How to survive in academics in U.S
AFTER staying in the U.S. for a month, I found that learning to survive is very important or the most important knack（诀窍）. Comparing with the trouble of being crushed or moved along, people here is crammed（填满） with how to survive--survive in class and in living.
Surviving in class includes surviving in financing and in academic. The former means passing one of the following oral English tests--either TSE, SPEAK or TOEP.
Here I have two pieces of important information to share:
1. In CA education system, the fellowship only exists for one quarter (1/3 of a year’s study period) for foreign students. After that foreign students should be either teaching assistant(TA), research assistant(RA), or grade reader. The difference among them is as follows:
TA USD17, 700 sure thing（确实）, stable
RA USD14, 000 unstable,
Grade Reader USD3, 600 1/3 payment as TA
Obviously TA is the best choice for us. However the tests are very difficult to pass because we don’t know what the graders of these tests require.
Suggestion: Pass TSE in China as soon as you can or bring enough preparation material to the states.
Research assistants are those who think of themselves as never passing oral tests types. Do not envy research assistants!
2. CA government Grey Davis does not like education so up-to-now the education budget for the 9 CA state universities are ZERO--school could not provide any form of financial aid. Try to be a TA.
One tip as for myself in preparing the tests is: speak and watch English as much as I can-soak(浸) myself in the English sea.
Lots of Chinese students here only speak English with foreigners or avoid communicating in English. It is very bad! You are in the United States. Try to be one of them. Just think about how happy Chinese people will be if foreigners speak some westernized Chinese. It would be the same here. Open your heart and open your mouth.
Apart from passing the oral English tests, another thing is to guarantee all the courses above B Plus. To achieve that goal, one must learn to depend on others. Why depend on others, why consult with others’ idea or why look at some others’ homework. How shameless!
Actually sometimes one has to admit that something is beyond his/her ken（知识领域）, something that he/she might ignore yet important. So learn to work with others is another knack to survive in class. However, depending on others does not cut off one’s one endeavor（努力） because one should finish the examination on his/herself. Well, not so easy definitely. Time is always limited, and homework is usually more than one could finish.
So survive the homework is: discuss the problem with others yet ask yourself time and time again how to think it through after finishing the homework, use your mind.
The tip for survive the examination is not to kill the teacher! The correct way is to analyze the propensity of the professors--for example, male professors like people write as them, just try to memorize all the way he worked things out; or some professors prefer short but incisive（尖锐的） answers. Another thing is to collect former tests and answers as many as one can. One could get these from former students however one should double check whether the answers are truly correct.
In case of the worst time, one failed in one test, remember one sentence “There is always a second chance.”. That is why I hardly see any desperate students in American schools. Do not push yourself into the corner of despair. Failure in mid-term will not influence your final score a lot. Just relax and keep cool!