Things that helped me survive my 1st year of studies


I feel totally blessed and extremely lucky, as this year was far less stressful for me than I had expected. Now I understand that several things have helped me dramatically.

1. Living with my BF

I can’t count all the times when we rescued each other during this year. By lending each other money if there was a need, by cooking for each other, and especially by calming each other down when a nightmare happened.

2. Having family near me all the time

My dear beloved brother can be a real pain in the neck. However, he is always there for me and I can’t express how much I appreciate this support from a person who loves me unconditionally.

3. Petting my cat

There were days when I felt down, stupid, and kind of depressed. And my soft, warm, fluffy, purring piece of pure happiness and joy always came to the rescue. 

4. Having no money issues

This is something I feel really lucky about. It has been a shock for me how some of my classmates managed to work to pay for their studies and to be diligent students at the same time! They became my inspiration and helped me to see how blessed I am to own what I own.

5. Having an organized schedule

This was important. As well as dozens of inspiring people around me, there were those, and sometimes I was one of them, who flushed away their time on games, TV shows, parties, and similar things. However, my ability to organize myself always helped me to get back to my schedule after each hangout and hangover.

student experience

6. Reminding myself why I am doing this

I have a dream and a plan to follow. People here call it “determination” and I think that during this year, I have heard “wish I had it too” more often than during my previous life in Hong Kong. Seems like I have found my superpower: staying true to my dreams 🙂

7. Going to the gym and taking care of myself

This is something that I love doing and that is beneficial for me. Moving your body and fueling it with delicious foods are great stress-relieving activities. Everyone should try this: loving oneself and caring about oneself a bit more than we are used to. 

8. Completing my papers in advance

I hate being in a rush. This is why I always try to do everything beforehand: both buying New-Year presents and doing my homework. I have used some help from tutors, etc., and I find this assistance beneficial for my studies and my grades.

9. Being ready

This is the trick that always works for me, though it may be in contrast with the “positive thinking” that is quite popular among Americans. If I know that difficult times are to come, I imagine the worst scenario and think of how I would get out of it. This keeps me ready, and if something bad does happen, I’m okay with that, as this is what I foresaw. On the other hand, if good happens, I’m happy, as it is much better than I expected. I knew this year would be stressful. I knew as well that I can’t avoid or eliminate this stress. I’m happy that it wasn’t that bad at all 🙂

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Mei Lien Wang
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Mei Lien moved to the USA from Hong Kong in 2016. She admires American culture and wants to share her experience of adapting to this new environment with other students from abroad. Mei Lien is fond of traveling, drawing, reading, cooking, swimming, and art. She even dreams of opening a gallery in the future.