Nobody ever told me how absolutely stressful going abroad to study is. Maybe things are more difficult because of the pandemic, but this is a kind of stress and worry that I have never experienced before.
Nearly every night, I’ll receive an email from university, or some other important entity I’m interacting with and it will throw me in a limbo of anxiety and work. And then, when I’ve managed the situation as best as I can during the night time (non-working hours for most offices and universities), I feel just a little better.
But then, in the morning, something will come up again. Once more, I’ll spend my day floating around mindlessly and trying to get everything done on time, in the right way.
Things are stressful. Very stressful. And there’s no other way to put it.
Things are so stressful that I literally made a 12-hour trip to a far away city simply because the consulate in the city near mine was closed. Things are so stressful that I don’t know if my documents will reach university in time for my offer to be made unconditional. Things are so stressful that I had to take aeroplane rides twice in one day, in the middle of a pandemic, from one known COVID hotspot to another.
All I can say, I guess, is that there is a lot going on. And I can’t keep up. I’m unable to feel the excitement of moving someplace new, simply because all I feel is the anxiety and the fear. I’m so afraid that my offer won’t be unconditional, my visa won’t get delivered in time, I’ll get sick or my finances will fall through.
There is so much to be afraid of. But through it all, there have been some people and some things that have kept me going. They’ve supported me in small yet significant ways. And I will never forget the things they have done for me.
Let’s talk about my wonderful parents first. They’re shopping for me, helping me make plans for my quarantine and my immigration, and they’re always supportive of me. Despite all the financial stress they too are under, they are doing their best to support me emotionally and mentally. I don’t know what I’d do without them.
Next, I am so deeply grateful for my internship supervisor. She has been so patient and kind with me when I have been unable to work for days together, maybe even weeks. She supports me prioritising all my chores, work and health above the internship. She checks in on me and makes sure I’m doing okay. When I am able to join meetings, she allows me the leeway of exiting if I have an urgent task to complete. I feel so guilty about not being able to fully contribute to my internship, but she will hear none of it. Her support means the world to me, especially in a time like this.
When I went on my 12-hour trip for my visa, my friend and her family took so much care of me. I had a place to stay in case I wasn’t able to make my flight back, I had a hot meal waiting for me when I got to their home. I even had my friend to take me to my appointment, make sure everything went smoothly and show me around that beautiful city. One thing that I’ll cherish forever is my friend’s mum telling me that no matter what happens, I’ll always have a second home with them. In case of emergencies and in case of difficult times when I can’t go home, I will always, without a doubt, have a home. I teared up when she told me that. I needed to hear something like that.
Finally, I appreciate a staff member at my current university’s examinations office going out of his way to help me in any way he could. I appreciate that he took the time to listen to me, how worried I was about not making the deadline for posting my documents and how afraid I was about what would happen if I didn’t. I appreciate that he was so patient with me, asked me questions about where I’m going and reassured me when I expressed my utter fear. He did so much for me today. I will never, ever forget how helpful he has been.
The gratitude that I feel for each of these people is immeasurable. Through this rough time, they’ve done their best to help me out and accommodate my needs in any way they can.
Things are really hard for me right now but I know that in two years’ time, I probably won’t remember this mind-numbing stress. Instead, I’ll remember these people who will always hold a piece of my heart.