Some assignments can wait

The moment I opened my acceptance email for Newhouse was surreal; I was lowering my expectations because of the school’s reputation while I waited for a decision to be made.

Pursuing an education overseas—more specifically, in the U.S.—was a goal of mine for a long time. I still cannot believe I made it happen and I’m writing this from Syracuse, New York where I’m completing my master’s in public diplomacy and global communications.

Moving to a whole different country, obtaining higher education and adjusting to a different environment are not easy tasks. However, I’m here to focus on the good sides, take advantage of every opportunity and enjoy every moment of it so I won’t have regrets later.

Here are some of the things I want to highlight that I understood from the perspective of being an international master’s student.

Campus life is full of opportunities

I never got to experience campus life as an undergrad. This huge campus which is home to over 20,000 students is astonishing for me. Wherever you go, you see lots of flyers of events and student organizations, job/internship ads and more. There are countless opportunities on campus, and sadly we have only a limited amount of time to spend wisely depending on priorities.

Everyone’s voice matters

Being in a community where your ideas and opinions are appreciated feels so cool to me. One of the program instructors said, “Always ask questions. There’s no such thing as a stupid question. There’s only a question not answered,” which I try to live by now. I love how every class and meeting includes, “Do you have any questions?” because it gives everyone an opportunity to fix any mistake or get any clarification on the subject at hand.

Focus on building networks, not grades

In my undergraduate school, I pretty much focused any extra attention to grades. It’s not a bad thing. I believe grades are proof of how dedicated you are, how hard you work, how serious you take classes and shows how responsible you are. In other words, it’s what you get in exchange for your hard work.

However, in graduate school, I would like to shift my focus to networking. I would like to make as many friends as I can while I’m here and create some memories. At the end of the day, that would be the most important takeaway from school, I hope.

I would say: If there’s a party you’re invited to, go. If there’s a cool event, don’t hesitate and go. If there’s some other fun activity, join the fun; that assignment can wait. We will always find a way or time to finish and get things done. However, some opportunities and moments will never return. So, I’m gonna say lots of yes to events and fun moments. Still gonna get done what needs to be done, though.

Coming from a developing country where diversity isn’t appreciated and accepted that much, my time here in Syracuse and in the U.S. is definitely a learning experience. Communicating with people of different backgrounds, opinions, perspectives and making friends with them is truly an eye-opening and amazing experience.

I had been to the US before in my junior year of undergrad for a short time, but this experience feels different and I’m much more exposed to the culture.

Looking so forward to the rest of the semester as well as adventures waiting for the spring semester and further!

Ichinkhorloo Khosbayar is a graduate student in the public diplomacy and global communications program at the Newhouse and Maxwell schools.