With this semester, the first-year of college comes to an end for many students. Let’s take a look at the learnings of a first-year student.

  • Exposure and Experience

The first year of college is an eye-opener to the real world, it gives you a view of adulthood and brings along a sense of independence. It doesn’t come easy to many, makes life difficult for a few, and lonely for others. But what it does give you is exposure and experience to cure that gaping hole of leaving your home, friends, school, and your city behind. An outstation student of the University said “Yeh Delhi ne toh meri Lucknow ki saari Nawabi hi nikal di, Kahan main vaha maze mein ghoomti thi, aur yahan auto vaalon se dus-dus rupaye ke liye ladti hoon (Delhi has taken away all the Lucknow royalty from me, I used to a carefree child. Here, in Delhi, I have to fight with the auto-rickshaw drivers for INR 10)” She agrees that college life has transformed her to become a better version of herself. She is able manage her finances well.

  • Friends and Family

Himanika Agarwal from Gargi College commented, “Everybody used to tell me that you never find real friends in college, even I used to believe that. But Glass Eye, the Film Making Society of Gargi College has given me some of the best friends I have ever had, who have now become my family.” In the first-year itself, you find your close group of friends who become your family and confidants, be it your classmates or the members of your college society, college helps you to find people who you remember all throughout.

  • Fests and Euphoria

The cultural fests organised by the University of Delhi (DU) colleges is another enlightening experience for the students. Fresh out of taking the first semester examinations, students attend fests with their ‘college gang’ looking up wide eyed at the glittering lights of concerts and competitions, breathing in the chaos, and adapting to the crowds.

My first-year, personally, gave me The Local Train, another staple name associated with the DU fests. This musical band and their brand of music, their lyrics, and the performances are worth it. Another student added, “I can easily say that my checklist for a happening college life ticked off with after attending Vishal-Shekhar’s concert at Mecca, the cultural fest of Hindu College.”

  • The ability to study overnight

College is not only fun and games, academics also play an important role. This involves projects, class presentations, reviews, internals, and exams. These conclusively teach every student to study or make a presentation a night before the submission. This might be unhealthy, but it is a fact.

  • A new perspective

Above all, for me, the first-year of college worked as a stepping stone in the process of unlearning patriarchal norms and misogynistic conditioning, we as naïve little kids were subjected to, throughout our childhood. Classroom discussions with strong opinionated teachers, debates with your peers and seniors, revolutionary texts and readings, interactions about the rights of the LGBTQ community, these have changed my perspective for the better. Looking back, I can now remember instances in the past which were problematic, but I didn’t realise earlier. These realisations are my achievements of gaining new and better ideologies and of becoming a more ‘woke’ individual.

Feature Image Credits: DU Beat


Sakshi Arora

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Studying cultural relativism is considerably easy, but applying it in a world where intolerance and oppression come easy is a lesson in empathy. This is a piece which will help you find out what minority communities’ students experience in the educational hub of the country.

With the recent political developments in the country all parties, candidates, and persons with political ambitions, are gearing up for elections and have decided to garner the support of their respective vote-banks. The move to
provide reservation to the General category candidates from economically backward groups in higher education
and government employment is a part of the political agendas, being used to appease the majority of voters. A
democracy, though, is ideally supposed to be inclusive and fair to the minority’s desires and choices as well. So, what is the way our education system treats the minority groups in the time of politically motivated communal and religious intolerance?

There exists an Equal Opportunity Cell in the University of Delhi (DU) to incorporate the needs of minority groups. Different colleges too have outreach programmes and Cells to make minority groups comfortable in the environment of the city and college. But the working of these Cells is often under the supervision of non-minority
individuals and this stumps the factor of representation.

Another issue with the functioning of the cell and initiatives of the likes is its accessibility to the students of the
School of Open Learning (SOL). Take for instance, a 21-year-old Dalit girl studying at SOL, committed suicide on
facing casteist ill-treatment at the hands of her boyfriend. As per the report of The Indian Express, the authorities at
DU were of no help because she had no access to the Internal Complaints’ Committees as a student of SOL.

