america stem opt workers talent

American Economy Needs STEM OPT Students – Is It a Big Fat Lie?

Does America need International STEM OPT Students? Looking at the thousands of negative comments posted against the proposed STEM OPT Rule, one thing is clear, Americans don’t want non-immigrants take their jobs. At the same time, people in the tech field know that it’s really hard to find and hire a talented STEM employee.

While this STEM OPT Proposed Rule is a hot topic, don’t forget the reason why you came to Study in USA (or work in USA) as a legal, high-skilled non-immigrant. When you read Akshay’s article below, you could perhaps get rekindle the lost feeling or it will be like a booster shot that you always wanted. He wrote the a comment at 24 Months STEM OPT Updates that deserves to be posted as a blog post (right below).

Hello Folks,

I would, first of all, congratulate Raghu and all of you for contributing to this wonderful blog. You guys are doing an efficient job maintaining this blog but let us all just step back and take a deep breath. We must ponder over a few things:

1. American Economy

  • The American Economy needs us – The biggest myth and lie of all times.
  • The American Economy needs talented people – The honest truth.

2. STEM OPT Extension

Oh, MY GOD, I need STEM OPT – That’s’ the wrong approach in life.

Instead work hard in your fields and try to do best, all good things will follow.

3. Make use of  your time

Make the most of your time here in the US. Do a doctoral study or create something useful. When you create something of value,  you will get more satisfaction in life rather than a fake masquerade of an American life.

4. Worry About Things You Can Control

There are some things in life we all can control like [highlight]hard work, outcomes, projects, GPA, skill development and somethings that we cannot control for example H-1B Visa, STEM OPT and Green Card.[/highlight]

It’s better to worry about things we can control than ones we cannot. Worrying will not get you anywhere nor will it pay your bills, or get you your dream job.

5. Evaluate yourself

Make right choices. [highlight]Get into a good program in a good university. You will learn more and grow more.[/highlight] Wasting 6-9 years of your life running after consultants and joining small schools to maintain status will not help you succeed.

6. Avoid Easier Routes

Do Not fall prey to easier routes. [highlight]Easier routes do not teach you anything in life.[/highlight] They may look attractive initially, but as the story unfolds are not intellectually or financially fulfilling in the long run.

7. Live a Little and Then Some 

Live a little.  Do not drink or do drugs but do things that make you feel alive. i.e.[highlight]Go to places you always wanted to go. Do things you always wanted to do.[/highlight] If not here where else? Bike riding, trekking, scuba, body building.

8. Try to dream big

Dream big and not small. India is not a dangerous country to return to. IT Engineering and other fields are doing marvelously well there. If a guy from Somalia or Syria says he doesn’t want to go back, I get it! But when Indians say, so it is hurtful.

Is saving 80-90 Lakhs (optimistically) in a time frame of 9-12 years by doing small time jobs worth staying away from home friends and family? Your call, you decide.

[highlight]Isn’t a guy who is doing well in India and making visits to all his dream destinations in the US or Europe once a year better? Think about it.[/highlight]


9. If you work hard

I have learned that you WILL achieve whatever you want in life sooner or later, if you work hard, do well and stay positive.

10. Be needed

I am currently running a data center in California. I worked a few years in San Francisco quit my job, then finished a doctoral degree and was hired and later sponsored by my employer just because he had nobody in the analytical end to take care of business.

11. Be specific

There are so many evolving fields in the USA. Most of them have a tremendous amount of scope and future applications.

Why don’t you guys worry and discuss those things than having meaningless discussions about what will happen to work permits in future?

12. Really interested?

After 12 years of experience in the field let me tell you one thing, If someone is given five years to accomplish a project or a task and yet he doesn’t do so, apparently he does not want to do it. His interests lie somewhere else.[highlight]Why not be what you want than wasting life and time doing things you are not interested?[/highlight]

13.  Needs differ

Finally, I understand you have different needs and aspirations in life. Also, you have families to support hence, all the worry about visas and work permits. But in the end, remember [highlight]your future generations and colleagues will recognize you from the work you do and not by work permits and green cards.[/highlight] Don’t worry, good jobs you can get anywhere India or the US.

14. Earn your life

All big shots and inspirational people did not live and die for a green card but did exceptionally well in their respective fields. That creates an ecosystem where one prospers and grows. Their love for their fields defined their actions and hence, earned them a life we all are fighting so hard to get.

– An ex-student, current learner, American Job eater and a Berkeley Product