Student Stories

This Indian Student Talks Education, Projects, Girlfriends and Sex. Parent’s Shouldn’t Be Reading This

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Life ins USA includes all sort of encounters and events.

Some events are so intimate it doesn’t go past few ears. But, this student came out to speak his hearts and some personal details that will make some Indian Parents think twice before sending their kid’s to America for attending college.

Following experience was shared by ReaderX.

Enter ReaderX.

Hello all. It has been a while since I posted my 3 hour ordeal at the Chennai consulate back in June 2012. The last 18 months of my life are exciting to say the least. Full of life and muddled with personal growth. This is a story that 40 years from now that I will be proud to write a book about. This is the story that will strongly influence who I will be for the rest of my life. This is my story.

Story of my life

The deeper you delve into my grad life the clearer the picture will be, there were never any easy pickings in my life. I will start off with a simple example.

Gulliver had it easy.

The flying gods hate me. I’ve lost all the color in my face when the cute lady at the ‘Jet Airways’ counter told me she was not able to find my flight reservation and the travel itinerary I have is just as pointless as the GRE scorecard after the VISA interview.

I was at the airport by 3 for my 4:30 Delhi flight. I called my lardy-dardy albeit lethargic, travel agent who then informed of my new and convoluted travel plans and gave me a new reservation number.

It took 9 hours, 5 cans of caffeine, one whole book, and 3 trips to the restroom to catch my Chennai that night.

It was a grueling and long couple of flights. My domestic flight in the US was delayed by 8 hours and then when I reached my final destination the airways lost my luggage. I always wondered how much the US life shown on the screen is bona-fide. Faith in Hollywood restored.
Let’s keep my second travel experience short. I went to India to attend my sister’s marriage. My trip lasted for 4 days+ 3 days traveling.

My flight delays counted up to 22 hours. Two flights cancelled and I had to reprint my itinerary three times. The bags which safeguarded my house key (Stupidest thing I did in a while) landed in Texas two days after I reached Atlanta.

I had to make fervent calls to everyone in my phone book to get that 100 mile ride from ATL to my place. I’ve had 3 voice mails.

Two from my professor saying our presentation next day was cancelled because the funding agency had this legal fallout with the university and now I had to bid adieu for my $1000/month stipend.

The next from my roommate, he sheepishly tells me that he was locked out of the apartment.

There I am with only a back-pack and covered in the unnerving marriage stench, shower-free (3days and ticking) after midnight. I thought I’ve hit rock bottom. Hell no, Things are only getting started. Oh, by the way this happened in my second semester (Spring 2013).

Money makes many things (Easy)

By the end of February everyone I know was receiving some sort of assistance from the department. I on the other hand lost the RA position and was broke.

I started looking for a new job on campus. Finding a job was not as difficult as getting the job done every week.

I worked as a Student Patrol Officer (Police Department) or as the desi’s put it a ‘gurkha’.

My workday starts at 9 pm and ends at 5 am. Two days a week I had to do this. And, I got paid $7.25/hr., barely covering my expenses every month.

But, I did learn that the people who do that every day need some serious balls and some really expensive thermal wear.

I also met some amazing cops. Some crazy, stupid (drunk) lover(s). There was danger too; I escaped thunders by a metaphorical whisker.

I had to take shelter in an abandoned building when there was a tornado watch. And of course there is the cold. I witness an amazing chase.

Still, not a rewarding job, messed up my sleep schedule, had to endure sleep paralysis. Missed classes, deadlines and projects. Phew, it was one hell of a ride.
In August I finally decided to look for a more rewarding job. Well apparently there is none. It was one of those moments you realize the value of knowledge and education.

I found a new job in the dining services. I made pizzas every Saturday and Sunday. Oh boy, working 10 hour shifts are hard. And the most depressing thing is that, now pizzas and cheese makes me sick to my stomach.

Again, I met some amazing hard working people. My trainer/sous-chef is a 50 year old lady who is divorced with two divorced daughters and 4 grandchildren and is a really spiritual (read: Catholic) person.

She is not rich by any means. She makes a couple of dollars more than me every hour and works 40 hours a week. And my colleagues are 20 somethings who are already married with 4 kids each.

I still remember the first question they asked me when they learned that I am 22, “How many kids do you have?”

They are hardworking and loving people. They may be poor, but they are so positive and full of life. I even had the thanksgiving dinner with them.

Girls, girls, girls and boys
Well, everyone one of us watched FRIENDS and we all keep an out for Chandlers we can be friends with. That is exactly what I did.

After the first two months in US, I made a good friend. Alas, Gods must be crazy. He called me to his place at 2 am one day to talk about that sounded something important and asked me if I might be interested in a little Borkeback mountain. This story is definitely going into my autobiography.

I had a long chat with him about how I am not homophobic. It is easy to offend people, I had to take care I did not do that.

