Are you an international student? Did you know you are incredibly powerful, sexy, AND cool? 

On acing your classes: 

  1. Set! Alarms! For! Classes!
    1. 5 to 10 minutes before you actually have to log in.
    2. Save at least 3 minutes to admire yourself in the preview Zoom camera.
  2. Always make sure if a deadline is am or pm. 
  3. Get a planner. A cute planner. 
    1. Have deadlines written in your time zone.
    2. If a meeting’s really important, write it on your hand in Sharpie.
    3. If it’s really really really important, visit your local tattoo parlor.
  4. If you haven’t done the reading for a class, put an exorbitant amount of mascara/eyeliner/any dark paint under your eyes. 
    1. If the teacher cold calls you, rub your eyes dramatically and look despondently into the distance, hoping they will realize you’re an international student, and it’s 1 am. 
  5. Hydrate, don’t die-drate!
  6. If you can’t stay awake for class, consider developing a Zoom crush. 
    1. Detailed steps here:
  7. There is no shame in P/D/F-ing your classes! 
    1. And never forget D’s get degrees.

On friendship: 

  1. Understand that shame is a social construct. So reach out to people shamelessly. 
    1. Shoot people you like a ZM (Zoom message)! 
      1. Especially other international students! They are probably feeling FOMO too and want a study-buddy just as much as you. 
    2. Talk first in breakout rooms. Who cares. It’s 1 am. 
  2. If you’re feeling FOMO because a lot of people on Instagram are on campus, reverse FOMO them by sipping wine during class because your country probably has a lower drinking age than the United States (do not recommend for STEM classes)
  3. Talk about what it’s like in your country! A lot of people are bored in quarantine and would love a virtual world tour.
  4. Realize that it’s always hard to make friends! Human connection is weird! 
    1. Especially on a time difference. 
      1. I literally only hung out with my parents for a big chunk of the first semester. 
    2. Take your time!

On life in general:

  1. Because you’re at home, it’s easy to have a life outside of Columbia! 
    1. Take advantage of that when classes get overwhelming. 
  2. Annoy the hell out the people you live with. Oversharing is not a real thing.
  3. Alone time doesn’t mean loneliness
    1. Allow yourself to have some breathing time! 
    2. Read, watch a movie, light candles, plan an elaborate heist… The possibilities are endless.

On assimilating to American culture:

  1. Don’t.

In all seriousness, this is an incredibly tough time for international students. If you’re an international student who is feeling disconnected from Columbia right now, please know that there are lots of us who are feeling the same way. You got this! :)

‘International Students’ via Creative Commons.