Right from our high school days, we conjure up an image of the perfect college life. We steal some snippets from films and novels, some we borrow from the stories of our parents’ carefree youth. Blending it all up with the colors of our personal ambitions on a palette, we paint a grandiose portrait on our mental canvas. With each brush stroke, we aspire to become a wholly different person. The first day of college becomes a carnival of quirky earrings, unique haircuts and eccentric shoes. After all, who didn’t begin in the hopes of turning over a new leaf…
I was no different. Ready to pursue literature, I came hauling an over sized bag comprising a register, a few pens, all of my heavy dreams and a few apprehensions to college. I was warmly welcomed into Venky’s campus with a red tilak, placed on my forehead, plus a toffee for good luck. College had officially begun.
But the real question was, would I ever fit in? And how? Was my life merely going to be sandwiched between prose and poetry?
Two weeks had passed by and everything was evolving. Everything except me, that is. I struggled with being an introvert. I could see a matrix of friendships growing and expanding, where there had been none before. And it was expanding fast. People who had never even spent a minute in each others’ company before, had begun to greet with hugs in the hallways. It was as if everybody had known everybody for years.
Meanwhile, I waited alone awkwardly in a corner for the fifteen minutes before class began. In my own batch, I had barely talked to two people (that too only to inquire about the timetable). The one girl I’d genuinely bonded with over the span of ten days, left Venky to join a different college altogether. And with her, my only string of familiarity wound to this college’s gates snapped.
I wasn’t just quiet. My silence had, apparently, completely engulfed and shattered everything I had hoped college life would be. The worst part was that I felt trapped-thinking it was all my fault, yet being unable to do anything about it.
This was how I felt up until two months ago. But come second semester, my perspective has taken a three-sixty degree turn. I have managed to make some lasting relationships outside the sphere of my comfort zone. I might be quiet, but my friends are capable of the most boisterous racket. The classroom has expanded my horizons and stretched my limits, like a rubber band which refuses to snap back on itself. There are contradictions everywhere, but there are also the wonderful opportunities to explore one’s self.
How did my perspective change?
Maybe because this is how college works after all, forcing you to look within yourself. You must discover the front that you want to present before the world, all on your own. I realized that some of the happiest people secretly cower under the shadow of gloom. Those who pretend to enjoy popularity, secretly reach out for solitude. In many ways, I haven’t changed much. In the masquerade of pretenses, I’m still the introvert that I used to be. But I wear it like a badge of honor instead.
Acceptance took its time, but it did finally come through, like a rainbow at the end of heavy rainfall. And looking back at the tremendous changes that a mere three months’ journey has brought about, I can’t wait for the next two years. I know that college can accommodate all kinds of personalities-introverts too.
Guest post by Deepannita Misra
Feature Image credits: introvertspring.com