We had a difficult exchange and I assured that nothing changes and I am still fine with him being a friend. He was fine then. But, I’ve learnt that in hindsight every difficult conversation can have a million points that can be made more articulate and friendly.

So, I guess he was too shy to hang out with me again. We never hung out again.

Then there are the girls. Not so easy, concentrating on your work when you have these gorgeous ladies who would do just about anything on a Friday night.

My first girlfriend is an amazing and beautiful girl. The first week was great but then I realized, “man she is dumb”. This might be shallow of me. But, she can be culturally insensitive (not that I care), have strong (& ill-informed) political views (welcome to the south) and not exactly comfortable with holding a conversation (she watches Bill ’O Riley with a passion). I broke up with her after two months. I know what I want now and my current girlfriend is a lot smarter than she is beautiful (she doesn’t care what I think).


I saved the best for my grand finale. My first semester was a breeze, I scored a 4.0 and found an RA position and everything is going great.

It all started on that fateful February night when I returned back. I lost my assistantship and had to pay 75% of the tuition.

I had 3 courses and the night job. So, 9 classes and a lab hour spread throughout the week.

It was extremely difficult managing my time.

One particular course, I found really difficult to follow. The instructor’s accent did not help. I scored 21 points on my mid-term and missed a class almost every week.

I was such a bad student. And the professor picked up on that and he strongly believed I don’t belong in a grad school.

I once skyped him when he was out-of station to ask a few questions about the final project. He never returned my calls.

Later, I found out he talked with all the 24 other students. It was gut-wrenching. My project partner was so ambitious and is so keen on scoring an A, he is not open to my ideas, and he doesn’t want to go out of the conventional text book.

I obliged (I was a bad team player; never do something you don’t completely believe in). We need to build a cooling device under $10 with no active power usage.

I don’t know why but my partner is never really interested in getting my assistance in anything. He actually built the whole thing in one night without even informing me. The next day, there was no going back and so I played along.

Our device reduced the temperature by 32 degrees in 10 minutes. I was actually surprised, so was my professor, that I actually submitted the project.

The rest of the class did amazingly well. We took the last position of 12 teams.

My partner was devastated; I couldn’t care less about the project. The only thing I cared about was, not scoring a ‘C’. That evening I got an email saying I will be receiving a ‘C’ (the only one in the class) and my partner ‘B’.

My partner was not at all happy and he insinuated that it was my fault, because I did not work enough.

I went to the only friendly professor (who is also a bit guilty about losing my funding) I know and asked his permission to use his lab. We spent $8.75 on our project already. So, I had to work with $1.75. I bought some wax with the same.

I went through the trash in my department building and got some Al cans (5 different sizes) applied wax over the cans modified the design. I pulled an all-nighter and by 12 pm the next my trashy device is ready. 5 pm is the deadline to post the grades.

I went to his office and had a really long interesting argument. He is so angry at me, he felt insulted and frankly yelled at me and one point said “Do I have come to your house and see if you are doing the work every day?” He is not amused by any means.

Then I told him in a stern voice what I was thinking. I told him, I am not as useless as he thinks and I don’t care about my grade, for all I know you can fail me if you want to, but please give my partner an A. He worked alone, he worked hard. He gave me a B and my partner an A.

I know I made a lot of mistakes, I lied, I manipulated. But, I did get what I wanted in the end. I guess I watched a whole lot of House M.D.

At this point I still don’t have an advisor, no funding and am looking at a hard, hot summer. Next post I will let you in on the time how I became a PhD candidate.

Over To you

What do you think about this Story?

If you are a Parent, what do you think after reading this experience?

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  1. Hi…. Reading your experience is very informative.
    I am a chemical engineer with 3 yrs exp and earning 6lakh per annum in an mnc.
    But i got admission for ms fall14 with half funding.
    Now i m in dilemma whether to continue job or go for ms.
    Could you please advice.

  2. Well, I also finished my Grad school and seen the best and worst parts of it. Had lots of fun in masters. But after reading the story, I can clearly say that the story is fake. But still i read the story because the way you wrote is quite interesting. You can actually become a writer. And some might reply to me, “instead of writing a comment, why don’t you write your story”. It’s because, I don’t want to.

  3. Absolutely specious title. The writer is very good at vocabulary but I could not tolerate his grammatically incorrect article.

    Even the ‘ Notify me ‘ section at the end of the page is disgusting.
    Ugh! I cannot stand these Indians.

