An Awe-Inspiring Story lof Student’s Journey to USA. Emotional and Motivational.

Raghuram Sukumar Student Stories 23 Comments

Piyush Garg is following Happy Schools Blog for several years now.  That’s over 4 years.  In this article, you can learn a lot from his journey to America. Get inspired and motivated.

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Before starting, I want to thank Happy Schools Blog with all my heart and all the hearts related with me (family and friends).

I belong to Delhi and have just completed my B.Tech in CSE from a very nice institute in Kerala (only on paper ), got 71% and placed in the top MNC here in India.

At the same time, I got admission in one of the amazing Masters Degree program, I could find in Computer Science  i.e. Information Quality in UALR with International Scholarship.

This is my story with some unexpected turn of events.

I came to know about possibility of studying Masters Degree in USA the same year I gave-up on the idea of getting admission into any of the premiere institute in India a.k.a. IIT’s ( no premiere institutes for students like me i.e. average/ Above average /General category ).

I would blame myself for not getting my priorities right about my education, career and future.  I had wavering mind.

One day,  I would have interest to study Mass Communication and the next day, it would be B. Sc in Physics.

Yes, two different ends of the education spectrum.

In the end, I lost one year due to this indecisiveness when decided to clear my thinking and finalize my education and career plans. I took a year off and found myself in abysmal pit of rejections.

During this phase of my life, I came to know about Masters Degree in USA and while surfing the internet came across Happy Schools Blog,  which changed my life and gave me a single track direction.

Now, while entering the college in Kerala, India,  I knew my next checkpoint and MS it was.
Then came the phase in my life during Bachelors degree in India, where you get such a freedom, most of us going away from home (my case whopping 3000 km).

I was typical college kid with all sorts of distractions in life, but one thing I never left was not following Happy Schools Blog.

I kept on reading all the HSB posts in and out and kept myself updated. This habit of mine finally paid off, when I came across a post related to IQ program of UALR. I did my research and found out that this is my dream program. I wanted to do my MS in IQ only.

Constraint 1: Finance

I was not financially sound and during my first year of my engineering, I shared this issue with Raghu sir.

He advised me to drop the idea of MS and try for PHD later. Raghu sir actually sorted the best option for me and was quite correct in his verdict. But, I was quite adamant to go for MS only. I took my chances.

Strategy : MS in USA

So, I knew I would do Master of Science degree from U.S.A

In my second year at college, I came to know about IQ program and I had set my mind to get into that program.

I took help from several HSB posts itself.

One of them was send emailing to the professor’s of the university.

The goal was to make the professor get acquainted with your name and I obviously asked genuine questions related to research work and all as I was literally interested in this program.

I kept in touch with the head of the IQ department for 2 years genuinely and it really paid off. I will come to that later.

Luck Factor:

When I started studying my Bachelor of Technology degree, my parents didn’t have enough money ( they were working ) but eventually in the span of 4 years, they saved a bit in the form of EPFs, PPFs etc ( enough to get me an I20 from university ).

But, I knew that I won’t take a single penny from them ( so that they can use that for my sister’s marriage which is quite an issue here in India ).

Phase : GRE and TOEFL

I took GRE in September 2013 and got a decent score.

I was sure that I will get admit in UALR so applied to only one university. This thing will lead to another constraint or issue. I didn’t take TOEFL until June 2014.

Constrain 2: One University

I have just applied to a single university and even after getting admission and financial aid, I was not sure that I will get visa since it’s a big issue. I took my chances. Again.

Before That : Full-Time Job

Now, this MNC ( Multi-National Company) where I got Full-Time Job, was pushing me for joining in June of this year.

In fact, I booked my tickets to join this company, as MS was looking like a distant dream since I was short of money. Lot of Money.

Remember, I said, I was not going to take single penny from my parents to study in USA.

I pushed my professor for scholarship. Since, I got along so well with him ovr last 2 years of email exchanges.

I could speak with Professor with open mind and like a friend. He told me he has applied for international aid and results will come before July 1st.

Eventually, it came 3 weeks early and I was more than happy. I would have take-up the job a the MNC.

