“Do it, or die trying”
If you do not give your dreams your 100% best shot, it is difficult to transform these dreams into reality. It is hard to expect favorable results. But if you give it your all, you will be a champion and conquer the world!
This is Daksh Sharma’s mantra. Hailing from Noida, India where opportunities are slim and unemployment deters due to the increasing population, Daksh was able to come out of his cocoon and spread his wings to the rest of the world by attaining an exclusive scholarship from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. Not only did he manage to study at Canada’s 2nd best university, but also acquired an internship abroad and is now working at Fortune-listed 2nd best company: Amazon as a software engineer.
HERE IS WHAT DAKSH HAS TO BRING TO THE TABLE TO FELLOW ASPIRANTS….
1. Name the scholarship program you were a recipient of and explain to us how you found out about this scholarship program. What does it cover and what are the benefits?
I received the prestigious International Leader of Tomorrow scholarship, which covers tuition and living expenses. I found out about this scholarship through a foreign university admission event held at my school. The exact details of this scholarship can be found here.
2. What inspired you to apply? What were you hoping to achieve?
My parents couldn’t afford to send me abroad on international tuition, so my inspiration to apply for the scholarship was to find a way for myself to study abroad and find better opportunities than those in India. I was hoping to find a way out of the education system in India because it was too competitive and the potential to grow career-wise in India wasn’t that good.
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3. Can you tell us about the application progress? What did they require you to do, can you give us examples of some essay questions?
You can find the exact timeline for the award nomination process by clicking on the details here.
The prompts in my year were:
1.4.1 YOUR VISION FOR THE FUTURE
a. How do you envision your chosen program of study at UBC helping you reach your long-term career and personal goals? What drives you to achieve your goals? (Maximum 250 words)
b. Describe a leader deceased or alive whose values and beliefs you identify with. How do you envision yourself embodying these qualities during your time at UBC and beyond? (Maximum 500 words)
1.4.2 YOUR STORY
a. Describe a meaningful success that you have experienced. What role did you play and how did this experience affect you? Describe a failure that you have experienced. What role did you play; how did this experience affect you and what was the resolution? (Maximum 300 words)
b. Tell us which activity was the most meaningful and why. (Maximum 200 words)
4. How has this scholarship changed you as a person? Did it help to get you in the place you are in today?
The scholarship gave me a platform to grow as a young individual in a foreign society. It helped shape my personality to be more hard-working and organized by putting me in a cohort of academically gifted individuals who wanted to change the world for the better. It helped me in getting where I am today because I was able to pursue my dreams without thinking of the financial burden on my family. It not only helped me gain academic knowledge but allowed me to build my interpersonal and communication skills because I was always surrounded by motivated people who were always pushing themselves to their limit.
5. What were the challenges you faced as an international student that is on scholarship and how did you overcome it?
One of the things you encounter when you get a scholarship like this is imposter syndrome. What you need to acknowledge in that circumstance is that you are not the only one feeling out of place. It is a big change for everyone around you, and it takes time to get used to a new environment. The lingering feeling of anxiety will never go away, but you will get used to managing it and not letting it overwhelm you.
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6. You are an A+ student and after your first year of studies, the university approached you to become a teaching assistant – what personal study tips can you give out?
Some study tips that I hold dear to my heart are:
a) Never forget to ask why. Why are we being taught something? Why is something done a certain way? When you start asking this question daily you will dive deep and learn the fundamentals behind everything that is being discussed by your professor.
b) Repeated revision is key. If you revise something enough, it will be easy for you to make connections down the line when you take upper-year courses, and hence you will do better. If in 4th year you have to revise something from 1st year, don’t feel ashamed. 😉
c) Focus on the learning objectives that your professors mention at the beginning of each module, usually, most exam questions are re-worded from these learning objectives, so don’t skip those initial slides that cover this information.
7. Describe your internship experience at Verity Studios in Switzerland? You interned amid– what was the experience like? How did you cope with balancing your study and the internship? What was the experience about?
My experience living and working in Europe was phenomenal. I got exposure to a new kind of lifestyle that was in contrast to the North American way of living. I learned a lot and traveled to 17 countries when I was there. The internship in itself was fruitful because I got industry experience and had complete ownership of my project because I was working for a small startup. I wasn’t studying when I was there, so my learning was mostly career-oriented. It helped me solidify my resolution to stick with Computer Science as a major.
8. After graduating you immediately got a position as a software engineer at Amazon. What are some secrets you can give out to gaining a job at a big tech company like Amazon? Or even gaining an internship abroad in Europe as a student?
The goal is to stand out. Pick a distinctive resume format. Do activities that most people don’t engage in. If you can find one point where you are better than others, then don’t forget to highlight it on your resume. Rest in down to your ability to communicate effectively in your interview, so practice hard for it. Lastly, try to appear genuine and motivated! 🙂
9. What is your advice to students who get rejected from scholarship programs, job offerings or internships?
Keep your chin-up and try again. I was rejected by several jobs and universities during the process, so each success is backed by countless failures. You never know when it will be your turn. What if you were just one more try away from success and you stopped? Work smart, and set reasonable expectations for yourself. Your path may not be the same as mine, but I am sure you will find your way up to the top too if you stay focused on your goals.
10. What do you hope to share with students who hope to be in the same position you are standing in today?
It is not an easy journey, and it will be full of a lot of rejections and agony, but do not let the low moments break your spirit. Think about what you want to achieve in life and incrementally work towards it. Slow and steady is the key. In terms of foreign education, apply to as many universities as you can to increase your chances and focus on writing good essays and personal statements. You need to maintain a balance between academic and extra-curricular achievements, but remember there is no perfect recipe to get into a top institution or good company. Do what works for you best! Look for inspiration from people already in the position you want to be in, but do not try to mimic their portfolio or achievements. You should aim to have an original profile that reflects what you stand for and what your goals and values are!
The famous poet Rumi once said, “We are born of love: Love is our mother”. One of Daksh’s biggest supporters was his mother. Shaifali Sharma, an educated woman herself, wanted her son to have the best education possible and pushed him to secure that scholarship abroad. Her constant support propelled Daksh to always be the best version of himself. Whenever he felt the common “homesickness” she was one ring away. For dreams to become reality, we need to have supporters to keep us running the race whenever we feel like backing down. Always keep these supporters close to your heart and know that whatever challenge you impose upon yourself, you are never alone. Always be you. You are never alone.
Reach out to Daksh on his LinkedIn HERE!
Please let him know you are reaching out to him from Scholarship Track!