There appears to be a lack of empathy in trying to understand the way minority groups cope in the educational
atmosphere. In a survey conducted by DU Beat, 57.1% people- ranging from minority and non-minority groups
responded that the professors in DU colleges are usually ignorant to the differences when dealing with students from minority groups in a classroom discussion. In fact, linguistic distinctions are taken for granted to such an extent
by the authorities that there is a compulsory test in Hindi (CTH), which must be taken up by students who have
not studied the language in the course of their schooling years. In a country with over twenty-two official working
languages, this imposition of a North Indian tongue is unjustified. A shocking 42.9 percent responses in the survey
indicated an imposition of culture and language, by non-minority peer groups and/or by teaching methods and

Numerous people feel a sense of insecurity in ‘fitting in’ with the crowd at DU, and even undergo mental health problems in lieu of this desire to be a part of a circle. One student of Hansraj College revealed on the condition of anonymity that she/he had to visit three different psychiatrists in three semesters because of the mental health issues their minority identity presented in DU. The psychiatrists were seldom understanding of the crisis, they stated, and most people do not even have the privilege of availing therapy.

There are some safe spaces in the city for revisiting this form of one’s identity. Kartik Chauhan of Hindu College states,“However, there are some places like the Meraki events, where Northeastern Indian students meet each other.
Likewise for the South Indian students, they organise various events and celebrate the festivals together, far from
home.” Nida from Lady Shri Ram College finds her safe space in Jamia Masjid Area at Chandni Chowk, while some responders feel there is no real escape from this lack of empathy.

The best way to create an actual environment that is safe by virtue for all groups appears to be a task based on
the mindset of the people, as per the survey. Most people believe that being thoughtful about cultural differences
and learning respect are the ways to go for a larger change, so as to invite students from all spheres in a holistic
environment where they can feel at home.

Feature Image Credits: Niharika Dabral for DU Beat.

Anushree Joshi

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The ‘firsts’ are always memorable. Here’s recounting my first week at college while hoping yours went likewise.

Truest of joys are lived in the coalescence of our dreams. The 20th of July 2018 marked my Orientation Day in college, and it also marked the day I saw my dream of studying at the University of Delhi (DU) come true. While thousands of us approached our colleges in the highest of spirits,  there was a great deal of anxiety too. However, as the week progressed, the anxiety also dwindled. Thankfully, the weather has been blissful, if the resulting muck is not to be accounted for. But this week has been an amazingly informative and inspiring one. The atmosphere increasingly becomes more intoxicating! However, it goes without saying that some inherent downsides were also present. Henceforth, I have endeavored to be more realistic in my account.

Our fear of crowds, seniors, and our own batchmates takes root from the fear of judgement. In this regard, a senior of mine told me, “Everyone judges you, but this is why you are here. You judge people and find in them the requisite companionship. Do not fear this judgement. This is your time, live it fully. Let nothing hold you back.” As repetitive as it sounds, it is an absolute truth. Initially, I was afraid of being laughed at. I feared that a wrong answer to a question would probably diminish my credit among rest of the stellar performers who have made it to my college and course. But at the same time, I reminded myself that if one can make people laugh, it is his or her victory. However, if they laugh mockingly, it is their loss. This week I have learned so much about the discipline that I always dreamt of studying, that every moment in learning this discipline has been an insightful and learning experience.

Undoubtedly, another highlight would be the brilliant people I have come to know. From the learned to the rad, all my seniors have offered the best advise and counsel. A large number of us came here hoping to find friends for life. While many have already struck similar chords with like-minded people, many others have not been as fortunate. After years of being with their high school friends, they find it difficult to fill the void of companionship in a week. Give yourself and others some time because all good things take time, after all. But remember to remain original and true to yourself while creating new bonds, because you are all you have to offer. Presenting any other version of yourself would not do justice to who you inherently are.