I took my chances and didn’t join this company. This is the risk I had to take as getting visa is not easy but still I took this decision and my family backed me.

Education Loan : Credila

CREDILA is really wonderful and they were more than helpful. I took the loan and after getting loan approved, I applied for F1 Student visa (more on my interview experience later).

They needed my TOEFL scorecard also, so I simply took TOEFL and scored 107 without preparation.

TOEFL was necessary for F1 Visa interview, and that’s what I had assumed. But, eventually I came to know, it wasn’t. But nonetheless, my TOEFL was waived initially and I had to submit it upon reaching the university, so I had to take it in the end.

F1 Visa Interview : Experience

I had so many constraints here. I didn’t have original mark sheets ( my university is a little slow in issuing this stuff).

I wasn’t sure of my financial security. I didn’t have original TOEFL scorecard.

I applied to just one university.

But, here’s the thing. I was confident about my chances, preparation and my interview went amazingly well.

VO did ask me about “one university thing” but as I genuinely wanted to go for this program only, she must have empathized that feeling.

The End : All is Well

I received my VISA next day and now going to USA within three weeks time.

Here’s why I wrote such a long article: There are thousands of students like me who don’t have any guidance at all, but who want to study but don’t have a proper planning.

But you have the power of internet and such helpful websites like Happy Schools Blog.

I didn’t need to go to some consultancy for it. It’s here on HSB. Whatever you need, whenever you need.

If you are determined enough, no one can stop you from realizing your dreams.

I am lucky to have HSB i.e. Raghu sir by my side. Thanks a lot sir. You have made it possible for me.

One day, as planned I will have a successful career and you will be there in all my prayers. Thanks a lot sir.

P.S.

Sir, I have written this post with all my heart. But I feel it’s a little long, you can shorten it if you like. I wish to inspire many other HSB readers just like me, who are have determination and passion about higher education, but without proper guidance. This article can inspire many.  Sir I owe you everything, thanks a lot for everything.

More from Piyush:

Comments

  1. Hello Piyush, loved your story !It reminds me of my story and the struggles. You are right, you have to take little risks to succeed. And when going gets tough, it is always easy to give up and I am glad you didn’t . I am sure it will motivate many and keep pushing people like me. Thanks for reminding crazy people like us, why we took that leap of faith in the first place !

    All the best brother !

    1. Thanks a lot Arnab. There were atleast 10 such moments when I could have given up easily on this thing. But something kept me going. I know luck played a bigger role for me here but as they say Luck is only the meeting point of hard work and opportunity . I actually want to thank you and other guys who are active on HSB. It helps novices like me who didn’t have any guidance or any sort of knowledge of the whole scenario. Reading comments from the readers clarifies so much stuff. It feels so good to have such a support around. Thank you so much. All the best to you too.. 🙂

      1. Thanks Piyush ! And rightly said, you can only say that luck played a part when you prepare yourself for that opportunity. Raghu has been doing this for long and now he has become like a friend.

  2. Hai piyush, your struggles reminded my own one’s when i was applying to Universities.Guys like you are really doing work worth a million by enlightening the novice students like me and many more. Finally,I am very proud that you gonna be my associate.

    1. Hey Shiva. Thanks a lot buddy. I am equally happy to find you too. 🙂 and there is more to that..The Qtiyapa videos..:D Jokes apart, let’s hope to have a wonderful joy ride filled with knowledge in the coming years..

    1. For a person who has done such tremendous work for so many like us, you shouldn’t bother about such trivialities.

      1. hey piyush i even have problem with finances…………can yu please share ur visa experience or can explain in detail…about how you managed…just for refrence..it will be reallly helpful buddy ..!

        1. Hi Prateek. I would love to help you on that part. For getting the I20 from university, I showed them savings in PPF, EPF and also parents’ pay slips. In covering letter I put several convinicing statements say in their fee structure they have mentioned 12K for food and accommodation.However in Arkansas, 6K is enough for 1 year. I got loan approval mail with me for Visa interview. BUT I didnt pay processing fee for loan sanction as it was 30 K and could have got wasted if I was denied the Visa. After getting visa only I paid processing fee. VO just asked me about my parents’ work status. See if you are willing to study genuinely and confident about your endeavours, things will line up accordingly. All the best.

