"There isn't a lot of competition here: people are willing to share their research and enhance the knowledge of other students. People not only guided me through the different stages of my degree, but they taught me the perspective I should have when pursuing a career.
"I have published three journal articles regarding my research, and I'm waiting to hear back about another two or three publications. When I compare myself to my peers from other, bigger, universities, I see that I have been better educated. I know someone pursuing their graduate education at a bigger university, in a bigger city, and they don't know how to write or publish a journal article. Some of my peers haven't even created posters. They value the tag of their university, but I think the education is more important.
"Here in Ruston, there are not a lot of things to distract you: if I would have been in a bigger city, I would have been distracted from my goals. Also, people are really friendly here: when walking on the sidewalk, people will recognize me and ask how I'm doing. Their friendliness made me feel like I belonged, and I didn't feel alienated. That is really important for internationals who are a thousand miles away from their actual home. Ruston has a very homey atmosphere. People here aren't always talking about work: they'll talk about their families and their personal lives, so you can easily form bonds and attachments with people here. Now, if I go back to India for two weeks, I'll feel homesick because I'm away from Ruston. This is my home.
"These past four years have really transformed my life--not just my professional life, but my personal life. I actually got married here, so I guess you can say I started my own family here in Ruston, at Louisiana Tech. On the eve of my graduation I won't want to leave, but I'll probably have to. The impact Louisiana Tech made on my life will be eternal, and it will stay with me as long as I live."