Podcast: Dr. Neha Pathak and Dr. Joyce Varughese: Education and the Children of Immigrants

In today’s episode, I engage in a compelling conversation with two dear friends and accomplished professionals, Dr. Neha Pathak and Dr. Joyce Varughese, on navigating the pressures of college and societal expectations. They offer insightful advice for the next generation, urging a pursuit of passion over predefined paths. Join us as they candidly discuss the complexities of finding contentment amid the pursuit of success.

TRANSCRIPT

Sheila Akbar: 

The one thing that my parents were really clear about is you must have all A’s. You must. There was no discussion around that you must. They didn’t understand extracurriculars, they thought I was wasting my time by being on the soccer team and leading this club or being the president of the student body, though at some points that when I started getting the leadership titles, they realized those were things that they could brag about to other people. So talks about being raised in a culture of achievement. That was my family’s culture, but what was it like for you guys? Welcome back to the podcast, everybody. Thank you for joining me, I really have a treat for you today. I just read listen to this interview. And I just have a huge smile on my face. Today, I invited two of my close close friends from college to join me to talk about their experiences in college and kind of their journey from there forward. So I’ve got Dr. Neha Patek, and Dr. Joyce Varghese joining me today. And these are two, just amazing women that I met in my first days at college, and we really hit it off and became so close over the years, and I’m just so blessed to have them in my lifestyle. And this is a really fun opportunity for us to reconnect, it actually has been a little while since we were able to catch up. So super fun, and I’m sure you’re gonna hear us kind of regressing into our college personalities a little bit as we talk. And hopefully it brings a smile to your face, and the way it is to mind right now. But I think the thing to highlight from this conversation is, you know, we were all children of immigrants, we had very different backgrounds, we’re all from different parts of South Asia different, well, sort of different parts of the country, though Joyce and they have grew up kind of close to each other. Now, I was in northern New Jersey, and Joyce’s in Staten Island, I was in Michigan, our parents are from different parts of the country, where from different cultural and religious backgrounds, even though there are some similarities. And we had similar though, you know, nuanced experiences in college, we all went in as pre meds. And then different things happened to us along the way. And I love how they think about education now with their own kids. And we spend a little bit of time reflecting on how we had to figure things out for ourselves. Because our parents were not familiar with the system here. And though it was challenging, was actually kind of a blessing in disguise. We are all feeling really badly for all these kids today, who are going through this with so much pressure hanging over their heads. So, you know, if you take anything away from this conversation, I hope that it’s, we don’t need to put this kind of pressure on our kids. And even if you are not doing it, that pressure is out there. And it’s seeping into them. They’re absorbing it. And so we have to actually take sort of an active role in turning down the temperature on these things, maintaining perspective, helping them see what’s really important in life. We actively have to do that so that we can combat the pressures and anxieties that they are just kind of picking up on by being a part of our society by interacting with other people in their high school or seeing news stories about the crazy things that happen in the college admissions process. So take a listen. And I’ll see you on the other side. Neha, and Joyce, thank you so much for joining me. It’s so great to see your faces, and I’m so excited to hear from you today.

Dr. Joyce Varughese: 

Thanks for having us. Thrilled to be here.

Dr. Neha Pathak: 

Yay.

Sheila Akbar: 

Okay, Joyce, can you tell us a little bit about kind of your story, where you grew up? How we met, if you even remember, and what you’ve been doing since? Sure.

Dr. Joyce Varughese: 

So I grew up in Staten Island, New York, where people actually do live. And I went to high school in Manhattan, and then went to Harvard and met the lovely Sheila Akbar. They’re probably within our first week of school because I’m sure at some event, even though we weren’t in the same dorm, but I feel like I’ve known you like for my entire college career. So I did go to a quote unquote, like Magnet High School in the city called Hunter College High School. So there was a lot of students who went to Ivy League schools from there. So it wasn’t an unusual thought process to include schools like Harvard on your college application process. So other than that, I live now in New Jersey. I am the mom I have a wonderful 11 year old boy and a little eight year old Hey, girl, I have an awesome husband who helps me get through every single day. And currently I work at Capitol health surgical group in Pennington, New Jersey. And I’m the medical director of gynecologic oncology there. So in layman’s terms, I’m a full time clinician, I’m a full time doctor and I operate on women who have cancer or pre cancer of the lady parts.

Sheila Akbar: 

Thank you for translating that for us. And Neha, let’s hear the same from you.

