As I packed to leave for college, the day I had dreamt of my entire school life was finally here. I would finally be away from home for the very first time. I had beads of nervousness on every part of my body and was uncertain whether I was honestly ready for this big step. The step of stepping out of my comfort zone and taking decisions on my own.
Hi, I am Parneet, a first-year student of literature at Ramjas College, University of Delhi. As I’ve almost completed the first chapter in my journey as a student in college, I want to share what my first year in college has been like. I know that I have struggled both mentally and physically in order to adjust myself to the “hyped up” atmosphere of the City and that has changed things in me. Being a freshman in college is one of the biggest transitions a young adult makes. “Responsibility, Maturity, Exposure, Self-dependence, Decision-making power”, almost everyone in my life has linked these words with stepping towards a new phase of life. When I entered college the first day for orientation, it was then that one of my department professors told us how this would be hard, how there will be times when we would have to make quick decisions, and how there will be complicated situations to deal with. And I eventually experienced that. I joined the literary society of my college but couldn’t cope up with my studies and the society work. Everything seemed so new.
As I had always heard, exposure and growth are what we experience, I joined a Certificate course and that changed my aspiring career. From thinking about doing a Ph.D. in literary studies to inclining myself towards Journalism and TV Anchoring, I still stand undecided and everything around me confuses me about the choices I should make. From being an enthusiastic Punjabi girl, living in a comfort zone and always acting selflessly, to learning how to deduct and judge the true faces of people, who will be there and who won’t be, have made me someone else. Walking around with a handful of friends gave me confidence that I can still stay in the city of wonders and explore new arenas of being me and coping up with the world.
The initial days of my stay away from home, in a small room of two beds with a roommate from a completely different culture and background was luxurious, independent and fun. However, I suffered mentally, homesickness is a disease. I had never felt this attached to my parents as I did now that I am away. I had seen them accept everything I say and show a firm belief in me, supporting me in every decision and making sure that I know I am not alone and that I am strong. “Sherni Banke”, as we say in Punjabi is what they mean whenever I video call them every night and elaborate on what complications came before me today.
I am stunned about how my course choice has made me a strong critique and has helped me start questioning what, why, and how’s of everything and everybody. I was never the person I am now. From my fashion choices to my way of dealing with people, every aspect of me has experienced some change, be it slight or major. I am stunned by how a new phase in my young adult years has helped develop me as a complete person for the upcoming challenges of my life journey. Experiencing this “new me” also caused many anxieties inside me and I found it difficult to cope with people. I somehow felt that people might not like who I am and would avoid me.
Life in PG has also been difficult. I have a few friends, to be precise three of them who make my stay at the PG a little bit homely. I have felt ignored and avoided at times. There are times when I cannot show my true self and I want them to understand me silently but I have felt them failing at it. I have not been able to develop confidence in people around me and that has made me live silently and in solitude for a major period of my life away from home. I have known how different people become under peer pressure. I am a person willing to live life and live days in my own ways and on my own schedule and breaking that schedule has made me suffer mentally. It has been hard to be open up to what opportunities have come before me and to understand what I am becoming and why am I here but I have made efforts and put in the hard work to make myself mentally stable.
The best part that I feel like I have to share is how my teachers are supportive and understanding. I know I can rely on them whenever I am in an ordeal. I have found them overwhelmingly attached to their students and teaching them at every stage, academics to life lessons. I have obviously felt a lot of differences in my college life as compared to my school life, but some pleasant experiences of this college life have made me feel the good things about being in a college. Also, I have experienced a breaking of the stereotypical notion that you don’t have to study in college. You HAVE TO study hard for every stage of exams, be it college tests, internals, externals, or assignments. The atmosphere and aura of the college smoothened my life a bit.
First-year, the first chapter of college life and of course, I came with a lot of excitement and hopes to have indelible memories and impressions, but still unsure about what I want to be. It took me quite a while to focus on and cope up with what I have chosen for myself and eventually, I have no regrets about my choices. I know I have a long way to walk on and I am preparing myself for it but with all the struggles and complications, I am happy I have found a bold and confident self in me. I know this is a lot to digest in just one semester, as the second one just started when this pandemic broke out but I have truly experienced these symptoms. I have learned to sustainably live on my own and do whatever I want, keeping myself away from peer pressure.
And again for new experiences, exploration, hope for better days, more strength and power to myself and all the newbies entering or yet to enter, I wanna sum up-
“She walked through the alley,
And she found the fortune stone.
It took her to the untravelled road,
Strange, and unmapped.
She knew no man,
In “that” world,
But she closed her eyes,
Raised her chin,
Like a Princess,
On the alley of life,
Dancing to the beats of joy.
She saw everything,
Herself and the Universe,
A Universe different from hers,
She became that shade of grey,
Darker and darker,
Darkest through the night.
She held herself up,
She hugged the lilies,
There was no one around.
She longed for LIFE.
And then the sun,
Shined through the narrow-window opening,
Giving her hope,
And there she conquered,
The whole world,
When she had known,
She was in the whereabouts,
She longed for,
She longed for them,
Her whole life.”
Image Source – Postlight
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