The huge transition of my life took place when I qualified the test for Aga Khan Higher Secondary School, Hunza for grade 8, which was the first dream of my family to come true. Five years at AKHSS were fortunate, dynamic, and satisfying but almost at the end of the completion of 5-year grooming, I was diagnosed with an initial intestinal ulcer and gluten allergy. Then started the static phase of my life.
I kept fighting the newly diagnosed disease and MBBS entry tests (another dream of my family and mine) for almost 2 and a half years. My dietary requirements and mundane activities were strictly monitored which affected my whole life. To leave no room for recklessness in fulfilling my dream of becoming a doctor, I attempted the MBBS entry test 5 times (thrice for private and twice for government institutions) but failed consecutively. Nevertheless, I never even once felt that I should keep a second option because for me a second option meant if I would not be able to sleep on the stars I will manage on the stones. On the other hand, another insecurity kept knocking at my door during my gap years: unnecessary comments by irrelevant people. Though it was not their business, many people used to punch in my face with questions like “It has been a long time since you graduated, are you still at home?”. This weakened me from the inside, but I always tried to escape through middle ways avoiding them. Fighting for the same goal with continuous failure in these circumstances would not have been possible without the support of my family. I traveled from Hunza to Karachi for the tests alone, but my family never stopped me from struggling for my dreams. At the end of the second gap-year, I told my father that I failed for the fifth time for MBBS, but he gave me the best response a daughter could get from a loving father: wait another year and attempt the test as this is your childhood dream. Besides, being the eldest daughter, I was sensing the weakness in his body and voice. Therefore, I decided to apply for LUMS and studied for the SAT in one month like never before.
Though pretty convinced by the situation, applying for LUMS was a hard decision for me but my friends and some family members did their best to make my mind for LUMS. Fortunately, I successfully got into the best institute of my country with my family’s chosen degree: LLB. The happiness of my family of seeing me as an advocate overtook their long-held desire of seeing me as a doctor. What else could I ask for if my family was on my side no matter how many times I failed. The satisfactory smile on the faces of my family members and hearing my father how proud he is of his eldest daughter, made my life moving again with even beautiful shades. This was not the happy ending though, because life started getting harder with each passing day at LUMS. Firstly, because of the 180-degree shift in my study zone: medical to law. Secondly, regular studies after a long gap. Nevertheless, I pushed a semester and then another with decent grades with the unending help of my chosen family i.e. friends. Time-period of two successful semesters at LUMS is a satisfaction and an assurance that a bright future is awaiting me. While looking back, the greatest happiness I get is that I did not give up on my dreams in haste, rather gave myself time to weigh and check my compatibility with my dream profession. Eventually, switched my field, struggling in a different direction but with the same enthusiasm.
Pondering over my last three years, I would never recommend anyone to take a gap year because mostly it rusts one’s mind to its fullest and makes one face terrible situations. Contrarily, my gap years turned out with a different ending. I believe my gratitude will always fall short for the blessing of my life and these gap years are not an exception. Firstly, it gave me enough time to recover from the disease with my family at my side. Secondly, it made me a true fighter with the strength to stand up after each fall tougher than before. Besides, while dreaming of becoming a doctor, I never considered my sensitive nature towards the injuries and situations that a doctor must face daily, and this could have been a hindrance in my professional life. Besides, I learned one more thing in this gap year that irrelevant people will criticize you with their full heart if you fail but never show the same amount of happiness in your success. Therefore, one should never bother to allow others’ talks to interfere in their struggle and should never stop dreaming.
Surely, one might say is this even a success story. I will say YES, I have lived a successful story. I believe, replacing a dream with a new one is not failure but abandoning the dreams due to shortfall of one is the actual failure. Besides, ALL IS GOOD IF END IS GOOD!
BA-LLB (Batch 2024)
Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS)