Latif Abdul is a student from Pakistan, studying Business Management at Whatcom Community College through the Northwest Community College (NWCCI) program. In this post, Latif takes us through his experience of applying for the CCI program and the struggles he overcame in order to be able to study in the U.S. on a NWCCI scholarship. He explains what he has learned through the process about patience and persistence. (Both traits he had to use upon arrival in the U.S., when he found out that his luggage had been lost by the airlines. After many phone calls and filed reports, the baggage was tracked down some weeks later, and delivered back to Latif.)
I live in a society where a quality education is beyond most people. It is a society where if you face this problem, you can get a chance to go the USA on a scholarship, an opportunity that gives a person high respect in his society as well as in his family. When I graduated from college I came to know about the CCI scholarship, and that it was my opportunity to achieve my goal, and get a chance to explore a new culture and quality education.
I first applied for this scholarship in 2012, but failed to be shortlisted and I tried again in 2013. This time I was successful in making my place among the 1070 participants who applied that year from Pakistan. I was called for the interview with 150 candidates and I was successful; 71 participants were rejected. After the TOEFL ITP* test was taken, another 3 were rejected, so now only 76 participants were left and I was lucky to be among them. I was very happy since I had cleared all the tests and was among the final participants.
Finally we were called for pre-departure orientation; it was such a wonderful feeling, taking a seat with all the selected participants. The names of participants were shown on a slide. Then the real part came: the coordinator came on stage and the hall was filled with the sound of clapping. The coordinator started his speech saying that he congratulated all the candidates for participating in this program and reaching this level, but he was sorry to say that they only had the budget for 71 participants and that they would be withdrawing 5 participants. He started announcing the names one by one. First he called a name, and I could see the frustration on the face of that participant who was rejected even though he cleared all his tests. Then he announced the second, then third, then fourth student. I was praying in my heart, “please let it not be my name,” but the fate had some other plan for me.
The fifth name was announced and with that my fear came true: it was my name. I was shocked. It was like being dropped from the highest peak when you struggled so hard to reach it. My eyes filled with tears, I was speechless.
I didn’t know what to do.
Everyone was happy except for the five of us who were rejected, just because the budget was not suitable for 76 participants. My dream shattered in front of me, and I was helpless. I left from there and returned home with a broken heart; my hopes and dreams were shattered. I was like a hopeless person with no more ambition. I went to the beach and watched the waves. My uncle Karim Prince came to me. He saw that I was sad, so he advised me and said,
“Dear, why are you so upset? You were rejected not because you were not capable, but only because fate had something far better for you. Take this as a lesson for yourself and try again because success comes only to those who never give up. Everyone can swim with the flow of the waves, but the person who fights the waves and makes a way for himself: only he succeeds”.
His words sparked the dying hope of mine like a flame. I made up my mind, and prepared myself to apply again for the upcoming CCI scholarship. I even motivated most of my friends to apply as well. I was selected once again, and this time there were 896 participants.
The procedure went on and the list of the participants became smaller and smaller each time, until 74 were left. I was among them, and now I am in front of you. My uncle was right; fate really had something better for me. If I were not rejected, I would never have come to know that I have the courage and ability to fight back and take what I desire. Everything that happens in our lives has something to tell us. It might be teaching us about the abilities that we have. We just need to take it positively.
*The TOEFL ITP® Assessment is a way of measuring English-language proficiency.
The NWCCI program is part of the Community College Initiative, an exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The opinions expressed in this blog by writers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Northwest Community College Initiative program, Edmonds Community College, Whatcom Community College, Pierce College, the United States Department of State or any employee thereof. NWCCI and Edmonds Community College are not responsible for the accuracy of the information supplied by the student bloggers.