Okay, so, I know some of my readers must be like, "Yeah, yeah, congrats for being accepted and being a "future-doctor," but, please! Quit it already. It's not that big of a deal, all right?" But allow me to explain why this means ALL worlds to me and so much more.
You see, during the last few months, I felt like the lowest of the lowest. I didn't feel like I had a future at all, I worried day and night about what I'd do after graduation, and why I was doing what I was doing in the first place (I mean, seriously -- an unmarried Pashtun woman pursuing gender relations/roles in Islamic law? No way! A single woman my age should be doing everything ("decent") in her power to attract men and get married, NOT pushing them, potential husbands, away by pursuing something this controversial! Oh yeah? Well, watch me. I am doing it, and I love it more than I love my own self-- and I love myself quite a lot, mind you). Of course, that was just a short phase and not something I feel frequently or have felt frequently. It was just, I had a little thesis-crisis moment a few weeks ago, and that's what made me pause for a little while. And then came the news that I got a scholarship to study Arabic abroad, which lightened me up much more than I'd previously thought possible, you see, and so I felt much better after a while. But then there's my parents (explained below).
So, having been accepted to a program that's known for its Arabic faculty, in addition to other languages (like Urdu!) and contribution in the west is truly an accomplishment! The start of my PhD in the fall, inshaAllah, will be the start of an exciting and fulfilling future, and this I know as a fact now.
Anyway, then on top of that ... what I'm doing isn't something that impresses my parents. They're worried about my future and believe that I need to get married since I'm not becoming a (medical) doctor because I won't be making enough money and therefore need a (preferably doctor) husband. Me, I love and appreciate them for their thoughts and for wanting the best for me, and I've made it a point to let them know that I'm not against marriage at all. I'll get married when "the time comes," even if that's in the middle of my PhD pursuit. There's something about South Asian parents and their longing for their daughters to become medical doctors. I appreciate the role of doctors in society and all, of course I do, but it's nothing that I'm even remotely interested in -- and blood repels me more than I repel it: I puke every time I see blood, and then I see the image of disgust for the next several hours. I honestly am not fit to be a doctor. But I'm not here to convince you why I shouldn't be a doctor. I'm here to talk about how much I have disappointed my parents for not taking the medical road like they told me I will be and like I promised them I would ever since I was 4 years old.
I completely understand why they want me to become a doctor, so it's not that I'm thinking, omg how could they think this superficially! No, I don't think it's superficial at all. They have perfectly legitimate reasons for wanting that for me, among which is stability and great pay. However, they completely deny the role of non-medical professions in society as well as the stability (and great pay) that comes with something like what I wanna do. I'm not, however, interested in the pay at all. Sure, I'd love to get paid a lot and all, but in my field, your pay depends almost primarily on your contributions to the field, your fame, your demand, your position, etc., etc.
I don't want to talk about how my parents reacted to the news of my acceptance. It was better than I'd expected, however, and that's all I could pray for! They do want the best for me, after all, and they love me.
My friends -- they've been extremely supportive, simply amazing to say the least. Some were even happier and more excited than I am! I'm so, SO touched!!! God I love them!
My teachers ... oh my God. They've been the most important support system for me all throughout my undergraduate career. They know how much this means to me, they are aware of the expectations of my parents and of my parents' disappointment in my not choosing medicine, and they have been very influential in my decision. If, in 25 years, I can be even half of what they are today, I will consider myself highly accomplished. More about these teachers (and possibly their names) later on, ka khairee, close to my graduation days. ~sniff~
But, yeah, so I was telling you about how getting accepted into this program is really important to me because, through it, I proved something to myself. It's not that I don't have self-confidence. I believe I have a lot of self-confidence, but it's that sometimes I can feel really low when considering my parents' disappointment in me. They'll see themselves soon, inshaAllah, that I made the right decision, the most perfect decision for me and for them, but until then, I just have to live with it and try to help them find satisfaction in what I'm doing ... because you know what, world? This is what I'm doing, this is what I am, and I'm not going to stop it just because my parents can't tell everyone, "Yeah, all our daughters are doctors, alhamdulillah." :)