Lochana Narayanan shares her campus experience in the University of Florida.
My I20 was delivered and I knew I am going to USA! It all started like this and now I am a 2nd year student pursuing my Masters in Electrical Engineering at the University of Florida. A calm and quite university town with no sky scraping buildings, as hot as Chennai, free bus services and loads of Indian students! That’s Gainesville and here’s where the top ranked Public Ivy League School ‘UF’ lies.
University of Florida is the 7th largest university wherein people bleed blue and orange! Yes this is the Gator nation! Every one living here is proud to be a gator and guess what, people know you as a GATOR if you tell them you are a student at UF.
Zeal and vigour
During match seasons, the amount of zeal and vigour these players play with and above all the people cheering for the gators on field is unbelievable! I have witnessed a football match here, and trust me guys, the match made no sense to me at all but the feel made me shout and scream and cheer up for my team!
Landing into my apt, getting to know my roommates, talking to seniors were the first few things I did. And ‘ya’ to update my status on fb! Unlike India where there is a particular curriculum to be followed, here it’s more of your own choice. You are free to choose your own subjects which actually is good, but if not properly chosen, screws up a whole semester. The course work generally is heavy but if properly planned, one can be a 4.0 pointer.
Library and labs indispensably become the places where you spend most of your time. People who have the habit of sleeping early tend to become night owls. You have an independent life, none to answer to. You pay your own rent, choose your own subjects, buy groceries and above all cook for yourself. Options for vegetarians like me are pretty decent. I may not say I can eat at every eatery, but these people here in USA have kept a lot of options here for non-meat eaters.
The craze of having a smart phone, owning a gator T shirt, having a credit card, talking in dollars, made me an American! In the beginning, trust me every Indian would convert everything in their minds to INR. You will be amazed knowing your mathematical skills then! But as you stay here for some time and start earning your money through part-time or thesis research, 10$ never seem 550 bucks!!
Every person you see going down the street would pass a smile at you and you would think he has lost his marbles, but this is not with one person alone. It’s with everyone you meet or see. And one needs to memorise “hey how you doing, have a good one”!
Getting the hang of reading from ebooks, watching serials, summer breaks, the first thanksgiving queue, Christmas celebrations like never before, Homecoming and Halloween is what Masters is all about here in the US of A! A little bit of perseverance and patience along with an attitude of accepting life as it comes would make your two years fly by.
The writer is Graduate Student, University of Florida firstname.lastname@example.org