Here’s the part 4 of her story you all have been waiting for…
Things were tough back home in Nepal, but she was grateful to have a loving and caring family that supported her decision to pursue her dreams. She had never spent a night outside her home, not even for a sleepover, prior to moving to the US. Yet, here she was calling a country, so far away from her loved ones, her home now. As she stepped on the big jet that whisked her away from home, she pondered how she would survive in this new country. There were many big questions: how would she fit in a different city, how she would do at school with people from all over the world. She could not help but wonder to herself how she would “fit in” in this new continent when she had such a hard time fitting in to a different city. The questions were big, but the emotions were even bigger as she cried all the way from Kathmandu to Dallas because that’s when she finally grasped the true gravity and magnitude of her decision.
She had enrolled as a transfer at the university for a bachelor’s program (I-20) to complete her pre-requisites for MBA. She did this upon recommendation by the college consulting agency in Nepal that she had to complete 36 hours of pre-requisite classes in order to be an eligible for the master’s program. She agreed and followed this advice because she thought mused: a. she was done with bachelors at 19 where most of her friends at that age were just out of high school. b. this option allowed her time to understand the culture, focus on academics and possibly earn a scholarship for MBA program. However, God had different plans for her.
Her academic adviser at the university countered that she was actually eligible for MBA program without finishing any of the pre requisites. The only caveat was that she had to take the GMAT before she started the second semester. While her good grades, and recommendation letters from the professors back home helped her get into the MBA program, it did not prepare her for this big change. Yet again, she took a big leap of faith and enrolled herself into the MBA program without overthinking about the consequences. She had successfully she enrolled into driving classes, bought a car and got a driving license within two months of being in the States. When you are based in Dallas, Texas, dear readers, you may know how important it was to have a car and a driver license. It was liberating for her to independently go to school on her own without asking for anyone’s help.
During her time in university, she met some Nepalese students but she could not be close friends with anyone. She felt like everyone thought she was different and that she didn’t want to hang out with them, when the truth was that she didn’t have the courage to put herself out there.
Here she was, in another country and continent, struggling to fit and blend in, while also figuring herself out. She had no time to spare for fun. As if it was not tough enough in her early days in the US, when she stressed about a place to live, becoming financially independent, there were still people who passed comments and what they thought was good advice. Their “advice” was that she either find a boyfriend or get married to a “well settled guy” who would take care of her and her tuition fee as they warned her that one couldn’t sustain themselves without support. She now finds it ironic that instead of encouraging and supporting this young girl and lauding her bravery, most people preferred to be petty and patronizing. Was it tough doing it all alone? Absolutely. Was it impossible? Absolutely not! At least not for the girl whose willpower and self-esteem had given her the confidence to move to another country all on her own. She chose to simply ignore their comments and “advice”.
She realized in hindsight that her two years at the university were the most difficult, longest yet the shortest years of her life. It was tough not having any friends to share her problems with, and it was tough not having a mentor or a guide for her – career-wise and in life in general. She did everything she could to sustain herself – a job at the International Students Center as an international peer counselor that helped her pay portion of her tuition, living with roommates from different parts of the world, and later with an American family as a paying guest that helped save money on rent and furniture. She worked about 80-85 hours per week during summer months and semester break in the winter to earn money for her tuition. Despite life throwing a lot more curveballs than she expected, she through those 4 semesters of student life without a big student loan and graduated with an MBA with a 3.8 GPA at 22 years old. She invited her parents in the US for her graduation ceremony. Inviting her parents to the USA in itself was a huge win for this little girl from a small town who dared to dream beyond her current circumstances. She had paved the way for other little girls from her town who dared to thus dream with a lot of support from her family.
I hope you enjoyed reading part four. I will come back with part 5 soon.
Thank you Nistha Pradhan for reviewing and editing this story.
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