          1. Hi Piyush

            thanks for such a valuable information! Your experience is really helpful for me to understand my priority about education.
            Congratulations and all the best!!

          2. Thank you so much for sharing your motivational story…I wanted to know abt contacting professors. I have completed B.E mechanical and planning to apply for masters in fall 2015. I need full funding in order to do so. I thought I should take admission first n then find a professor to fund my studies but after reading this I think I should start contacting right away? Do all the professors have funding or I have to trace the right ones? Can you please elaborate more about it?:)

  3. Hi Piyush
    First of all, thank you for the entire story. The best part of the story (of course, this is what I think!) was when you write “One day, I would have interest to study Mass Communication and the next day, it would be B. Sc in Physics.”!! That about sums up the confusion most students have, a good deal of which isn’t their fault. Quite candid and honest on your part. What’s impressive is, however, that you applied to just one Uni. That calls for guts.
    Best wishes for your future.
    Mayank

    1. Thanks a lot Mayank. This programme in first place was the reason for me to take so many risks. I didn’t want to simply go to US for the namesake or get a US tag but to study what I truly wanted to. So finally this typical candid indian kid had a direction and aim in mind. kudos to HSB..

  4. Hi Piyush, firstly good luck for your future endeavors mate. Really happy and glad that people like you are taking such bold steps which helps in motivating others. It reminds me of myself having the same scenario but have taken the ‘safer option’. But now after reading this post from you I regret that and hopefully I have been motivated enough to pursue the other option which I left 3 years back..,and once again all the very best mate!!!

  5. I admire your thinking of not taking any penny from your family, clarity of goal and your persistence but this is the story of most of the middle class family students who come for MS, except the “one university” factor but you were fortunate enough to know about HSB and get enough guidance to contact the professors while you were just in second year, unlike most of the students, and it worked out well for you as the professor replied (I would like to know how did you approach him). Also, I don’t agree with you that you were unclear and had distractions. You already had a goal of doing MS, many people struggle to decide this even after they start working because of responsibilities. The point I am trying to make is things which you are projecting as big hurdles, are not in real, many people face even bigger challenges and honestly I don’t feel you faced any hardships. If you call all this as hardship then may be you have not seen the real picture. Anyways, I wish you success and I hope that everyone gets such a good guidance and clarity of mind and is persistent like you were about pursuing the goal.

    1. Hi Abhishek. There is a perspective difference. I mean I dont come from a society where every other guy is going to US for MS and all. I have made several friends here in USA..Guess what 99% are from Andhra and 100% are middle class. So, my point is I even didnt have any associate or I never saw anyone in my periphery who is going to US, else it would have been a little easier. For example my friends here were very much confident about everything as they had seen so many of their friends and colleagues in that phase. Also, 100% of them came through consultancies. I mean, when you prepare each and every document on your own and running for it and producing only genuine stuff and over the top there is no one in person to advise you and over that you need to convince your parents for everything and over that you have to handle millions of issues, college politics etc and everything seems to be hustle bustle, its a big time hardship for me. I am also aware of the fact that I might not have seen the real hardships (as per you) but hey I am just 22. It itself is a victory for me that I did take so many risks and got paid off eventually. Umm, regarding the projection thing, brother I just wanted to make people aware of this amazing website and the role it played for me. Thanks a lot for your wishes. I always love to have healthy discussions.

  6. First of all I am very thankful to Raghu sir for posting this inspirational story. Really it inspired me a lot.
    It’s really boost me one step towards my application process. Please
    keep posting more inspirational story like Piyush. As this phase is a
    very critical phase and need lots of guidance & motivation also. Thanks Piyush & helps us also to reach our dream goal too.

      1. Its been almost 2 years of post. I don’t know if anyone’s gonna read this or not. But if anyone can help me with my case. I have enough time (1 year) i think and i want to do everything that is needed. Can u please tell me how u approached professors over there? I mean by getting their mail ids from websites, will they reply my mail? What should i ask in initial mail.

        Thank you.

  7. Thanks, Piyush to share your story. It helps me to choose the right thing for my future.

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