As Valentines Day is coming very soon, I would like to share a love story of one of my advisees who went through the application process and avoided being separated with space and time from his loved one thanks to the energy and motivation he put in to continue his studies in the US.
As most people know, the US is one of the largest nations in the world. It has more than 4500 accredited universities, and over 1900 majors and fields of studies to choose from. I met this student at the end of last semester. He just finished his scholarship’s pre-departure orientation program for the graduate level and was suddenly motivated to apply to the US while initially already accepted to a university in a country in East Asia. He told me that he felt he was not good enough to apply to US Universities, because his GRE scores are not as high and that he needed to get accepted to the university of his dreams. I kept asking him why this university is significant to him and why he was only applying to this particular top-notch university. After a length of conversation, he finally admitted that he found his true love in his scholarship’s pre-departure orientation program and he wanted to be near her. He wanted to be in the same university as her.
An advisor’s job is to help an advisee find their path. We must certainly prioritize the need of the student and this includes reasons that are related career goals, child-hood dreams, or even love. In this case, what I told him was to trust himself and do the application process bit by bit. He completed his GRE, took it several more times, and every time he almost gave up, I would use his card and say, someone is waiting for you over there, keep up the good work. I am personally very impressed with this individual because of his hard work and his proof of work to be in the same university as his girlfriend pushed me to keep pushing him to create the best statement of purpose.
Sometimes the best inspiration would come from the most unexpected sources. Without falling in love, this student would not have even tried to apply to the US. He later found that he was rejected from the university where his girlfriend is studying. Instead of giving up and staying 6000 miles away from his true love, he applied to another school that was one state away from his girlfriend. It turned out that this university’s program was a better fit and better ranked for his field of study. He also still has the opportunity to be only 600 miles from his true love instead of 6000 miles. It is only going to be a year program for both of them, but the experience of studying in the same country and in one of the most well known university in their respective fields, would be something they can cherish together their entire lives.