What are the bitter truths of going to the US to pursue an MS, as an Indian?

#1 It’s not a piece of a cake

Most Indian students believe (or were led to believe by the great previous foolish generation of our parents) that Americans are dumb/the American education system is poor. Don’t believe them. The generation of our Fathers/Uncles was inexperienced and stupid. Remember it’s the same generation who led you to believe that “Bohot scope he beta Engineering me”. They meant well, no doubt, they are good people, but they are inexperienced when it comes to the world beyond their 50km radius.

The world has changed, a lot. Americans are one of the most hardworking people I’ve ever met. American students make sure that they get a chance to work with a Professor by talking to them, they are good at that. More than that, I’ve 85–90 Korean/Chinese/Japanese students who will work 18 hours a day to make sure that they come out better than you, and they do.

I’ve friends who topped their respective state universities in India, but got 0/100 in Microsoft’s test on programming. Don’t think that you know programming. More than half the world is better than you.

#2 Jobs are not easy

I know an Environmental Engineer who somehow applied to 2000+ companies in a period of 6 months. I know a couple of Information Systems students who applied to various jobs (more than 1500) in 9 months before getting a call for an interview. I remember applying to 10 companies in India and getting a job. India has more jobs. I study in a reputable university in US whose CS used to be one of the best till ‘85. Out of 100, hardly 10 get an internship. Don’t think that there are millions of opportunities in USA.

#3 Jobs are not for you

I study in Mechanical Engineering and I expected that number of companies for Mechanical Engineering would be fewer than CS/IT/MIS. Wrong. We’ve the same jobs.

The problem is here.

When Career Fair came last year, I was excited to see 120+ companies on day one in the fair for Mechanical alone. For CS there were around 130+. But here is the scene. They have various criteria such as, US Citizen/State Licence/Min work exp in US based company/Non-Alien resident/Only for Undergrads etc. I shortlisted according to these criteria and there turned out to be only 5/120 companies where I can go. So, for a class of 95/100 immigrants there were 5 companies, and for 5 Americans there were 115/120. Cool huh?

#4 You don’t know shit

When you enter a class in Grad studies, specially a field with a lot of math in it (Aeronautics/Mechanical/Electrical etc) they expect you to know MATLAB, Mathematica, Pro-E, CATIA, ANSYS, MAPLE, Simulink, CFD along with all the tools which you probably have never even heard of. First lecture will finish the course more than you studied in entire semester in India. Your life will be worse and you will think of going back to India. You fight. You clear the test. You may even get a good grade. In the end you will realize you still don’t know shit.

Trust me, you don’t know shit.

#5 Get ready for Stress/Depression

You come from a place where mom made you good food every day and threw dishes for the maid to clean up at the end of the day. Your parents went grocery shopping and all you did was to make them cry internally by throwing away their food.

Buckle up. You’ve to make your own food now. You’ll start living on bread and milk. You will get annoyed/frustrated before and after the job of consuming food. You’ve to walk a mile to get groceries and carry 10 kg of it in your hand and walk in snow 2 feet deep. Your nose will start bleeding sometime due to that cold. You used to order a pizza from Pizza Hut/Domino’s in India worth 150Rs in a single call when you were hungry; now you can’t. The minimum cost of pizza comes to around 15$ and including service tax, delivery charge, tip it comes around 21$ = 1500Rs, which you can’t afford. So you walk a mile to buy a pizza, just to save tip+delivery charge of 5$. It sucks.

You’ll constantly hear angry shouts of your senior roommates to clean up the mess you made in the kitchen. You’ve a debt with a bank in India and your grades suck worse than a vacuum cleaner, you will find only one way.

Jack Daniels.

Jack Daniels, Evan Williams, Corona, Budweiser, Irish Whiskey Tullamore Dew, Absolute Russian Vodka, Bud Light, Royal Challengers, in the worst case, Cocaine/Heroin will become your partners. You will drink until you pass out or when you get in the bed, you will feel like the bed is trying to throw you away.

I never smoked in India. Now I smoke like there is nothing else in the life. Why? It fucking helps. It feels like vomiting your whole day’s shits in the smoke while throwing away puffs of smoke from the basement window out in the air.

Welcome Depression.

I lived there for 9 months, severely depressed that my legs stopped working for me in the morning when I wanted to wake up, I suddenly decided to take a break from all these shits. I called my sister in California and told her that I was tired and I needed a break. She booked a flight for me to India immediately that night. It cost her a lot money to get tickets, but she did it anyway. She knew what I was talking about. She had been in the same situation 7 years ago when she was studying Bio-medical Engineering in Arlington, Texas. She didn’t question me a thing and she understood my silence. Right now, I am in India for a 2 month vacation and hoping to get well.

So before saying “Well, you went to the USA. Your life is set, we’re not lucky enough to go to the USA, you are.” to a fellow of yours, make sure to walk a mile in his/her shoe. It’s not easy here.

You’re living a far better life in India.

Credits: Nikhil patel

Maruthi Prasad

I'm Maruthi Prasad,a self made entrepreneur.Founded TechnoSymbol.com and WeAreJobSeekers.com .And also I am a web designer & web developer based in Bangalore,India.

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