It is right around the time of year when we are all being shoved into the shoes of an adult whether we like it or not. For a child who grew up in the same city, the same street, the same house and the same school, going to college was a terrifying thought and initially I loathed the idea of it. I didn’t want to leave my friends behind. I didn’t want to walk into a place where I knew absolutely no one and had no idea which way was what. Emotionally, I qualified as a wreck. The feeling of absolute uncertainty is so unnerving. I wanted to be sure of everything so that I didn’t get left behind. For the first time in forever, I felt like I was in kindergarten all over again. I was asking all the same questions. Will I find someone like me? Will people hate me? How am I supposed to behave? What if I make a bad impression? The week before college was the worst. I had to actually come to terms with the fact that I had to say my goodbyes to school and the friends I loved so dearly and go make new ones. I remember promising myself to just sit quietly and not talk to a soul. My plan was simple; I would go to class, sit, listen and then leave. It was as simple and as stupid as that.
My earlier apprehension of being plucked out of the comfort zone I was in (school) for fourteen years and being put into a completely new environment had disappeared. I walked into the sylvan campus at 7.30 a.m. and it was perfect. It wasn’t too hot yet and the morning sun touched my cheeks in sweet reassurance that everything else would be fine too. The sunlight bounced of the lush greenery everywhere. The campus was so beautiful. I had begun to feel that school was home, but somehow as I walked in, something about it felt so familiar. I watched the other students trickle in through the grand entrance.I saw such beautiful young girls – dressed fancy , with their high heels and make up and perfect hair, but I also saw the people dressed simply with their flats and salwars and flowers in their hair. This was a potpourri of people from different worlds. Each one of them had a story, each one of them had a past, and each and every one of them, including myself were there for one reason – a better future. I slowly opened my mind to the possibility that maybe I had a lot more in common with these strangers than I had expected to have. Miraculously, the place I had feared so long, the place that I had anticipated to hate, didn’t seem so scary. I almost smiled. Then it hit me. I knew why I felt so comfortable. Granted, everything was new and unexplored, but at the same time, it’s so similar to school. This was my opportunity to start fresh, to make mistakes and avoid the ones I’ve already made. It’s no longer me, no one knows me here. I don’t know anyone here either. We are reborn into new surroundings. That’s what put me at ease. I could reshape myself and find my own person here. I could be anything. It’s a fresh slate. It’s new. It’s unexplored. Earlier this week, I had been rejected by the college of my dreams because I didn’t make their cut off by .25 % and I was pretty upset but that no longer seemed to haunt me. I was here, I could do whatever and be whoever. I could be the class topper or the Student Union President. I could do it all over. The day was pretty basic. We got let off early as well. It was just attendance, the Inaugural assembly and the Friendly Senior Program assigned us seniors to take us around campus and, that was about it. I don’t know why but as I lived every minute of my first day, the walking in through the gates on a Monday morning, the roll call, the assembly, the faculty, a strange sense of déjà vu flooded through me. It took me some time to realize why, but I figured it out eventually. School was my home for so long. It was where I met people I know I will keep close to my heart for a very long time. It was where I made some of the memories that have been embossed in my heart forever. It was where I discovered myself and what I was capable of. It was where I had moments of failures and glory that defined me as a person. I have had some of the best years of my life there. That was the reason behind the déjà vu. I had seen this before. I have lived this before. Each and every time, it was a more beautiful and enriching experience. And, now, walking into the campus of college on my first day, I got to watch it all begin again.
I no longer felt the walls closing in on me, but that didn’t mean I was any less crazy. I took down over twenty pages in notes – of the orientation program. I was listening so intently to every single word. I swear people thought I was insane. They laughed, I laughed too and then something magical happened. I barely even noticed it, but suddenly I didn’t feel so alone anymore. I met such amazing people, who were as stupid, as lovable and as crazy as I was. They were my life jacket and now two months in, we share a lot more than just lunch.
College has been a lot more than monotonous learning from text books. We have been encouraged to enhance knowledge through discussions and suggestions and debates. we have opinions and our opinions matter. It isn’t all about the learning anymore. We are being placed on a platform of responsibility and fun. Be it cribbing about the continuous assessments or talking about the universe and it’s creation, college is certainly entertaining in its own way. I mean who wouldn’t love getting on the good old fashioned MTC (Madras Transport Corporation) bus even when it is overflowing with people, threatening to capsize. It has even got me losing weight – something months of irregular visits to the gym hasn’t achieved. Who wouldn’t want to walk home in the scorching sun? Who wouldn’t want to complain about it after, or sneak out your on-campus dwelling friends. It has been a once in a lifetime experience. My apprehension has melted to reveal anticipation – I want to know what happens next. I want to reach out to the world and make a difference as a person and increasingly I find myself being enabled to strengthen character and personality. I have hopes and dreams that aren’t so vague anymore. This is as certain as I have been about anything. I believe I’m learning to nest in what will be my home for the next three years. So now, I am actually glad to say I walk into campus every morning, waiting to know what meeting will pop up or who will be guest lecturing us on things we haven’t even heard about. Surprisingly enough, the ones in the high heels and pretty clothes aren’t as intimidating as the same sort used to be in school. Everyone is so nice and welcoming that it feels like a breath of fresh air. i cant wait to write on the remaining pages of this story. I sense potential in this endeavor. I’m going to have to pass on the high heels, but I certainly have high hopes.