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How Life Changed Completely in 7 Months – Lessons for Prospective Students to U.S.

Student Life

The past 7 months have completely changed my life because I moved to the U.S.  I have learned the greatest lessons of my life in my time in this country and want to share them for prospective students who might be looking to move to the United States.

I still remember the day my VISA was approved and that moment I felt I had won against this world or like I had won a world cup for India and some priceless moments. I never regretted my decision of moving to the U.S., because if I hadn’t come here, I would not have been living my life independently and may not have been learning these important lessons.

I still don’t know how many people think that life in the U.S. is comfy, because in reality, it is s**t.  I am writing this article during a night shift in my dorm. With millions of dreams and hopes, I entered the U.S. but have learned so many new things.

I am an introvert and usually talk or make less conversation with people around me but, believe it or not, I changed that quality after coming here. I became bubbly, talkative and started making conversations. Being an introvert doesn’t teach you anything in life. When you need to project your personality in a proper way, one should be open to most of the conversations.

People here love to talk about football and other sports which are famous in their region/state. At the same time, we need to have to-the-point conversations. People also love to hang out with their friends – never say no to that and enjoy the company of Americans. I felt they are quite sensible, possibly because of their culture.

Survival and $$$

Most of us come to the U.S. with one main purpose – money, money and money. One may start their career as a student or  as an employee of some MNC. I am still a student, so I don’t want to comment on the life of an employee on an H1 – B visa. Student life is adventurous; it’s a one-time experience in life, especially in a foreign land like the U.S.

Every day is new deadline, a new day. Students’ main motto after coming here is to get an on-campus job. Some may find it easily and some may find one with difficulty and some end up pursuing off-campus jobs. Off-campus jobs are illegal but students have to somehow manage their living expenses and tuition fee.

Money rules here, it makes people stoop to the worst in order to earn it. Money changes people’s character and behavior. At end of the day, people change because they are craving money. Money can make a person lose their morals. I would say that when students have enough money for tuition fees and living expenses at least for a year, they can sustain themselves. If not, they end up transferring universities and taking off-campus jobs. I can say one thing, “Don’t lose your morals for money or else you (will) end up messing with life forever.”

Academics and Plagiarism:

Academics play vital role in scholarships, funding, TA/RA or finding some internship during summer or some early placement. Like students do in India, preparing for an exam the day before never works. If a person tries that, they end up scr****g up the exam. Every week, we have some homework, presentation, quiz or some test. I don’t have any complaints about that because it make us focus on our studies. It may be stressful but when you manage time, it will be easy for all.

I learned how to manage my time. Some students get a 4.0 GPA which opens up comfortable avenues for them like getting the chance to join sororities or fraternities.
I would like to talk about plagiarism too. It’s considered a big crime here .If anyone is caught plagiarizing, the professor won’t rest until till they expel the student from the university. However, the final decision totally depends on the professor. Even copying homework from other students is considered a crime – so I’d recommend caution with regard to plagiarism.

Road Trips:

Are you jealous of your friend touring around the U.S.? Don’t be. Most of the Indians see tour pictures of their friends through Facebook.

I will tell you how they go to trips. A student will visit places closest to their campus and upload the pictures. And considering air tickets are so expensive for students, they hire a car along with their friends and go for a road-trip. Not only does that cut down the costs, but it also lets them spend quality time with their friends.

If it is a really long vacation, they have to book flight tickets but if not, they manage with cars by sharing expenses during the trip. I feel one should go for these kind of trips with friends and family because they are stress-busters. I too went for trips and they are really good. One trip I was on, was with a bunch of people I hardly knew but after that, a couple of them became really good friends.

Last topic of this post – Desis (Indian nationals)

What should I say about them? They drive me crazy here every day. My place is full of ‘desis’. I don’t even feel I am in USA. They are good in the beginning but later they can’t bear competition and if you are from the same department, you will be scr***d. I won’t generalize by saying everyone is bad but there are a few of them who are selfish and self-centered – may be they changed after moving here.

Final line – “Simply do your work here and mind your business.” Don’t give a damn about ‘desis’ or what others think of you. No one else is going to pay your loans. Enjoy U.S.!

