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why my $28,000 scholarship means nothing

Updated: Jun 10

It's because I’m fucking poor!

And please, spare me the “count your blessings” & “power of your words” talk. This university has been around for ages, with most students being able to afford the rates, otherwise they wouldn’t charge that way. The fact is that this is the market rate for the type of education I want, in a part of the world that commodifies music and entertainment like nothing else and what? I can’t afford it simply because I was born on the wrong side of the globe?

When I got this letter I couldn’t even celebrate that I got accepted to this university to study music—the reason my heart beats—with a renewable scholarship worth $28,000. I had maybe a second of self-appreciation before realising that this recognition and numbers mean nothing to me if it’s not a fully funded scholarship. And then I proceeded to spend the next four hours brooding over the truth that I could not accept to attend this university that seemed to be pulled right out of my wildest dreams, and which accepted me with open arms. The only thing I can think to blame for this tragedy is my poorness. And that’s not my fault.

It’s unbelievably difficult to make any headway in life by following your dreams without the security of financial stability. And I am aware that my financial struggles aren’t just personal—they’re symptomatic of larger systemic issues. Corruption, mismanagement, neo-colonialism, all of this has a direct impact on me and the declining economy in Kenya which has left me and no doubt other Kenyan families struggling to make ends meet, let alone afford international tuition fees.

You know the only reason I applied is because my parents encouraged me to. I don’t know what the whole deal is with parents and their obsession with university degrees. Why would they push me to do this without the financial security to support me? It’s impossible pressure—expecting me to apply to a university of their selection and secure a scholarship, and if I don’t get it, well, oops! I just have to live with the constant reminder that I wasn’t good enough. That’s very painful. And I feel like I’m being set up for it.

I understand that they mean well and heck, I’d say they were right about me! I have talent and artistic capabilities worth noticing and commending on an international scale but what can I do about pursuing a higher education in that field and in a supportive environment if none of us have the money for it? I just hate being placed in this degrading position—the cliché African child trying to claw her way through a saturated pool of desperate children, struggling to be part of inherently disadvantageous systems just to survive a little longer. Begging for scholarships or bursaries or whatever else children from poorer parts of the world have to do just to meet the global standard for normalcy.

I’m so tired of failing in education and in life just because my shallow pockets—and my parents’ non-generational wealth—can’t support the financial demands of my dreams. How much more brilliant do I have to be? Will I spend the rest of my life hating myself for failing to attain the image that younger versions of me sought based on the dreams sold to me by the very same systems of entertainment that I am unfairly incapable of joining?

This experience has been heartbreaking. I was so close to achieving something significant, to starting my journey towards a dream I’ve held onto for so long. Music is not just a passion for me; it’s my lifeline, my reason to get up in the morning and smile and be kind. I was ready to immerse myself in an environment that nurtures and elevates music enthusiasts like me.

It’s not just about the money—it’s about the opportunity to transform my life and, through my music, possibly the lives of others. The arts have a powerful way of bringing people together, of creating community and inspiring change. I have dreams of being a part of that process, to amplify the greatness of music through the passionate sharing of my sound and losing out on this opportunity feels so discouraging. That financial constraint will brutally cut my dream short.

I understand the reality of the world we live in, where education and opportunities are often commodified and inaccessible to many. But it doesn’t make the pain any less real. It doesn’t make the disappointment any less crushing. And it certainly doesn’t make me any less angry at this perpetual system of inequality.

I hate that money stands as a barrier between me and the life I envision for myself. I am trying everything within my power—applying for countless scholarships, grants, and even part-time jobs. But the gap remains, and my dream feels farther away than ever, and now I’m just another young black african girl that’s easy to ignore and to hold back through circumstances beyond her control.

I’m trying to find a way forward, to hold onto hope and keep pushing despite the setbacks. But it’s hard. It’s really, really hard and it often makes me hate myself.

It’s not any way to live. That constant feeling that there’s no space for you in the world you are born from.


Authors note:

Hi, my name shall remain a mystery until the end of time, and it's a pleasure to have you read my stuffs. I’m an artist investigating the potential of generative AI to improve writing and readability and in all my works I use a combination of my writing + Chat GPT #fortheplot.

I typically use this technique for creative writing but since I got pissed off I thought why not use it here as well, as I give my recount.

Everything in orange is my edit and the rest is an AI variation of my original prompt.

Bescause of the personal nature of this post I will not be sharing the original prompt.

If you like what I shared and the angle I used to do it, do consider taking a look at my other stuff.

Space Banana out! Peace!


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1 Comment

Jun 06

Thank you for sharing this polemic bomb.

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