Sunday, August 17, 2014

A Year in America

Aug. 14 marked the completion of one year since I landed in the Land of the Free. I still remember the days leading up to it - the excitement, the anxiety of studying in a new country, finally moving out of my parent's financial shadow into a more independent life. One year in America has been a year of great learning for me, professionally and personally. I started with very little idea of what research is, with my only windows into the world being my Munich internship, the minor project in Roorkee and PhD Comics.

But now, I have a pretty good idea of what research is like as well as the nuts and bolts of it - where courses fit into the whole scheme of things, the importance of networking, conferences, papers etc. It's an exciting world indeed! America has taught me the importance of ethics and being true to yourself, first and foremost. It is indeed highly rewarding to be be able to do something honestly and effectively, however minor it might have been.

My vision of America till a year back was through Ayn Rand - a world where individual rights take precedence over all else, a world where each individual is free to work right to the top. Well, it's not really like that here, but it's not all that far either. From the stifling confines of India's society and bureaucracy, America, even with its own gigantic bureaucracy, has been a whiff of fresh air, a place where I am free to rediscover myself. This, I believe, is the true American dream.

Friends and enemies have been made. Lessons have been learned, mistakes made and forgotten. In the end, this last one year, as memorable as it was, was simply another in my long story of moving to new places and new cultures. So it has been and so it shall be. 

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