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我在美国研究所的生活

发布时间:2020-03-21 10:40:02源自:互联网作者:lly阅读()

USA Graduate School我在美国研究所的生活

  My first impression of the United States was very nice. Three years ago, I arrived at Bradley International airport at around 1 o’clock in the morning after 30 hours on the flight. Although I was a bit disappointed by the small airport I was instantly1 attracted by the music of insects and the smell of the grass lawn2 when I arrived at my apartment. The next morning, the birds woke me up and I realized the city I am going to stay for another two or three years is not like New York City or Shang Hai. It is a quiet and beautiful town and my apartment was located in the forest. I felt like I was camping in the mountains. The first time I saw a taxi here was two months later. There are no buildings more than 4 floors and you can barely3 find one inch of naked4 ground. The weirdest5 thing was that people never take one or two hour breaks in the middle of the day. They kept working until they finished their work for the day. Even now, I still miss the time when I can take a nap6 before I go back to work in the afternoon. After living in Beijing for four years, everything here is so different. But it is different in a good way. At least I can focus on my study now without too much distraction7.
  In the first month, I was taken care of by a visiting scholar, who was heading back to China soon. He taught me how to drive, cook, and took me around so that I was able to live independently when he left. I realized that it was a huge mistake that I didn’t take my father’s advice to learn some basic cooking. I can make food but it never tastes as good as it does at home. American food was not bad but that wasn’t something that I can live on. Happy times always went by fast. Two months later, my independent life in the United States started. The first thing I realized was that I needed a car badly. Storrs is so small that there is no necessity8 for public transportation to be well developed. It will take me three hours to walk to the lab in the morning. So when the visiting scholar left, I bought the car from him. That was an old Toyota Camry with fairly high mileage9 but that didn’t bother me. At least I have something that can take me to school and to grocery shopping. I did make some friends but it is a luxury10 here to expect other people to help you whenever you need. Everybody has their own difficulties to deal with.
  When I decided11 to come to the USA graduate school, I spent almost a year to prepare for the GRE and TOEFL exams and get the application process done. Then I came to the states and realized that their college students spent their time so much better than we did. They have three months for summer vacation so they work as volunteers in hospitals because they want to go to medical school later. They do part time jobs in pharmaceutical12 companies because they are interested in how things are working there. In other words, they are learning13 practically14 and they make their decisions based on what they saw and what they knew. We make decisions simply based on what we heard from other people, which may or may not be right.
  One interesting thing is that more and more students come to the USA for graduate school right after college. I was one of them but now I don’t think it was very smart to do so. Doing research in the United States is not just doing what the advisor15 told me to do. I need to have my own ideas, which are usually based on a good collection of background knowledge and research experience. I had a very hard time understanding the significance and research approaches at the beginning of my study. It took me even longer to make my own thoughts and put them into an experimental16 test. I was lucky that my advisor didn’t give me too much pressure but other professors might not be as nice. If he is not satisfied with your work, he has the full power to get you out of the lab because he is the one who pays you. American students usually work as a lab technician17 for a year so that they will have a taste of what graduate study feels like, then decide if this is what they want to do. So I strongly recommend students to work in a lab for at least a couple of months before they choose research as a career.
  It is still a bit early to decide whether I will go back to China or stay in the states after I get my PhD. There are so many things that one has to consider. Living in the United States is very comfortable. I can buy a big house with a beautiful garden and it should not be a difficult thing. The relationship in academia is quite simple. If you do good science, everyone respects you otherwise there is no way to establish your own position. I can travel around the country any time during the year. Transportation will never be a problem. But things are also different for foreigners. There are a lot of other things that we can’t enjoy in the USA. For example, I want to share the happiness with my family but my parents don’t want to come to the states. I want to hang out with my friends but I don’t have a lot of friends here. The American life style doesn’t fit me very well and it is not possible to really become a member of this society. It is quite true that the United States is heaven for kids, a battlefield for young adults and the tomb for old people. I was so sad to see an old gentleman going to the shopping mall by himself last Christmas. More importantly, I believe that science doesn’t belong to any country but a scientist should always remember his/her homeland. I might not be able to change anything all by myself but we can make a difference if everybody thinks this way.

