October 13th, 1999, 9:00 pm Indian Standard Time: The flight attendant came on the speaker and asked everyone to buckle their seatbelt. I was both nervous and anxious. I had never been on a flight before, nor had I even been outside of the northern region of India. Just hours before my flight, our house was overflowing with my aunts and uncles who were all giving me hugs and crying as they said goodbye. My dad was chosen out of thousands by the Indian Embassy to represent them in United States. As I sat on the plane looking for the last time at the beautiful Delhi skyline, I knew deep inside my seven year-old heart that this would be one of the most memorable journeys of my life.
After overcoming the initial homesickness, I found America fascinating. I loved the friendly teachers who brought cake to school, loved the beautiful apartment the Embassy provided us and even began to love the cold harsh winters that brought snow and a new tradition of Santa Claus. I enjoyed and lived innocently in my little 7-year-old world–not knowing that it was temporary and soon would come to an end.
September 11, 2002: While this date was remembered by most as the one year anniversary of the horrifying event of 9/11, I will always remember it as ground zero of the greatest challenge in my life. It was the day that my father decided not to return to India, at the end of his three-year term. It was the day he would give up his secure position in the Indian government to give my younger brother and me an American education. It was the day we moved from a lavish three-bedroom apartment to a cramped efficiency. It was the day my mother picked up an extra shift at work and my father went back to school to get an American degree. It was the day we downsized and told my six-year-old brother that Santa wouldn’t be coming anymore. It was the day, together as a family, we promised to support each other through our struggle to achieve the American Dream.
It was also the day that I became motivated to excel in school and avail myself of every opportunity. At the age of ten I gained an appreciation for the sacrifices that my parents were making.
For some people, life seems to come naturally. This is not the case with me. I have experienced many challenges, first hand. The cultural adjustment, loss of family and sacrifice of material comforts have made me a stronger person. The struggles and sacrifices of my parents remind me each day of the hard work that is necessary in order to achieve my goals and to make-up for what was lost.
I chose to be a Biology major because I know that everyone has struggles and that in this fight against life we have so much to lose. We need our good health if we are going to succeed in our attempts to achieving our dreams. I wouldn’t be able to tell you where my family and I would be if along with our struggles we also had to deal with the burden of wavering health. We need our physical strength to support our emotional one. This is why after I graduate from Towson University I plan on going into research to find a cure for infectious diseases like Cancer and HIV. This is why wining this scholarship would mean the world to me as it would allow me to fund my education and help me receive the necessary tools for making a difference in today’s community.
We are proud to announce Akanksha Arya is one of the current JustJobs Scholarship finalists. Vote for her essay (Facebook ‘Like’ and other social media sharing options in left column), click the ‘star’ just above comments section below, and/or leave comments of support to help us with the selection process.