What’s more difficult than having to say goodbye to your friends, professors, college lawns, your college canteen, and the city you called “home”? It’s figuring out what to do next. What’s the next stop in this journey for which you neither have an itinerary nor a guide to help you schedule your breakdowns?
It’s 7 pm on a Saturday, you’ve completed all your work and the city lights are more beautiful than ever. You get a text from your friend about a party happening merely two blocks away. You have a faint smile on your face, but somehow your eyes don’t glimmer at the text the way they would have 2 weeks ago. It’s not that you don’t want to go, it’s your heart’s faint protest that is almost 3 days too early. Why, you ask? It’s your graduation ceremony on Monday. Three years of crying for this degree (and with it) have finally ended. But what’s this queasy feeling inside of you? Instead of being happy, you wrestle with this scintilla of bitterness in your chest.
Delhi University, home to thousands of young students, some who grew up here, and others who chose to be here. The ones who did choose also made the choice of leaving their homes behind. The life they’d grown to love, and the life that they now cherish only in memories. Nonetheless, once the city of Delhi – the “Dilwalon ki Dilli” – casts its spell on you, your definition of home begins to expand. You begin to grow a life here, and perhaps, start loving it a bit too. Your friends become your family, your professors become parents.
And yes, soon enough, the career dilemma, the imposter syndrome, and a pile of assignments creep in, and you also finally learn what it means to be truly overwhelmed. The friends that have now become your family also sometimes become a shoulder to cry on when you can’t bear the concept of college any longer. Between the fun, frolic, and a lil bit of crying, acceptance becomes your natural response. And the moment you finally, completely, truly come to terms with this acceptance…snap! Three years are over.
What follows is the same bitterness, the same anxiety that smuggled its way into your head three years ago when you chose to leave your first home. Except now, you also need to find a job, earn money, and figure out what to do next, all on your own. Acceptance gets replaced with denial (or finally finds its way back to it), and the only “acceptance” you can tolerate are university, internship, and offer letters. No one said it was going to be easy, but between watching yourself stress over college assignments to now stressing over month-end because the paycheck isn’t in yet? Adulting becomes the cold hard reality.
More than anxiety it’s the pressure of trying to know which city I’m going to go to next. Even if you miss home, you tend to familiarize yourself with the new idea of home and what you’ve found, i.e pretty much wherever you stay has to become your home for a particular amount of time. The home conundrum for me is missing my home, the one I grew up in, constantly and always wanting to go back, but also the feeling of sadness that comes when I realize I will have to leave my current residence in a few days, and then also wanting to stay back a few more days here.” – Debarati Mitra, a 3rd-year student at Maitreyi College and a beloved ex-DUB correspondent
So yeah, the nostalgia learns to balance itself out with the anticipation of tomorrow. Adulting is no longer a Gen-Z slang but something real you get to deal with. As the class of 2023 graduates, and combs into the tousled mess of being an adult, there is, but one takeaway: patience. Be patient, work hard, take care, be madly in love with yourself, and let life piece itself together as you find its various jumbled pieces along the way.
Featured Image Credits: DU Beat Archives/ Sukriti
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