With perseverance and a never give-up attitude, PREMKUMARI VENKATESH learnt to become self-reliant.

I travelled alone from Chennai to Gainesville to pursue a masters degree in translational biotechnology at University of Florida (UFL). The journey was long though I finally reached Gainesville airport at midnight. I was scared as I had never travelled alone, and to reach a place, I knew little about, at midnight was worse. But one of the Indian students was at the airport to receive me. This made me feel at ease and we left for my apartment. Moreover, the location of my house made it easy for me to access the bus stop, grocery stores and an Indian restaurant.

How did it begin? It all began when I got my identity card from college. An amazing thing about UFL is its free bus service for students. So, after getting the identity card, the next thing was to choose my subjects for the semester.

My course, translational biotechnology, comes under the College of Medicine at UFL. I found my course to be interesting as I had to choose subjects relating to business and biotechnology. Working on my research and coursework simultaneously was a challenge.

The day finally came! My exams started. They were tough, contrary to what I had thought. The multiple choice questions (MCQ) were difficult to crack as the choices were close.

Do not give up

Apart from studying, I had to go grocery shopping, cook food, iron clothes and clean the house. In short, it was all about being independent. And, of course, independence was something new to me because I was used to having it easy in Chennai.

I found it difficult to adjust to this lifestyle in the beginning. But, after eight months, I got used to it. Things became easier for me as far as the studies were concerned as I got a hang of how to crack the MCQs.

So, for anyone who wants to pursue his/her studies here, it will be very tough in the beginning. But all you need is perseverance and adopt a ‘never give up’ attitude. If you manage in the first few months, then life will become fun for you here. You will start enjoying your independence and your courses.

The writer is pursuing her Masters in Translational Biotechnology at

University of Florida