11.59 pm! What a unique time to reach Bloomington! There I was, in my apartment, with only a bed as furniture and I was more than happy to collapse on it! Like most international students, I had traveled from far. Mauritius, which I call home, is more than 9000 miles away and it took me about two and half days’ travel to reach my destination. That was once in a life-time experience since I had never traveled abroad before. And did I mention – I left Mauritius on my mother’s birthday eve!
While it is natural to have thoughts like “Did I do the right thing by coming here?!”, “Oh My God, I am living on my own!”, “How am I going to figure it all?”, I chose not to let these thoughts have the better of me. Instead, the next day, I went on to look for the place where I was going to achieve my goals – The School of Public Health. Even if I was lost the first time, it was okay! All this seemed like an exciting adventure on which I had set out and I could not have been more right! At the time I am writing this blog article, it is exactly two months and one week since I came here. Bloomington seems strangely familiar now and looking back, I can identify not one, but several reasons behind this feeling.
The best thing about being in a new place is to try new things and I did just that! Even if my English is fine, I joined the “FriendSpeak” group held by a bunch of warm and friendliest people I know at the North Central Church. Coincidentally, I had come across their advertisement while looking for the School of Public Health. Just conversing and meeting people can give you that extra boost to your English speaking skills. If not for English practice, I’m glad I chose to sign up for “FriendSpeak” since I got to meet my lovely friend Amy through it.
Another incident which keeps popping in my mind is my meeting with Dr. Susan Simmons – the Director of Career Services at the School of Public Health. I first met her regarding the fine tuning of my application materials for a research assistant position I was seeking for. During our meeting, she was very encouraging and she could not help pointing out how much she liked my writing style. While I was not offered that particular research position, her insightful advice sure helped me in securing other positions! And most importantly, I applied for the IUSPH Blogger position and here, I am, a blogger in the making.
By highlighting these two incidents, my message is clear: EXPLORE AND NETWORK. As a new student and more so coming from another country, one tends to get bogged down by the unfamiliarity of things. The only way to be not overwhelmed, at least for me, is to go out of my comfort zone and try my best at things which interest or motivate me. Often times, we find individuals, outside our immediate network, are of great help and they can indeed propel our career or even our personal life forward. If you cannot do it on your own, seek out resources or help. You will be amazed to find that little help just around the corner. Even it seems daunting at first, later you will feel proud of yourself and ask yourself – Why did not I do it earlier?
Explore and network not only academically, but also in general and daily. You will find yourself a good reason to smile for every day. My daily dose of happiness comes from my early morning walk, writing, giving my best at school and at my job, talking to my loved ones, getting inspired from my friend Dorothy to be fit, seeing Amy’s warm smile on Sundays, and the list goes on. What’s yours? …
Trishnee is a first year PhD student in the Department of Applied Health Sciences and her major is Health Behavior. She was born and raised in Mauritius and is currently having the best time pursuing her doctoral studies in the wonderful B-town. Her hobbies include cooking, reading romantic novels, and playing with her pets. Anything related to health highly interests her and she hopes to reach out to others on health-related issues that matter.