A Journey Without A Destination

Graduate Division

“Dream is not that which you see while sleeping it is something that doesn’t let you sleep” as said by APJ Abdul Kalam, rightly described my situation back in my home country.

After graduating as a dentist, I always felt the need to seek more knowledge and the only country synonymous with success is the USA – The land of immigrants!

Little did I think about the challenges I will face; I started my journey to follow my dream of achieving excellence.

I was the first person from my family to set foot outside of the country.

With a heart filled with mixed emotions and a teary eye, my parents bid me adieu, and at that moment, I promised myself that I will only come back when I find success.

The initial phase of the journey went smoothly as I raced to finish my national board exams and sent out applications to schools.

Here came the 1st setback. After applying to several schools, I did not receive any acceptance.

I was devastated as I did everything possible to send a good application.

I reached out for help to my peers, but everyone gave me a general response which did not guide me.

Despite my failure, I was still determined and again I applied for the second time – again with the same results – No admission!

I could not take this failure. I felt my 2 years were wasted with nothing positive coming out of it.

I cursed myself, was confused, and had no clear path ahead.

Few people wanted to charge me a hefty sum of money for simple guidance and I was not in a position to pay them.

Depression was gripping me. I was not meeting my friends, no social contact, my hair started turning gray, I became obese.

My mental and physical health was starting to deteriorate.

During this time my wife also started to prepare her journey to get admission to the International dentist program and this added increased responsibility on my shoulders which put additional stress.

We both had invested a lot of time and family funds in this journey with no clear vision ahead. This was the darkest phase of my life.

Amidst this chaos, a stranger guided me and encouraged me to apply again. My inner voice said- let’s try again one more time.

The power of my dreams was bigger than my fear of failure. My wife and I both joined a preceptorship program. The doors of opportunity opened.

I was fortunate to meet a great mentor who helped me immensely. The 3rd time, I gave my everything into the application.

Boom! I got multiple interviews and a couple acceptances.

I was elated. I cried a lot when the first time, I heard, I was accepted in the program and immediately booked my tickets back home.

When I saw my parents' eyes filled with pride, I forgot about all the tortuous road I took in these last 3 years to achieve this.

The icing of the cake was that my wife also got admission.

Well, that came with a twist! We both got admission in two different schools and had to live separately for 2 years.

We promised each other that we will talk every day and we won’t let this distance separate us.

The 2 years went pass quickly and we kept our promise. We were looking forward to graduating and announce our arrival in the dental world.

But the pandemic hit us all. The world went dark! The silver lining among the dark clouds was that my wife and I started to stay together finally.

I was fortunate to be accepted in the residency program and will move ahead with my plan and my wife is searching for job opportunities.

Here comes another challenge — immigration! US immigration system revolves around the country-wise quota system.

This makes it extremely challenging for people from certain countries as it can take decades to get citizenship in the USA.

This has become a great thorn for us to find a decent job.

My wife will again relocate to a different city because we couldn’t find an employer who would sponsor her visa and we have to live separately again.

I am alone, my wife is alone, and my parents are alone without anyone to take care of them. With the ongoing pandemic, restrictive work visa policies and widespread racism in the country; the question arises as my family is falling apart.

Did I take the right decision to come to the USA?

I am an optimistic person. I believe there is still hope and people will come together and overcome the differences and together we will fix this great country.

But in reality, how long can I survive like this?

Shall I go back to my country with huge student loans that I may not be able to repay?

I want to bring my family together and again I am at a juncture where there is no clear path ahead.

I am increasingly looking towards Canada as my next destination. It has better immigration policies which rewards skills, has less racism, and it is a place where I can be with my family sooner.

Shall I wait for the situation to improve in the USA? Or shall I start preparing for my journey towards Canada and settle there?

I don’t have an answer yet. Maybe I should just try to enjoy the journey than thinking about the destination.