Today, after a week of walking straight into a dream, it still feels surreal. And very ideally, it will always be. I do not presume I have learned all in a week, neither should you. But I have witnessed a change already, as have we all. Acceptance and compassion start with us. We all are afraid, varyingly if not equally. But it is in the nature of fear to take away our happiness. Fear is the end of growth. Opportunities will come, but your endeavor to grasp them will determine everything. This idea is my greatest takeaway from this week. Most colleges have commenced their registrations for enrolling the excited freshers in a number of societies – possibly the most celebratory avenues in colleges. Before I entered the gates of my college, I was told about societies,  “Join them all, even the ones you find remotely interesting. Live them fully, as per your interests. Do not ever hesitate.” Now whenever I enter them, my conviction strengthens.

Believe and thrive, grasp and grow. I hope you have an adventure as great as you deserve. I hope we all do. With the first week’s closure, I know one thing for sure, that I will have loads of fun. Will you?


Feature Image Credits: Kartik Chauhan for DU Beat

Kartik Chauhan

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When you put a non-believer in a religious environment, interesting things are bound to happen. For instance, the idea of praying for hours without an end will end with a cry for help.

Before I recount my trip to an ashram in south India, I must delve into some personal details. For the purpose of this experience, knowing that I am a transgender girl and an atheist is, perhaps, epochal. To live in the ashram meant subduing these parts of me. It started at the accommodation office. The person-in-charge would talk to me, rather than my mom. The idea of being perceived as a man and the ‘phallus’ attached to being a man is very discomforting to me. I nudged my mother to talk to him and he glanced at me with his under-the-breath judgement.

The whole ashram was based around Sai Baba and, for some, life ceased to exist after that. Life meant praying to their god and participating in his discourse. You can choose to call it either dedication or obsession. Though this isn’t necessarily bad, this isn’t my choice of a lifestyle.

Everything at the ashram was divided on the basis of gender,  be it the canteen queues, the prayer hall seating arrangement, or the shopping centre timings. While this was done to bring a sense of discipline in the environment, I found myself sitting in  my room, dreading to go outside. Interestingly, the library was not restricted on the basis of gender and I tried finding my solace there. Eventually, I realised all the books are based on praying or religious commandments. Soon it became very monotonous to read how you should live and how you should not.

What I thoroughly enjoyed during my stay at the ashram was the cheap yet tasty food. It was prepared with clean hands. The ratios of spices were just perfect and the fact that I was eating my lunch for less thanINR 30, made me a happy woman. The canteen timings were definitely odd for a person from Delhi. Breakfast from 6:30 a.m. – 8 a.m., lunch at 11:30 a.m., and dinner at 6:30 p.m., were unknown concepts for me.

Some of the most cherished memories I had were when I experienced the Chinese New Year celebration where classical Chinese music and dances were performed. The next day, I sat through a set of plays based on family values and a choir performing upbeat spiritual songs. These moments were truly beautiful. Such extravaganzas made me change my perception towards spirituality, which no longer seemed to be a boring concept.

While throwing myself back into the ‘closet’ brought immense pain to my mental state, so much so that passing each day felt like a huge task, I still took away some sweet memories and learned a lot about myself and the kinds of people around me.


Feature Image Credits: Holidify

Raabiya Tuteja

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Having entered the final year of college life makes me feel old and lazy. Everyday is a new reflection yet the drudgery of the daily chores never seems to leave us, does it? While on one hand, it feels as if life is circling around the same metro stations, the same college canteen hangout spots, the never ending boredom of group projects, but, on the other hand, a constant thought of this time soon coming to an end strikes hard. This time has come as a strong realisation that I have just one more year to make mistakes, without being judged and you know what, one should utilise this time in making as many mistakes as possible. Let me explain you why.

Life will be unfair to you at so many junctures that you might want to give up, but dont. Instead, fall, get bruised by the realities of life and continue playing the game of life. There will be times when youll question your choices, your decisions or even yourself, but thats the beauty of inquisition. The mortal homo sapien never gets satisfied easily, so questioning is normal.

After breaking the cocoon of school life, when a young adult enters college, hopes are high and sky is the limit, but overtime, litmus tests come one after another, some sweet some bitter, but both equally important for the recipe called experience. Make your life notes, take things as they come and never hesitate to fall. If you never fall, how will you ever know if it hurts or not? Gather the courage and tread the road not taken, whether it is taking an important life decision or just a simple day to day function, try the unconventional and put the hesitation aside. Sometimes, the ache of sitting and waiting for things to happen to you is more than the pain caused from falling down, so be wise.

