It is indeed difficult to take a decision in life which affects you and more importantly the people around you and even more difficult is to stand by your decision. At times, when put to the test, even you feel a little jittery and not-so-sure about the consequences of your plans, but it is the “courage of conviction” that pulls you through these tough times and the manner in which you stand up to your conviction sets a benchmark for you in times to come.
The decision to come to the UK for my masters was not an easy one. The world is going through tough times and we are all bound to be affected by this. I distinctly remember the day I broke the news of my decision to come to the UK to my wife. At that moment, I had a few offers in hand but I was not sure where I would ultimately land. She just smiled and said that I should be sure of what I was doing and if I were sure enough then I should be ready for what lies ahead. Well, at the cost of deviating from this serious discussion, here I would like to talk a little about my wife. Being an introvert, she speaks little but always seems to talk sense – quite contrary to myself, a complete extrovert who loves to speak his mind. I have always wondered whether she speaks only when she is sure of what she means to say or is it the other way round and whenever she sees sense, she speaks. Well, I am still in the process of figuring that out in my life but do remain impressed at each and every occasion.
I got an opportunity to visit one of the UK education fairs in Mumbai a few weeks later as recommended by a friend. I was reluctant to go in the beginning as I was not very sure how much an education fair would help me in making my decision of choosing a university. By then, through numerous nights spent surfing over the internet about UK universities, I had a fair idea about the universities here and I can rightly say that I had done my homework beforehand.
Well, the sight of the fair was usual and nothing different from what I had expected – every university trying to sell itself in a bid to lure the prospective students. I spoke to representatives of a few universities and was rather disappointed not to find answers to my questions regarding the courses it had to offer and so on. All I could get to hear from them was some general information about the university and how easy or difficult it was to get an offer.
Interestingly though, I found the representative from the University of Southampton to be different. She not only answered all my queries but had a thorough insight into each and every course on offer. The University of Southampton was definitely on my list beforehand but the half an hour discussion with the International Officer not only helped me to make up my mind but also cleared all my doubts about the induction process. I would be failing in my duty if I do not express my sincere gratitude towards her for answering my numerous emails regarding various doubts I had and in such a helpful way. Well, I could sense the beginning of a journey already.
Every cloud has a silver lining
It was not long before I did get my unconditional offer and ATAS clearance required for my course. But I was yet to realise the most difficult part of the whole journey and that is securing a Tier 4 visa from the UK Border Agency. Well, I had heard numerous stories from friends and relatives about how agonizing it was to get a visa, so much so that I was scared to undergo all that myself. It was an arduous task to collect the whole list of documents – to satisfy any possible doubt that the visa officer might have. You need to prove that your father is your father, your mother is your mother, their money is theirs and the money in your account in the bank is yours. Well, by the time I ended up collecting all the documents, I was totally exhausted. On a lighter note, I feel that I worked harder to prove that my money was mine rather than in earning the money itself!
However, perseverance paid off and the long wait was over and I did get the visa a couple of weeks before the start date of my course. And throughout this process, I had the unconditional support of my expecting wife who took all my idiosyncrasies with a smile.
All set to embark on a new journey
Coincidentally, my wife’s due date coincided with the date of the beginning of my course. Despite my prayers, the doctor said that there were no signs of an earlier delivery and therefore, I had to make a call. Again, I would take this opportunity to thank the school office, for understanding my cause and issuing me the permission to join a week late after securing special permission from the faculty to enable me to be at my wife’s side during the arrival of our bundle of joy.
Well, on my flight to Southampton, I was very content and satisfied. I realised that the obstacles that get in the way only help you to strive harder to reach your goal. The path to the realisation of your dreams is a long and tricky one. But as they say, “Where there is a will, there is a way”.