Sunday, October 5, 2008

Rohit's American Adventure:Chapter 5. First day on campus and uncertain housing situation

I was excited for my first official visit to my campus.It was a weird feeling to get up in the morning and having to prepare my own breakfast. I was so used to being woken up by my mom and having the awesome tea, which my grand mother used to make ready to be indulged into.I arrived on campus taking the university shuttle, which was free:-).The shuttle ride from Greenbelt to the campus was long but interesting. As usual there were a lot of Indians in the shuttle bus and Americans looked like outsiders :-). As i was seeing the new streets, malls,I felt a like a small baby observing things when they start seeing things for the first time. My objective for that day was to secure an on campus job. Mohan was also hunting for a job, so I was not alone. I went to the international admissions office, where I was given a map of the campus. I had no idea which places on campus to go to apply for job. I just knew names of few places and searched for them on map and went to these places first. I went to the copy shop and printed out some copies of my resume and went about my job search. I basically walked throughout the campus, dropping in my resume at places which came along the path. Time just flew by and I was at home by evening. Day 1 had yielded nothing substantial but I had made an attempt. I was hearing news of most of the folks who had come from Mumbai and other parts of India for the fall semester had got jobs. Getting a job was the most important thing, being an international student. I had come to USA with thousand dollars and did not want to tax my parents for rent money. I wanted to be independent and start paying my own rent and other expenses.

I carried on doing the same thing for the remaining days but with no result. The good thing was that the shuttle service was free. However there was no shuttle service on weekends which sucked big time.

As days passed by, situation became tougher for me. I was not comfortable with the folks with whom I was living and I had no job. I spoke with Bharat about my uneasiness and revealed to him my intentions of moving out. He took it well. So now, I had two tasks to do:to search for a job and an apartment to live. A week passed by and I was going nowhere in my quest to find an apartment. Bharat and my other roommates were also growing impatient. I was trying but all my efforts were in vain.

I did speak to Raj about this and he did help me. However that gain lead to a dead end. I realized how stupid I was by not having thought of housing before coming to USA.This was not home where, food would be served to you and you just had to study. This was a world where you had to be independent and learn to adapt and adjust to the lifestyles of your roommates. It took me a while to realize that. In the mean time, I did end up getting my first job on campus.

I got my first job in the Performing arts Library in the University of Maryland, College Park.I was being paid a mere 7$ per hour but I was earning at least something. My boss was Ms. Mary Scott. She was a lady in her mid 40s who dressed up casually to work. She was very cool to work with. She often would stand by me and other students who worked under her and make things simpler. I remember after the interview, she said, “I know you deserve a much better job, given your qualifications but you can work here and we are happy to have you on board.” This concept of working along with studying was new to me. In India, as students, our only job was to study thanks to the curriculum.

I made a lot of friends on job. The best part was most of them were American. Mohan also worked in the Performing arts Library. In fact he had recommended me this place to try for job.