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It has been virtually two and a half years since I stepped my feet at the University of Arkansas for the first and I am grateful being sent to this state university for several reasons.
The first thing that I found it remarkable about my campus is its international organizations. Known as International Cultural team (ICT), this international organization has a motto “Bringing the world to the community” especially in the area around Fayetteville and Northwest Arkansas. Its members are generally international students and American students who are keen to not only share their cultures in the community but also to learn about other cultures. I have involved in this organization for two semesters and I love it. I did a wide range of presentations last semesters such as table presentations, elementary school presentation, fashion show and much more. This semester, as an ICT core member, I dedicated myself to volunteers in ICT kick off, which is the start of ICT activities for a new semester, ICT monthly meeting, Botanical garden table presentation and eating dinner in Arkanshire retirement with the retirees. I just love these kinds of activities because when we were doing our presentations, many of local people would come and say “we are glad that you are here” or “we love you”. For me, it really breaks the stereotypes about negative things people connotated Southerners with, especially since most southerners I met through ICT are loving and kind people.
Another thing why I really like my University is because it teaches me how to think. I graduated from a high school in my country where the education system is based on pure memorization. So, I was expected to memorize a bunch of formulas or some terms and their definitions for the exams. When the exams came, I would just throw whatever on my minds into the papers without having to use my analytical skills which surprisingly got me as the best student in my class for three consecutive years. In addition to that, since most of my friends did not study at all, there was not a lot of incentive to push myself harder. When I was announced as one of the winners of USTL scholarships which provides me to study civil engineering in the United States of America, I was frankly scared of my academic skills. Nevertheless, at my host university, many of my classes that I took have taught me how to actually think through the problems critically and to search for reasons behind even the most fundamental theory. This skill is slowly built up in mind even though I still face many analytical issues in higher level classes such as Calculus 3 and Civil engineering class Statics and mechanics of materials.
Although as I mentioned above that Statics and Mechanics give me a hard life, it is arguably my favorite class among other classes I am taking this semester. The class is really challenging for me because it forces me to analyze problems in ways that I have never done it before to solve real engineering problems such as determining the reactions force on bridges. To do this, it not only requires me to be very familiar with the formulas but also to know how to apply those formulas and concept to solve many other problems. Provide that I made a mistake, that one mistake in my calculation would be carried away until the last calculations, which means that one mistake would cause the rest of calculation incorrect. Yet, I really think that Statics and mechanics is my favorite class since it demonstrates the beauty of mathematics as a tool to solve real-life problems. See, prior to taking Statics and Mechanics, I learned the concept of mathematics such as Algebra and Calculus, but I did not know their functions in terms of their application in civil engineering Now, I can see mathematics as the most powerful tools to systematically solve real-life civil engineering problems such as bridge, beam, and any other structures.
I believe that my campus has been doing a good job to not only educate me but to shape me into a person who is useful for the community through its wide range of organizations. Yet, it does not guarantee a convenient free-challenging life for me. In fact, during this semester I have faced many difficulties especially to organize my time to deal with my hardest two classes mentioned above Calculus 3 and Statics and Mechanics. Those classes especially Calculus 3 Statics and Mechanics demand a significant amount of time to do the homework and study for quizzes and exams. As a consequence, I frequently find myself pretty depressed and confused about what to do. However, I have tried to overcome the challenges by trying to talk with my professors and classmates regarding time management and study habits so that hopefully, I will be able to manage my time appropriately and pass all my classes.
To sum up, I really enjoy my university because of its organization that allows me to develop my skills to be a successful person in the community, it's education system that enables me to use my critical thinking. Even though life can be really challenging here, I really look forward to incoming new semesters and new activities in the future.