Striving to get better, one day at a time

My days have become busy since the beginning of BEFORE the quarter started.  Fisher’s international student orientation, OIA’s orientation and the MLHR program orientation came one by one, starting in early September. I really like the activities we got involved in during orientations and all of the campus info shared with us during the orientations. However, in every orientation it was emphasized repeatedly the importance of networking and encouraged us to network whenever and wherever possible.  This made me feel a bit anxious. I admitted that building a strong network here is very important for us to help us get to where we want to go, we need to make friends, etc. I don’t think one should take networking as the number one priority in our life and that every interaction with every single person should be with “networking” in mind.  I (and I think most people) always communicate with people in a natural way and never think that I am “networking” when I speaking with others. Networking shouldn’t be a formal “task” – it should happen naturally. Networking is simply a natural process of relationship building.

Besides networking, the MLHR classes are additional challenges for me.  Having classes in a second language, it is challenging for me to understand every word and sentence of what professors say in classes, let alone taking notes of the important points discussed. In addition, all of the courses require a lot of reading; sometimes almost 500 hundred pages per week. How could I handle these tough text books? What’s more, I also need to finish more than 6 different current issue analysis, case study, presentation and research paper within very limited time. Meanwhile, many quizzes, mid-terms and finals are waiting for me. It’s sometimes overwhelming, to say the least.

I need to find ways to deal with these issues and the “depressed” feeling that I might get if I let them get to me.  Actually, almost every international student who comes to America for the first time and speaks English as a second language will have the same difficulties as me. I just need time to adapt myself to the new learning and thinking method and overall environment. It is enough for me to make a little progress every day. I know one more word today; I can remember one more new foreign name today; I can understand one more sentence of what the professor was talking about in the class; I read one more page in an hour; etc. Thinking this way, I will be satisfied with my progress, however “tiny.” At the same time, I continuously remind myself to accept the “imperfect” me. No one can do great in every area all the time But one can always strive to get better. This is a matter of an optimistic attitude.

Since I chose to come to the U.S. to pursue my graduate studies, I must prepare myself for all kinds of challenges (including those described above). No more complaints and, at the same time, learn how to obtain my “inner peace.” Everything will be okay if I keep trying to get better and improve every day.