International Students

The Struggles Of Being An International Student In College

Culture shock is a real thing, trust me.


I have been in America studying for almost three years now as an international student, and it is a delight to say that I have grown to become a confident and social person, which is something no one, even myself, thought would happen.

I remember how socially awkward I was when I first got here as a freshman. I always wanted to participate in my classes to get those extra points, but it was just so hard for me to get my words out. My teacher made us do an ice breaker, and I was so nervous because I know people find it hard to understand me with my accent.

When it finally got to my turn to introduce myself, I stood up and talked as clearly as I could. I finished, thinking that everyone understood me, but they were all just staring at me with blank expressions. I assume my teacher was just trying to clear the air, as she asked me what my name meant. She continued to ask questions about my home in Nigeria.

She wasn't being rude, but she put me in a spotlight that I didn't want to be in, which is where my social awkwardness began. In fact, it got so bad that I began avoiding anywhere that would require me to talk to people, even if it meant not eating out.

Finally, one day, I gave in and ate at a Subway close to my apartment. I ordered my own food, and of course, I had the same issue of the lady not being able to understand what I was asking to get on my sandwich.

Things get better though...much better.

After about one semester of studying here, I was able to get used to the way Americans talked and pronounced words. I don't feel embarrassed about my accent anymore, mostly because I realized I'm not the only international student here that has this issue.

I'm able to communicate with my American friends really well, but I do still have my days where I slip back into my thick African accent.

Studying as an international student is basically a new experience every day, but it has become a beautiful pride of being diverse and experiencing something completely new.

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So, You Want To Be A Nurse?

You're going to find that nursing isn't really about the medicine or the assessments. Being a nurse is so much more than anything that you can learn in school. Textbooks can't teach you compassion and no amount of lecture time will teach you what it truly means to be a nurse.


To the college freshman who just decided on nursing,

I know why you want to be a nurse.

Nurses are important. Nursing seems fun and exciting, and you don't think you'll ever be bored. The media glorifies navy blue scrubs and stethoscopes draped around your neck, and you can't go anywhere without hearing about the guaranteed job placement. You passed AP biology and can name every single bone in the human body. Blood, urine, feces, salvia -- you can handle all of it with a straight face. So, you think that's what being a nurse is all about, right? Wrong.

You can search but you won't find the true meaning of becoming a nurse until you are in the depths of nursing school and the only thing getting you through is knowing that in a few months, you'll be able to sign the letters "BSN" after your name...

You can know every nursing intervention, but you won't find the true meaning of nursing until you sit beside an elderly patient and know that nothing in this world can save her, and all there's left for you to do is hold her hand and keep her comfortable until she dies.

You'll hear that one of our biggest jobs is being an advocate for our patients, but you won't understand until one day, in the middle of your routine physical assessment, you find the hidden, multi-colored bruises on the 3-year-old that won't even look you in the eyes. Your heart will drop to your feet and you'll swear that you will not sleep until you know that he is safe.

You'll learn that we love people when they're vulnerable, but you won't learn that until you have to give a bed bath to the middle-aged man who just had a stroke and can't bathe himself. You'll try to hide how awkward you feel because you're young enough to be his child, but as you try to make him feel as comfortable as possible, you'll learn more about dignity at that moment than some people learn in an entire lifetime.

Every class will teach you about empathy, but you won't truly feel empathy until you have to care for your first prisoner in the hospital. The guards surrounding his room will scare the life out of you, and you'll spend your day knowing that he could've raped, murdered, or hurt people. But, you'll walk into that room, put your fears aside, and remind yourself that he is a human being still, and it's your job to care, regardless of what he did.

Each nurse you meet will beam with pride when they tell you that we've won "Most Trusted Profession" for seventeen years in a row, but you won't feel that trustworthy. In fact, you're going to feel like you know nothing sometimes. But when you have to hold the sobbing, single mother who just received a positive breast cancer diagnosis, you'll feel it. Amid her sobs of wondering what she will do with her kids and how she's ever going to pay for treatment, she will look at you like you have all of the answers that she needs, and you'll learn why we've won that award so many times.

You'll read on Facebook about the nurses who forget to eat and pee during their 12-hour shifts and swear that you won't forget about those things. But one day you'll leave the hospital after an entire shift of trying to get your dying patient to eat anything and you'll realize that you haven't had food since 6:30 A.M. and you, too, will be one of those nurses who put everything else above themselves.

Too often we think of nursing as the medicine and the procedures and the IV pumps. We think of the shots and the bedpans and the baths. We think all the lab values and the blood levels that we have to memorize. We think it's all about the organs and the diseases. We think of the hospitals and the weekends and the holidays that we have to miss.

But, you're going to find that nursing isn't really about the medicine or the assessments. Being a nurse is so much more than anything that you can learn in school. Textbooks can't teach you compassion, and no amount of lecture time will teach you what it truly means to be a nurse.

So, you think you want to be a nurse?

Go for it. Study. Cry. Learn everything. Stay up late. Miss out on things. Give it absolutely everything that you have.

Because I promise you that the decision to dedicate your life to saving others is worth every sleepless night, failed test, or bad day that you're going to encounter during these next four years. Just keep holding on.


The nursing student with just one year left.

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SDSU's Odyssey Community Stands With Its Black Students And So Should You

We are the foundation of this university and should act as such


Over the past few months, there have been reoccurring incidents that have put the well-being of San Diego State's Black students at risk. The Black Resource Center has been vandalized not once, but twice and there was an alarming escalation to non-Black students yelling the "n-word" out of their vehicle by the center. All of these accounts are attacks against the Black community here on campus and they should not and will not be swept under the rug. There is a consistent demand from students to be heard, protected and valued; this demand is one of the basic human rights and will not be ignored.

This university should be a safe place for ALL of its students, not just the majority. Students of color have a right to a protected and secure resource center where they do not have to fear the next attack. With these recent events, it is clear that the student body needs to be louder in demanding better protection from our university. In an effort to do so, a march was recently held from the BRC to Hepner Hall, where students made signs and demonstrated the strength of the community by standing in solidarity.

This is a wakeup call for San Diego State. Your Black students are here to stay and deserve better, they deserve more than support emails. This student-led movement was a way to loudly and proudly show SDSU that we are aware of these recent attacks and are expecting better in the future. Black students have a right to exist on this campus, they have a right to further their education in a safe environment and they have the right assemble in demanding to be heard.

But this burden does not only fall on the shoulders of our Black students. All of SDSU's students must stand with the Black community in validating our peers' experiences and well-being. To be an ally means to listen when Black students speak, to reflect on how your actions aid or hurt the movement and to urge your own institutions to improve. Just because it doesn't affect you does not mean it isn't happening.

As EIC of San Diego State's Odyssey community, I can confidently say we stand as allies with our Black students and recognize the need for change amongst our university. This article is meant to send a supportive message to the Black students of our school and an even louder message to the school itself. Hate crimes will not be tolerated. Attacks against our peers will not be tolerated. We are the foundation of this university and should act as such in demanding more from it.

As an SDSU student, I love our school but we have tremendous room for improvement. We can be better, we can do better and we should.

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