Through the drudgery and the delights – a perfect balance of all things great and small. The greatest lesson of all is to learn that you retain yourself even as you transform.
The experience of the First is possibly the most everlasting. We always remember our firsts. As I recount my first semester in the University of Delhi, I am deemed inefficient to render all my emotions and experiences in words. But let’s use an image. It is like an ocean, and I have been surfing on its waves. The waves are turbulent, but even in that moment of tension there’s a greater sense of knowing, and there’s joy. Freshly out of schools, every fresher in Delhi University feels themselves to be in this ocean.
Unsurprisingly, surfing the tides of this ocean, we have come to settle with its moods. Naturally, we have acquired a safe-place in our small corners; a place of our own in this ocean. Now it feels that you can anticipate the next wave and adjust your balance accordingly. There is a lot that has been learned. And my lessons through the first semester in one of the most eminent institutions of the country have made a seemly figure out of me. It’s only a little that I have learnt, but it’s a lot still.
For instance, I learnt here, that everything is possible. Here, you are allowed your own space, a space where you can explore yourself in ways you have only imagined prior to this. The varsity is what you want it to be for you. And that is important to note.
But I have, in a short span, observed that this opportunity is as liberating as it is scary. And this complexity is what makes every experience worth it.
In a classroom of subject and stream-toppers from their respective schools, academic backgrounds, and ideologies, another important lesson was learnt. You are one amongst the crowd. Your specialization is everyone’s. That could possibly be a challenging truth to deal with, but in truth, it is a highly humanising one. Humility drives this bargain. There is so much to learn from someone’s ideology as much as there is so much for you to share with them. That is a liberating thought. The endless process of learning ever remains a wondrous possibility. “College is a place where you unlearn and learn a lot of things,” says my best friend. It is this journey from the known to the unknown that leads us to the known back again.
“I am not the best,” most of us were brought to this realisation in the first semester. Easily, this is a saddening discovery. The critique that hits home, the comment that comes at you when you are full to the brim, it forces you to a moment of analysis. “You are You, and that is your power.” I learnt how different we all are, and how I should, to respect my own differences within myself, and accept these differences. But I also learnt that everything cannot be accepted. Sometimes, we need to call out someone’s witticisms when they hit at more humiliation than humor. I learned not to be afraid of this calling-out. My voice is my own and that defines me. I am best at what I am, but I am open to growth too.
Openness to other’s concerns and expression of my own has become more empowering. I have realised that spontaneity is one of the most exciting exercises in college. I learned that the ‘sense of belonging’ dawns on its own course and duration.
Every experience, every place, every conversation has oscillated between good and bad, but each one of them has always taught me something or the other. Every lesson that I have learnt is rightfully accredited to these experiences, and the people I have had to share in these experiences. Much to my gratification, I have shared the best experience with the best people. But also, I have had some other experiences not so gratifying.
And I feel, it is in this oscillation that you learn the most.
Even in this I have learnt nothing more than I wanted to. But I know this too, that there is a lot that still needs to be unlearnt, and a lot more that needs to be learned.
And I look forward to all of it, with the thought that I am more learned every day.
Feature Image Credits: Kartik Chauhan for DU Beat.