My Niagara University Campus Experience So Far!
I arrived on campus around midnight on Aug. 27, 2014. I remember saying to myself, “I am finally here.”
I had mixed feelings. I kept asking myself questions like, "Am I going to like it? What are my roommates going to be like? What is the education going to be like?"
A whole lot was running through my mind. I was overwhelmed with anxiety for the first two weeks. I kept randomly reminding myself that I am really here and not back home in Ghana (I actually do still say that to myself, but not nearly as often as I used to!).
There was an orientation for international students, where we were briefed on the activities and various offices and departments at NU. That was where I realized that even Canadians are international students - when they come from just "next door!" The orientation was great; I got to meet other international students from Turkey, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam and, of course, Canada! There was free food and drinks as well!
The first two emails I received from my professors for my weekday and Saturday classes told me I had to read seven chapters between the two classes. What?! Seven chapters! How am I going to be able to read all that? This was what was running through my mind after reading the email.
I hadn't read anything academic for like a year and felt overwhelmed. I had to calm myself, get the books and start to read. I told myself to take it one day at a time and I'll be just fine. I found my strength and peace in God. I wake up each morning and tell myself that I am not alone. I have a great God on my side and when I am weak, He makes me strong.
It turns out that it wasn't so hard after all. My boyfriend also did a good job of encouraging me and I was very grateful. NU has a very competent counseling service that can help students overcome challenges in professional, social, personal and academic aspects of their lives.
One encouraging and helpful factor is also that the professors here are available to help when you need it. All you need to do is go to their office hours or shoot them an email. They are very patient and helpful.
I remember in my first class, the professor mentioned a couple of companies that I wasn't familiar with. I could not tell exactly what the companies did and so it was a little difficult to relate. After the lecture, I walked up to him and told him I am an international student from Ghana and I am not so familiar with all the U.S. companies, so it will be very helpful if he could add what the company produces or does and he said, “Sure, I can do that and thanks for letting me know, I will try to stick to the popular ones, like Apple,”
One interesting thing I noticed was the casual atmosphere of lectures and how interactive classes are. This makes the class very interesting and I actually learn a lot from both the professor and the contributions of my classmates.
Stay warm! And enjoy the semester!