It was one of those hot summer days.
I was working as a lecturer at a private university. I was done with my classes in the first half of the day. But I had to wait for 4 hours before my company car picked me up. So I sat down in the department office looking at my Facebook page. Recently I started following a page “Higher Study Abroad – HSA” and there was this post by a guy- how he managed funding at one of the universities in USA with a low GRE score and low CGPA (below 3.0/4.0). He accumulated a list of around 200 universities and the professors and he mailed 50 professors every night. Within few months he got a reply from a professor who was interested in funding him fully for his Master’s degree. That post somehow opened my eyes. I thought to myself, if he could manage funding with that CGPA and that GRE score, there is still hope for me. I met my friend the next day, she told me how she is preparing for GRE and want to register for the exam. And without even thinking, I told her “ I will take the exam with you.” We registered that week for the exam dated 3 months later, 28th August.
August 1, 2014, and I absolutely had no preparation. I am the master of procrastination. I love doing things at the last moment. So, I wasted another 3 weeks. Only 1 week for the whole GRE preparation. My panic monster was ruling all over my brain. I took 6 days off from work and started with a google search “how to take GRE preparation in a week”. Yes, it went to that point.
I was satisfied with my score. I don’t like to push myself when I don’t need to. After the exam, there is no point of being unhappy with the result.
The real struggle began in September. If you want the sweets, you will have to taste the bitterness first. Well, I was not ready for the bitterness. I started emailing professors. After mailing about 50 professors in 1 week, I got few negative replies. At this point, I totally forgot about that post that inspired me. Motivation, inspiration- these are all temporary. What drives you to your goal is the craving for the sweets.
I couldn’t see my sweets, it was all bitter. I did not like it at all. I stopped emailing after those 50 emails. After about a week, I was feeling terrible at my work again. It was the desperation that drove me this time. And desperation is always stronger than inspiration. I jot down all the universities that were within my reach. My goal was to mail 500 professors and apply to 5 universities. I promised myself that if this doesn’t work out I wasn’t going to look back and blame myself.
September 3rd week I started again. October 20, 2014- some positive replies, some negative replies. Applied to 3 universities already. University of North Dakota P.hD. program – fall, 2015, North Dakota State University P.hD. Program – fall, 2015, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth MS program – fall, 2015. It was 4:00 AM in Bangladesh. 3:00 PM in Wisconsin. I just mailed one of the professors in University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and got a reply immediately. He told me to apply as soon as possible. I changed my Statement of Purpose and applied within next 2 days. On November first week I got my admission and two weeks later, they confirmed my assistantship and I stopped emailing that day. I looked at my records, I sent 533 emails to 533 professors from around 50 universities within 2 months. Another week later I got an offer from one of the professors of North Dakota State University. And by December, I had funding from 3 universities for Spring, 2015 and another for Fall, 2015.
Though I was not mailing professors with any specific research topic (because it minimizes your chances), my supervisor’s research interest was similar to the one I had my heart on – automotive lubrication. These are the moments that I am forced to believe in my creator. Even when I am looking at something else, He rotates my head towards the goal.