Success is something that majority yearns for, but only a few achieve. David Brinkley once said, “A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.” In order to accomplish your goals it is imperative to have a clear vision of who you are and where you would want to be. Success does not just come from luck, popularity, or personality; it comes from hard work, resilience, and tireless ambition.
I grew up in Romania during the times of Soviet Union tyrannical influence on all spheres of our lives. Unemployment and poverty were escalating; government budget cuts in health, education, and welfare resulted in a significant decline in the quality of life. Eventually, the people started protesting, demanding independence, and with the collapse of the Soviet Union; atmosphere in the country began to change. During that time of political chaos, a lot of skilled workers, athletes and students left the country and emigrated to Western Europe, United Kingdom, USA and Australia. Like others, I could not wait to escape poverty and grim future, but the question I always asked myself was, how do I do that, what would be a way out?
My parents did not pursue a college degree since they believed that the physical labor is better rewarded than higher education. Studying for several years in college made little sense to them, given that the salary of an electrician, who completed technical school and a doctor, who graduated from university was identical. My dad was a toddler when his father passed away. His mother could no longer provide for her five children, and my dad ended up in a foster home. As an orphan, he qualified for a college scholarship, yet he chose technical school. Later he kept dreaming about getting promoted to a manager position in the oil company where he worked as an electrician. His wish was to become rich by advancing up the professional ladder.
Unfortunately, that never happened. Instead, driven by peer pressure, he became a gambler and alcoholic, and eventually lost his job. During this time, those of his friends who graduated from college immigrated to Western Europe in a quest for a better life. Since they had educational background, they could escape poverty and move to the land of opportunity. Those people had a clear vision of their future, and invested everything in order to follow their goals. Today, many of them are the successful businessman, doctors, engineers and even trade workers. They can enjoy a financially secured life because they did not give up their dreams like my father did, but continued to work tirelessly toward their success.
I was only fifteen years old when I first set a goal for myself. I aimed to graduate from college and relocate to a country where having an education was properly rewarded. My father abandoned our family when I was in high school and needed his guiding and support. However, that did not hinder me from gathering my strength and striving for excellence in my studies. It was the optimism, self-discipline, confidence and perseverance that prompted me to go the extra mile and not quit. I was also fortunate to meet a friend and high school mate Raul, who agreed to be my tutor. His father was from Nigeria, who came to Romania to study medicine in Bucharest. He met Raul’s mom, and he vouched to settle in Romania and marry her, once he would finish with residency. Contrary to his promises, Raul’s father left Romania and abandoned his girlfriend while she was pregnant with Raul. His mother worked relentlessly in a factory in order to support her son through the college. Raul had endured much mockery and name-calling from his peers due to his multi-racial origins and poor performance in sports. Despite that, I always admired Raul for perseverance and courage to follow his vision despite various obstacles and pursue his business degree. He inspired me to study better, work harder and to think the