Dr. Neha Pathak: 

Okay, first, thank you so much for having us. It’s so exciting to see everybody’s faces. So let’s see, I grew up in Elizabeth, New Jersey. And I went to a school where it wasn’t necessarily on really anyone’s list to think about the IV sort of maybe a little bit of a different experience. But when I was in sixth or seventh grade there started this program in New Jersey called New Jersey seeds, where they took some of these kids or they gave them this opportunity to apply to this program, you did two years with them. And then you would gain sort of experience and skills to then apply for private secondary schools in New Jersey. So it’s sort of like what prep for PrEP is, and a lot of these programs that are kind of all over the country at this point. And so I ended up going to a private high school, where just like to Joyce’s experience, it was like very common for a lot of people to go to Ivy League schools. It’s funny, just like my parents immigrant experience, and just having absolutely like no understanding of what any of this meant. I just thought Boston was like the top tier, like, just in terms of like any school in Boston is like my top tier, any school anywhere else is sort of like my mid tier, and then you know, how they have your safety schools. So I remember seeing a college counselor in our school program that we were assigned to where they were like, Okay, so what’s your, you know, what’s your reach list? And I was like, oh, yeah, you know, Harvard, Northeastern BU. And just like any school that was in Boston, he’s like, No, that’s not don’t know, this is all wrong. You don’t know what you’re doing. So I just remember going through this whole sort of education around like all of this to like, what are these schools mean, what is an Ivy League, what is you know, a state school, et cetera. So then ended up in Harvard, and I met you in the very beginning, because you were on my freshman hall. And I had a huge chip on my shoulder about that, because we were not in Harvard Yard. And I had asked for 10,000 roommates, I was like, maximum number of roommates. That’s what I want. Because I was like, so excited about for this experience that was going to be so different from what I had ever experienced. And I got a single, which is the like little informal guidebook where they explain things they’re like, yeah, and some students get put in this thing called a psycho single. And I was like, what is it about me that I couldn’t have Ribbit? So anyway, but I, you essentially, were my roommate and some of the other people on our floor. So that ended up being a really wonderful experience. And then now, sorry, I’m babbling and going on forever.

Sheila Akbar: 

No, I love it. I brought up so much for me, well talk

Dr. Neha Pathak: 

Oh, so then, you know, I kind of came in with this whole conception that I wanted to go down the path of medicine. I rejected that the first year, my dad cried a lot and was very unhappy. And so then I decided to continue on that path. He didn’t cry. But he was like, oh, road phone. And but then I did end up going down that path, and went to medical school in Manhattan, right, very close to hunter to where you did high school choice, and then practiced primary care medicine for many years in the VA. And then had this opportunity to sort of branch out and do something a little bit different. So I’ve transitioned more to medical writing, and just reporting around climate change lifestyle medicine, at WebMD and Medscape. And that’s really where I spend the bulk of my professional time. And then my family life is me, my husband, and we have three daughters, 1210, and then a three year old, so it’s incredibly different than I thought.

Sheila Akbar: 

Gosh, I would just amaze thinking about y’all with multiple kids. I only got one and I’m like, how do we do this? Well, both of those stories were like a little trip down memory lane for me. I remember meeting you guys my freshman year of college and so glad that we’re still friends. Now you brought up some stuff that I was really hoping we were gonna get to talk about. Our parents are all immigrants and new slash still know very little about how the US education system works. You And now sounds like this was your experience. It definitely was mine. I’m curious if it was yours to Joyce, we had to figure it out on our own. The one thing that my parents were really clear about is you must have all A’s. You must. There was no discussion around that you must. They didn’t understand extracurriculars, they thought I was wasting my time by being on the soccer team and leading this club or being the president of the student body, though at some point that when I started getting the leadership titles, they realized those were things that they could brag about to other people. So talk about being raised in a culture of achievement. That was my family’s culture. But what was it like for you guys?

