5 Things I've Realized Since Moving To The States

5 Things I've Realized Since Moving To The States

Some of the stark differences between the United States and my home a few thousand miles away.

By the time this article comes out, I will have been in Minnesota (and the United States) for four months. It is a long way away from my home in India. I have had one of the best times because of the people I have met and the things I have learned about science and life in general. I can't be more thankful for the experience. Here are five things I've realized since coming to Minnesota.

1. It's not that difficult to start a conversation.

Before coming to the U.S., I had heard stories about strangers on the street who would make your day with some of the kindest gestures. One night, I was walking from school to my apartment at 11:00 p.m. There were two men walking in front of me talking about their finals. Suddenly they turn to me and ask, “How are the finals treating you?” We talked for about two minutes and then went our own way, wishing each other good luck on the upcoming exams. The barrier for starting a conversation is quite low here compared to most Asian nations.

2. It doesn't cost you anything to be nice to people.

Seriously. This is something I have learned from the people here. Or maybe it’s just the phenomenon of "Minnesota Nice." All of my bus rides have started with a huge grin from the driver, which makes my day. My trip to Target is actually a happy one, as the cashiers there also make my day. So does my advisor, with a smiling face regardless of how shitty my idea or work is!

3. Being on time doesn't hurt anyone, it actually helps! Surprise!

Classes start on time, so do presentations and meetings. And people are where they said they would be at a particular time. The only reason anyone has been remotely late is due to heavy snow and traffic. That’s it. Being on time is something I appreciate very deeply as you show respect for someone else’s time.

4. University of Minnesota students value their studies.

Though high tuition fees might motivate you to study, I have found that many people here are passionate about their work. There is nothing worse than people whining about what they are doing with their lives while studying something completely unrelated to their interests.

5. Saying no is not a crime.

In most Asian countries (or maybe it's just an Indian thing), people don’t usually directly say "No." They usually say things like, "I will try to do that," "I may be able to do that," and convoluted versions of this same phrase. They will later regret not saying no to something in the first place. If is hard to disappoint and even harder to ask for what you want or need. Here, your opinion is at least respected and no one will force you to do something you don’t want to and hold it over your head.

Cover Image Credit: Wordpress

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To The Girl Who Had A Plan

A letter to the girl whose life is not going according to her plan.
“I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” - William Ernest Henley

Since we were little girls we have been asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” We responded with astronauts, teachers, presidents, nurses, etc. Then we start growing up, and our plans change.

In middle school, our plans were molded based on our friends and whatever was cool at the time. Eventually, we went to high school and this question became serious, along with some others: “What are your plans for college?” “What are you going to major in?” “When do you think you’ll get married?” “Are you going to stay friends with your friends?” We are bombarded with these questions we are supposed to have answers to, so we start making plans.

Plans, like going to college with our best friends and getting a degree we’ve been dreaming about. Plans, to get married as soon as we can. We make plans for how to lose weight and get healthy. We make plans for our weddings and children.

SEE ALSO: 19 Pieces Of Advice From A Soon-To-Be 20-Year-Old

We fill our Pinterest boards with these dreams and hopes that we have, which are really great things to do, but what happens when you don’t get into that college? What happens when your best friend chooses to go somewhere else? Or, what if you don’t get the scholarship you need or the awards you thought you deserved. Maybe, the guy you thought you would marry breaks your heart. You might gain a few pounds instead of losing them. Your parents get divorced. Someone you love gets cancer. You don’t get the grades you need. You don’t make that collegiate sports team. The sorority you’re a legacy to, drops you. You didn’t get the job or internship you applied for. What happens to you when this plan doesn’t go your way?

I’ve been there.

The answer for that is “I have this hope that is an anchor for my soul.” Soon we all realize we are not the captain of our fate. We don’t have everything under control nor will we ever have control of every situation in our lives. But, there is someone who is working all things together for the good of those who love him, who has a plan and a purpose for the lives of his children. His name is Jesus. When life takes a turn you aren’t expecting, those are the times you have to cling to Him the tightest, trusting that His plan is what is best. That is easier said than done, but keep pursuing Him. I have found in my life that His plans were always better than mine, and slowly He’s revealing that to me.

The end of your plan isn’t the end of your life. There is more out there. You may not be the captain of your fate, but you can be the master of your soul. You can choose to be happy despite your circumstances. You can change directions at any point and go a different way. You can take the bad and make something beautiful out of it, if you allow God to work in your heart.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Patiently Waiting With An Impatient Heart

So, make the best of that school you did get in to. Own it. Make new friends- you may find they are better than the old ones. Apply for more scholarships, or get a job. Move on from the guy that broke your heart; he does not deserve you. God has a guy lined up for you who will love you completely. Spend all the time you can with the loved one with cancer. Pray, pray hard for healing. Study more. Apply for more jobs, or try to spend your summer serving others instead. Join a different club or get involved in other organizations on campus. Find your delight first in God and then pursue other activities that make you happy; He will give you the desires of your heart.

My friend, it is going to be OK.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Beavers Photography

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