By Laxman Samtani (Australia)
A quarter of a century and still progressing forward! Let me attempt to portray some snippets of my journey and share some valuable advice.
“Here is your boarding pass to Brisbane sir”. I still distinctly remember those words from nearly six years ago. This was a start of another chapter in my life. I was leaving for Australia to start my bachelors’ degree and also experience a new beginning. I still was not convinced that this is what I wanted. The difficult part was not staying and being alone; rather it was adjusting to a new environment and going even further away from most of my family.
I was used to staying alone and being independent. I was brought up in The Ivory Coast, West Africa where my immediate family still resides. I was sent to a boarding school in India so as to improve my English language skills as the language spoken in The Ivory Coast is French and also to the fact that I was a living example of the naughty, Dennis the Menace. Initially, I was upset at my parents for sending me away and leaving me in a lonely and strict environment or so I believed at that time. Looking back now, I only have appreciation and applause for my parents. Boarding life taught me to be self-determining, strong and confident. Moreover, it also helped me make most of my decisions on my own and realise the value of what a family really is. Boarding life was fun and till today, I have friends from when I first entered the premises of the “student jail” as we referred to it – friends, who I have known nearly fifteen years now!
Fast forward - had I not come to Brisbane, I would probably be back in Africa doing what our families do best, trading in anything and everything! Instead, since nearly six years now, here I am finishing my PhD which my university offered me to do after my undergraduate and honours degrees opening up a window of opportunities for my career. I will forever be grateful to all my family, wherever they are for their support in every way. Australia has been an adventure for me. Besides living a totally dissimilar lifestyle to what I am accustomed to, I experienced friendships, relationships and work ethics at a very different level, not to mention the innumerable trips to different countries I had the opportunity to travel thanks to my parents, my university and some self-funding.
An advice for the older generation if I may, support your sons, daughters, nephews, nieces for anything they want to do because If they don’t do what they like, it will only bring grief and dilemma to both yourselves and them. For my very young friends, you don’t always have to plan ahead, sometimes it just comes to you and sometimes you have to work your way through the lanes to find the one that will lead you to your destination. Those of who are in my age vicinity, well I assume you know where you stand, hence go with the flow. I wish to keep this short for now, but there is always a day when I might just start writing about anything and share it with you folks.
I believe life is a one way highway through which you steer to reach a destination, either temporarily or for a rather long time. How you get there depds on your decisions, instincts and past experiences. There is no going back, so do drive carefully!!