For so many students in India who aspire to pursue their higher education in America, the election verdict on Wednesday afternoon was a letdown. The general atmosphere was as if Trump would throw Indian immigrants out the minute he took office (which isn’t for another few months, anyway). After months of gruelling preparation to get the right GRE/GMAT and TOEFL scores and investing money to give these exams and to send scores to universities, university application fees, and possibly even counselling fees - aspiring students are in quite a dilemma. Should we turn back now and cut our losses, not risking a bigger loss in the future? Or should we trudge forward and follow our dreams?
True to form, Indians are panicking and blowing the situation out of proportion. Within 24 hours of the elections, I’ve had a number of relatives and friends asking me what my plan is. We ourselves don’t know what needs to be done, but could only watch the election with bated breath as most of the states we planned to go to turned red to indicate Republican votes. There are various forums where students are either seriously discussing or joking about how Indians will never get a visa, university admit or job in the US anymore. All of this makes for a very demotivating atmosphere for students that were probably excited about starting their lives in a new country.
In such a situation we can hope that, at best, there will be no changes in the policies and the President elect concerns himself with other issues; while at worst, jobs are a harder to find. The worst-case scenario can paint a grim picture for most of us who will be relying on our employment abroad to repay loans. There is no perfect solution that applies to every student. If you are convinced that you will go there and work hard to set yourself apart from the crowd, you can take the decision to trust yourself and continue your applications. If you are unsure or cannot afford to take risks, you can work a few more years to get an idea of what the situation pans out to be.
The mindset of the citizens towards immigrants is also another thing worrying aspiring students. However this is not something that can be predicted or controlled; and most students, like me, are just choosing to be optimistic about the situation, but still staying informed. All in all, informed decisions are the best course of action in the current scenario.