Life on Probation in USA – Lost Weight, Hair and Feeling Helpless

Raghuram Sukumar Student Stories 44 Comments

Hi everyone,

I came to US in the year 2010 with lots of expectations. I was a normal student with average scores but I always had better understanding of concepts than what my scores tell about me.

I was brimming with confidence and then came the first semester.

Professors took classes as if they were on horseback and I was definitely not on the horse back to catch up.


Flickr – marcfalardeau

I ended up taking some of the most difficult classes of the department but did pretty good because of my interests. But crashed in one of the prerequisite classes because I had no exposure in Matlab.

Got a D grade in that course and I think the prof had something against me because I did not do that bad.

Definitely a C but not a D. Before the final day of the semester, not a single day I slept in peace for 6 months.

But no miracle happened and I ended up being on probation.

Had to search for classes where I can guarantee A grades to pull me back on track. Got 2 supposedly easy courses but could manage only an A and 2 B’s. Came from 2.33 to 2.8.

No scholarship, no job, loan was killing me and I was in immense pressure for all these days.

I lost 5 kg and tons of hair from the scalp. None of the pants would fit and had no money to buy new ones, so had to make 3 new holes in the belt.

Every month one day on Friday it used to be Diwali for me as I would eat in Subway.

The department gave me an extension but of course no scholarship, although there were some people in the past who got TA in spite of being on probation.

Meanwhile I got an internship in the department lab where I worked 60 hrs/week paid only for 20 hrs/week.

Did good job but the professor didn’t give me RA but a students worker job for 10 hrs/week.

He made me work for 40 hrs/week.

I needed an A or else that’s it, so had to quit the job.

This is my third sem, loan = approx 27 lakhs.

House in India = mortgaged, bank balance = approx $1000, monthly expenses = $350-$400.

Next sem 2 difficult courses which I HAVE to take, If I get a TA I need to do master’s report and also look for job.

So 2 courses, TA, Report and Job next sem seems inevitable.

Remember the brimming confidence I talked about, I fear taking elementary class test now.

Looking back were it all went wrong, it was just one D and now I have a very strong feeling I could do nothing valuable with my life.


Life is tough man. Hang in there and take one day at a time. Listen to Steve Jobs Stanford Commencement speech for inspiration.


  1. hang in there dude….
    you will be able to do it…
    u got to usa didnt u which not all can do.

    1. Hey I agree….stay there and just concentrate …we all had some professors do the bad thing to us…just hang in there..try to spend more time on studies….and maybe stop watching tv or something to get the time….. dont loose this much weight and hair …its not good…relax….

  2. Buddy dont lose confidence in ur ownself…. u reached USA and that probably shows your commitment … u will do great , but only if u dont lose ur self-confidence. Here is a quote for u:

    “Karmanye Vadhikaraste Ma Phaleshu Kadachana,
    Ma Karma Phala Hetur Bhurmatey Sangostva Akarmani”

    (You have a right to perform your prescribed action, but you are not entitled to the fruits of your action. Never consider yourself the cause of the results your activities, and never be associated to not doing your duty)….

    -THE BHAGWAD GITA (Hindu Religious book)

  3. Brother I am not saying this to just make you feel good but trust me you are going to ROCK it man and I will tell you why. Because you did mention your difficulties but along with it we can also see that you have tried really hard, you have never spoken of giving up and you dont even seem to be sharing your experience and not whining about it. You have tried using pretty much every card that I can think of. Just don’t lose hope and hang in there. I am sure I have no clue how it feels to be in your place, but all I can say is I have seen millions who go through difficult situations and all they do is complain and whine about it. But you are TRYING AND PUTTING YOUR EFFORTS and no matter how cliche this sounds but after dusk there has to be dawn, and that’s the ultimate truth of the universe.

    1. really…this was one blog which kind of stunned me about the reality of doing MS in US for average students…HSB do keep posting such experiences

  4. hey dont be sad…you can do it…and i know you will…just work harder and achieve what is made for you..just some more efforts
    dont worry
    work harder
    all the best
    thats all i can do

  5. My experiences says that people with such a tough history makes good future. I know its hard to
    keep yourself cool but if you already gave your 100%, then you can’t do anything more than that.
    My suggestions: never let your patience go down, keep trying, find out new options. if its about study, try to get help from your room partners. try to remember & believe those words & thoughts, which your parents & teachers told u in your childhood.