  我对美国的第一印象非常好。三年前,经过30个小时的飞行,我在凌晨一点左右到达布拉德利国际机场。尽管对这个小机场我感到一丝失望,当我抵达我的公寓时,我还是立即就被昆虫的音乐声及芳草的香味所吸引了。第二天,鸟儿将我唤醒,我意识到这个我即将待上两三年的城市不同于纽约或者上海,这是一个安宁而美丽的城镇,我的公寓就坐落在森林中。我感到我仿佛是在山上野营。第一次看到出租车已是两个月之后了。这儿的建筑最高不过四层,你几乎看不到一处光秃秃的土地。最奇怪的是这儿的人们中午从来也不休息上一两个小时。他们一直工作,直到当天的活干完为止。即使现在,我依然怀念那时候,下午工作前能够小睡片刻。在北京住了四年以后,这儿的一切显得如此不同。但这种不同却比较好,至少我能够安心学习,没有太多的东西使我分心。
  来这儿的第一个月,一位即将回国的访问学者很照顾我,教我开车、做饭、带我四处闲逛,这样当他离开时我就能独立生活。那时我才意识到没听父亲的建议学些基本烹饪技巧,真是犯了个天大的错误。我虽然会做饭,但从来不像家里做的那么好吃。美式食物纵然不错,但却不能作为主食。幸福时光很快就过去了。两个月后我开始独立在美国生活。首先我意识到我急需一辆车。斯托斯城如此之小,以致公共交通工具都没必要全面发展。早上我花三个小时才能走到实验室。因此当那位访问学者离开时,我买下了他的车。那是一辆旧式丰田车,行车里程已经相当高,但这并没妨碍我。至少我有了交通工具,可以去学校和杂货店购物了。我也的确交了几个朋友,但在你需要时想得到别人的帮助,实在是个奢侈的期望。每个人都有自己的困难要解决。
当我决定来美国研究所时,我几乎花了一年的时间来准备GRE和托福考试,以完成申请程序。来到美国后,我意识到他们的大学生活比我们的要丰富得多。他们有三个月的暑假,因此他们可以去医院做志愿者,因为以后想上医学院。他们也在医药公司做兼职,因为他们对那里事情的运作感兴趣。换句话说,他们是在实践中学习,把所看与所学结合起来做出决定。而我们只是基于别人的话来做决定,还不一定正确。
  有个很有趣的现象,那就是越来越多的大学生毕业后便立即来到美国研究院。我也是其中的一员。但现在的我认为那并不是很明智的决定。在美国做研究不只是做导师告诉你的事情。我需要有自己的思想,通常要建立在良好的背景知识和研究经验上,在学习的初级阶段,我费了很大的劲才理解了其意义和研究方法。我甚至花了更长的时间来调整我的思维,全心投入到实验测试中去。幸运的是,我的导师并没给我太大的压力,其他导师恐怕没有这么好心。如果他对你的工作不满意,他完全可以自主决定把你赶出实验室,因为是他为你支付报酬。美国学生通常先在实验室里做一年技术人员,以便了解到研究生的学习是怎样的,然后才决定是否继续研究。因此我强烈建议同学们在选择研究为职业之前,最好先在实验室里待上几个月。
  现在决定我是否在获得博士学位之后回国或是留在美国有些为时过早。有那么多事情有待考虑。生活在美国很舒适。我可以买一座带有漂亮花园的大房子,这也不是什么难事。学术界的关系也很简单。只要你科研搞得好,所有人都会尊敬你,反之,你就无法确立自己的地位。一年内我可以在任何时间做全国旅行,交通决不成问题。但对外国人来说事情又有些不同,待在美国就会有许多其他事情无法享受。例如,我想分享家庭的幸福,但我的父母不想来美国。我想与朋友出去逛逛,但我这儿的朋友并不多。美国的生活方式不是很适合我,想真正成为这个社会中的一员也不可能。美国是儿童的天堂、年轻人的战场、老年人的坟墓,这句话一点不错。上个圣诞节我曾看到一个老年人独自去商场购物,真为他感到悲伤。更为重要的是,我认为科学并不属于某个国家,一个科学家应该永远牢记他的祖国。我个人可能改变不了什么,但如果每个人都这样想,我们就可以使它发生变化。


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