My life has been a blessing in disguise

Below is the college essay of an international student who got accepted at one of the top liberal arts colleges in the USA with a very generous financial aid package.

Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.

My life has been a blessing in disguise.

 Until recently, I’d perceived myself as a neglected child. You see, my parents have always been busy with their work. As far as I can remember, they were always working in hopes of providing their children with the life they never had. Sadly, working in Kathmandu wasn’t easy.  The job competition was tough, and money wasn’t easy to earn. There were days where I didn’t see them, and even on days where I did see them, they were too busy with household chores to spend much time with me. It was apparent that they were frustrated, and sometimes— only a few times— their frustration was directed toward us, their children.

Having no alternative, my parents migrated in search of a better life. However, education has always been their top priority and, back then, Kathmandu was one of the few places with good schools. As a result, they made the hard decision to leave us, my brother and I, back in Kathmandu.

I was enrolled at a hostel (dormitory to house boarding school students…) at the age of seven. The days there would feel like weeks; the harsh rules and the seemingly endless study periods were dreadful. All the while, the constant bullying made it even worse. Every week I’d call my parents and tell them how much I hated them, and being there—how foolish I was!

 School was no different, I was envious of my peers’ good fortune. I yearned for the delicious lunches they brought, the video games that they had access to, and more so—the excitement they had at the end of the day when going home. I missed home, and my family, and this feeling was further intensified whenever I saw my peers with their family during school events such as Parents Day and Sports Day. Knowing nobody was there to cheer me on and rejoice at my achievements was disheartening.

But I don’t blame myself for what I’d become. After all, I was just an innocent child who lacked emotional security and, most importantly, proper guidance. All of this was to change four years later.

One eventful day my grandmother, whom I call “Maa”, arrived at the hostel to meet her favorite grandchild(or at least that is what I proclaim to be.), but to her horror, she got to meet a chapped face, emaciated teenager who had, as she describes, very sad looking eyebrows. She probably couldn’t accept this and, hence, made the decision, then and there, to take me in.

 Words can’t describe the influence Maa has had in my life— but I’ll try. Maa had a peculiar way of dealing with the problems I created. She never got angry at me. Instead, whenever I made a mistake or stepped over the line, she’d tell me a story. Initially, I was baffled seeing how easily I was forgiven, but eventually I came to realize the impact these stories had on my life.

These stories were simple yet profound. They were predicated on her struggles as a single mother, her regrets of being illiterate, and the life her, or any typical Nepali, had back in the twentieth century. They left huge impressions on me. They taught me to appreciate my parents’ sacrifice, to value education, and, above all, to embrace the life I was given, and look at it with a positive attitude.

I’ve come to realize that life is not always fair, and yes, it can be hard sometimes, but as the saying goes, it takes pressure to create beautiful diamonds. The adversities you face today shape your tomorrow, and they strengthen you for what lies ahead. I am grateful to the struggles I’ve faced. They’ve taught me invaluable lessons: lessons about empathy, lessons about sacrifice, lessons about nurture, and so much more. I am who I am because of them.

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