Today marks a pretty important day so I thought I would post a blog entry to commemorate it. Today, Gani retook his core exams, 6 months after learning that he did not pass them the first time round. It was a devastating blow and a rude awakening for us both. For me, it was mainly the financial penalty that stung. I was upset, nervous and bitter. I thought maybe he didn’t try his very best. Maybe he had overestimated himself. Maybe he had made the wrong decision to pursue his Ph.D. Maybe we shouldn’t have had that big Russian summer holiday, or that weekend trip in San Francisco. Maybe he just didn’t have good exam-taking techniques. Maybe this, maybe that.
But you know what sucked even more than all those thoughts in my head? It was the realization that Gani himself must be thinking them too, and how much more crappy he had to be feeling. I just didn’t even want to think about how crushed his self-esteem was. I had never seen him so demoralized and shaken. All our travel/fun plans for the year were immediately yanked off the table and replaced by the consideration of a hefty bank loan to pay off his tuition fees that had previously been covered by a scholarship. A scholarship we hadn’t realized we had taken for granted till now.
For weeks after his results, we took turns trying to pull each other out of the sea of self-pity we found ourselves almost drowning in everyday. It was depressing talking about it and analyzing what went wrong. Neither of us had been prepared for this. I mean, of course we knew there was a possibility of him not passing the exams, but it had seemed like we were a good distance from that reality. He had always been an outstanding student and had never had much trouble with anything academic-related before.
As with all of life’s challenges, we eventually had to accept it and figure out our next steps. There was a resit in 6 months’ time—the second and final chance Gani had in order to advance to Ph.D. candidacy. We had to make sure he fully utilized this chance, and then if he still didn’t pull through, we would have to really switch gears with our life plans. But before then, we had to make sure we had tried our very best.
These past 6 months have not been easy at all. There were fights and tears and prayers and sacrifices all the time. But more importantly, there was always an understanding that we were in this together, that we had a common goal to work toward, and that we had each other’s backs no matter what the outcome would be. We worked out a routine that optimized his study time without compromising too much on his mental and physical health. We also had to drastically cut back on social activities (which was really hard because Molly and Pratik had just moved to Seattle). It was a humbling time, letting others know that we were in a tight spot and just needed some space for a while.
So today, it is all over and I could not be prouder of my amazing husband for being so resolute in his determination to overcome this obstacle. I honestly don’t know if I could have done the same if I were in his shoes, or if I would have just called it quits. No matter what his results are this time, I can say now that I have borne witness to the effort he has put in and I know that he has learnt so much from this. I also believe that this temporary hardship has not only strengthened our relationship, but also us as individuals. And that is more valuable than passing any exam.
P.S. Will update soon with results—keep us in your prayers!
UPDATE: He passed! Alhamdulillah. What a sweet ending to such a bitter phase. Onwards and upwards!