“Get married now!” my cousin Nazir advised.

“I won’t,” I replied. “I am still hoping to get a scholarship for a U.S. college and achieve my dream of becoming a lawyer and helping Afghan women.”

“You’ve been saying the same thing for three years,” Nazir said.

“Well, now I’ve applied to other programs and I am sure I will make it,” I said.

“Why are you so sure?”

“Because I have wanted this from the depths of my heart. And I’m at the final step. We just are waiting to get our results.”

“But you are going to India with your mother for her treatment for a month,” said Nazir.

“Yes, and I’ll be in touch with them through emails.”

He said I was crazy for hanging onto my hopes. I said I didn’t care; I knew what I wanted.

I left for India. My mom’s treatment took place in Mumbai at Tata Memorial Hospital. I stayed there and all the time I thought about my dream of becoming a lawyer.

I received an email from the Initiative to Educate Afghan Women (IEAW) saying they would interview me as the final step. So I bought a SIM card for my cellphone and waited to receive the call. My family and the friends with whom we were staying in Mumbai knew about this and thought of me being so silly.

Finally one day, I was sitting with my friends when I got the call for the phone interview.  I told my friends about it afterwards and they said it was only a formality and I would not be selected. Days passed and the month was quickly over.

I returned to Kabul and again weeks passed by. Suddenly one day I received an email from a U.S. college saying: “Congratulations! You are selected as an undergraduate student for this Fall.” At first I thought it was a joke, but then I got another email from IEAW and they congratulated me as well. That was a shocking moment for me but I knew it finally worked.

I called my mom right away and told her. She was so happy for me. She had called my dad and my brothers. I continued my work at the office and was smiling all the time. I kept getting calls from my dad, brothers, and other cousins congratulating me. “I told them don’t congratulate me yet, because I am still waiting to go through another step,” which was getting a visa. Getting a visa was very hard. I am from Kandahar and thought they might not issue me a visa because of that. I had to wait, but luckily, I did get my visa.

I feel like the luckiest girl on Earth. It’s like a dream to be able to go to college in the United States. I used to hear about the United States in books only. Now I made it, and I am looking forward to studying and having my dream come true, Inshallah.

By Yagana