Dr. Joyce Varughese: 

I mean, when you talk about the whole, that A’s were the only acceptable grade, I mean, I ran track three seasons, and I was only allowed to be on the track team if I maintained my grades above and a K or higher, right. So that was, I guess, certainly a motivation because I enjoy doing running track. But I think that my parents were also immigrants didn’t really do understand the higher education system. It’s It blows my mind now when I have a niece and nephew who are in high school, and how like my sister kind of helps guide them and do certain things and help. And I’m like, I was like, why I was like, we did this all on our own. But I think that it was, you know, my dad worked at a hospital, he was a dialysis tech when I was growing up. So he was surrounded by a lot of like physicians, and he like really actively sought out sort of information from them. So he would kind of come back home with like tidbits of stuff, but not quite understanding how it all fit in with the system. But I mean, that’s part of the reason I went to Hunter is because he worked at Mount Sinai. And so I had never heard of Hunter, he knew about it because of his co employees at his hospital. Right. And so it was sort of this very fragmented advice, if you want to call it that, right, that they were trying to be helpful. But I mean, it was just a completely different system to them. I mean, thankfully, like I said, you know, my high school had a pretty strong College Counseling Program, and you had all these older classmates who are going through things and you kind of hear about it. So by the time you got to junior and senior year, you’re sort of were prepped for it, because it was really a college prep kind of school. So that’s, I think that’s where the bulk of it was. I mean, I never thought about applying to Harvard, my parents never pushed me to apply to Harvard. It was really my college guidance counselor who brought that up to me, it was like you could apply to Harvard. I was like, oh, okay, I hadn’t really thought about that. I was like, Tell me more. Right. So that was sort of where that came up from. But there was this push of like, a laser The only thing that you get, and I but I wasn’t really sure what that endpoint was, right. And so I too, went in kind of, well, I went in sort of knowing I was going to be pre med but because of that, I became a Sanskrit Indian Studies major, because I figured I would be doing science the rest of my life. So so that was my little rebellion to my parents are like we’re paying for you to Learn Hindi and Urdu and college, okay.

Sheila Akbar: 

I had similar my major was Near Eastern languages, it was my little rebellion to because I also entered college as a pre med. And they I never knew that you tried to walk away from pre med but then you got pulled back in. But before we go to Neha Joyce, there was something you said that strikes me that like we grew up, because our parents were like, kind of unaware of the process, and the schools and whatever, we kind of had this beautiful bubble of naivete or like ignorance, you could call it, where we were doing things. Sure, maybe there was pressure on our grades. But all the other things we were doing were we were doing because we liked them, or they were an escape from certain other pressures in our lives. And that is when I see that in students today, like where you’re just doing things that you like, because you like them, and you’re doing them to the fullest extent that you can, because maybe you care about this thing. Those are the ones who are the most successful in the college process. The ones who have full knowledge of the process, and their parents are really aware of it and saying, Do this, do that and like, we’re going to be strategic about XYZ. There’s so much anxiety and pressure built up around that, and around the outcome of the process that oftentimes, they’re doing things just to look good on a college application. They’re not really pursuing their passions or learning about themselves. So in a way, our parents ignorance was a real gift to us, right?

Dr. Joyce Varughese: 

Oh, absolutely. I think because you could only do certain things, things that you either enjoy. I mean, we didn’t have a lot of ton of like expendable income. So it wasn’t like I was doing a ton of expensive extracurriculars, either. And we had, even now my family is very into our faith. And so we go to church. So like our weekends were full of a lot of church related activities. So it wasn’t like they were going to be taking me for travel soccer games every you know, every Sunday morning because it was go to church.

Sheila Akbar: 

So yeah, well, Neha, I want to hear this from you, too. What was that experience like?

Dr. Neha Pathak: 

Yeah, no, I mean, I think what you both are saying resonates with me fully, I would say that they did not even have the pressure for the grades. The education was very important. So like that was the reason for coming here. Like very bluntly stated. They were both sort of For working jobs that probably didn’t max out their, their education back home. So when we first came, we were my family was cleaning motel rooms. And that’s pretty much what we did until I got to high school. And for my mom, it was actually very important that I learned to cook and learn to be in the kitchen, although she never wanted me there, which is very strange and bizarre. So I don’t know how she expected me to learn these things. But that was what she was more

Sheila Akbar: 

Yeah, we had so many mixed messages, right, like, be as educated as possible, but also be good wife material.

Dr. Neha Pathak: 

Well, she yeah. And she was like, I don’t know why you need to start, you don’t need to, you just need to be able to be good wife material, I think that was her main thing. And then for my dad, it was like, I really want you to prioritize your education. But they never really, I think, because my younger brother was just so intelligent, but did not care and always got very bad grades. So they had already been sort of maybe desensitized to that showing up on the report card. So it was really just like you were saying, like, there’s not really expendable income to do all these crazy things, there was a focus on, we really want you to take advantage of the opportunity of the fact that we came here and just go to school and enjoy it and be excited about what you’re learning. And we would have these crazy, massive debates at home. That’s just what we spent most of our time doing was just talking about things and debating it. And everyone had their own point of view. So I just kind of feel bad for the students these days. Like, I don’t think I could have gotten into Harvard. In today’s world, you know, like, I just don’t think I would have I think that it’s just like I was so undifferentiated at that point. I really just was just doing things that to your points were fun and enjoyable, but not really like, this is my specialized, niche packaged response to any question.

