My life changed dramatically from the moment I arrived at Indiana Tech on Aug. 16, 2011. Looking back, I have no regrets that I chose to leave my beloved home country and come to a different place.
At the beginning of 2011, I was about to finish my associate degree in tourism management in China. I was frightened by the fact that I had no plans for my future. Like most young people in China, my family had a plan for me: Graduating from college, finding a decent job near home, meeting a great guy, getting married and having children. It might seem a happy life for some people, but definitely not for me. I did not want to have the same daily routine for the rest of my life. I wanted excitement and I wanted to be a daughter my mother would be proud of!
I came to Indiana Tech through a cooperation program between Indiana Tech and the Chinese university I went to. I had been surfing the Internet when I saw the advertisement, and I decided to check it out. My mother was skeptical about the program, and she wasn’t very supportive. My college life in China wasn’t exciting, I wasn’t learning much, and I was desperately looking for a change. Studying abroad was both a big change and a challenge, so it was exactly what I needed. My mother made several long conversations with me, and she decided to let me make the decision, and certainly I was the one who would be responsible for all of the outcomes, good or bad.
The first year at Tech was very difficult for me, mainly because of the language barrier. Reading one chapter of the textbook or writing a one-page paper could take me hours. I was very lucky that I had many amazing professors and wonderful classmates who helped me along the way. I had a professor who met with me twice a week and went over the lecture materials again and again during his lunch hours. I had a professor who challenged me and pushed me to go further, just as he treats any American student. I had a professor who shared his wonderful home and lovely family with me during my first Thanksgiving in the US. I had classmates who spent hours and hours helping me with my homework and explaining homework to me, word by word. After one year of hard work, I completed my undergraduate program in May 2012. I graduated with Summa Cum Laude honor with a Bachelor of Science in business administration and a major concentration in management. In May 2015, I completed the program at Indiana Tech and earned the Master of Business Administration degree with concentrations in marketing and human resources.
Besides the knowledge I learned in the classroom and the degrees I earned from Indiana Tech, I also grew from my work experience at Tech. Working on campus was another big challenge for me. I was shy and I wasn’t confident about myself, but I decided to try anyway. I didn’t only apply online; I also went to offices and introduced myself and asked if they had openings. Finally, I got my first job at the school cafeteria. I figured that this job wouldn’t require me to speak perfect English. I worked at the cafeteria, the law school library and the International Admissions office.
I am still a shy person and I am definitely the introvert type, but I have been pushing myself. I believe people grow old naturally, but never grow up without effort. Life is full of surprises and uncertainties, but that’s the beauty of life. If I hadn’t come to the US, I would probably be married with children by now. If I hadn’t challenged myself and started working, I might have just graduated with an Indiana Tech degree and returned home. Indiana Tech, a career-focused institution, has provided me with all the support I need and provided me with opportunities to discover my career passion.
In the end, I would like to share a quote from one of my favorite movies, The Mysterious Life of Benjamin Button. Benjamin wrote a letter to his daughter: “For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.”