Graduating student: ‘We waited and a miracle happened’

Amit Budhwani

Amit Budhwani, University of Arkansas at Little Rock senior, has long wished to run his own business.

He was on track for his goal, working full time at his family’s gas station and pursuing a Bachelor of Science in E-Commerce, when circumstances changed.

In 2013, Budhwani’s mother, Sameera Budhwani, was carrying groceries to her family’s apartment when a vehicle struck her and the driver fled.  

“At the time when she got hit, nobody was at our apartment,” Budhwani said. “Our neighbors called the police, and she was rushed to the emergency room. It was a depressing and panicking moment for our family.”

Budhwani and his family received news that his mother’s chances of surviving were slim.

The family was devastated. Anxiously awaiting an update, they gathered for prayer.

The doctor said she was in critical condition and would need to remain hospitalized.

For 30 days, Budhwani’s mother was in a coma. Doctors were forced to perform brain surgery, trying everything they could to save her.

Following the surgery, his mother was unconscious for 30 days.

Understanding that his father would now be spending much of his time at the hospital, Budhwani knew he and his siblings would have to fill in where necessary for the family business. They hired temporary workers for the time they couldn’t spend at the gas station.

“I was about to quit college and my education,” Budhwani said. “The only reason I didn’t was because my family and friends encouraged me not to. I remember hearing, ‘Challenges are what makes life interesting, and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.’”

Shortly after Budhwani’s mother regained consciousness, the family found out that she’d lost her memory.

“She didn’t recognize anybody,” he said. “The doctor told us to share our memories with her and the things that were important in her life.”

In between visits to his mother, Budhwani went back to school. It was hard for him to focus and even more difficult to recapture the excitement he once had about the prospect of being the first person in his family to graduate from college.

Budhwani slowly fell behind in his school work and became distracted in class.

Fortunately, Budhwani said, he had amazing UA Little Rock professors who kept him motivated while he was experiencing such a tough time in his life.

“I love the professors here,” Budhwani said. “They gave me hope and wisdom to achieve my dream of becoming a graduate.”

As his attitude toward school began to change and things began to look up, Budhwani and his family received great news about their mother.

“We waited and a miracle happened,” Budhwani said. “Her memory came back slowly but surely. After rehab, we were able to bring our mom back home. Now she is doing great and enjoying life like nothing ever happened. ”

Budhwani was excited by the news and eager to make his mother proud. Knowing that he would graduate in May 2017, he wanted nothing more than for his mom to see him walk across the stage on commencement day.

Now that he’s reaching his graduation goal, Budhwani is determined to become a successful entrepreneur.

His goal is to create a website that satisfies consumer needs with cost-efficient products for customers’ daily lives.

The Spring 2017 Commencement will be Saturday, May 13, 2017, at the UALR Jack Stephens Center.

More information about commencement day is available online.

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