Sheila Akbar: 

Yeah, well, we could spend all our time talking about our college days, and our journey through college. But there’s one more question I want to ask you about that, because it’s what I’m, I’m kind of like wrestling with myself right now. So I went in as a pre med, very idealistic in love with math and science thought I was gonna go to Harvard, and be around all of these people who loved learning for the sake of learning, and they were all going to, like inspire me and all these things. But the reality of what happened, and we won’t go into all the details, but I discovered that life could be fun. In college, I didn’t really know that in high school. And I had a lot of fun, we had a lot of fun together. And I wouldn’t say I lost focus on my academics, but it certainly wasn’t my highest priority anymore. And I started also wrestling with the idea that like, maybe I don’t really want to have the lifestyle that a doctor would have. And at the same time, I didn’t know how to figure out what I did want to do. But there was this giant kind of Wall Street recruiting machine that was starting to come in, we were starting to be aware of maybe in like, end of sophomore year beginning of junior year that all of our older friends were just getting swept up into and it seems so glamorous, and it was very competitive. And you know, we’re all competitive by nature, and you want to win whatever the competition is. So I really got sucked into that. And I knew that it wasn’t what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. But I was always also like, well, if I don’t really know what I want to do, this seems like not a bad option, right? It pays very well, it seems like I have an open door into it. Like why not do it. Of course, I did that and then was like, Oh, this is why that was a bad idea. This is a terrible fit for me and my values I gotta get out of here. So you know, the rest of my career story is what it is. But I was reading this the statistics recently that only 4% of Harvard’s graduating class is going into the health professions. And that number shocked me. The number that didn’t shock me though, was that over 60% Go into financial services, consulting or technology, right. And the book that I’m reading really paints it as like, there’s just this machine, they suck in all of this talent. And then they funnel it to these Uber capitalist industries, reasonable people can disagree about whose plan that is. And you know, is there an evil wizard behind all of this, but it really felt like my experience was showing up right there in the statistics. And so both of you went into college thinking about pre med, you stuck with it. Tell me what what your perspective on that was. You saw all of us going crazy losing our minds over the recruiting process. Where were you thinking?

Dr. Neha Pathak: 

I think for me, I think I mentioned so in the beginning, I came in really sort of having been programmed to do the medical pathway and then seeing that there’s so many things that you can do I actually chose a major that would have fit with premed, so it was cognitive neuroscience so that I would take those courses, even if I didn’t end up doing medicine. And honestly, it scared me like where I came from was a world of no stability, like no financial stability. And I just really felt like I needed a path that was very clear. And just okay, you do this, that you take your MCAT, you go to medical school, and then you know, there’s just a very clear path, I didn’t feel like I had the ability to do anything outside of that, like just thinking back on my career now, which is more like writing and doing other things like, just different skill set, I didn’t really explore those things after that first year of, you know, attempting to kind of push back on this, because I just didn’t feel like I had the ability to explore. Like, I felt like I have to be responsible. My parents need me to be stable after I come out of this. So that’s kind of why I went down that pathway. And then when I got to medical school is when I really just was like, Oh, I really enjoyed this. And then I was in New York City. And I had like, so much fun, just enjoying the city and being a fun person.

Sheila Akbar: 

Well, it sounds like it worked out. Because I mean, obviously you’re very talented at this stuff. And you and you’d had to find a lot of meaning in it. One thing you said earlier I want to bring back is that our parents came to this country so that we could get this kind of education that we did, and that is a huge responsibility. It like weighs heavily still, to this day. It weighs heavily on me, what am I doing with this sacrifice that my parents made this opportunity that they gave me? And how do I? How do I top it, I can’t possibly top it. Joyce, tell me your thoughts.