  6. Hi friend,
    u r suffering but someone said like if there is no pain then no gain.
    definitely u r gonna make it and u have that capabilities.
    just believe in urself.just recall the things u had done successfully so far.
    that will offer u energy to combat ur difficult time.
    god bless u.have a nice time soon.

  7. hey buddy dont get too tensed abt wht is goin on in ur life just remember ur here to enjoy the life & whiling enjoying make sure u dont miss some of the imp things in ur life so just get up & ull be ready to score a gud marks in next sem

  8. As much as I sympathasize with you, but could not help myself mentioning a few things.
    No one said life in US is easy, but still we all come and do what ever we are asked to do- without raising anny objections.
    About- “department lab where I worked 60 hrs/week paid ”
    You youself are to be blames somewhat. You knew that if you would raise objection against being made to work so much, then you would not be able to earn $$.

    I am sure though that after a few yrs down the road, you will realise that these experiences will make you a more strong person.

  9. Don’t loose your hope buddy …. Whatever happens in our lives happens for a reason ! After reading your experience, I can see that you are doer and i believe it’s last stage of your testing…You have worked really hard until now so don’t give up ! Everyone has their own problems. Yours seems to be little magnified.

    Nevertheless, where there is a will there’s a way. The true belief and confidence in you will never let you down, not to forget the sincere effort.

    Who knows you might be one of the achiever’s through your endurance and patience.

    I know it’s easy to sit and write comment but really takes a great will power to be in your shoes.

    Don’t give up !

  10. Brother don’t worry ur giving ur max efforts, u knw when I get tough times, I feel god is making some thing big for me so he is making me work hard the more the work the more will be the gift ,So think positive , and concentrate on food also loosing so much weight is not good for health , I’m sure u will buy 3 or 4 houses soon if u work hard like this. That day u will remember me , chill out dear be happy .

  11. I am also in the same situation, have no funding and taking loan from bank and the interest of the loan which is floating has increased twice after I came to US. Handling all these pressure is really difficult. Guys! whoever is coming here for MS try to figure out and think about your position after coming here. I had no proper food nearly for so many days now and lot of thinking piss me off , and finally the dilemma of whether I will really get my degree or lose my home because of getting a lot loan from banks (I feel really bad my fathers hard earned home and money is into debt because of this degree which I am not sure will be really awarded) You feel I am completely pessimist here, but in reality I was always optimist about coming here and calculated everything . Because its me who took initiation I am responsible for my surrounding things and each day trying to figure what better I can do…………………………MS is a big decision, think before starting!!!

  12. Hi, the confidence in you is Amazing. Continue this till u reach Ur goal. There is no meaning for the word ” problem ” unless it is experienced by human. Everyone has a prob never give up. Take an example of Steve jobs, even though he was aware that ge s gonna die he never lost hope this makes successful person. Ur made to achieve somethin on this earth. U know watt am sure tat someday the same prof will congratulate u.. Dr. Apj abdul kalam was born in poor family and experienced many difficulties and the result was ” he is the most loved and respected former president of India “. Bhai one thing i wanna tel u.. The steel takes shape once it moulded when its hot liquid. Problems r temporary but the positive feeling will take you to a very good position. Never ever lose hope.. am confident Ur gonna make a mark in life.. All the best.. 🙂

  13. Hi buddy. I just came across this post on my mail. As i was reading every word you wrote, i could fell what terrible time you are going through. I really hope you would get what you deserve, very soon. Even this tough time would teach you many new things about life, i feel you are going to go really high in this life….it;s your endurance test going on! All will be well, stay focused and never give up your strongest gift….HOPE . God bless you. Best Wishes bro. Tckre 🙂

  14. hey bro i can feel your each words u spoke about. but life offers this critical situation since it needs u to achieve something big. be cool and stay focused.simply bend down your head and study/work part time. believe me u will gonna come out of this dark period.

  15. hi.
    People suggested u a lot already, i would tell u one more …


    Confused….let me explain….Dont go for very hard work technique and read and analyse all the data.DO a really smart work..cut down unnecessary things…eat healthy diet;Back urself..

