Fulbright Success Story (PhD)
Faisal Kakar

Faisal Kakar

Jan 6, 2022
07 mins

 Fulbright Scholarships PhD

Our attitude defines us who we are and who we are going to be in future. Environment is the major factor determines the root of our attitude. Wasting time due to ignorance of its value makes us weak in different fields of life. Just let the time pas is not the way of living.  I have seen many students focusing on their academic activity in schools and rest of the time they just don’t know how to utilize it. Teenage is the period of life we get started learning things very fast and most of the young fellows remain ignorant how to use this time. Everyone is born with some innate skills. Unfortunately, In Pakistan we seriously lack those eagle eyes which can judge the innate talent of a person. That is why we are the trend followers and flow with the wind. Those youngsters surrounded by motivated and self-determined friends are fortuitous. They just need to stick with their friends circle and things will go in their favor.

I belong to this aforementioned class of young fellows who do not ever know what is going around them. They focus only on single objective and feel pleasure in completing that. Going to school and playing some sports is the habitual activity for them. I still remember that phase of my life having no activity other than homework and cricket and no idea how to benefit the time on weekends when school is off and no friends to play with. Window open on road side in my home still remembers me the days I spent by standing there for hours watching traffic flow and people gossiping around. Unintentionally, I was being procrastinated which kept me mentally weak.

I was strong in memorizing lesson taught in school and college there while being completely ignorant of the fact that higher studies, engineering in my case, based on conceptual studies and these memorized thing will be overwritten by other informative facts one day. This happened exactly the same way as I said “overwritten by further knowledge”.

I was good at playing cricket since childhood and my father knows I have a knack for it but lack of trust in my own abilities refrain me to take a solo decision and abandon the academia for a while to take a chance in cricket academy. It isn’t the case for me only almost every child of us is facing the same problem. We have interest in something and our society, culture, social ethics force us to go in the other way. We live in a fantasy life of our own having a role of super hero in dreams but in reality this super hero is aghast of the event occurs whereabouts. This is because we are lacking good mentors and counselors at every young age.

My father had a desire to see me as an army officer. Just for his wish I applied and selected for PMA 122 Long course as a Cadet and would have been 2nd leutinent after 2 years training but thank to my Grandmaa who didn’t allowed father to send me there. But still I had no vision what is my true passion.

During bachelors in Electrical Engineering from Punjab University Lahore I had no idea why was I there. I was just hoping a good job by extrapolating the trend. Although I was fascinated with the prodigies guys having greater interest in what they were doing and by heart I always craved to be like them but couldn’t and the only reason of this was my company. I was surrounded by lethargic friends.  My mind was engrossed with the thoughts that I can’t do the things what others have done. My penitence of being week in conceptual studies kept me away for applying into Pakistan Top Ranked Universities for post-graduation.

I will again refer to that irony of lacking good mentors because I chose NUST Energy Center USPCASE for my master studies because of depriving of job for six months after bachelors.

I had no idea of research methodologies, First time I was introduce to research paper type of thing and I was totally bemused because rest of my fellows had written research papers in bachelor degree and I was totally ignorant of it. This was the transition period and I got friends highly motivated and devoted to their future. I had confident on my prowess but needed a push. As I said earlier environment is determining factor of our attitude and NUST provided me with this and after graduation I was feeling prestige to have 5 research papers naming me. This motivation targeted me towards getting admission in NUST for PhD program.

Before visiting to Oregon State University on exchange program in last semester of MS, I never thought of myself a product for studying abroad because I had a stringent religious stereotype personality. I always found peace and tranquility in offering prayers to Almighty.  How can I dream of adjusting abroad even if I was aghast of NUST before taking admission there? This visit was a boom for polishing my skills and fulfilling my desire to be best which I craved in bachelors but couldn’t do so at that time. I was unable to kept balance between religious activities and intentions of doing great in this mortal life. So here is my message for readers of this story

“Not to underestimate your skills just find a good mentor either physically presents or in the form of character building books.”

After coming back from four month exchange program I was highly motivated and idea to pursue my PhD in USA too seized my mind. Rumination for a bright career led me towards hunting scholarships and along with my friend I started preparing for though I had not given my MS thesis defense yet. I requested my supervisor to give me three months and halted MS thesis preparation. Some family members admonished me to stay back from this unprecedented journey as no one yet went for studying abroad. But I salute to my father who always encouraged me to be at best. It would be injustice if I do not acknowledge my friend Sara Sultan who played a role of a mentor and her moral support always invigorated me whenever I felt despondent.

I was sent back from the Prometric Center at the day of this most awaited test when I failed to show my passport or national identity card (in English). I was floundering that time even it was my fault not to read the instructions carefully and took my CNIC (Urdu version). Feeling of being regress was wandering inside my head. I had incurred everything for this test and it wasn’t easy to pay $205 again but good friends are a gift of GOD and I am thankful to have them. After brooking this formidable time I scored 304 in GRE and started preparing for Fulbright application. I was feeling myself debased from academic awards and achievements as I had average grades throughout my career (but with first division). But I have been multifacit and a very enthralling other side of me in extracurricular activities and sports. Here is my second advice for readers of this story.

“Do not think Fulbright needs a bookworm if anyone thinks so he/she is misinformed. There are high chance of recommendation for socially active persons having knack in sports and volunteer work. Make your profile stronger through attending conferences, workshops and seminars on topics covering every aspect of life.”

Thanks to merciful almighty Allah I got accepted for Fulbright scholarships PhD with bachelors and master CGPA of 3.23, 3.35 and 304 in GRE. I will be joining Electrical Computer and Energy department in Arizona State University in fall 2018. . If I had been aware of GRE preparation and mentoring platform like Scholar Den I would have been even graduated from U.S schools.

In last I would encourage my readers not to aghast from low CGPA or GRE. If you are average in academia try to balance out it through social and extracurricular activities.  Be mentally strong while applying as this isn’t a smooth path for students like me having only morally and financially sports from family and needs good mentor or friends to show us the way to go.



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