Here is a note from our Editors to help you embrace a world that feels new and scary (but not for too long).
- Facing the Transition: School to College
NBC once used to air a sitcom called Community. Troy Barnes, one of the lead characters is a high school jock, but at Greendale College, hardly anyone raises a brow seeing him. It’s initially disappointing but eventually, Troy finds his weird bunch of friends and enjoys his life of leading the not-so-popular life in college.
The highlights of every school are its star students – the trophy-kissing champions, the high-ranking class toppers, the big-mouthed debaters, artists, writers, quizzers, and so on.
However, if the competition keeps decreasing, and hardly puts sweat on one’s brow, then one might succumb to pride and arrogance. Luckily, after high school, if you get enrolled in an educational institution like the University of Delhi (DU), it becomes an enlightening destination for a much-needed reality check.
Many ex-head boys and head girls, school toppers, the ones that might have worn the ‘Mr Popular’ and ‘Miss Popular’ sash in their farewell, would feel disillusioned because the world of college needs starting over.
You see, there are hardly any Karan Johar-style heroes in the college, hardly any people around whom the whole world revolves; it is like this film set and we are all members of the supporting cast.
The school debating champion might make a face on hearing better intellectual arguments made by members of various debating societies. The conventional poet from secondary school might now explore more spoken-word genres in the college literary circuit. Your magnificent high school self might look like a watered-down version of itself in college.
Therefore, it is up to us whether to continue fussing over having lost our high school glory or whether to pick up the pieces and work on building a new glory all over again.
In the end, Andy Samberg’s lines from the 2016 film Popstar would best sum it up – “Sometimes, you’re up. Sometimes, you’re down. But the trick is not to lose yourself along the way.”
- Mental Well-being in College
College is a rollercoaster ride, with many ups and downs. Keeping up psychological wellness may appear to be a simple activity, yet a number of students battle to make that a priority in view of the measure of work they put in, consistently. They have a regular course with assignments, projects, extracurricular activities, sports, internships, along with a social life and 24 hours isn’t sufficient time in a day. The path to graduation, while maintaining a balance between social life and good grades is definitely not easy especially for the students just transitioning to college where, just a few months ago, they had to raise their hand to use the bathroom!
To the batch of 2022, you will endure stressful situations in your first-year. But it is important to not let that sink you and to find ways to cope with it. The experience of first-year is always sublime; suddenly, you are not a kid who would ask permission from their parents to go out, but a responsible person who will make wise and responsible decisions about their own life.
The pressure of fitting into the University culture can take a toll on your mental peace. You might end up thinking that you are not the perfect kid you used to be in school, and in reality, you might just not be and there is nothing wrong with it. The best way to maintain peace is to not compare yourself to others. This comparison leads to unrealistic expectations from oneself which makes us blame ourselves for certain things and situations that are beyond one’s control. Sometimes, we can be really harsh on ourselves without realising.
The toll your health takes on the distance from the familiarity of your home, maybe city, and definitely your school is also influenced by an intense need to compete (sometimes, you don’t even realise what you are competing for). This, to some extent, is not limited to a particular year in college. We do exactly what Yuval Noah Harari warned us against – “Nothing should be taken for granted, even if everybody believes it.” We take for granted the fact that it is a do-or-die world and college is the place to chisel yourself for it.
It takes some time to make peace with the fact that it could be a do-it-if-it-feels-okay or you-will-learn-it or you-do-not-want-to-do-it world, depending on how you navigate your way around the myriad of new opportunities that college offers. In fact, the very belief that it is your only chance to determine the course of your life by picking the right course in the best college, and hopefully getting it. Not being able to achieve it is disheartening, but inevitable for many considering that DU received 2,78,574 applications in the 2018-19 admissions season, and the odds of each individual aspiration being achieved with this number are moderate at best. Even probability, dear aspirants, is telling you to calm down and relax.
Marks and awards have always mattered, and will always matter in a materialistic world, but they will never be the endpoint of that world. For the sake of your health, a good rule of thumb would be to let go of your 18-year-old conditioning gradually, because it has prepared you to think of an ‘unseen, looming’ future. Everything has been justified to you – the cost of your deteriorating body strength and your mental well-being – by arguing that there is a brighter, safer, and more ‘stable’ future you are securing with the endless toiling. But the crux of the matter is – there will always be a future to be scared of and to chase, in true oxymoronic fashion. However, the present – right here when you are stepping into your college class for the first time – demands that you take things at your own pace and don’t participate in a race that tires you. It’s your year, and your life, no matter how many cut-offs or forms or society acceptances you think give it meaning- you choose, starting now, to pick your pace and path. In this new journey of life, have faith in yourself. As Christopher Robin from Winnie the Pooh says, “Promise me you’ll always remember – you’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
DU Beat Editors
Feature Image Credits: Debaangshu Sen for DU Beat
Shaurya Singh Thapa