    Important thing : Dont not work more than what u are supposed to….Not more than 20 hours/ week or what u are paid for.If needed complaint to the higher authority or even embassy about the amount of work….u know how to do it…….Ask seniors what to do in some situations…u need to come out of it successfully

  16. Hi don’t loose your confidence,its your greatest strength
    please do ask suggestions from seniors about the situations i think it will help to an extent but i believe at present you know very well,what to do and what not,have healthy foods in your diet,as physically your fit implies mentally it boosts allot and you will be what you want, at last

  17. Tough guys are tough because they see tough times and the way I see it u are one heck of a tough guy.
    God tests only those who can withstand the pain and u have almost pulled it off.

    Just be patient and keep working hard.
    Give each and every shot your best one.

  18. If I go to any grad school in Physics, being an average student, how hard would it be for me to survive in academic cases? Can you provide me a complete and actual picture? I have talked to many but didn’t get the true picture.

  19. santho5198 u r reviews are right.

    Now i thank god, because my visa got rejected twice.I got admit in NYIT/NJIT/LTU.
    Now thinking about 80,000$ fee for 2 years, i cnt believe how i took tht dangerous decision.God has timely intruded in my visa intrw and rejected it,else i couldve been in dire straits by now.
    Now am an SAP CERTIFIED CONSULTANT (Fee just 3.3lakhs) and now in a hidh paying job in india itself.Tht too in a matter of 6mnths ,im here…”MS” is meant only for BIG SHOTS like businesmen/politics/actors etc, not for an average family tht too in EDUCATION LOAN it amounts to biggest risk not to us alne but also to our parents life.


    I think am right … people think hereafter… though i lost 50,000 rupees in my gre/toefl/i20’s/visa intrvws , still i think its a big lesson ….

    Y spend so much money,n,worry,n undergo mentl pressure to self n also parents.instead lot can be done with tht money…

    1. You are a born loser and u have given ample evidence. Cheers to your thought, MS not only requires academic excellence but strong mind and extreme dedication. And all that is absolutely missing in you. Thank God you did not get a Visa because there is no place for losers like you in the US. If you really want something in life then work hard for it, you’l not get anything easy in life.
      Dear Friend,

      Do not lose hope, you have worked really hard and you will get your dues. God doesn’t leave anyone empty handed. God will definitely reward you. Its just a matter of time. The best thing you can do for yourself is to motivate yourself and challenge the life to show what troubles it can crop up because you now have the strength to beat the hell outta all of them. Cheers and All the best.

  20. Dear Friend,

    When U start studying this comment of mine, please ensure that there is always a friend like me to support people like U feeling insecured in a foreign land.
    I went through your post nearly 12 times today..
    The pressure which U are undergoing is clearly visible in ur post..
    It is clearly evident from that U have not wasted your time lavishly and planning to get
    a good internship from the university…
    At times things become more complicated and life seems tougher than usual.
    All U need to do is ” SET UP YOUR MIND…….PREPARE FOR THE WORST AND TRY DOING YOUR BEST “. Put superb time table for your daily activities and make sure that U do justice to it.Forget all those unreal sorrow that made U feel frustrated..All that is fake and temporary…..
    Think of your loved ones [ parents ,friends] and refresh yourself with the love they shower towards U everyday.
    Start preparing from this moment thinking that the next day is your day of examination….
    Try accepting things as they come their way…
    Have faith in GOD and believe that U will have a very bright future in US……
    Always try creating positive energy within Urself…
    U are really really One among the blessed,because not everybody get a chance of doing M.S.
    If U really really liked my comment, then keep reading it when ever U feel a bit lagging….



    1. Hello shobana,
      Your are amazing, you are a born leader,you literally ignited not only him but every one who had read that post,you have just shown how a LEADER behaves.I am happy for commenting on your post.