To quote the poem A Thing of Beautyby John Keats, Some shape of beauty moves away the pall, From our dark spirits, that is, there is beauty everywhere but the beauty of the inner soul is supreme, and that removes the pall of all negativity, therefore, strive for it and youll succeed.

I read somewhere, If you are the smartest person in the room, you are in the wrong room, and this statement left an indelible imprint on my mind. All of us are in different rooms on this earth, but our address is never permanent. There is always scope for change and thats what the room of life is all about- the unavoidable phenomenon called change. So let us work at changing our ideological addresses. For it is the fear of falling that makes us run harder, but this time, dont run to win.

Riya Chhibber
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Image Credits: pixhome.blogspot.com

A fever clinic or a dispensary is a government-run project that aims at decreasing the load of bigger hospitals like LNJP, GB PANT, etc., which were flooded with patients due to dengue fever. Most of the patients who are admitted in hospitals need much more attention than others, which is why the dispensary acts as a filter to get the urgent ones treated first. As these clinics got filled up, students from Maulana Azad Medical College were called in to help and their experiences are what we share here. Dengue is not a fatal disease if proper precautions are taken and a timely intervention is done. The story comes to the same conclusion of not letting the mosquitoes breed and preventing any fresh water stagnation. People are expected to use mosquito repellant creams and use mosquito nets, butknowing the experiences of budding doctors in their words is an interesting thing.

By the end of the first day, it had dawned upon us that it was not just the pathology of the patient that required immediate attention. The panic-struck patient had to be reassured and counselled well. This was many-a-time not possible during a patient load of 150-200 per day. We had realised that only a prescription could not treat the patient entirely. Therefore, we sat there, being good listeners and counselors- both to the patient and his attendants. We heard their doubts, history, the problems they faced and mostly how scared they were owing to the panic all around. After telling their tales, the patients walked out feeling more confident and better already- thanks to a strengthened doctor-patient relationship.

We distinctly remember how nervous and excited we were as we entered the dispensary. With butterflies running riot in our stomachs, we knocked on the ‘Doctor’s Room’, a windowless room with a drab beige paint. Patients shuffled in and out of the room. A symphony of aunties lamenting their illness whirred around us. Even after we had settled down, we could feel adrenaline coursing through our vessels.  Muzzled with feelings of ineptitude, with a mere 1.5 month experience of clinics, we started with our work. Honestly, the work load was pretty hectic.  Amongst the patients we dealt with, there seemed to be a profusion of diarrhea, tuberculosis and dengue, of course! As the days went on, we had moments of panic and disorientation, but also satisfaction at our micro achievements such as successfully taking blood from a wriggling and screaming 10 year old.

The moment we used to pass the string of patients seated outside, and ask “kya main aapki kuch madad kar sakta hun?”, their brightened faces would look at us with respect, that we were hitherto unaware of! Ironically, in this age of consumer-provider relationship, we were quite oblivious to the romance and social privilege once given to the doctor!

True, we did miss the comfort of our air conditioned LTs but the generous offerings of CAMPA, bread pakora and CHAI to the “Doctor Saahab” made up for it.

Well post those 7 days something has changed for sure; all that cramming, late night studies as a medical student is worth it, doing the job of your dreams, learning something every day. Indeed, it was surreal, almost like being transported into Dr.House’s shoes but without a script! Although when we first learnt about the week long posting in which we were required to serve at the various dispensaries across Delhi, we were a bit apprehensive and reluctant. But eventually we realised that the worry was all in vain! A day or two later, we were a lot more confident than before. Though the hours were long, and the work too tedious, it all seemed worth it when we were able to rightly counsel the patient, and they heaved a sigh of relief. After all, dengue is just another infectious disease, and not a calamity. Working together, the local community and the medical fraternity can fight the disease and keep it at bay. Once the patients understood the fact that the disease was not utmost fatal, especially if the diagnosis had been done timely. And well, at the end of the day, all we worked hard for was to see a smile on their faces- the very assurance that our efforts, howsoever small and insignificant it may seem to many, have had a profound impact on the patient’s life.

