By Oluwatosin Orojo
Skyline Graduate Managing Editor
I had looked forward to my trip to the United States. Even more than traveling to pursue a graduate degree, I too had been anxious to see the “promised land,” as some of my countrymen are wont to call it.
I had a job (a good one) in Nigeria and leaving was a bit hard. It was a job an average Joe would be so glad to have.
But I went ahead, determined to see America. I acquired the visa, and uncertainty immediately crept in. How can I leave ALL THESE for the next two years? How will it be when I’m back? Fear played a fast one on me—I deferred school until the Spring.
It took the “grace of God” (as we jokingly term it back home), to make me book my flight in December. And, yeah right, it was pretty expensive (the holidays), too.
My first two weeks in school were crazy. Time zone difference affected me significantly. For weeks, I found myself always awake during the nights, only able to fall asleep around 5:00 a.m. You guessed right! I missed some lectures or, at the least, sometimes got there late.
February was fair. With the aid of Yogurt, I could sleep at night. Meditation session also helped. However, it was difficult navigating through Connect and SmartLearning, and even Blackboard, all education platforms about which I was unfamiliar. The assignments and quizzes rolled in sporadically, like a dripping, damaged water tap. Aaarrrgh! I was burnt out. Exhausted. Drained.
At my lowest as a new international student, I reached out to one of my professors. In retrospect, that was a timely decision. We had a lengthy discussion on time management, and she helped with organizing my schedules. From then onwards, I became more productive and well rested, too.
The scenario above might be your present reality, and you do not have to be an international student to feel a bit lost. Perhaps you can’t seem to get your schedule to work well for getting your work accomplished. When you look back and reflect on your day, does it feel you achieved nothing? Do you miss deadlines with assignments and quizzes? Perhaps, like me, you feel drained, burnt-out, and restless too.
Don’t worry! This just shows you are human, too. However, it is time, like I did, to reach out to someone for help, someone who has been there, has gone through that phase and who can perhaps provide guidance.
You can reach out to the Counseling and Accessibilities Center at the university. They have experts who have assisted others in your situation and can provide guidance in time-management and offer techniques for overcoming stress and anxiety. Feel free to call 432-837-8203 to schedule an appointment.
You can also join the Open Care Club. Talk about it. Share your experience and listen to the experiences of other members of the club. You will be amazed to learn that others compare to your experiences. Meetings are held every fortnight and notifications are sent to students’ Sulross email addresses. However, the professor in charge, Professor James Downing (432.837.8368) can be contacted for additional information.
And don’t forget that, like me, you can talk to your professors. They want to talk to you! Don’t keep it to yourself. Speak out. Speak up. Be heard!