Friday, February 3, 2017

My road to Ivy League University - Nothing comes easy in life!

Sorry, this is a huge blog. If you really want to find some inspiration in your life, read through this blog completely. I'm sure you won't regret it.

After completing my undergrad from Coimbatore Institute of Technology, in 2009, I had applied to a bunch of US universities.  Hell yeah, while I got the admits from majority of them, my dad became suddenly ill and bed-ridden. He had to undergo a heart surgery. I was torn between my responsibilities as a daughter, and my career ambitions. Alas, I gave up all the dream admits, and started working as Software Engineer. The only reason was to support my mom and sister personally.

After 2 years, as I have gained some work experience in telecom domain, I applied to 4 universities in US and UK all for MS in Telecommunications. All the struggle and the travel I made to and fro to my college, to get those "Letter of recommendations" signed and sealed by profs and universities. Yes those days, most universities needed LOR in signed and sealed envelopes. By the time, I was about to accept an admit, my dad fell sick again, this time with more dreaded brain stroke. The worst part of it was that my dad forgot who I'am. In fact he could not recognize anyone except my mom, and could not utter a single word properly, due to the after-effects of stroke. I gave up my admits and started working again.

Meanwhile my mom struggled to take my dad to hospital for weekly regular checkups, as he could not walk and someone had to almost support him to even stand. It was at this time, I met my man, he travelled all way home to help my dad in regular hospital visits. I married him 2years later(it's a another big story). He promised my mom to make me study after marriage.

Well yeah, God had another plans again, this time in the name of unexpected pregnancy. I was more devastated than happy on testing positive for pregnancy. I wasn't so cruel to abort my first kid, for no fault of his own. Hence, I postponed my study plans and proceeded ahead with pregnancy.

A wonderfully super-smart amazing kid was born. I loved him so much, but never had forgot all my ambitions. I was super guilty when I started working again, when my kid was 6months old. I ensured my kid is well taken care of, by working from home so often. The best part was I breast-fed him for 1.7 years all while working as Software Engineer. Not many do these days! I was so happy to just look at my son, all day long. Suddenly, my life took a turn. I felt I was so happy as a mom, and never rekindled all my study ambitions, though my husband kept pushing me to study year after year.

Finally, it was when my son went to nursery, he starting having home works. Yes, kids these days have home works, at the age of 2.5 years. God save them :P  I was making him do his homework, while I was watching television. My son was like "mama, why should I do my homework, while you watch TV. I will do my home work, only if you switch off TV and do your homework". It felt like a BOMB.

Then, I started preparing for GRE again. But once my son finishes his homework, he would ask me to play or sleep with him, saying "enough of your homework, mummy". Hence, I knew I never would study when a kid pampers you for your attention. So, I used to sleep with him at 8pm in the night, wake up at 2am to prepare for GRE. Finally, I decided to write my GRE, and somehow succeeded.

Next started the huge process of applying for the universities. I became a night owl. I wrote and re-wrote and re-wrote my SOP for umpteen times before I was satisfied. Next on line was resume and nagging of my professors, who fortunately remembered me on my very first phone call to get my LORs submitted on time.

TOEFL was a easy shot. Just a day's  preparation was good enough. And then, almost all Ivy Leagues asked for a portfolio website. Hence, I spent a week creating my first portfolio using google sites. Out came the results 8 admits, 2 rejects. I was torn between the  Ivy League and other universities, only fact being the tuition costs.

So then, I started looking for scholarships and kept applying one after another. Finally succeeded in getting one from JN Tata group. So there it goes the SBI loan process. It took a month of running to every government offices, to collect all documents SBI had asked for and finally to get them to pay my first semester at my Ivy League university.

There you go, then came the visa interview for US, with a huge queue standing in Chennai. It was terrifying, and tiring while I waited for my turn. After getting the visa, oh boy should I not be happy. But yeah, I wasn't interested in going alone abroad, leaving my little son.

My husband was the only financial support, so he wasn't sensibly interested in coming along in F2. Finally when I boarded my flight, all these rushed through my mind like never-ending story. Nothing comes easy in life, at least for me. Even my little son was so understanding. Boy, I can't be more prouder to have him as my son. I realize now, while I write this blog from an Ivy League university, anything can happen as long as you have the will power to do. Nothing is impossible!

How I designed my website in 2days

Here is my first portfolio.

I had already purchased a domain for a month ago and was aiming to design and create my website on my own for a month during the winter break, whereas it never worked out. 

After the break was over, and when the career fair was about to begin, I started my marathon work of collecting all the images and all the pictures of images, which I had to put in portfolio. I organized them into group. Started with <html> </html>. Learnt about bootstrap, and font awesome and decided to use it. All it took was 2days of continuous effort, to complete it. 

At the end, it was about hosting. Hosting was so expensive, with I'm being a student, compared various vendors for safe, cheap and reliable hosting. I found bigrock, dewlance, ipage to be the lowest, but they had numerous people complain about them with customer care. Hence, I hosted it with the help of namecheap.

After configuring the DNS setting, there you go. BOOM. I'm online :)