A Journey of Resilience, Frustration, and Hope

This one is going to be long.

I have played this game for 4 times now and played it fair every single time. Never gamed the system. Each time I’ve lived thru this anxiety but with different views. Each time I’ve tried to learn and understand this system and give it the benefit of doubt.

The very first time in 2019, I was a part of a small manufacturing company in Ohio who had never applied for a petition before. I remember, this was still the time when paper filing was present. I wasn’t selected of course and my takeaways were that why put the company and the applicant thru the entire process and effort only to be invalidated after months of waiting.

2020 came and voila! I thought uscis grew smart and thought the same way I did and made this whole thing online. This time I had moved to a startup in Atlanta to be with my then girlfriend ( now fiance! ). I learnt the process by doing research and talking to the small law firm that applied on my company’s behalf. Then again I wasn’t selected. I thought that that was at least a lot less anxiety inducing since you get to know in days if you’re at least going places or not, only to find out in June that people found a way to game this too. It sounded stupid then, and still does to me now, why USCIS couldn’t easily figure out the intention of these “very intelligent” people.

2021 was my last attempt with OPT and the one that I very stupidly rode a lot of things on. H1b was never important for me until then and moving back or elsewhere was always on the table when I came to do my masters here (2016). However, when the time came, I wasn’t just fighting to be here, I was fighting to be with the love of my life who’s doing a PhD and still has years to go before that chapter is done in her life. For those of you wondering what’s a little long distance… We did that already while I was here and she was back home and swore to avoid it as much as possible.

So.. as you’d know by know I wasn’t selected in 2021 either and was faced with a choice. A very hard one. I decided to fight for it and enrolled in a college that allowed me to work from day 1 ( my company even agreed to pay tuition and recommended this option). Personally, I felt defeated and had to step into the grey area which I personally haven’t done much in my life. Being about a year into this now, being a full time student and working full time is fucking exhausting and frustrating more often than not.

On march 18th of 2022 I got a notification from my VP that they had entered me into the lottery this time. I was least interested as I’d already given up hope on all of this BS by now and convinced myself that riding too much on this is not worth it anyway. There’s that little trick your mind does when you anticipate failure to lower your expectations to a point that it cannot hurt you anymore. But this time…I was notified that I was selected. The mail came on Saturday morning from my VP and mentor and I didn’t read it all the way until Sunday.

For those who are continuing to attempt this game legitimately, for whatever reasons, I applied your resilience. For those who got selected, you have earned it! And for those who didn’t, keep your head down and plough through these times and please don’t lose your peace over it.

Story told by acuteparabola94

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