It was a difficult moment, sitting in my doctor’s clinic and being told I had been tested positive for the human leukocyte antigen B27. The seriousness in his voice made me shudder, even as I struggled to comprehend the terminology of the disease that had hit me at the age of 10.
I was quickly assured that my condition was not life threatening, but it still meant that I could develop autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile arthritis or ankylosing spondylitis. I did what any 16-year-old would; hit the internet and amass every bit of information I could.
After endless browsing and counselling sessions, I found out there was no real cure except immuno-suppressant injections that had side effects. However, it also revealed that strict measures could prevent or slow the pace of joint damage. That was all I needed to make my commitment– ‘I will not let my condition get the better of me’.
I made major lifestyle changes. Heavy physical stress was forbidden, so I had to be careful about activities I took up. When boys were dribbling football, a game that was my passion, I was sweating it out in the gym. I traded exciting junk food for boring, healthy ingredients. While others partied over weekends, I attended physiotherapy sessions. I had set myself a long-term goal, and I was not going to stop.
On my doctor’s recommendation, my father started taking me for swimming lessons. He noticed my dejection at not being able to play football, and taught me an important lesson – If you are not with the one you love, then love the one you are with. I trained for inter-school and zonal championships, and qualified for the district swimming championship, one of my greatest achievements.
While I was actively pursuing my academic goals, there were many occasions when I felt like giving up on my routine. However, I knew that if my health breaks down, all my efforts would go in vain. I learnt the art of balancing health and academic commitments. During college, there were days when I hit the gym or went for a run in the wee hours of night, even when I was exhausted after having submitted a long assignment. I felt proud of my perseverance.
The by-product of my devotion was the positive attitude I developed, which helped me overcome challenges in my profession – from diffusing a difficult situation with a client, to motivating my team to deliver work within strict timelines.
During my two years at Yale, I will not only actively participate in the ‘Fir for Thought’ club, but also lay down my journey for my classmates, to inspire them to stay committed to a cause they believe in. From chalking out short-and- long term professional goals and working with a sustainability fund, to starting my own, I see the full-time MBA program at Yale helping me sculpt a story that is so awesome that I will be willing to do anything to fulfil it.