Dr. Joyce Varughese: 

So when I just want to say near how you were really fun in college to Assa T, just want to get that out there. But I alluded to this earlier, but you know, I, I kind of was focused on the pre med path, partly because I really, I enjoyed science a lot, I enjoyed math. And then I took a math class at Harvard. And I, that was just like, down down the drain. But it was. So it was easy for me in the sense that I think that was also just kind of an easier path for me in the sense that like sciences came more naturally to me. Which is ironic because I chose a humanities major where I had to write a lot of papers and and like, so that part was actually very, it was harder for me because it was just a skill and a talent that I just hadn’t honed as well. And, but I’m grateful I did that, because it really did just kind of keep me grounded and like kind of two different worlds. I mean, I fell in love with linguistics in college, like, you know, I was like, oh, maybe I’ll feel linguist at some point. I was like, I should have been linguist, but the practical person in me was like, no, like, I don’t even know what kind of jobs you can get with that, and what that really entails? And do I really want to go to grad school and become a professor. And you know, it was just sort of like, well, I know what medicine is. And I know what being a doctor is, and I enjoy doing that. And I felt that it would, it just kind of opened a lot of different doorways because we go to medical school, we actually we had friends when we were in college, who had gone to medical school, and then decided not to do residency and, and of going into consulting and you know, and so I was like, well, it was just kind of a good pathway and a good door opening for a variety of different ways. But when you were asking about you know, how was it seeing all of our friends get these like six figure signing bonuses while you know now and are like, how much more are we going to be spending like, you know, for the next four years, right. And I went to med school in the Bronx. And so we had a good group of folks from our class, like really good friends. We’re all in New York at the same time. And so I remember spending weekends with you guys and stuff. And like the consultants and I bankers were just like, spending money freely where I was like, hey, like, I’m still a poor student. Yeah. So I think it was just a very different lifestyle. And sure, was there like a little bit of envy. Like, it wasn’t like jealous of you. But you don’t I mean, it was kind of like, oh, that’s kind of a nice life. Why am I like still sitting like studying all the time. But it was kind of it was never a thought to me to join that recruiting process, or only because I knew that that was not my skill set. That was not something I would enjoy long term it was. So I just didn’t think I would be successful at it.

Sheila Akbar: 

Yeah. Well, I’m glad you had that self awareness. And because it was not my skill set, and I would not, if I had known myself a little bit better, I probably could have avoided that whole part of my career journey. Well, I think I’d have to have you back. So we can talk more about the work that you’re doing now because we’ve stayed in college, which I think it’s, it’s great, and it’s really lovely to hear. And but we’re wrapping up on time. One thing I want to ask you both is as you have your own children and other young people in your life, whether you’re mentoring them, your nieces, your nephews, whoever you’re interacting with, what kind of advice do you give them about the college process, choosing your career path envisioning your future, I think both of you will have really great thing Have to say sorry, I’m curious.

Dr. Neha Pathak: 

So essentially, I think the big message I have right now is don’t go into medicine. But I don’t say it in the sense that just don’t do it at all. But it’s like, if you really want to do this, that’s the only reason you should do this. I am not trying to tell you that this is a path that you have to go down. Because it’s a long arduous as you know, as Joyce was meant, it takes a long time to get where you probably want to be. And there’s so many things that you could do. And I’m hoping that you feel like we have a sense of stability at this point in our lives where you don’t have to do something you don’t want to do. So I think that that’s the first thing that I tried to say. The second thing is I just I’m scared for them. I really am because we went to Harvard. So I just in the air, they think that that’s what’s expected of them. They’re like, Oh, well, yeah, no, I have to. And it’s just sort of like you really don’t, we’re all in communities, and living around and enjoying friendships with people who were all over the spectrum. And we all live that same kind of life. They’re all doctors or they’re all, you know, have gone to law school, or they’re doing, you know, whatever teaching, but we’re all living in the same community and enjoying each other. So I really struggle with that tension, because clearly there’s that inner fire that’s like, Oh, yes, you should work hard and push yourself. But I really just at this point, don’t see the value, because I am trying so hard to get to a point where I can just be content and enjoy my life. And find just joy in the day to day. And that’s such a struggle to get away from the anxiety and the stress and all of that stuff. So I feel very conflicted about that. And trying to put that on to my kids.

Sheila Akbar: 

Yeah, it’s like, we’re trying so hard to get off this hamster wheel. Why would we want to put our kids on it? Yes. 100%, right there with you, I swear to you.

