Student Stories

My Campus Life Wasn’t an Exception (Fun and Stress) – Colorado State University, Fort Collins

I am Manoj Kumar from Bangalore, currently at Colorado State University (CSU) at Fort Collins for my  Masters in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Here is the video of Flash Mob at CSU to show how students are having fun while stressing it out on the academic side.

I got my admission confirmation in the month of march 2013. But before applying to any of the universities I did a decent amount of research about universities online and made sure I’m not applying for universities that doesn’t offer courses I’m interested.

When I got admission, many of my friends and relatives had different opinions about CSU, some said you should try for a better university, some gave a negative opinion because it’s not in California but I was sure of what I wanted to specialize in, I knew this university will offer courses for for my specialization. I didn’t wait for admission decision from other schools and confirmed the admission to CSU.

Education System in USA

The education system in United States is completely different from the kind of education system we are used to in India for 20 year. It didn’t take much time for me to get used to this system but there are student who take a more time to get used to it.

During my education back in India, I never came across a word called “plagiarism”. But here seniors speak about this a lot.

We are occupied with so much work that we don’t realize that we are missing our home or our dear once except while you are about to go to bed or when we end the Skype call.

Work Load and Stress

Though the work load is stressful at times, I am enjoying the learning process at CSU.

I manage to do my assignments, lab work, project with cooking, shopping, cleaning cloths which I never did back in Bangalore except a little cooking.

This fall most of the students have come for Embedded and/or VLSI specialization, and even I am here for embedded system Specialization. The courses are good, they make us learn everything by ourselves, we cannot copy someone’s assignments and submit it.

Since M.S. is something which students choose by themselves, we work, we learn, we apply it on assignments and project.

Course Work and Projects

The first assignment I had was on system engineering.  It was about concepts of engineering with practical examples. Since it was my first assignment and I was really worried about plagiarism, and I had no idea about how to write answers for these kind of questions.

I spend 2 days stayed awake an entire night to finish the assignment. This was the kind of experience most of new students will surely have and I wasn’t any exception. Other than that, most of the professors are cool, friendly and you can speak to them very freely.

Message To parents

I have seen parents (including my parents) worrying about security about International students in USA.

Please don’t worry about it, there is University police which keep monitoring across university round the clock, at CSU we have a facility where police will walk with you and drop you at your home if you are scared to walk alone at night.

We guys/gals walk alone late night at 2:00AM, 3:00AM after we finish our work at labs, we feel secured walking alone. I don’t think anyone coming here or parent back in India should really need to worry about it.


To all my friends planning to come for masters, here is a small piece of advice:

  • Come at least one or one and half week before the day of Orientation. You need two days to recover yourself from Jet Lag, and remaining day you can complete the formalities of the university. You can buy a bicycle  if you need, settle up with your permanent accommodation etc.
  • If you come early and plan to work on campus, you can get an on campus job and apply for Social Security Number. WITHOUT SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO WORK IN USA.
  • You should get SSN within two day, but it may take longer like in my case it’s been more than one month I haven’t received my SSN and unfortunately USA government is shutdown since past one week.
  • Decide the courses you plan to do this semester before coming here, you can change them after discussing with your professor and with seniors.
  • Please make sure you are good with at least one programming language, so that at least the piece of code what your professors give for assignment’s you should be able to understand well, No one is going to teach you anything from basic like int, char, etc. If you have time complete courses from Edx, CourseraUdacity websites, it will surely help you.
  • Learn to Cook (Most Important), else it will be very difficult to have food outside every day. If you are vegetarian you will have tough time eating food outside.

I have seen students who are desperate to come to USA rather than coming here to study at USA, please don’t have such kind of mind set, you may take long time to adjust.

Colorado State University Campus Photos

Colorado State University Fort Collins




Thanks for Manoj for sharing his experience and photos around the campus.

Do you have a campus experience to share? Send me the write-up with photos.

What do you think about this experience shared by Manoj?

Next – Recap of my First 70 Days in USA

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  1. hi manoj wat is the annual tuition in csu can we get teaching assistanceships in that univ…do we have off campus jobs in that univ…

  2. Videos where you show up alone and advice some essential topics for gradate students, etc are good. An example is a video where you discussed that MS in US is going to be difficult for average students, but he would soon pick up the pace, and in another video you showed that you would watch the movie ‘Rocky'( sorry i can’t remember the exact name) when you want some inspiration. Sort of boosting our motivation

  3. Felt better after reading your blog.. Thank you Manoj .. I have few queries on admission at CSU .. If you do not mind answering them plz send me your email id ..

  4. The dance looks fun, thanks for sharing Manoj.

    You are right, we do think about parents in India, the moment we hang up the skype calls. 🙂

    Good luck

      1. Hey, Raghuram. How are you? Hoping for more personal videos from you.

        Sorry, I was not able to comment the last few posts. I was little obsessed with my application process to Canadian Universities.
        Applied to Memorial University of Newfoundland and University of Windsor for Mechanical Engineering. Hoping some good things

        Reading your blog is a learning process for me. Thanks

      2. Doing fine,thank u. Am glad to tell u that am a GRA now. trying to keep up with classes and lab work as well. its sad, that some times i should miss few classes to attend some lab work. I guess I should still work on my time management skills. 🙂
        Every extra day I spend in USA, I learn something new.
        Totally, Loving it.

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