To read more accounts from students who have spent a couple of months in the U.S., CLICK HERE.

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  1. Plagiarism in d sense ? Like aren’t we allowed to copy assignments from others ? Or take ideas from other’s presentations ?

    1. That is correct. If you copy programming assignment and change variables, they will find you copied. Both the person copying and sharing will be punished. If you steal ideas then you have to quote the source.

    2. Copying other people’s assignments and presentations constitute plagiarism. If you are indebted to someone else’s ideas, acknowledge it. I am copying below the guidelines from the Columbia Journalism School. I am sure all schools have similar guidelines in their bulletins:
      Policies Relating to Academic Work
      Plagiarism includes:
      • Verbatim copying of material that appears in a newspaper, magazine or book, or on the Internet, radio, television or other published and unpublished sources (including student work) without proper attribution;
      • Paraphrasing of material that appears in a newspaper, magazine or book, or on the Internet, radio, television or other published and unpublished sources (including student work) without proper attribution;
      • Use of another person’s research, phrasing, conclusions or unique descriptions without proper attribution.
      The use of facts that are generally known or easily accessible through multiple sources is not plagiarism. To qualify as common knowledge, the facts must be easily verifiable in multiple sources. It is always preferable to acknowledge previous publication of these facts. When in doubt, provide attribution.
      As noted in the Academic Discipline Form that all students sign during orientation, if a student is confused about what constitutes plagiarism or has questions about any of the guidelines listed above, it is her/his responsibility to seek clarification from the Dean of Students Office. Students may not turn in the same assignment (or substantial amounts from a single assignment) in two different courses without prior approval from instructors of both courses.

    3. From my experience in a middle tier private US school, I would like to add that the professor might let some some students cheat and plagiarize, while he complains about others.
      Usually, the Indian professors will complain about plagiarism from Indian students, but they are scared to complain about american students. For private schools, it also depends on which ethnicity represents the greatest cash flow to the department.

  2. Thank you for sharing this.
    From almost each of my students, and friends as well, I hear that the one thing US (and virtually every foreign land) teaches you is independence. This also means the guts to accept the responsibility of every outcome. That way you evolve, rather than just grow in age. Besides, as Sreekumar Menon mentions, plagiarism is a crime everywhere; it’s just that some countries take a zero-tolerance stand – which should be a stand everywhere.
    Thanks to Raghu too, for bringing in more such posts that go far beyond test-prep and funding and stuff.

  3. Twice in this post you have mentioned that “plagiarism is considered a big crime.” Well, it IS a big crime. And not only in the U.S. It is a crime anywhere in the world. In the college where I teach in India, at least 12 people have failed the course in the past two years for plagiarizing. If you were to take your neighbor’s mobile phone, it is considered stealing. Stealing ideas and other people’s language is no different. All that is required of you is to acknowledge your borrowings. If you put quotes around the sentence or paragraph that you have borrowed from someone else and acknowledge the original author, you won’t get into trouble. The author of this post seems to think that this is a nuisance. It is not an inconvenience; it is a matter of HONESTY.

  4. Well well, looks like u were a student like whom u don’t want us to be (preparing on the last night of exams, and plagiarism). Well, I don’t do that.
    About life?? hmmmm.. life is what u make of it. My life is good no matter where I live. According to statistics, life in US isn’t any good (urban crimes. robberies, drug business, etc). Every fourth American is mentally ill. Every 3rd americans is obese. Well, I don’t see them as signs of a nice and happy life.

    About money?? well m not interested in money. I never was.
    Looks like I ain’t gonna face problem, if I ever land there. So yeaaahh!!!!!!

  5. We still need to learn the difference between No competition and complex competition.
    We Indians see a guy simply reading a book or newspaper by default goes to mode of thinking that I need to be more than that guy and go home and read and read everything you get our hands and end up cursing about not enough time but the guy reading that newspaper or book is simply chilling on his time..
    Another circumstance I observe every other day in my college is if one guy from your department goes and get a book on Operation research then all guys rush into library and nearly kill librarian and ask him for that specific book and version and year of edition too..Well it is the mentality of a person with complex Insanity level..A little competition is not bad but a war of competition is just unnecessary..

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