Unpacking Fridays

If you can’t control it let it go

Graduations are always exciting and yet confusing times. You are happy of the past chapter but also, you do not know what the next one will bring.

2015 was one of the most confusing years of my life. I had just graduated high school, college applications were in, national exams were done and “just vibing” mode was on.

February 19th, 2015 at around 11 AM, I received a call from my dad asking me about of high school exam results. My movie addicted self had not yet found out that her exam results were released, so you can imagine how this call came in as a shock. I had spent 3 months not thinking about those exams. After my dad hanged up, I was left with a bunch of unanswered questions. What if I did not pass? Will these results define my entire life? Again my phone busted me out of my thoughts but this time it was a text message from dad sending me instructions of how to check my result via SMS, there I was wondering if it would be a bad idea if ignored the message but I remembered it was almost 12, meaning mom was about o come home for lunch and I was sure she will come asking about my results. I had no time left to process, I decided to send that SMS. A few minutes later, new SMS in, I open it and to my greatest relief I had not just passed. I passed with high distinction.

On March 3rd, 2015 the National university application portal was opened and on that same day at 12 PM, I received the famous “It is with great pleasure we welcome you….” email. I had got into my top choice school with an above my expectations financial aid. I still cannot explain the thrill and relief I felt at that moment, I could care less about the portal opening. I remember running to my uncle to show him the email and asking him for dramatic ways to which I could announce the news to my parents. I am not going to get into the details of it, all I know is that day I realized that I and my uncle had equally bad humour.

Now I had to start thinking about the travel process, visas, enrollment, courses, all that long list. As I was about to move to Germany, I also decided to start taking German language classes just to have the basic knowledge of the language. I submitted my visa application on May 15th as I was supposed to leave on August 20th as the orientation was supposed to start on 23rd. The first month passed without any response, June ended and July came. By then I was already panicking I had about 6 weeks to go and still no response. I decide to go to the embassy to check on the status of my application and was asked to be patient. In the meantime one of my friends had also been admitted to the same school as me, she had also submitted her application around the same time as I did but had already obtained her visa by mid-June. July passed too and August came, as you can imagine, yes I was literally sick. I went every day to the embassy to ask about the status of my visa, I was receiving emails from my school asking for my travel information and I had nothing to send. August 20th came and passed. The official semester starts on September 1st, and here I was at the German embassy in Kigali asking about my visa. In the entire process, I had lost about 10 kg in the span of a month, when I wasn’t oversleeping, I had no sleep at all.

September also passed when I kept being told to stay patient. On Monday, October 5th around 9 AM, my phone rings and the person on the line checks my names, I confirm and asks me to come to pick up my visa. By that time I had already given up on getting it, that I remember walking to my mom and telling her the news in such a disappointed tone that she decided to come with me to pick it up because she was not sure if I would actually go. After that we had to plan for the trip, my dad was like you can leave even tomorrow but me I was not having it. I was tired that all that I wanted to do or hear about was sleep. We ended up agreeing on the following weekend as I need time to myself first.

Circa 2015

When I got to school obviously I was, remarkably late and most classes were more study ahead sessions without any chronology at all. As you can tell by the end of the semester I was the most unhappy student. I do not know how I had managed to do well on my exams but I still had resentment feelings from the visa incident. I shared with my parents my feelings when I went for Christmas break and told them that I wanted to transfer at the end of the year.

I started my second semester even more down, I was just looking forward to transferring. I had to get signatures from my professors and when I met my study program coordinator, he asked me why I was transferring. I was honest and told him that it had nothing to do with the school specifically and everything to do with the pre-developed feelings I had before coming there. He was very understanding and judged my reason as valid. His questions had triggered my brain into a rethinking my decision, especially that I had just also admitted loud and clear that the problem was not the school. I realised that what happened could happen again and me not letting go will always weigh on me.

This realisation changed my entire decision. I realised that I had no control over the visa issuing process but I could use that visa the way I choose to. Many of us fail to reconcile with some life events and this stops us from enjoying the best of what we have. If you can’t control it let it go.

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