Dr. Joyce Varughese: 

So the advice that I usually will give is similar to what Neha has said that do something that you enjoy, do not go into something thinking you’re going to make a lot of money from it. Because there are people that every single field that you go into, who went into it for the wrong reasons. And I think that in this day and age, nothing is guaranteed in terms of financial success, I guess lies really, but I think that if you’re doing something that you enjoy, that you’re passionate about that Then feel I think that financial reward kind of come follows with that, because you’re going to make something of that. The other thing that I will say is that I completely agree with now that like I do feel badly for the kids these days, like in the sense that like they just are so much like hyper aware of everything else going on around them and like what their friends are doing outside of school, like, my friends didn’t really know what I was doing on weekends, you know, at school, it was just, but now it’s like, oh, well, so and so is doing XYZ and that really looks good for their college application. When you go to Harvard, or when you graduate from Harvard, as soon as somebody sees that or hears, oh, you’re a Harvard grad, like I hear from my patients all the time. Oh, I looked you up online. Like your your credentials are really impressive. And I’m like, Yeah, I was like, well, you should meet my friends. I graduate, like the things that they’re doing really amazing, right? So we’re at some point are you just done with like, trying to climb that ladder or gain more accolades, or like be more of a leader or like, you know, at what point is, this is good enough, right. And I to like, struggle with that, like, where I am actually, I tell people all the time, I was like, I’m really blessed. I’m very content with my life. But there is still that little part of me, that was like, well, but you could be doing XY and Z, or you could be doing and I’m like, but at what cost, right. And that would be the cost of me spending more time with my kids. I had this when my son turned nine, I had this like, existential crisis. And I was like, Oh, my gosh, I’m halfway there. 50% of my time with it was gone already. So just because you go to Harvard, or go to one of the score, if you don’t, right, you can still like be super successful, right? Like, be super happy, right. And I think that should be the ultimate goal, that it’s not like getting into XYZ school should not be the goal. But getting into a place where that is a good fit for you, and where you’ll thrive and like do like, you know, do great things for society, I think is like really what our, our focus should be on. And it’s and it’s I know, it’s much easier for us to say, being on this side of it now than for those who are actively going through it, right.

Sheila Akbar: 

Yeah. But I’m so glad that both of you’re sharing this because, I mean, you know this, I mean, now your eldest is 12. You’re right on the precipice of this, but you’re probably feeling already, they won’t listen to you. No matter where you went to school, what your profession is, they are not going to listen to you anymore. They need to hear from other people. So I think the more voices we have saying this in our lives, the better our kids are going to be able to absorb it and truly believe it.

Dr. Neha Pathak: 

Yeah, I mean, I think just to add to that, that is definitely I think we’re some of this newfound feelings of just wanting contentment. are coming from, I’m just seeing the anxiety already in a seventh grader, or I really have to reflect back my husband’s reflecting Oh, it’s just like, are we in some ways, creating an atmosphere in our home, where she feels like this pressure to achieve. And we really are trying to evaluate what we’re saying our language, just just tamp that down. But I think it’s exactly what you’ve said, it’s everywhere. It’s in the ether. It’s their friends, it’s their, you know, when they go to school, that’s what they’re hearing about. And I just feel so badly for that experience, because it’s just not necessary. And I having three kids, it’s like, they have very different personalities. So I’m not this is not to say that no one should go to Harvard or no one, it’s just sort of like, there’s, out of the three of them. One is really just much more confident at asserting herself and advocating for herself. One is much more sort of, I’m a rule follower. That’s, and again, I try not to say these labels to them in front of them. But you know, it’s just sort of you just have to find a, find a direction that is going to be something that is going to give you contentment in your life. So that this feeling that you’re having right now, is not something you have to live with, and that you’re dealing with when you’re 40. So we’re trying to have those conversations early. And then, yeah, God bless. That’s why you have these different tiers of schools that you apply to, you try your best, and then whatever that outcome is, you don’t have to feel like it’s the end of the world, because it’s fine.

Sheila Akbar: 

Well, I think that’s a great place to leave it. Ladies, thank you so much for joining me, it’s so great to see you.

Dr. Joyce Varughese: 

Thanks for inviting us this was wonderful.

Sheila Akbar: 

Well, we went on talking for probably another 15 or 20 minutes just reminiscing about things. And then we started planning a vacation for our families together. And any of you have small children who have friends who are in different school districts, you know that it’s like almost impossible to line those things up. But it was really great to reconnect with them and have this conversation, I learned a lot more about them that I actually you know, haven’t known them. So well. I didn’t even know some of these things. So maybe this is also a little plug to catch up with some of your old friends because we’re all in that same phase of life. And we may just be thinking about the same things and the more kinds of support we can get the better right as we go on our journeys. So, hope you enjoyed today’s episode, and we’ll see you next week. Thanks everybody.

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