Tough Times Never Last, But Tough People Do

Biswadeep Dhar from India experienced first hand that even though you may have health insurance, you still have plenty of bills to pay. His essay was one of the finalists for microscholarship #1.

At this point of time, I truly agree to the above quote based on my own challenges which I experienced in Gainesville, Florida. It has been more than a year now at UF being a graduate student in Biology and the first year will always be memorable to me for the rest of my life. Just after twenty four days in Gainesville, I felt a huge tremor in life with my three ankle bones broken which was followed by a severe surgery at UF-College of Medicine [Shands Hospital]. I still remember the time and date – 10pm, 08/30/13. All I could remember is that I was surrounded by the police and fire rescue officials on Archer Road and I still could feel the repeated intra-venous injection. Rest was beyond my consciousness. Next time, I saw myself at Shands emergency with an unbearable pain on my leg and yes, now I could understand the pain of three broken bones. And now, I am writing this on a piece of paper not just for applying to a Scholarship but to let someone at least know that an international student is there at UF with some special spirits if not anything else.

Being an international student, it was extremely difficult to do anything and run the Fall’12 semester with this kind of situation. Taking classes and lab meeting via skype for two weeks, studying at home, not taking bath and going to campus for four months with crutches were more than a trauma to me. Aside to this, I had a severe mental trauma and couldn’t even ask for help to anyone as everyone was busy in their lives. Here, I must mention two names – Dr.Juliet Pulliam, who is my Mentor/Advisor and Prof.Malay Ghosh, Distinguished Professor of Statistics, UF; without whom I wouldn’t have been here at UF right now. I was at Prof.Ghosh’s home for two weeks right after my surgery as the doctors suggested me to stay at a ground floor apartment due to my immobility. I used to go to the campus with my advisor and I still cannot imagine how generous these two people were to me. I should say about my own spirits here – even at this stage of my life, I didn’t even think of going back to my country despite several suggestions from my friends and others. I acquired such immunity by not losing my mental strength at all, however may be the tough situation it may be. I believe this sort of strength is a pre-requisite for anyone to survive a graduate life.

Now, coming to the financial matters, it was equally a huge pressure on me to bear the medical expenses and I literally got nervous and couldn’t concentrate on anything during that time. This was mainly due to the fact that my case was taken over by the police and lately by the Florida State Attorney. I had a ton of bills from my health insurance company, the auto insurance from the car owner from whom I had a hit/run accident on my ankle. Although majority of the bills were being covered by the insurances but I still had to pay for a lot of things – like my broken glasses, mattresses, bills for the wheel chairs/crutches and many more to mention which I could bring up at any point of time. Finally, I must also mention my state attorney advocate’s name Ms.Debbie Snyder, from whom I got active cooperation all the time. Then I decided to apply for a Scholarship at Univ of Florida International Center and got the Scarborough Scholarship.

Still, I had to pay a lot of bills which my health insurance did not pay neither got it reimbursed by them. I think this is really a big burden to any international student like me where each dollar counts a lot and especially for a student who is coming from a severely financial stressed background. Despite the highly advanced health care system in the United States, I believe that it would be a huge pressure on the students if anyone is stuck with severe medical emergencies only due to the expenses associated with it. if For all these circumstances, I am in a position to apply for another scholarship which would be extremely helpful so as supportive to me before I graduate in Summer’14 with a Master’s degree in Biology and wish to continue with my PhD in Public Health.

Biswadeep Dhar from India studies at the University of Florida at Gainesville.

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