After the honeymoon!
Happy, excited, thrilled are the best words that can describe how I felt when I landed in the US, that’s besides the jetlag and all. I had this feeling that my dreams had finally come true, that I was ready to conquer the world (ok, maybe, that’s a little much) but that feeling when the LINKers were taking me around JMU and I couldn’t help but stare with my mouth wide open. I remember that feeling, a huge sense of excitement and anticipation. I had been looking forward to being here for a while…..and I was!! That feeling is what is called the Honey-moon stage.
So, in my curiosity to find out what comes after the honeymoon stage, I discovered that it is actually referred to as the Hostility stage. Isn’t that a harsh name? No, actually it not! Because, that’s exactly how I felt after being here for about three weeks. I was frustrated, from having to speak English all the time…..that drove me crazy! I was angry at just how fast and loud everyone else was when speaking and quite anxious about all the assignment and readings that awaited me. Then, the little things, about having to keep up with all the online bills, walking on the wrong side and almost everything about the US system of life that was not what I was used to, made me want to scream!! But I am glad it did not drive me into a depression. Which is the good thing about this stage, it does not last very long….!
Well, this is the part I want to mother you a little bit with a small lecture on how to keep up, or at least what made me cope. I will be very brief and hopefully I won’t be too boring ;-)
- If your Native language is not English, practice speaking English as much as possible even when you are with your fellow countrymen. Practice makes perfect!
- Do not Procrastinate; you know all those readings and assignments you have…saving them for Monday morning is a very very bad idea. Make lists and prioritize….that’s how people in the University survive
- Do something outside class; Go to the gym, have coffee with a friend, attend the ISSS workshop series, join a club, participate in ISSS activities, go for a football game!
- Make friends; do not isolate yourself. Most great friendships start by saying “Hi, My name is…”, try using this sentence a number of times.
- Eat good healthy food.
- Study hard, pass your exams…it’s why you came to school.
And, remember if you are not doing well with your studies, the hostility stage might last longer than you expect.
There you have it, a few tips for survival. You may want to know that what actually follows after the hostility stage is the humor stage where you start to feel comfortable. I actually began to laugh at the silly mistakes I made and started to appreciate all the things about the US that where different from what I was used too. Like the convenience of paying bill online, I don’t really have to deal with people when I do not want to, isn’t that just awesome?
Then, it’s the Home Stage. Yes, you actually start feeling at home around Harrisonburg of course while retaining ties to your home and culture. I found myself looking forward to the weekend, and my classes were not so dreadful anymore. So relax, it is going to be ok!!
Written by: Mueni Faith Masambia
Written by: Mueni Faith Masambia