  21. Dude! Keep your cool…You will Rock…trust me! There is nothing bigger than self confidence…Dont let yourself down! Dont think about others. GodBless 🙂

  22. You have faced a lot of difficulties,now your time has come to ROCK.All the best bro. You will definitely do well.

  23. Dear Friend,

    I have read your post several times in the past couple of days and understand you are going through a lot of pain- but who said life is easy. You are already doing a great job by putting in extra efforts- so don’t worry they will not go waste. There is light at the end of the tunnel and you will soon cross this hurdle. Here is a small piece of advice from me:

    1. Don’t compare yourself with others. It is fine to be a little behind in the game- you will have your opportunity/time when you are ahead in the race. Somebody getting a TA/RA, you not getting one is fine- but make sure you are putting in maximum efforts.

    2. I think you should build a rapport with the professor who you feel hasn’t been good to you. It is your need and there is no harm in accepting feedback from him. I am sure you have spoken to him but try understand the specifics. I have not been a star performer in my academic stint- but you can be street smart. So cheer up, there are ways to do things!

    3. Hair loss- Worry/stress causes hair loss and looking your self in the mirror with less hair causes more hair loss- its like panicking- and when you panic you cannot think. So sit back and relax- meditation for 5 mins- take a deep breath, close your eyes- imagine you are traveling fast in a space ship…

    4. Your financial problems- well you should eat and not starve yourself. I can extend a small help here and send you 10$(TEN Dollars) every month, till the time the end of your course- if that helps- we can discuss the details.

    5. Finally, like someone suggested you can speak to seniors and try and understand what you can do better and build efficiency in your approach. My suggestion is don’t go over board, take one step at a time. Mountaineers don’t get to the top on Day 1- they have a base camp, then move to the next level- acclimatise- then move to the next level..

    Also remember- you don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate.

    To Fly you need resistance !!!

      1. Anyway you have decided to climb , and right now you are right in the middle of the mountain,Pull up your socks and surge ahead ,Difficulties are yet to come and will come,Only your passion and undeterred determination will help you.Do not loose hope and Do well.

        All the Best 🙂

  24. Dude

    Self pity is bad

    Me and everyone who reads this will sympathize with you
    And frankly it will do you no real good

    Study sincerely

  25. @Jagroop- Dude get a life.. if you feel that this guy is disgrace for INDIAN and he is a loser… you in my opinion is a guy with BIG L on his face..
    if you want to convey your message.. do it.. don’t abuse someone here.. this is not a place to do that..
    @HSB, i want to request you not to post such comments which has abusing and F-words specifically taunted at one particular person… please maintain a decency level and encourage others to do so.. if you post such comments its sending out wrong message to each and everyone reading this reply-that you can post anything and get away from it.. i choose to differ. hope you will appreciate it..

  26. Do not sympathize. This will do no good for you. Do not worry and always give your best.

    “The best or nothing”
    – Merc

  27. I hope till now your problem been solved.

    Still for other students and for you if required I suggest.

    Whatever you said might not really true. The same thing and the same problem I can say in a good manner, in a different words, which makes others to look as there is no problem.

    1) Every student might have problems. But some overcome it easily, have you wondered how?

    Even I am in foreign and I know things. But believe me every thing is easy ( its not saying its just the matter of thing doing correctly, decision should be correct or better, stick to your goals and decisions;
    Man becomes by his decision, by his choice ( This line I heard in harry potter film ( not exact but similar words)).

    2) Read As a Thinketh the Man by James Allen. . Its a free ebook.

    3) Do every thing intellectually ( To use your intellect more you have to sometime ( like Gandhiji) you have to sit and think regularly. Check (Think) your works, goals, etc according to your best way, example Think What I have done, What I am doing What I will do? , What is the best option.
    ( Mostly MBA student knows problem solving steps, decision making process, opting best solution etc as they have to learn for their courses and if they apply they surely benefited by these things) ( Other than MBA people can check on the net). ( Use These steps in your personal life also).

    4) To manage time I am using GTD. To start using GTD read this link or type in google search “Why Getting Things Done is The Best Productivity System”

    5) Always keep Good and True qualities like Truthfulness, True courage, Faith, Confidence, Honesty, helpfulness, unselfishness, Gratitudes, Humbleness etc. these makes life much easier and qualitative.

    I hope these will work if you apply. There are other thing too like many good books which help us in many ways. If any body knows they can share with all of us. Many other Ideas which can help all of us, that can also be shared.

    If anybody find helpful these things then let me know by Commenting.

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