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I want you to remember the look in the eyes of your loved ones when you board your flight to depart to the land you’re your dreams, and sore, not only physically, but also in terms of visions, hopes and spirit, to enter into the much awaited world of your aspirations which lies seven oceans apart. I want you to remember the look in the eyes of your loved one not only when you sore, but also when you finally land in the terrain of unending promises, amazing adventures and unbelievable life changes. I want you to remember the look in the eye of your loved ones when you finally take a deep dive into the uncharted ocean of foreign land and find your self-amidst the whirlpool of challenges and difficulties and decide to give up. It is precisely during the split second when you decide to give up and are tempted to sink rather than swim your way through that the look in the memory of the look in the eye of your loved one shall serve as the proverbial anchor. It is precisely the memory of the look in the eye of your loved one that shall help you to sail you through the many storms of the new world. And it is precisely this memory that shall help you rise against the tide and complete the last leg of the journey with full vigour and gusto.
The simple reason why I want you to remember the look in the eye of your loved ones all along is because the look that I dread to see the most is the look of broken dreams, failed hopes and shattered expectations when parents come to me when their children knowingly or unknowingly make a pact with self-destructive tendencies by completely throwing away caution and sane advices to the wind. I hate to see tears streaming from the enraged eyes of those parents who come to me in desperate circumstances. I hate to see the weary look on the face of those parents who invest their very souls into the future of their ward who forget the look in their eyes when they leave for US for the first time.
In my counselling experience of over 7 years, I have come across some cases wherein I was compelled to advise, handle and take care of such unfortunate parents whose children chose the dreaded path of self-destruction in the US. While I tried my level best to counsel such parents and students, I must admit that it took a personal toll on me for the simple reason that I feel invested into the lives of each of my students. Something within me rips apart when I see such students falling prey to pernicious tendencies without giving a second thought to what is at stake, without realizing that the combined dreams of theirs as well as their parents is at stake, without realizing that investment worth lakhs of rupees is at stake, without realizing that the very trust and faith of their parents in them is at stake. The stake indeed is, without an ounce of exaggeration, way too high. I pondered over this problem, I slept over it, I thought about it while driving, while counselling and while meeting the parents of those students who were about to leave for this year. It is this continuous thinking that compels me to write this open letter to all the dear students. I feel like shouting on the top of my voice, to make it as abundantly clear as possible about the things that you are NOT supposed to do in the US for I do not have the heart to bear any parent coming to me with broken dreams streaming down their eye like a deluged river.
Please read this list and absorb it in your blood and bones…
1. CLEAR AND CATEGORICAL NO TO DRUGS/WEEDS etc.
So you think that staying in US gives you a natural license to try weed? Are you under the stupid notion that drugs add to your COOL quotient? Do you think that befriending drugs of any kind will be a solution to your loneliness or will help you connect with the white folks? I must very categorically say that you must fully uproot such lame and stupid notions out of the fertile imagination of what is supposedly cool in the US. Remember one thing, drugs never was, never is and never shall be cool. Drug is an all-consuming mistress that shall leave you high and dry. There will always be a category of people in your college who will take pride in being stoned, being high, being in seventh heaven under the influence of weed and drugs. Just when you are allured to be in that seventh heaven, think about the look in the eye of your loved ones. Remember getting into drugs is synonymous with the Chakravyuh of Mahabaharata. It is easier to get in and next to impossible to get out. You do not go to use to get high, to get stoned, to be in the seventh heaven by depending on external stimulants. On the contrary, you go to the US to get high on account of the success that you achieve through sheer sweat of brow.
The very idea of getting addicted to drugs is contrary to the idea of going to US to realize your dream. Let the land retain the title of land of equal opportunities. The only thing that you should possibly become addicted to is single minded focus in completing your course and realizing your dreams! I HOPE I HAVE MADE MY SELF CLEAR. SAY NO TO DRUGS. Remember the punch line form the movie UDTA PUNJAB….
“DRUGS DI MA DI…..”
2. OVERSENSITIVE APPROACH TO RELATIONSHIPS…
While I completely understand that the loneliness of the student life may possibly be over bearing at times, I would advise that try not getting to oversensitive about any relationship in general and romantic relationships in particular. I have seen many of my students over reacting to things which may possibly be trivial and which may be effectively resolved if they choose not to analyse and judge it through the prism of complex emotions. Remember that everybody in the student life is literally sailing in the same boat. Do not attempt to drown the boat of your friends by flooding it with your expectations. Many of you may have long distance relationships which may take a toll considering the time difference and the consequent issues in communications. Try your level best to ensure that your relationship issues do not impact your grade. These two years of your life can make or mar your future. The choice is in your hand. So better make every effort to be level headed.
3. MONEY MATTERS…
The most obnoxious habit that will invite instant resentment towards you is your attitude to indulge in penny pinching at the expense of your roommates. While I completely understand that managing finances is a huge challenge in student life, one must remember that you cannot manage your finance by attempting to empty the dwindling coffer of your roommate. I have noticed that at times some students try saving a few dollars by using the groceries bought by their roommates, or delaying in the payment of utility bills or by haggling with their roommates about monthly expense. Remember that this attitude will not take you very far because it reflects your very value of taking what is not rightly yours. The principle that you should guide your financial manage your finances in student life is fairness and modesty. Nothing and absolutely nothing else…
4. TOLERACE AND ACCEPTANCE…
USA is the land which teaches you to accept diverse thought process and ways of living with open arms. To put it more aptly, this is rather the only way of surviving in the US. I see many students carrying their prejudices and rigid ways in the US and consequently making the lives of their roommates a living hell. They indulge in pettiness and make mountain out of the molehill out of the most unimaginably petty issues. Just to quote a few examples, (a) I do not like the way Tom drinks coffee; (b) I do not like the friends that Harry has; (c) I hate the religious affiliation of Sandra; (e) It is irritating the way Sheena cooks her food. The list goes on and on. If intolerance is your basic nature, then pack your bags and come back. Do not waste your parent’s precious money.
5. COMMUNICATION WITH PARENTS…
Point taken, you are busy, point taken that you have truckloads of assignment that you have to juggle with your part time jobs, point taken that you are in foreign land with a whole new world to discover but nothing, and I must say that nothing justifies breakdown of communication channel with parents. Remember that back home they are lonely, ageing and sick worried about your well-being. Remember that they invest their life savings and soul into your future. Remember that their lives have had revolved around you until date and it is indeed unfair on your part to try getting rid of them because of your newfound busyness. Take a few minutes out of your routine to communicate with your parents. A simple message, a phone call would certainly not take a huge toll on your busy routine. But it certainly gives a lot of peace and happiness to your parents back home. Make it a point to share your life with your parents, to the extent possible. This is the only way you can pay back what you owe them. There indeed is no other way…
These all are over and above the fact that Plagiarism and working Off-Campus are completely illegal in the US…
Please pardon me if you feel that I am indulging in senseless sermonising. Trust me, all that I have in my heart is the desire for your wellbeing. All that I want is to see smiling eyes when I meet your parents one year down the line when you are in US. I hope you understand that I am not asking for too much.
Please make US the land of your dreams and not the graveyard of broken aspirations. Take Care.
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