painful experience student

How to Avoid Painful Experience as a Student in the U.S. (The Advise Nobody Gave Me)

Raghuram Sukumar Career 9 Comments

You may have got F1 visa.

You may be preparing for F1 Visa.

You may be waiting for admission results.

You may be waiting for I-20 from your dream school.

If your Visa is approved, congrats!!!

Now, the real work starts.

Now, you are in Honeymoon phase till the reality strikes. Reality strikes when you reach the land of opportunities.

Reality Strikes?

Some students have a smooth transition to new life in the new country.

Some students tend to have a bumpy transition.

But, it’s all good.

My Advise:

Don’t focus on money from Day 1.

I have seen students running with resume from Day 1 to find part-time jobs to RA and TA the moment they land.

  • Student Life in U.S.A. = Experience
  • Student Life in U.S.A. = Journey towards greater Goal

Make use of the time for Self-Development and Improvement.

Maybe, you never had the habit of having a To-Do list for your tasks. Now maybe the time to start using one.

Maybe you never used a calendar for scheduling and tracking the time and meetings. Now is an excellent opportunity to start being productive.

Working for 1 hour could give you $8. But, investing that time in self-improvement would pay you higher dividends.

Working 10 hours would have given you $80, but same 10 hours spent learning to write code in new language could get you a $80 per hour job tomorrow.

Think!

Do you want $8 now or $80 in future?

$80 in future depends on the time you invest today. Don’t expect to get $80 per hour job when you are working for $8 in gas stations for cash!

So, your goal should be about getting better and staying productive.

Focus on several areas of life.

  • Technical Skills
  • Personality
  • Communication
  • Networking
  • Health
  • Personal Finance

Set goals.

Learn to measure and track.

Above all reach your goals.

Goals should stretch your current limits and capabilities.

Getting “B’ from a tough course that stretches your knowledge and forces deep learning is far better than “A” a course that doesn’t help you learn new skills.

If the course doesn’t push you beyond your current knowledge limits, then you are not growing.

When you are in the new country and place, it’s an opportunity for your to change your habits.

If you have a habit that you need to break, then make plans to get rid of that.

If you want to for a new habit, like regular exercise or becoming a morning person to learning to swim, etc. then take steps to acquire that skills.

Maybe, you want to pick-up reading books. Then make set time every day. It can be 10 to 15 minutes at 9 PM every day. Pick a place and stick to it for 30 days.

Every small improvement that you make will help you reach a greater level in your life.

Studying in the U.S. is going to boost your level of skills, maturity, and knowledge.

But, being average is what you will get if you are reactive to your environment and events that happen to you.

If you want to be above average, then be proactive.

One particular example: Driving License(DL).

You need to get a DL in the U.S. sooner or later.

You need to learn to drive if you can’t drive a car.

Some of you will choose not to get the DL till you have a job or need. Once you have a job, it’s a scramble to find ways to commute until you get a DL, a car and not to mention a hefty insurance due to lack of driving history.

That’s being reactive.

If you can find someone who has DL and ask them to help you get a DL, within first two months in the U.S., you are building driving history. That’s being Proactive.

There are several such instances and events for which you can be proactive.

Another example is job search.

After all, finding a job is your primary goal right?

  • Proactive – Day 1 in the U.S. is your Day 1 of your job search.
  • Reactive – OMG! I’m going to graduate in 3 months; I need to apply for a job.

You are 100% in control of the nature and type of experience, career and life you are going to have.

Make it count. Stay Educated.

Comments

  1. Another thing I will like to add is build your credit history. I can’t stress enough how important it is to build your credit history.Everywhere you will go, you will need a credit score Star slow and apply for a credit card, as early as possible

  2. Hi raghu .. very good advice for students going to USA. person should make a goal and start working on achieving it.

  3. Please reply to my doubt.. How many percentage of students will definitely get opt?out of which how many able to extend opt?wht r options if one does not get opt?

    1. Author

      If you apply for OPT you will get unless you violated your visa status. Same goes to STEM OPT Extension. Options – Check for a blog post on the same topic.

    2. Getting OPT is not a big concern. Most of the students get the OPT and also their extension depends on the education of MBA or STEM degree. So, your chance of getting OPT is 100% unless you do not make harder for yourself like breaking the f-1 rules by working illegally in USA.

      Getting H1B visa is tough as your application has to go through Lottery. Mostly 240,000 applications are expected for fiscal year 2019. Applications will be accepted from April 2, 2018. Available quotas are 65,000 + 20,000 for US masters degree. So, if we count 1 out 3 or 4 application will be selected.

  4. Many of us are planning to do the same and my plan is to do masters for 1.5 yrs and then work for 5 years after that i plan to return back to india due to various reason. Since i am from CS branch i would like you to tell how much can we save in those 5 to 6 years of work and what can we do with those savings back in india.
    It will highly helpful if you can answer queries related to
    1. Working is US for 5 years and returning back to India
    2. How much can we save and how can we use those savings to invest/to start startup/ some businesse etc
    3. Pros and cons of doing this
    Thank you

  5. I first read this post, when I in India and was not able to understand the meanings and thought hidden behind this post. Currently, I am in USA and yes, this post exactly describes the scenario of what i am facing and to what I should focus on. Thanks for advises and motivation. Life here is a struggle in each and every aspect.

  6. Great advice to students.It clearly potrays the student to work towards goals from day1.”be proactive “.

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