The Beginning of Adulthood

To start from the beginning, my journey in the U.S. started in January, 2016. I was enrolled in pre-master’s language class at the American Language Institute (ALI) to prepare for my Graduate Record Examination. However, such place is good only if you are ready for studying on your own, because you are the only one who needs it. Without any extra effort you can get a certificate from Language School easily, but it does not give you a chance to pass other exams needed for applying to grad school.

People there were nice. Teachers were all adorable, interesting people, who were always ready to help you with any question.

“It was a lot of stress and a lot of tears, but I never told to anyone from my family how hard it was, because I did not want them to worry about me.”

Students there were mostly Saudis and Chinese people. It was interesting to observe how the majority of the Chinese students stuck together, speaking in Chinese and generally trying to avoid conversations with others (even with teachers during class). Meanwhile, the Arab students were absolutely the opposite. I made friends with every person there who wanted to practice English or just make new friends.

For the first time in my life I had to be an adult person, making my own decisions without any help, being self-motivated enough to study a lot in the library, not afraid of discovering the new places on my own or with my new friends. My comfort zone was totally ripped apart and I had to create a new one to start being a willing person again.

I will never say that it was easy, because it was not. But it was my decision to leave everything behind in Russia and keep going. I left all my friends, people I’d known for 10 years, and all my family, people always supported me. Fortunately, they still do.

However, it is hard not having them around. It was especially hard during my first half year because, at that time, I did not know if I would stay here or if I had enough strength and knowledge to pass my exam and be admitted to the program. It was a lot of stress and a lot of tears, but I never told anyone from my family how hard it was, because I did not want them to worry about me. No pain, no gain.

Victor Hugo once wrote: “After the blackest night comes the brightest day”.

I endured this hard stage in my life, I was admitted to SDSU in the Master in City Planning program and I made a lot of new friends, some of whom I still keep in touch with.

I remember that I was suffering a lot during this time, because I did not have my loved ones and I did not have really good roommates. Sometimes I felt that everything was in vain; I did not even know if I was in the right place.

Though, in the end, after almost two years, I look at the photos and I talk with people, remembering things that happened at that time, and the only thing it brings me now is a smile. Because it does not matter how hard it was or how much pain it brought to me, these memories left only positive momentum in my life.

I can write about our adventures, our Friday parties, our study periods in the library a lot here, but I think the main purpose of this article is to inspire you to persevere through changes — especially if you do not feel like you are in the right place now. Even if everything surrounding you makes you feel broken.

Just keep moving. Soon your life will be full of colors, and the sun will be shining on you.

With love,


Anastasia Mysina is an international student from Russia. She is a city planning graduate student at SDSU.

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