To everyone who’s ever written me to share your thoughts and stories, I appreciate it.

Dear Jasmine,

I came to know about you quite randomly. About a month ago, my friend posted about your book on fb and I googled it up. As soon as I read the synopsis, I knew that I have to buy this book. This is coming from someone who hesitates so much to even buy bestsellers. I am not a book collector, but there’s something really compelling about your book.

This book made me cry. Not once or twice, but four times. I cried because I could relate so much to your journal entries. I’ve never had that kinda shiny resume. In fact, my life has been pretty different from yours. I come from a poor family and spent 18 years of my life in a tiny, rural town. I went to a rural school that did not provide me with significant extra curricular opportunities. Everything was limited. My parents couldn’t afford to send me to tuition classes, let alone music classes. Nevertheless, I got straight As in all my exams. I ended up with a corporate scholarship with the opportunity to study in the USA.

My SAT scores didn’t even reach 2000. The SAT2 scores were pretty bad too. You see, I didn’t have that glossy resume that most kids applying to Ivies do. Despite the odds, I got into Cornell University and it has been the best thing that happened in my life. It sounds very simple, how a small town girl made into an Ivy League, but only I know the hurdles behind that journey. I never had clinical depression, but I’ve had some very painful, dark moments throughout this journey. I could relate so much to that feeling of loneliness and sadness for no particular reason. We might have had two very different lives, but I see myself in your troubles. It is comforting to know that this battle can be won🙂

Like you, when nobody could understand with my internal struggles, I turned to God for the answer. I’m not the most religious person you’d find, but I’m glad that I trusted in Him to lead me to the right path when I got too caught up in the most trivial details of life. We might pray to different Gods, but it’s beautiful to see how our faith can be the strongest foundation during those dark moments. Your book reminded me that I would not have won my battle had I chosen to ignore Him and His love.

I blog about three times a week. Pretty frequent for a college student, huh? Somehow, I find it comforting to write my thoughts out instead of burying everything inside. People warn me all the time that it’s not good to make your life an open book. I used to get worried every time a stranger reads my blog. I even resorted to private blogging a couple of times. But then, when people emailed me about how my posts inspired them and they’d like to continue reading, I realized that some things in life are meant to be shared.

If being an open book helps the people around you to move forward with their lives, it’s just the right thing to do. Thank you for publishing this book. You reminded me that one’s pain can be another’s source of light. I know now that I made the right decision to continue blogging. Thank you for writing this treasure that every student must read! You’re really inspiring🙂

Such a long email, but I want you to know that this book touched me really deep.

Sincerely,

Iswari Nallisamy
Cornell University ’14