Life is a challenge and poses difficult situations at every step. Importantly, every person learns important lessons through experience and my hardships and learning experiences began when I decided to come to the United States, alone. As I sat outside the house at 2. 15am on a freezing New Year morning of 2008, I felt depressed, lonely and hurt. All my attempts to open the door of the house with the keys provided to me had failed and the telephone went unanswered. Here I was outside the gate for the third or fourth time, punished for being late, with nowhere to go to, no relatives, support or family.
Only difference was the previous times I was only a few minutes late from my part time job which I had undertaken to support myself financially and this time I was with my college friends, attending the countdown party for the New Year. The temperature was below freezing point and I felt like a beggar sitting on the streets, with no place to stay. I began to recall the moment when I decided to come to America for further studies, after successfully graduating from high school. I was overjoyed at the prospect of furthering my education in the US, an opportunity given to me by a friend and business partner of my father.
I was ecstatic, little realizing the difficulties which I would encounter. When I moved into the house, the family was strict and made unacceptable rules like no cell phones, limited use of the bathroom for only ten minutes each day, promptness of timing when returning from school or work, no permission to grow hair, compulsory church meetings etc. to my dismay, I even found them opening my personal letters and listening to my phone calls discreetly. Despite being livid at this attitude, I obliged to their conditions due to their business relationship with my father and the fact that I had no other help in the US.
But on the New Year night of 2008, I decided that it was enough and I would not take it anymore. I spoke to my parents and after a long discussion I decided to leave the hateful family. As expected, I was forced to release several thousands of dollars, which were my only savings. With no house, no money, no car and school about to begin in a week’s time, I was on the roads. To my luck and surprise, a schoolmate of mine offered me her place to stay temporarily, however, with no transportation; I had to withdraw from my ESL class which positioned me as an F-1 student with visa problems.
Even my parents were facing tremendous difficulties and issues with their business partner and I could not seek financial help from them for my tuition fees, insurance or living expenses. Despite all the hurdles, God was kind and I got a job at a cafe, which enabled me to solve some of my financial problems so that I could pay for my tuition and continue with my education. Additionally, I also encountered some good people in /Atlanta, who supported me through bad times. I also made some very good friends who stood by me through thick and thin and did not let me feel that I was lonely in the world.
Recalling the year 2008 as a year of problems, difficulties and sadness in addition to challenges and tears, I consider the year to be one great learning experience which has enabled me to learn important lessons in life and the value of friendship. Amidst all the challenges and issues, I also experienced fun, laughter and great friendships, due to which I do not regret my decision of coming to the United States and starting a life alone on my own. Even today, I do not regret the decision to become independent in life since the hardships and experiences are opportunities to learn and polish myself to become a better and stronger individual.