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Payal Dhanda




We tend to say relationships are built and given from the creator above. We talk about how being in a relationship can change us as people, taking into consideration our surroundings. How there are pros and cons in our personality and behavior when we are in one; bringing the best and the worst out of us. In hindsight, we realize the true reasons behind certain situations; the strengths that we’ve acquired due to the situations of our past. I have had several of these revelation-like moments in my life…

My name is Payal Dhanda. I am 19 years old. I was born in Punjab, India and I currently reside in Long Island, NY. Struggling is a part of life, a known factor that cannot be avoided despite the innumerable attempts. Although it becomes easier, thanks to the many supportive people throughout your life, it is also the truth that it is not necessarily the same people who are there for the entirety of the journey and destination.

Because I was born in India, I have lived half of my life in the perspective of that society. If I were to come across someone that was remotely interested in being my friend and respected me for who I am, I would very likely put my trust into them. After my father passed away when I was 3 years old, my life changed completely. Even though I was young, I never had the chance to experience a father’s love that most children around me got; it didn’t help that at the age of 4. I barely received a mother’s love, as my own would be busy working, trying to provide what both parents usually would.

This situation always left me alone at home; an unavoidable one for which I still wonder how I overcame at such a tender age. Throughout my childhood I was one of those shy and introverted kind of girls, always lost in her own world. That was one of my revelation moments because I was fortunate enough to befriend people who have become no less than a family for me; I’m an open book around them. And they know that I am someone who will be there when they need me; their company took up most of my time, keeping my mind occupied from missing my mother or feeling the absence of my father. As it is, friendships are important in life because they help you grow, as well as teach you valuable life lessons. For me, it was a lesson that not everyone will walk with you through your journey of life; somewhere in the midst of it, they will come to a stop or step back, leaving you to face obstacles alone and without support. There are moments when people will doubt you, driving themselves away due to the lack of trust between you two, and that is when you know it’s the time to move ahead in life.

As time went by, I wanted to come out to America and continue my education. Being the only child in the house, I just wanted to make my mom proud and do what makes me happy as well. When I received my acceptance letter to Baruch College, I was ecstatic because this was my opportunity. After the overwhelming emotions subdued, the realization that I would be leaving everything behind hit me. I would be starting a new life in a totally new country among total strangers. It was a hard choice but I decided to step out of my comfort zone; a new atmosphere was needed to improve and build myself as an individual. Once here, the revelation moment dawned upon me; I was alone, once again, and this time around, I had nobody to accompany me; homesickness quickly took over. The saying is true: We don’t appreciate and value what’s in our life until it is no longer part of it. My life and the struggles that have been a part of it have definitely taught me to value every single thing that I have with me before it’s too late.

The situation gets hard, people come and go but what keeps you going is faith in yourself. It was a life lesson to know that it only takes seconds to no longer have people that I grew up with beside me. The year 2018 has been filled with emotions and lessons. This emotional roller coaster, however, has helped me grow as a person. That shy, introverted girl made a choice that has helped her become a completely new person: A strong, confident, motivated individual with new aspiration, new positive mindset who has learned to move on and appreciate whatever she has at the moment. If one battle ends, another is waiting but it doesn’t seem hard when you know you are strong enough to overcome it. People come to your life as a blessing and some come to your life as a lesson that you need to learn from. What matters is making yourself into a better person once you have been taught the lessons. Life is all about living and learning. We learn new things every day, between waking up and falling asleep. How we come about those lessons help in defining who we are and what we become. We shouldn’t lose our self-worth trying to impress others. We shouldn’t lose ourselves just to make others happy. Love yourself and be happy. Life is cruel when it comes to focusing on others; so it’s better to focus on yourself. Be happy and stay smiling.

My name is Payal Dhanda and this is my Project Why.

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