When you work in an education system, in any capacity, you find yourself connecting with certain students despite the overwhelming number of students you work with day in and day out. Working with international students was even that much more hard not to have favorites.
Sometimes the connection comes because of shared favorite locations. Or the shared cultural cues. But there was one student that had my full attention because he was such an unfulfilled soul. Chintan was a guy who came to get his MBA in finance at The University of Findlay when I worked as an International Student Advisor. I started working at UF shortly after 9/11 which meant getting student visa was difficult and maintaining them could be frustrating. My job wasn’t to get them here, but to make sure they maintained “good status” while in the States so they didn’t get kicked out or suffer permanent blackball from ever entering the US again.
Chintan was that student that had a hard time keeping his free-spirit contained. He wanted to taste all that America had to offer. He fell deeply in love with a beautiful girl from Turkey that rocked his heart. He built friendships that stayed firm for life. He lived life fully and couldn’t understand anyone that wouldn’t do the same.
Unfortunately, being an international student meant the United States was not going to let him live the life he wanted. He did end up successfully finishing up his time here in the States, but I swear I worked harder to keep him “in status” than 95% of any other student!
I just got word that Chintan passed away recently. An autopsy is being performed to find out what happened. I guess I’m not surprised. When you live life with such reckless abandon, your body will tell you the hard way when it’s done. My heart still aches deeply. I spent so much of my time with him mothering him and I feel like one of my most brightest stars was snuffed out too soon. I know everyone that was touched by Chintan feels the same way.
Chintan, thank you for being part of my life and constantly reminding me to loosen up. 😉