cor ad cor loquitur

where heart speaks to heart

The Value of Education — January 24, 2016

The Value of Education

(This won’t be one of my normal blog posts, but nonetheless it’ll be interesting.)

My parents college education is worth nothing. My parents have both graduated college with a Bachelor’s (B.S.) degree in Chemistry and Physical Therapy (father and mother, respectively). The only problem is they obtained their education in Pakistan, so in this advanced first world country their college education means nothing.

They have worked just as hard as anyone else who has received a Bachelor’s degree. They worked extra hard to legally enter the U.S. in hopes of obtaining further education. However, since their education was not valued as highly as an American obtained Bachelor’s, they financially could never afford to further their education and obtain a higher level degree.

That doesn’t mean they’re not as qualified for the positions they apply for. They left their white collar positions in Pakistan to come to the land of freedom to pursue the American dream. Yet when they arrived, they were forced to work lower level positions. (**NOTE: Nothing wrong with these positions. Trust me, no job is too little and under circumstances you just have to take up whatever job you can get to survive.)

Here’s the thing, my father was a supervisor in the Pakistani branch of a well-known pharmaceutical company. My mother owned her own clinic and worked as a PT in a hospital. However, after coming to America, they never worked in these fields ever again.

To pay the bills, my father took to becoming a security guard at the airport during the night while selling phone cards during the day. My mother worked in a warehouse. We had to rent out a room, bathroom, and kitchen because we couldn’t even afford an apartment.

Things got better, though. My dad received a job offer at a chemical company in New Jersey. We packed up and moved. But even then, my mom started working at a dry cleaners. When my brother was born, she gave up her career to take care of us.

Eighteen years later (present day), she’s looking for a job. Any job, if she’s lucky even a job in her field, but her education is nothing. Her sacrifice to properly raise her children haunts her daily. She applies to multiple positions daily. These positions range from cashier to physical therapy aide. Yet every single time, they reject her. She never gives up hope, but I have because while this country is great, it ruined my parents life.

My father’s job helps pay our bills, bring food to the table, and let’s us enjoy life once in a while. He was the supervisor at a pharmaceutical company, but now when he applies to those jobs, they reject him. He has the qualifications, he meets the requirements, but still he’s rejected.

Our family income places us in no man’s land (since the middle class is disappearing). Our total income is slightly more than the poverty line, but significantly less than upper class. With this, we survive and manage to pay out of pocket whatever remaining tuition I have for college.

My parents have worked hard. They are educated and would continue to work hard. But the ones who judge based on resume never see that. My parents college education is worth nothing. But my parents sacrifice means everything to me. When I graduate with my PharmD, I know that they realize it was all worth it.

 

Letter to my future self — January 14, 2016

Letter to my future self

Dear future Komal,

I am not sure how old you actually are because I didn’t intend it to be a set time into the future. The fact that this is a blog post also points to the fact that I don’t intend to have a certain aged Komal read it. Anyway, rambling aside (you’ll notice I do a lot of that, do you still ramble?), I hope you are doing well.

Today is January 14, 2016. You woke up this morning to find out that Alan Rickman, a wonderful actor, had just passed away after battling cancer. He was in many movies you’ve watched, but most notably, he was Professor Snape in Harry Potter. Your opinion on Professor Snape is constantly changing. Sometimes you love the character, other times not so much. Speaking of deaths, as of this day, your great grandmother, Dada, Dadi, Rafat Chachi, and Ayesha have passed away. Ayesha was only 20 years old, and her death is the most recent one in your family.

I want to avoid talking about family problems in this letter. Just know that they exist and sometimes your anger stems from them. You are constantly debating between asking for forgiveness from Allah (SWT) or just breaking all ties with certain people.

As of today, you’ve had your heartbroken once in a romantic way and it still affects you deeply. You still hope that you and this boy will get together, but you have entrusted this into the hands of Allah (SWT). You feel lonely and want to have a significant other, but are also afraid of everything that will ensue.

You’re convinced you suffer from depression, so I hope that now you don’t let it affect you much and have gotten treatment. And with that, enough about the present.

I hope that you are happy now. I hope that you have started to travel the world. What was the first country you decided to visit? Did you have a good time? How often do you vacation?

I also hope you’ve settled down and have a family if this is 30 year old Komal reading. As a 21 year old, you wanted at least one child by the age of 30. I hope your husband treats you with love and respect. (Is he a doctor? 21 year old Komal always wanted to marry a doctor) I hope he can deal with your anger, impatience, and provide emotional support in trying times. Does he surprise you with romantic gestures? Does your relationship still have the same warmth and love it had when it first began? Most importantly, have you finally learned to cook and decided to overcome germophobia and start cleaning the bathroom?

How is your house? Is it the luxurious 5 bedroom house you planned on having? What about the decor? I certainly hope it’s contemporary. Your kitchen must look amazing. Does this have your dream shoe closet or did you outgrow that dream once you realized that it was impractical?

What about your career? Did you decide to do a two year residency after all or did you just accept the job offer at CHOP because you were tired of learning and studying? Most importantly, do you feel happy that you chose this career path? Despite all the struggles in pharmacy school, I’m sure you made it through. I’m about to start my second semester of fourth year, which leaves only 5 more semesters in this journey. I’m sure you made it through even if you had one too many mental and emotional breakdowns.

Are you still friends with I, J, H, S, Z, and any of your other college friends? I hope you know whose names those letters refer to. How are they doing? Were they bridesmaids at your wedding? Speaking of, how was your wedding? Right now, you’re worried about how that’ll work out because your family is in Pakistan, but you want to marry someone in America. How’d that work out?

What’s Eabad up to these days? If you’re 30 years old, then I hope he’s started working and making a living. Do you plan on getting him married soon or do you want him to fully establish himself?

Do you both support your parents? Are they doing well? You love your parents. I’m sure you still do. You fight with them on occasion, but they’re your best friends. In shaa Allah, they are still there with you. At 21, the thought of losing them remains unbearable. Everything you are today is because of them and their sacrifices. Never forget that.

That’s all the time I have for today. I have to pray namaz, which I hope you have started praying five times daily.

With love,

A 21 year old Komal