Following experience was shared via email by Reader N (Masters student at Johns Hopkins).
Its been a month and a half since I arrived to US.
I was lucky that my sister is living in close proximity of my university and helped me to get settled. Well I was less home sick because of this.
College : First Day
First day college and it was good meeting lots of new people from different backgrounds and cultures. Then I had to meet my professor to discuss the choice of my courses.
I went to his office and he greeted me and I told him about myself and my background.
I was under the impression that he would be giving me a few courses which I must take like in India. But to my surprise he asked me the courses I wanted to do from the list of given courses.
I was not prepared for such a thing and I told him that I had no idea. He was kind enough and advised me to go through the list of courses and meet him after a couple of days.
I immediately went and talked to my friends and seniors and decided on a few courses. My friends on the other hand were well prepared.
To all others I advise that be prepared when you meet your professors because you might create a wrong impression.
But deciding on a set of courses especially when you have no idea what you want to do is very difficult and challenging.
I had to change my courses a couple of times before I eventually decided on a set of courses.
So be prepared in advance and check with your department before hand and do talk to your seniors as they are one of the best source of information about the university and courses.
Assignments are Challenging
From the second week all professors gave out their assignments. Seriously until the day I got my first assignment, I had a different view of assignments.
The known rules are that we are not supposed to copy and must do on our own.
The unsaid part is that they are extremely challenging and difficult and lengthy.
In India assignment for me was typically 1 hour, music in background, 4 or 5 friends sitting together(chatting) and copying from some one else and all will get grades of 9/10 or A. This was the heavenly college life in India.
Believe me the first assignment here took me seventeen hours.
My friends were also equally clueless and could not give ideas for the problems. (We are allowed to discuss problem at the intuitive level only.) No one will ever show you their assignment ever or tell you the solution.
Learnt it the hard way. Then I was left with the only option of consulting the TA and my professor. They were patient enough to explain all the problems. But I was not able to do all the problems.
The second assignment I submitted it on time but I was asked to redo it. The TA was an Indian and she helped me by pointing out my mistakes and extending the deadline by a day for me. I submitted it and am waiting for that result.
I learnt that assignments are the best way to learn a lot of new things and I did learn.
Spent my first few sleepless nights for doing an assignment. The best time to learn a lot of new things is during this golden time.
It is difficult being a Masters student but ultimately when you finish and get a good job with high pay you can look back and know that this is worth every single effort you put in.
In last one month I am doing things and working which I never imagined back in India.Guess these things make me more capable and bringing my best efforts out of me. After all in life we come up only when we move out from our comfort zone and go into the effort zone.
PS: This is my experience.
And my request to you all please help your friends and juniors who want to come to US for their studies as I had almost no help and guidance except HSB and also don’t go to a consultancy.
My friend came to a university through a consultancy and now he is totally unhappy as the university is not so good.
- Completing graduate program in USA will not be walk in the park.
- Learning curve from one single assignment could be compared to 6 months of work experience.
- Students with Masters from US will be technical adept compared to their friends who decided to take up job offers.
If you plan to dump your higher education plans just because of economy is something I don’t agree. Consider the life long benefits of having degree from USA.
I run this blog and I gained the knowledge required to run this blog after completing MS.
More than the experience, its the outlook, contacts, exposure you get that matters. Masters in USA will give you that exposure.