In the winters of 2010, I moved to USA after my marriage. I was super excited about our new life in United States, about my journey to the “land of opportunities”. Worrying about my career at that time was not the priority. How hard would it be for a Chartered Accountant and a Company Secretary to find a job? I was pretty confident that sooner or later I would land up in some good job position in Boston as I was working with global firm like Ernst & Young, India. Just as a backup, I had plans to study if things would not go my way.
Before coming to US, I contacted few of my acquaintances who are Chartered Accountants and settled here. I enquired about the job market from them and got an idea that finding a job should not be difficult because of my strong educational and professional background. What I did not ask them was their visa status. I never realized that visa would be such a big hassle.
I got married and came to US on dependent H4 visa in Jan 2011. First few months were amazing, as I never had that much free time in my entire life. Later I started applying for jobs on various jobs portals. I did get calls from few companies and but everytime I was stuck with only one question “Are you authorized to work in the States?” Sometime I used to feel disheartened that they hardly care for education and skills, and the most important thing for them was to hire someone who was authorized to work in the States.
Too many rejections made me feel frustrated and I started realizing the hardships of being on a dependent visa like H4. These immigration visa issues took the life out of me and drove me crazy. With each passing day, I got more worried and depressed about my career. All my dreams were shattered when I got to know how tough it is to get a sponsorship from H4 to H1B visa.
A brief about how exactly H1B works: Starting every April, USCIS accepts application for H1B. Applications are accepted till the quota is reached. The worst part is that if that quota gets filled this year you are supposed to wait for the next April and you can not start your job before October next year. I know it is hard to understand this bizarre process.
I felt dejected and didn’t know what to do. It got worse with sitting idle and doing no productive work. I was becoming dull day by day and lost all my self-confidence. My husband always tried to cheer me up and supported me through thick and thin. I was on the verge of break down when he motivated me to study for CPA.
CPA (Certified Public Accountant) is one of the highest professional accounting certification in US. It is equivalent to CA in India. The best part of the course is that you can study even on dependent visa. Here in US, the system is decentralized and every state has its own requirements. It took me quite some time to figure out which state I should register with. I found this ipassthecpaexam.com site very helpful. I registered with Michigan state and started working for my CPA exam.
CPA has 4 exams i.e. Auditing (AUD), Financial Accounting (FAR), Regulation (REG) and Business & Communication (BEC). I knew passing the CPA exam is not an easy task and one needs to be very dedicated towards it. Therefore, I spent most of my time studying for the CPA and kept myself busy. Now I can proudly say I have passed the CPA exam. This achievement helped me regain and boost my confidence and the credit goes exclusively to my husband.
Apart from studying, I did explore few other activities also to enjoy my life. When I was not busy with my books, I was involved in planning our holidays , weekends or experimenting with new cuisines. We try new cuisines, new restaurants solely on my discretion and exploring different places has been quite a good experience. Travelling and cooking have now become my favorite pastime.
My friend Ankita, is a great inspiration for me. She motivated me to read books and that proved to be a helpful tool for self-development. Before coming to the States, I hardly used to read novels. I am happy to admit that I have read more novels in the last one and a half year than I did in my entire life. I truly enjoy reading fiction , nonfiction and self help books. I would recommend to read good inspirational books as it bring positive energy and help you form a better you. Someone has rightly said that books are our best friends.
During my research for interesting things to do, I found out that here in US, every city has an adult education center that provides several interesting short-term courses and classes. I took swimming lessons and I enjoyed them thoroughly. I became an active member of YMCA and simply adore their super fitness Zumba classes. I realized that it is the best time to explore new things and I am loving it.
Now it is the time for me to chase another dream of going to a graduate school this Fall season. I am enrolled in masters in taxation in one of the prestigious college. I got admission directly with my CPA score without undergoing the pain of giving GRE. I just had to give TOEFL exam. Different colleges have different criteria for admission but for masters in accounting and taxation they accept both GRE or CPA score.
“Life is short, live it. Love is rare, grab it. Anger is bad, dump it. Fear is awful, face it. Memories are sweet, cherish it.”