“When I completed my 12th grade, I was still unsure what to pursue in college. I waited to get selected in Gedu College of Business studies but unfortunately, it didn’t happen. All my family members had a Bachelors Degree and my brother told me that I should get one too. He did not want me to work with a grade 12 qualification. I was more confused than ever. I did not have a hobby nor did I have an ambition.

Although I had studied commerce in high school, my friend suggested we should go to a university in Punjab and study nursing. My sister did not agree and said it was not appropriate for my line of study so far. At the same time my father was sick, he is a heart patient. So at one point I thought that I would rather stay with him and look after him. But he told me to go so I eventually ended up going to Sikkim to study Hospitality Management and Tourism. After a three years course there I went to Chennai for training. I hoped that I would get a job there but to my disappointment, I couldn’t.

I then came back to Bhutan where the situation was worse due to the pandemic. The Tourism and Hospitality industry was most affected. It was in this hour of despair that my brother-in-law came up with an idea to open a café and asked if I would work with him. It has now been 4 months. Most people don’t know about waffles and don’t come out to try them. Here at the cafe, we have a new menu and new coffee machines too. It makes us really happy when people come to have waffles at the café. I did not do the Civil Service Examinations because I felt like there was too much competition. I didn’t feel confident. I was scared that if I didn’t make it through the Preliminary exams, I would not feel good about myself because my siblings have all previously made it through. My sister supported me on this decision. However, I have friends who did the examination and they said it went well. So, maybe I’ll give it a try next year.

The biggest struggle I faced in life was when I was away at college, my siblings were working in different dzongkhags and my father suddenly got very ill. I almost dropped out of college but my family had already paid the college fees. It was a dilemma. My roommates encouraged me to continue as I only had a year left. Fortunately, my father’s health got better and I completed my studies. In high school, I had an interest in the Arts stream but I took commerce and now am struggling. My sister paid for my college so I do not ask for a salary from the cafe right now.

We have a lot of happy as well as sad moments in life. I think it is up to us how we tackle it. To talk and listen to others is important. That way we won’t feel lonely. Share happiness if you can. Be friends with everyone. There is a saying ‘Laugh with everyone but never laugh at others.’”

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