We talk about the many anxieties of a sixth- semester student, enveloped in placements, entrance exams, and last days’ blues.
“Be what you want to be, taking things the way they come” goes an old Bacardi jingle. This is one of the many iconic tunes that can be good advice to anyone at any point of their lives; except perhaps students in their board year, or a first-year student trying to squeeze into relevance in college, or a third-year student navigating across placements and interviews, or an adult struggling to “adult”. You get the gist, the simple advice of taking one day at a time is too uncomplicated to be truly helpful. Isn’t it? Life, as we know it is so very complicated, with each so-called “last battle” giving way to another and just when you thought you were done navigating the unknown, an ocean of uncertainty materialises. According to the wisdom of someone who has been on this earth for all of 20 years, the feeling that success at each and every step is the be-all and end-all of making it in life, that not meeting a particular milestone satisfactorily would mean the untimely death of all our goals, is universal. But our life goals, the person we want to be and the things we want to do are certain things that can be achieved in multiple ways.
The anxieties of a third-year student, accompanied by the desire to make the most out of college in terms of personal experience, with a dash of urge to take a trip with friends, to do justice to the society you started out with, the urge to attend all your classes one last time, and to stroll every lane on campus, drink cups of chai with everyone you met, loved, and lost. The notion of “ek baar aur” (one more time) can be overwhelming. The bottom line is, we want it
all. Living our best life with one’s friends, doing justice to our hobbies, activities and organisations where we
are now in leadership roles, excelling academically, and this overstimulation of hope and expectations is overburdening and is the perfect recipe to make us give it all up and accomplish none of it. The pressure of everything, combined with the ridiculously high expectations we set for ourselves, are exhausting. Between the mock tests and entrance examinations are given till now, semester exams that we just wrapped up, and everything else that seems to be coming up, I wonder whether we will find the time to sit in the college lawns with friends without once worrying about one entrance exam or another. The line where you live life to the fullest versus being negligent towards your goals is a thin one, even harder to demarcate since college students live without the pressures that come with employment and adulthood. So how does one navigate his space that is full to the brim, with nostalgia, excitement, fear, freedom, ambition, and other hundreds of emotions I cannot put into words? The only solution that comes to mind is to keep taking one day at a time. The iconic Francis Assisi quote, “Start by doing what is necessary, then what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible” seems like the wholesome advice that allows us to work on our goals, no matter how huge, without getting overwhelmed.
There will still be days when we might fail miserably – oversleep, binge-watch and eat, not take certain entrance exams seriously, and have major regrets later. We must accept that our “human-ness” would make at least a few mistakes along this journey. However, one ought to remember that making mistakes does not give us the
licence to quit altogether. After all, falling down nine times and getting up the tenth is the foundation of the human spirit (along with being the chorus of a loved Cardi B song).
This new year, remember that we are humans, and our failure is neither our defining characteristic nor is it permanent (unless we want it to be). As an unsure student in my last semester, unaware of where I will be and what I will do in the next six months, the only advice I would like to give myself and you are – “be what you want to be,
taking things the way they come.”
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