I remember when I was in class 8th and the name DU popped up in a discussion, the memory is as clear as water. Googled it, read some articles, stared at some images and from then it was a constant part of my search history and plans for the future.
It obviously is a brilliant choice to study in one of the premier universities in our country. How big of a goal it is, can only be told by diaries carrying the weight of goals and responsibilities bearing the name “Dream college” and the prestigious Delhi University. The sticky notes and posters stuck on the wall and cupboards tell the tale titled – Dreams of DU.
But what after getting into the much-wanted college, how are your expectations met, does the brand even keep up to its name, is life at DU really that magical? I would have wanted to ponder over these questions and answer them while sitting among those red-bricked walls, but no. Here are we, the freshers of DU trying to get just one slice, just one tiny bit of experience of the much-awaited college life. So technically we are living our dream but, virtually.
In the name of DU Freshers
Even before the confirmation mail from college, came the WhatsApp forwarded links of college groups. So many in number based on courses, departments but just with one intent, to connect.
To have a feeling of college without being in college, as Thor said, “Asgard is where Asgardians are”, so we tried to enclose our first encounter with college mates in a group with a limit of 257 members, by a ceremony adorned by gifs, memes and emojis instead of the yearly freshers’ party.
Introductions were done, friends made, separate groups created, fan armies united, Among Us played and that’s what we had for interaction and icebreaking. Instead of dressing up for the first day, we charged our laptops and phones for the orientation programme. The dreamt selfies in decided corners of the college could not be taken but we had screenshots with smiling faces and some black screens which are going to be a large part of our college life now.
The Yug of Digital Friendships
A week into the online classes and groups which were buzzing with a thousand messages per hour were now silent. From repeated introductions to the BTS army accompanying every text of theirs with purple hearts. And One Direction fans barging in, to convert strangers into a family with the song, “You and me got a whole lot of history….” Money Heist and Mirzapur fans constantly sharing memes and some into an argument about which of Khaled Hosseini’s novels is the best. After a few days, all discussions died or may be moved into personal chats, but visibly the excitement ended with just casual queries coming up in the groups.
So will we, the first batch to join DU virtually, be able to foster friendships that will go beyond watched series and animes? How will this affect friendships in the upcoming future because after all, we are conversing via screens only, where the only peek into the lives of others are Instagram highlights and snaps. How will these relations foster with a limited time for interaction? These are the questions that have posed themselves to me while I sit for classes of four to five hours at the same place. Until the colleges start physically we are left to find answers in tagged memes and story mentions only because that’s the only way for now.
The monster named Inferiority Complex
Whichever way we go, it’s hard not to feel inferiority complex. I could barely manage with three coaching classes in school, while some students have been doing internships since class 12th. After being on an anxiety trip for some hours, the nostalgic past almost leaves with stress and guilt of not jumping at opportunities.
But then, comes the curious future. The future seems like holding blank canvases in a paint shop and being asked to choose one from 250+ shades of blue at gunpoint, meanwhile, all I could think of is pitch black.
All the chats come to just one end, ‘What are your plans for future? Aage ka kya socha hai?’. And the same utterance every time – ‘Nothing much’. Sometimes just for the sake of saying something, I try to be a part of the UPSC aspirants gang, but the never-ending length of its syllabus and thickness of Laxmikant’s Polity don’t let me stay. All I am left with is my dear Master’s course, which stands with hands spread in SRK pose (violins playing), waiting for me to come and embrace it but, being Cinderella we can’t stay for long at the ball. Financial constraints of the family are a constant reminder to come up with something to do ASAP.
With expectations and stress in my heart, I cling to the feet of internships with wants of a letter of recommendation and a stipend but marketing goals seem to demand not skills but a huge followers list. With a smiling emoji, I wish congratulations to peers doing good while my fears and anxieties find their way in my journal. These Insecurities are reminders that I might get lost even after paving way into my dreamt college.
Yes, someone would always be better than me and to learn from them is the way to go but how to survive in flex culture is something I would like to learn now.
With online classes we can only think about what will happen, we can only give ourselves an assurance that we will be there very soon to enact the plans we have made. So if not “All Is Well”, we can surely say “All Will Be Well”(maybe).