Monday, April 9, 2012

Studying in the U.S. University - First Week

By now you have arrived in the University of your Choice. Great. If you have already made arrangements in the dorm, you’ll have a place and room to stay and your dining would have been arranged too. And like many other students, if you haven’t, then initially you would have to arrange for a temporary living and in the mean time, you would have to arrange for a permanent room and board. 

I must admit that I also made a mistake of not arranging for my stay anywhere. So when I arrived at my university, I didn’t have any choice but to stay at the dorm. It didn’t take me long to decide that I wanted to live off-campus, so I moved out in first couple of weeks. It is not to say that on-campus living is a bad decision. My younger brother opted for on-campus living throughout his studies. Both on and off-campus living has pros and cons. All is not bad. So you have to decide for yourself what you really want to do. 

A week before the university begins, there is a registration week. You would have to visit your department and an adviser will be assigned to you. He or she will advise your on the selection of course, guidance, provide an ear to hear you out and will be a great help to you throughout your undergrad education. This also depends on availability of time, number of students he or she is advising and your schedule. I was fortunate to have a great adviser who was there to guide me through during my studies. 

One thing to note about studying in the U.S. University is that they expect you to be adult. This means that you have to take responsibility for your actions. This also means that nobody will hold your finger to point you to the right answer to a question. You have to take the lead and make mature decisions. So don’t take your adviser for granted. Normally an adviser is a tenured professor. They have their own work cut out. So use their time wisely. Don’t go over to them and spill out your personal details. They don’t care what you do on your personal time. They are there to help you with decision making about your studies, courses, projects and everything scholarly. So be wise and act mature. 

Sometimes, communicating in English does come in the way of explaining yourself. But American people in general are very patient and open to hear you out. So take your time and learn more about their culture and language to express your thoughts. You will have plenty of time to make friends and speak to them. The more you speak and spend time with the local students, the more you will learn to communicate with them. They will also learn about your culture, religion, way of life etc. This is all part of your learning. You won’t only meet with the American students, but many others from various parts of the world. There will be some that you would be meeting first time in your life. So don’t be shy and open yourself up and make new friends.