Either Now or Later
By Anish Unnikrishnan
March 29, 2023
It was the third day of the third month of the third year since the pandemic when I received my offer letter from the University of Waterloo and I was on cloud three times three. Leaving the dinner packet open and confirming that it wasn’t a dream, I began an exciting round of calls to all the contacts on my phone’s speed dial. The following days had an undeniably different vibe, filled with mixed emotions and I could see a drastic change making its way into my life. The confetti popping in the email every time I opened it thereafter randomly was my best celebration away from everyone on the speed dial.
With that, a new phase commenced, wherein I kept discovering several facts related to this new life update quite often, and also found myself repeating the same set of statements to everyone remotely related to my life. The confetti popping eventually got less interesting as I realized the ‘n’ number of tasks lined up ahead, topped by a time crunch, and that ‘n’ was not 3 anymore. Regardless, I started figuring out the requirements and immediately skipped the first one, as it was just something that would happen at its own pace, my undergrad degree. Next in line was something unavoidable, money matters. Some quick intense calls later, the decision to opt for an education loan was taken. Though I would love to describe the drama that occurred further in detail, let’s stick to a one-line summary for someone’s sake. We applied for a loan, submitted the documents, waited and waited, and then waited some more before we finally withdrew the loan as the deadlines were long decomposing.
To give some context about the deadline, it was August already, and I was yet to apply for a study permit which had a wait time of about three (just a coincidence) months, and my classes were to begin in early September. Oh, and I had finished my final semester and was back home at this point. We had shifted to a new place a while ago, and this change of residence on some documents also hogged some time, adding to the delay. But anyway, the visa application had been submitted, and I was hoping for nothing less than a miracle. Keeping up with the excitement, we began shopping, house hunting, and every other task altogether, only to lose hope seeing no signs of visa approval even by the end of August. I then reached out to the University and they offered me a deferral to the next term. This came as a big relief and I got an updated set of statements to play on repeat.
Getting this deferral came along with some implications that I had to accept, but the brighter side had some rewards too. The highlight of the reward was being able to switch to relax mode for a while and relishing some more homemade food. Thanks to our catalyst – the deferral -, the approval of my study permit came on a special day in September, settling two celebrations in a single cake. Let’s call it the effect of growing a year older, we decided to introduce an important aspect of adulthood to life – EMI, through an education loan. We again submitted the documents, waited and waited, and then waited some more before we finally got it sanctioned! Guess someone finally approved the miracle that was due then. Over the course of the next 2 months, shopping, accommodation search, flight ticket booking among better tasks like selecting courses, setting up university email and more relaxing occurred.
Wrapping everything up, we were now at a 15-day countdown, probably the most overwhelming part of it all. It took some time to sink in that I would now be departing from my home and homies with only a one-way ticket in hand. Fast forward to the day, suitcases and emotional baggage had been packed and we were enroute to the airport, all set for the cacophony of thousands of vehicles. Only an email from the airline stating that the first flight to Germany had been canceled 5 hours before departure could possibly numb all the noises in your head. With only visual content and thoughts brewing in our brains, we made our way to the airport. After some conversation with the airlines and a grueling wait, I was finally accommodated on an alternate flight via Turkey the next morning, which meant I had to spend the night at the airport. Thanks to the loan I could afford a sandwich and the excess baggage charges they bestowed me with. They say airport goodbyes are tough, well I am not sure of it because life just seized those moments from me amidst this chaos.
Seatbelts fastened, time zones changed, seatbelts loosened and yours truly had reached Toronto. Some airport procedures, a cab ride, and some struggle with snow later, I was finally home, far from home. Days then sped by, classes began, temperatures dropped, video calls became a routine and life just kept happening. Cutting through the script, dodging maple leaves and minding the word limit, we are now at the present day.
And to everyone still reading, give it some time and it shall happen, either now or later.
About the author:
Anish Unnikrishnan is currently pursuing his MEng in Chemical Engineering from the University of Waterloo after a bachelor’s in the same field. Reading, chess, music, and random writing usually keep him occupied in his free time.