"If I've learned one thing this year, it is ..."

How would you finish that sentence?  Have you learned something about the world?  A new skill?  An amazing fact?  Something about yourself?  Here's how our bloggers answered the question, looking back on their past school year as international students in the U.S.  Share your answers in the comments!

Creative Commons photo Frank Kovalchek
Creative Commons photo: Frank Kovalchek


One thing I've learned this past year (the whole academic year) is to never forget your main goal. In my case I came to America for the education as a pathway to better chances in the future, but soon I got caught up with many other activities that made me forget the main reason I had gotten here.

By the beginning of the last academic year, fall of 2011, I had two jobs on campus and was actively participating in three organizations on campus. All that made me feel right, but eventually led to my worst academic semester so far. On the bright side, it worked as a wake up call and this past semester I got back on the horse.

Even though there might be many great resources on campus and one should take advantage of them, it is important to keep focus on the long term goals and find a balance between everything that goes on in one's life.


Group work meme
Creative Commons photo North Charleston

Creative Commons photo: North Charleston


During my spring semester, I struggled on how to make my group work more effective and efficient. Not everyone in a group can deliver the best quality for the group project; as a result, you have to edit a whole paper to make it acceptable to get a passing grade while you want to get the highest score at the beginning.

[More about working in groups]

You would feel this unfair and disappointed about working with people while you expect that coming to a higher and advance education, you would learn much more from your peers. It's hard to cooperate with ones who don't share the same inspiration and interest in learning. Most of your friends say that they just want to get out of school and look for a good-paid job; in opposite, your purpose for school is to learn how to make changes which contribute for a better society.

Annoyed cat irritate meme
Creative Commons photo Crista Anne

Creative Commons photo: Crista Anne


One thing that I have learned this year is to take advantage of the vast amount of resources that colleges offer.

I learned that if you have an idea or passion you want to pursue (individual projects, internships, etc.), even if you don't have the resources to do it, there are offices, departments and people on campus who can connect you to the right opportunities. But you have to be proactive - to do research, knock on doors, and irritate the right people. If you do irritate the right people for long enough, you can make things happen.

Job hunting still have room to grow
Creative Commons photo Dino Abatzidis

Creative Commons photo: Dino Abatzidis


For the past year, what I've learned is that as a graduating international student, job hunting is never easy, but I have to try harder and not give up.

I have done more than 10 internships during my college life, however, when I applied for internships or jobs at some big TV networks like NBC, ABC and CNN, I found there were few opportunities out there for international students like me. I know I still have room to grow and improve. I believe that if I'm working hard enough and never giving up, as I said in one of my posts, "opportunities will knock on the door."

Creative Commons photo Esther Dyson

Creative Commons photo: Esther Dyson


We do not always have at our disposal all the information necessary to make well-informed career decisions. But even if we, college students, do have the information and understand the reality, we may still want to think twice before committing ourselves to a particular career, for our own motives and desires are changing as we explore new subjects and expand our interests in college.

So I have learned that while long-term planning gives me an advantage, it?s important to constantly challenge my plans and be open to new ideas that my growing knowledge and experience may bring into my life.

Even more things we've learned this year...

Dandan: It is very enjoyable to write about people I know and to share these writings with the related people :)

Nelly: I have learned to drive. Now I'm a good driver.

Muhammad: I've learned people lose what's left in pursuit of what's already lost!

So what have you learned this year?  Share your response in the comments!  We might even make it into a picture :)