Thursday, September 17, 2009

September 17th

Today is supposed to be remembered as it’s the department orientation day today. We had pizza in the Lindner Hall at 12pm and then the orientation meeting went on until 4pm. One interesting thing I noticed was almost all PhD students in my department are either Chinese or Indian-I could barely see any Americans study for the degrees beyond MS. As I quit my good job and came here for my PhD, I have always hoped I had made a good decision, yet as the excitement and curiosity fade away, I gradually start to ponder where I should fit in here. When I could scarcely see any of my peers younger than me, I am a little concerned, although I have expected this before I came. Yes, it’s different, because I need to fight for what’s good for me instead of sitting there to wait. The first several times when I tried to look for help, I was sort of frustrated by the tight schedules that everybody was having, because they could not stop to just take care of you. You are new here? Good, go and figure out things by yourself and ask questions. Because they don’t feed you stuff like the way I was used to in China. Although I do appreciate the initial help I gained from people in the church, when school really begins, I am kind of worried. Maybe this is called the cultural shock they’ve been emphasizing since our arrival. The way they are dealing things here is different and as my manager used to tell me, being active is really important. It is true that perhaps 2 years later one day when you wake up, you think it’s the day for your graduation while you have been doing nothing and your advisor has no idea where you are, because you are just sitting there and being passive. That kind of methods don’t work here any more.

The first two weeks here are so busy and I have to make a list of things I need to do each day. As I found myself adjust to the new life here quite easily during these days, I am really not sure about the academic life here until new classes begin next week. There are lots of uncertain things so far, and I can only hope for the best and try my hardest.

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