The above quotation comes from the mind of the famous 17th Century English author Thomas Fuller, as he described the appreciation one develops through hardship. I believe this ideology truly embodies my strong desire to achieve my future goals. Even though my journey has certainly been quite tumultuous and demanding, my will to succeed has only grown stronger. Growing up in Bangladesh was an experience rife with adversity. The poverty in my community was certainly striking and continuously left me questioning the reasons behind its existence. Fortunately, I never had to truly experience the horrors of poverty in my country first hand. Though my family surely had its fair share of problems, I was always lucky enough to have a roof over my head and food on my plate. Nevertheless, despite the fact that my family provided me with all that I needed to live and grow, my home life represented a substantial source of stress throughout my younger years. There was always a great deal of strain on my relationships with my parents and peers. Throughout my early life I felt closest to my grandmother. Though my parents also put a great deal of strain on this relationship as well. Additionally, my naturally introverted disposition (surely a partial result of my chaotic home life) caused a great deal of shortcomings in my social behavior during my formative years. Even considering this wealth of negativity present throughout much of my youth, I never lost sight of my passion for learning and education. With this strong intrinsic desire, I managed to perform well academically and eventually earned my place in the educational system of The United States.
One of the greatest and most traumatizing surprises of my life came in the midst of my eighth birthday celebration. Previous to the news of my parents divorce, I was rejoicing my birthday occasion with my beloved grandmother and a small group of friends. Before I was even able to open my first present, a hand-delivered letter arrived at the house causing my mother to begin crying hysterically to the point where she nearly fainted. Though I was undoubtedly very upset and confused at the time, I have since realized that there was a bright side to this seemingly devastating situation. Despite the fact that I was losing a father figure, my mother would no longer be subjected to the regular abuse that went on in our household.
Like many Bangladeshi wives, my mother could not be described as a very strong or independent woman. To compound this fact, divorce laws in Bangladesh strongly favor the husband. As a result of these regrettable circumstances, my mother had no choice but to move back in with her mother. Though I could clearly tell that my mother hated having to make this move, I was quite pleased with the added time I was able to spend with my grandmother. Sadly, after just a few years in my grandmother's loving home my mother got a job and we moved out. This move proved to be the beginning of another sour period of my young life. My mother's characteristic weakness and fear caused her to develop a very cynical and pessimistic view of the world. She truly believed that the world was a genuinely cruel and debilitating place. Accordingly, she incessantly instructed me to remain in the house during all of my free time for fear that I would be harmed or corrupted by external forces. In fact, one of her regular household sayings was "School in the morning, and then straight home." Unfortunately, this turned out to be my constant routine over the last ten years.
Moreover, since my mom was extremely bitter on account of my dad and the things he had done to her, she wanted me to hate him as well. Consequently, she would go to great lengths to not let me talk with him by phone, let alone see him. These deplorable tactics were sadly successful and my interactions with my father became extremely scarce. The few times I was able to converse or meet with him, I felt like I was interacting with a stranger, some foreign observer. And as time went on, my mother's constant degradation of my father began to sink in and I developed a wealth of rage against him.
Despite my thirst for knowledge and my love of learning, my schooling experience was not entirely pleasurable. Bullying and verbal abuse were regular parts of my educational journey. My learned shyness and social weakness fueled the waves of torment, beginning with one still-not-forgotten antagonizer and spreading through the ranks of his faithful supporters. I quickly learned of the futility in trying to fight back and began running away at the first sign of any physical or non-physical conflict. Eventually, this external harassment turned its claws inward and I began to feel ashamed and depressed. Just waking up in the morning became a struggle for fear of the persecution that would inevitably take place. I began to lose sleep and I would even occasionally find myself believing in the harshness of the awful words spat in my direction and the potential for truthfulness behind them. Perhaps my one saving grace came in the form of my small group of close friends. Like me, these individuals were avid learners that were also suffering through the social mine field of preparatory education. The presence of this peer group gave me the vital comfort of knowing that I was not alone in my struggles.
Throughout this period, my mother remained highly protective of me. In keeping with her desire to confine me to the house as much as possible, she always claimed that this type of routine would ultimately be in my best interest. Even during my naturally rebellious teenage years, her fits of hysterical crying and threats of involving my grandmother would always result in my submission to her will. The chronic corrosion of my youthful curiosity and natural instincts eventually turned me into an emotionally crippled young man. Looking back, the frequency and intensity of these experiences was certainly a formative handicap in that it prevented me from having a well-rounded childhood. What is more, I attribute much of my social ineptitude to this developmental period.
As a result of my ongoing struggles at home and in school, I quickly came to the conclusion that Bangladesh was not the place for me to spend my educational future. I soon made it my goal to travel to America and continue my studies. However, as I soon realized, studying in America is expensive. Even though my mother was relatively supportive, she knew that my father would have to be involved in the financing of my plan, and this upset her. Due to her intrinsic cowardice and her own ongoing fiscal woes, I was eventually asked to speak to my father personally to ask for the money. This unwanted obligation came shortly after my fifteenth birthday. Even though I was extremely opposed to the idea, my mother's insistence and my internal desire to further my education quickly caused me to submit. Upon talking to my father for the first time in a long while, I was met with an extremely angry response whereby he was actually bold enough to mark his regret that I was even born. Not surprisingly, the result of this interaction left me devastated. I was truly crushed regarding the failure of my dream and the extensive deterioration of my paternal relationship.
Through endless waves of dejection I began to question whether or not I was even worthy of achieving my goals and studying in a prestigious American university. Surely my dreams would have been lost in the wind had it…