4 hours per day, it was with my full concentration. I got real crazy. Instead of checking vacancies or new positions from third party websites, I started listing out each and every college country wise (More than 200 of them!). This way I made sure I’m not missing out on anything and special requirements of every college. This is the sheet I created where it links to vacancy page of every university
I even had created a follow up list for some colleges I have applied like the one below
By the end of 3 months, I had mailed about 30 professors and applied for about 50 positions. Initially, there was no response! But slowly I started getting interview calls from a few of them. I did not get in, with any of the interviews. But, still it was a micro win for me!
After 50 applications, I did not give up. I had perfected the way of applying, so why stop it and I believed this consistency and planning will pay me at some point. It paid me off finally a month later after 50-60 applications. I got a fully funded scholarship from a top university in New Zealand and in Hungary as well!
This story was shared with APSEd and re-told by APSEd. Do you feel inspired to achieve what you want to? Share your experiences in the comments section