My Life As An International Student in America

My Life As An International Student in America

We're not that different.

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What's life like as an international student? Pretty exhausting! I mean, college, in general, is quite tiring, but being an international student adds a bit more work. Don't get me wrong, I love being here in the U.S. I meet people from different backgrounds and cultures on a daily basis. It's like going on an adventure every single day.

I also often get asked, "Was it easy to leave home?" or "Do you miss home?" Well, to me, the answer is pretty obvious. Leaving home wasn't the easiest choice I made, but I'm glad I did. It was more difficult for my parents to let me go. This would be the first time I would be away from them in a land completely strange to me. I grew up in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, but my family is from India. So yes, emotional drama runs in my veins. Even though I spent a gap year in India away from parents, they weren't worried about my safety. Now that I stay thousands of miles away from them, I receive calls and text messages from my parents at least twice a day. Apart from the large time difference, the flight duration was definitely my biggest obstacle so far. It's not the most comfortable journey when the duration is 24 hours and more. A stiff body, air-sickness, crap plane food and so many more. Oh, and what's worse? JET. LAG.

Shanon Rego

Now to the good stuff, I study in the University of South Florida, Tampa. Honestly, I love Florida primarily because the weather is similar to both Mumbai, and Dubai. I stay on-campus in a traditional style room; that means a lot of social interaction. I have this amazing group of friends, each from a different part of the world. So we're always curious about each other which I find really interesting as I love to speak and learn about different things. Oh, and the best part, since we're so culturally diverse, this means more dishes to taste. As surprising as it may seem, I avoided the Freshman 15 even though I love to eat. Lastly, USF gave me an opportunity to join a variety of clubs such as the USF Odyssey itself. It did not take me very long to understand that USF and my friends here have given me a home away from home.

Home Away From Home. Shanon Rego

So yeah, this was a miniature version of my journey here at USF. I hope this gave a small insight into how we're not all that different. We procrastinate on our projects, we love Netflix, and we hate 8 a.m. lectures (at least I do).

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A list Of 15 Inspiring Words That Mean So Much

A single word can mean a lot.
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Positivity is so important in life. A lot of times we always go to quotes for empowerment but I have realized that just one word can be just as powerful. Here is a list of inspiring words.

1. Worthy

Realizing your self-worth is important. Self-worth can really make or break a persons personality. Always know that you are worthy of respect. And also, never compare yourself to others.

2. Courage

Be courageous in life. Life has so many opportunities so do not be scared to grasp any opportunity that comes your way. You have the ability to do anything you have your heart and mind set to do, even the things that frighten you.

3. Enough

When you are feeling down and feeling that nothing you do is ever good enough, know that you are more than enough. And yes there is always room for improvement but when it comes to my self-worth I always have to remind myself that I am enough.

4. Blessed

Be thankful. A lot of times we forget how blessed we are. We focus so much on stress and the bad things that are going on in our lives that we tend to forget all of the beautiful things we have in life.

5. Focus

Focus on your goals, focus on positive things, and focus on the ones you love. Do not focus on things that will keep you from not reaching your goals and people that do not have good intentions for your life.

6. Laugh

Laughing is one of the best forms of medicine. Life is truly better with laughter.

7. Warrior

Through the good and the bad you are a warrior. Be strong, soldier.

8. Seek

Seek new things. Allow yourself to grow in life. Do not just be stuck.

9. Faith

During the bad times, no matter the circumstances, have faith that everything will be all right.

10. Live

Start living because life is honestly way too short. Live life the way you want to live. Do not let anyone try to control you.

11. Enjoy

Enjoy everything that life has to offer. Enjoy even the littlest of things because, as I said before, life is short. And plus, there is no time to live life with regrets.

12. Believe

Believe in yourself and never stop. Believing in yourself brings so many blessings and opportunities in your life.

13. Serendipity

A lot of times we look for things to fill an empty void that we have. Usually what we are looking for comes when we are not looking at all. Your serendipity will come.

14. Create

Share your ideas with the world. Creativity brings change to your life. However you chose to use your creativity do not be scared to show your intelligence, talent, and passion.

15. Love

The world is already full of so much hate, so love unconditionally with all your heart.

Cover Image Credit: Tanveer Naseer

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I Struggle With Cystic Acne, But I Am No Longer Letting It Define How I Live My Life

Acne is a common struggle for a lot of people, but don't let it be how you define yourself.

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You only get one face and that's it. Your face is how others identify you, recognize you, and ultimately know you. Faces can bring back memories, good and bad. Faces have the power to inspire millions, express some of life's most difficult emotions, and show the joy that is so contagious it influences others.

What do you do when that canvas has been tainted? When the one thing that most people know you by, is the last thing you want them to know you by? Struggling with acne feels like a never-ending battle and it's so easy to want to give up and let it take over your thoughts and emotions. I have been wrestling with this sense of defeat for a few years and I don't think I'm the only one feeling this way.

Cystic acne is defined by Medical News Today as, "a severe type of acne in which the pores in the skin become blocked, leading to infection and inflammation."

I have determined that my cystic acne is caused by an imbalance in my hormones. Which makes it extra prominent during "that time of the month." It wasn't always this way; back in high school, I had small breakouts here and there. Unlike today it was nothing that made me want to skip class. Gradually my acne got worse and I didn't know why.

As I went through my college career I would have weeks where I would break out and then my skin would start looking better; only for it to break out again a week later. I am sure we all know the feeling of finally seeing a good skin day, then waking up to a huge zit forming on your chin. Nothing humbles you more than acne can. Wearing a cute outfit? Having a good hair day? That's nice, I bet it'll match well with a huge pimple as an accessory. *dramatic sobs*

Then I met my boyfriend, and if you are in a relationship and struggle with acne I am sure you know where I'm going. No matter how many times he says, "babe, you look gorgeous even without makeup" I still won't believe him. See here sweetie, either you're blind (which he's not he has impeccable vision, damn him) or you're lying because you can clearly see all the scars and pimples ALL OVER MY FACE. But thanks honey for trying to make me feel better! :)

I've come to realize this post is mainly a long list of me complaining about the struggles of having acne. But I know there is someone reading this that is hopefully saying to themselves, "Oh thank God I am not alone!" I have gotten to a point where I still don't know the best way to deal with my breakouts, but why should I let it steal my joy? Why should I let my acne cause me shame and discomfort when I know myself I am working to improve it.

In this season of my life, I want to learn to not hold myself back from being who I truly am just because I have acne. Yes, some days are REALLY hard and I can't even leave my room because I don't want people to see my face. But who knows how long it will take me to find a reliable cure. Months? Years? So why should I put my life and happiness on hold?

I want to encourage you to make peace with your appearance. Sometimes you can't control how you look and that's okay. This is all apart of the grand scheme of learning to love yourself, just as you are. Because I promise there is someone out there who sees you for who you truly are. And guess what? They absolutely adore you.

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