1-Testing | Study in USA

Unsaid Truth: College Assignments are Extremely challenging

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.

course assignments

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.

Second Assignment

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.

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  1. Great article.There should be more articles like this in HSB describing what happens after one is admitted for masters in US.

  2. thanx for sharing ur experience and also 2 HSB for helping international student ,doing assignment in sierraleone is like copying what others wrote . studing in the US will b a tough challange as we are not use to doing our assignment by ourselves.

  3. really u scared me i socked when i read a full experience of yours but i wanna thanks to u atleast u told us about universities…………..

  4. Thnks a lot dude abt ur experience in assignment that has given us a very very good knowledge about doing an MS & to get prepared for the upcoming difficulties once again thnks a lot dude

  5. Thanks for this info.
    Actually i am a bit nervous on this topic.
    I actually got to know the same from many students .
    Currently i am in 4th year IT .I am planning to do MS in CS but i am not good at programming and have avg 56% from PU .So i wanna ask can one successfully complete all projects and assignments even if he is a bit weak in academics in India .Can one successfully maintain 4GPA in MS in US.
    Can u plzz tell me what all areas in programming i need to be good to complete all projects in MS in CS.
    Plzz reply to this i would be extremely thankful.


  7. I do not completely agree with HSB regarding the fact that the economic crunch should not be a factor for delaying your plans for pursuing Masters in US. I have been mailing a lot of universities and current students pursuing their Masters and the feel I get is that this economic downturn has resulted in many Universities increasing their Tuition and Fees by approx. 15-20 per and lets not forget the Dollar Rupee Rates not helping at all. No state funds for Public Universities also means that less funded Research Projects hence lesser number of Assistantships. The only silver lining is the fact that most public universities are accepting out of state students for reasons obvious. So chances of getting an admit is definitely higher.
    My suggestion, do apply, but be prepared to shell out a lot of money from your pockets.

  8. Thanx reader N :).. And i agree with HSB..may be these days economy is down, may be there are less jobs in USA but why ruin the golden chance of pursuing Masters from one of the top universities in the world 8)..especially the spring 2012 admits must not worry that much because i anticipate US economy, no matter how low at this time, may gain its strength in coming 2 years.. Thus increasing huge number of job opportunities.. 😀
    Yes of course i am being extra optimistic but whats the harm at least it give me positive vibes 😉

    1. I agree that there is no harm in being extra optimistic. But the fact also remains that this Economic Situation has been prevailing ever since 2008, its almost 2012 and things are not quite stable. So hoping things to get from worse to better in a matter of two years is far fetched.
      But having said that, I would also like to add that these might be bad times for semi skilled white collars due the factor of replaceability and that’s where the importance of a “Masters” comes into handy. Specialization is the need of the hour. And these two years are the times where one has to work his/her arse off and build their brand/increase their marketability.
      What also needs to be considered here is that, their are a lot of individuals who are currently taking their time of their work and planning to/pursuing their Masters in US, what needs to be kept in mind is the fact that classrooms are getting more competitive, as we are well aware that we Indians might be Hard Workers, we might have in depth knowledge about our stuff, i.e. technically we might be sound, but where most Americans score is the Presentation part, they make sure that the screw fits the nut. So getting ‘A’ grades is gonna be a lot more tougher.

      But the interesting part is, these times will get the best out of you.


      1. @shekar: i agree with u. u hv put it well n perfctly right on d mark! economy may b down but that doesnt mean the education level or its value is! 🙂

  9. Thnx fr sharing your experience. It was really informative. And best of luck for your Masters Reader N. Thanx hsb for ur information and help.

  10. Myself also a students at Univ of British Columbia, Canada…..What the Reader N has pointed out is very true for good universities….Apart from doing a lot of tough assignments u will also have to do term projects for the subjects ……It consists of reading IEEE papers and simulating them….it can be challenging but at the same time a great learning experience…..all students have to earn their marks here….Professors are very friendly….They just want u to learn….and everybody more or less gets more than 80%….u just have to read well……and its exciting to choose your own choice of subjects…..u dont have to learn some of the stupid stuff which unknowingly u study at Under Graduate level and is never at all useful…..even u can choose a combination from other departments….as per ur liking…..so best of luck to students coming here….

    1. would you kindly share the process of admission and the cost of living in British Columbia, and also if you have applied to other canadian universities I really could use your help.

  11. Can someone please tell me what HSB means ?? We have British Council to help us out in the admission process to UK uinversities what about USA ? Does it have any similar genuine initiative for Indian students ?? Please help.

  12. This blog is off great help to me …. Thanks for the information. I am placed but i will be going foe Masters MS in USA for Fall 2012.

  13. This is a very insightful expose. I think schooling in Nigeria and India are much alike and things like Projects, Seminars and most importantly Assignments tend to be difficult when we find ourselves in organized universities like the ones in USA. So Africans and Indians should strive to honest in your academic dealings so that it will be a smooth sail in the USA

  14. nice experience to share and thanks to HSB too for assurance at end…i am two minded regarding the USA studies..but nw feeds from many seniors and HSB..i think i’ll go ahead with the plans 🙂

  15. Thanks a lot for sharing your experience, today I feel that I made a right decision of leaving my job and going for masters.

  16. you inspired me a lot and lightened my path towards preparing good and worth assignments.

    As this shall help us to meet the timeline which troubled you a lot b’coz of lack of awareness.

  17. Thank you Reader N for sharing your experience. This is really a good eye opener for prospective students. Particularly last part is awesome.

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