Contributed by students of Maulana Azad Medical College.

Shreyak Mahajan, a final year student of Mechanical and Automation engineering at Maharaja Agrasen Institute of Technology, recently undertook a once in a lifetime expedition to the Antarctic Peninsula as Tetra Pak’s Youth Ambassador. He accompanied Sir Robert Brown, the first person to walk to both the North and the South Pole. DU Beat correspondent Brij Pahwa recently sat down to talk to him about this memorable experience, and what he took away from it.

Brij : Hello, Shreyak! First of all congratulations for your life-changing expedition and for making the country proud.

Shreyak : Thank you! I was overwhelmed by the experience.

Brij : Before we discuss your journey, I would like to ask you how you bagged such an opportunity!

Shreyak : You would have probably heard of the organizations, TERI and Tetra Pak. These two have been working hard to encourage youth leaders and through them, the youth of this country to think about the environmental concerns of our day and age. So they have this youth program known as LEADearthSHIP, wherein they provide fellowships to 24 people all across India. And I got a chance to be one of them!

Brij : How did you get the chance to head towards the Antarctic Peninsula?

Shreyak : Well, the other part of the LEADearthSHIP programme was to select a Youth Ambassador for the year 2014-15 who would then join Sir Robert Swan, for the International Antarctic Expedition. This year, I was selected for the same along with 6 other people from different walks of life.

Brij : And when did this expedition start and what was the goal of the same?

Shreyak : We departed for Antarctica on the 8th of March. The goal behind this expedition was to sensitize students and corporates (who went on the journey) about the environmental concerns and sustainability. This program is known as ‘Leadership on the Edge’ and is managed by Robert Swan’s organisation ‘2041’. The main focus is on enhancing leadership skills, personal development and teamwork. And of course, the emphasis is to motivate us to start local environmental programs when we go back to our own countries.

Brij : Tell us more about your experience in the Antarctic Peninsula.

Shreyak : Everyday was a new and unique experience. And being in such a demanding environment, when you explore the ecosystem and wildlife of the place, go hiking up glaciers, move around in the sea and inland lakes, it is in fact challenging and life-transforming.

Brij: Sounds interesting. And what was your routine in Antarctica like?

Shreyak: We were briefed at the start of each new day. The clothes required, wind conditions, gears required and so on. Sometimes, we went on the Zodiacs (inflatable boats) and moved around the peninsula.

Brij: Any unique experience that you’d like to share?

Shreyak: So, one day we were riding on a Zodiac when a Humpback Whale started encircling our boat and literally snorted on us while doing the same. Well, how many people can say that they have been snorted on by a whale? (laughs) And there was this other unique experience where I saw a Leopard Seal kill a Penguin!

Brij: Any scary moments from the trip? An avalanche, perhaps?

Shreyak: Yes! There were avalanches but not of the level that can be considered dangerous.

Brij: When someone goes on such an adventurous expedition, one also incurs some psychological changes apart from physical. Anything of that sort?

Shreyak: When we were hiking up the glaciers, we became so exhausted that we couldn’t even see what was ahead of us. At that moment, when you can’t see the person in front of you, still you know that your life depends on that person ( everyone is tied by a rope ), you learn something. You learn how people have the capability of affecting you; in this case your life or death.

Brij : That’s quite a thoughtful remark, Shreyak. Now, that we have talked about your expedition and your experience, I’d like to ask you, apart from taking up such global initiatives, what else do you enjoy working on?

Shreyak : Well, before this, I have worked on 2 United Nations programs dedicated to the sector of education namely, UNSCD and UNDDD. Apart from that, I love playing basketball.

Brij : Thank you Shreyak for sharing your life changing experience with us. To wrap up, is there a message you’d like to pass on to our readers?

Shreyak :  Make a commitment towards solving any problem and see it through. If possible empower others by working with them towards your vision allowing them to take it to new heights. I would also recommend that people choose a single relevant project that can impact a local community. Such projects can provide us with global solutions.