[update: the number has grown to 120K followers, when this thread was created].
While everyone is fighting hard to get into the best MBA colleges in the world, and hopefully learn life changing lessons, Virali Modi’s education took a different turn and it wasn’t out of choice.
Virali shares the lessons that she was able to pick up without a college degree.
5 Lessons I got without a college education
by Virali Modi
Frankly, because I got sick and became wheelchair bound, I had a lot of financial costs, and I couldn’t support myself through college. I migrated from the USA to India in hopes of finding a treatment that would cure me or help me, that’s where I learned everything I’m about to tell you.
1. RESPECT YOURSELF
No one is going to respect you, unless you learn to respect yourself first. It’s honestly as simple as that.
You are more important than anyone else, and you should make yourself a priority. Respect comes from within. Firstly, you must understand the meaning of respect; it basically means to love who you are and what you stand for and at the same time, acknowledging what others stand for without disregarding them.
Personally, I’ve had many people shoot me down because I’m on a wheelchair, potential love interests, friends, family even. They didn’t respect me and I learned that in order to get respect, I need to respect who I am as a person. I’m caring, passionate, helpful, and extremely nice; I should love who I am and make that show.
Currently, I’m surrounded by people who love, care, and respect me for me. They support me in the things I do and that’s made me improve as a person.
LESSON 2. STAND FOR WHAT YOU BELIEVE IN
You’re going to meet a lot of people who will shoot down your ideas and your opinions. You can’t let the opinion of others come in the way.
People will be jealous of a good idea, they’ll try to steal a good idea off of you and make it their own. You can’t let that happen. If you truly think that your idea, opinion, or whatsoever is strong, stand for it. Do not let anyone tell you what to do and what not to do in life. You are your own guide, no one else.
I want to be an actress/model. A lot of people came in the way and said that I’m stupid for wanting this. I stand for what I believe and I’ve kept trying. I’ve had photo shoots, and I finally got selected to participate in the grand finals for Ms. Wheelchair India, which is a fairly new and innovative.
LESSON 3. FAMILY ISN’T REALLY THAT IMPORTANT
This is extremely controversial. What I mean by family is your relatives, not your siblings and your parents; I mean your aunts, uncles, cousins, and to some extent — maybe your grandparents.
This can go either way, you might have a dysfunctional family like mine, or you might have an extremely loving and uniform family. Unfortunately, that isn’t the experience I had. Before I go on, I’d like to share a personal story with you.
When I got sick (which put me in a wheelchair), I was fighting between life and death. The doctors had once clinically declared me dead; my grandparents, aunts, and uncles were there for the first episode. This was the second instance when I was fighting for my life, I could’ve died there that day, in 2006. My family left my parents crying on the floor and went to Pizza Hut for lunch and a chocolate factory tour after. They didn’t come back until the evening.
I survived, thankfully, but my parents were left in pieces. I don’t know about you, but my parents are everything for me, even though, let’s be honest — they are annoying sometimes, but you’d be lost without them.
After I recovered and became wheelchair bound, I discovered the truth. I discovered that my family is worthless and nonexistent to me. They don’t matter, and their opinions don’t matter to me.
This is what I want you to know, this is in suit with the second point as well, don’t let society values, family (relatives), and others who don’t matter, come in the way of your dreams and who you are as a person.
LESSON 4. FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS
In this day and age of money, and the will and need to earn money, people lose perspective of their dreams.
Money is important, but so is your happiness. I’ve seen many people who are working and doing things they don’t like, but they’re doing it because it’s high paying. Sure, you have to support your family, and you need to settle down. Honestly though, is it important to follow society normalities instead of following your passion and your dream?
I strongly believe that happiness is more important than money. I mean, think about it, what will you do when you have earned so much money, but you can’t enjoy it because of stress from a job you hate? What’s the point in that?
I have a friend, he’s left his job to pursue his dream and is finally content and happy with his life. He went against everyone and everything to follow his passion. He’s happy with the money he’s making, and he’s comfortable in what he does.
I’m not asking you to leave your job and go follow some crazy dream of yours, but find time to pursue your passions, instead of just focusing on some day job that you hate.
LESSON 5. RESPECT YOUR PARENTS
I think this is the most important lesson I’ve learned. Your parents are extremely important people. They’ll be there for you, when no one’s there. They’ll stand by you, even if you’ve committed a crime.
I know this isn’t the case for everyone, but as a whole and generally, respect your parents for the hardships they’ve fought, for you don’t know their battle.
When I became wheelchair bound, almost all the doctors said I wouldn’t walk. My mom still didn’t believe it and took me to India for further treatment. My dad stayed in America to support me financially, and my mom and I went to India alone.
My mom would walk around in the heat, exploring treatment options and places to better suit me. We finally came across one, a stem cell treatment in Mumbai, and I’m on the road to recovery. I can contract some of my leg muscles. I’m proving the doctors wrong because my parents sacrificed so much for me.
When I didn’t have any friends, my parent became my friends. They started behaving my age, and I can say this. I go everywhere with my parents, even to places you’d think weren’t cool. My parents are my best friends and I’m not ashamed to admit it.
If you haven’t done so already, thank your parents for the battles they’ve fought to get you where you are right now. If it wasn’t for them, your life would be totally different.
I don’t recommend anyone to skip out on college, education is important. Everyone’s life is different, and mine took a totally different path. I do plan on going to college someday, but honestly, after learning so much about the world and how it works, it feels unnecessary
- Virali Modi