    1. Prude, covetous, immature and elitist. You sir, are the prime example why our dear old India ridicules the human rights and makes a mockery of individual freedom.
      Since, you care about grammar so deeply in an offhand blog post, you need to know this. The second sentence is utter filth.
      The writer ‘has/possesses’ a good vocabulary. Also ‘you cannot/ was not able to’ tolerate, oh dear you must be having a hard time living in the world surrounded by mediocrity.Since you wanted to sound like a flamboyant little fruit, you should at-least make it perfect. At the end of ‘this’ or even better ‘every’ page (not ‘the’, poor Raghu isn’t running his blog with a lone webpage). You might want to learn about using commas. And, please stop reading Sidney Sheldon or Dan Brown for once and try Steig Larsson or Paulo Coelho.

  4. At first when I read the post I was afraid about his experience, but It is not the situation with everybody.

    I am just wandering whether it is true or not?

  5. In my opinion the author should be a writer. The more fictious it is, the more interesting it becomes. Also, you cannot do off-campus jobs on an F1 visa. Its all bullshit.

    1. Bharat – his job is pretty common in schools here. They are hired by campus police department. Some schools they drive gold carts to transport students from The lab to apartments at late night.

      Working for off campus us illegal but lot if students work off campus in hotels, gas stations, etc.

      Buy this guys job is not off campus.

      1. I do agree with you that this job is common, but people claiming illegally on your blog such things is not right for you as well. I, being your well-wisher suggest you not to post such things in future as it is useless for students as well as parents. God forbid, but you might end into trouble for encouraging young students to involve themselves into such illegal activities. This is not a social network where you can express whatever you like under the sky. There is no point in discussing on any of the points written in the text. They are perfect for a fiction bestseller. I hope this will not be considered rude but be taken as a positive suggestion.

        1. Appreciate your suggestions. thanks. I’m trying to understand what part of this experience is illegal that encourages students to do get in trouble?

          This is how HSB differs from other sites. I’m not afraid about what parents think or not in the business of showing only the greener side of studying and living abroad. Time and time again I have seen when negative experience is posted, folks say we don’t want to hear such experiences. But the fact is most students will face such instances while studying abroad. It can be in the form of grades or financial hardships, food, etc which is rarely talked about.

          Here’s another side to think about.

          – This person could have helped 100’s of new students who travel from India for first time ( airport pickup, accommodations, taking them for shopping)
          – He could have helped maybe his friend who got really sick and required personal care
          – HE got B grad in one this courses that he had shared above, What if that was the only B grade?

          There are lot of good lessons to be learned from anyone experience.

  6. Sorry but you are just a below average student who wants to get a PhD.
    I am pretty sure you lost your funding because of your own fault. You think working 10 hour shift is hard? Really? If that is the mind set you have attend Grad school, then I think you actually deserve to be thrown out! This article just gives me an impression that you are a spoilt brat who bought everything with money including your degree. People work three jobs and still get 4.00
    what did you do the rest of the week if you were only working on the weekend? Probably watch a lot of TV series and sleep till noon.

    To the owner of this blog, i request you flag this post. Its discouraging and not even slightly reflective of student life in US.

    1. Payel – Thanks for your comments. I can say this to you about this student. I recorded a video interview with the same student (which is still unpublished), so I got know about him. It’s tough to get admit in the university he’s studying without good academic background. Have you come across few students who is always fooling around, but they end up getting top scores? I believe he falls under that category.

      1. Raghu you are right in this, I saw many classmate like this. They are having fun most of the time and when it come to grade they are equally good.
        I can believe that this is a real story. I am more impress with the view of this person he is still so positive I must say this guy is different.

  7. It is an article resulted as a consequence of reading posts like “Earn money by writing blogs!”
    1) Projects, Girlfriends and Sex – Use of misleading title.
    2) Much of the evidence and reasoning the author uses is flimsy and illogically reasoned—there is a shaky conclusion, counterarguments are not addressed, and the premises the author uses to support the conclusion/title are not reasonably qualified.

  8. I don’t know what to say. I think Pavan is intelligent and crazy at times. At the end he does his work. That matters

  9. I do not agree with this story. its all depends on how one handle situations. I came in fall 2012. I did not know literally what happened in america for 17 months. because I was fully engaged in my studies in order to make my degree equivalency n then gave my license exam n then passed. Now, I’m licensed Physical therapist to practice in the USA. To the most I got a permanent job with sponsor for my h1 n GC pointing that I m yet to finish my course.I will be graduating this may n then will work. Its all about focus.

    1. Good for you. Focus is the right word. But, from my experience, not everyone tend to have smooth sailing in USA as a student. Am I Right?

  10. Haha dude you have got one hell of imagination. It is no brainer why your team mate didn’t want to work with you.

    And Yes guys you get to see lots of desi attention mongers in US !!!

    1. Nice one! If you’re making a personal attack, at-least put some effort into it.
      1) Hell of ‘an’ imagination.
      2) It is ‘a’ no-brainer.
      3) I couldn’t possibly comprehend what you’re trying to convey in the last line. Yes guys, you get to see lots of (these) desi attention mongers in ‘the’ US.

      There you go, three lines gave you a lot to think about.

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