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

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.