If you thought college would be a fresh start after the grind of the school system, you are only partly right.
In spite of all the glamour-doused imagery on celluloid—all thanks to Dharma Productions and Balaji Telefilms—college is NOT all that. In college, you will be made to confront issues and situations that you would have never confronted before. Experiences that you have never been a party to. People you never thought you would meet. And in many ways, this unpredictable nature of college is what gives it the edge. Randomness shapes a routine, gradually. However, this transition can be highly taxing. Change always disrupts our balance, and to deal with such a disruption, we need a constant. This constant comes to us in the guise of narcissism.
A google search of the word ‘narcissism’ delivers rather alarming results: A disorder in which a person has an inflated sense of self-importance. Often, psychologists and writers try to distinguish between self-love and narcissism and declare the former to be a healthier exercise. Although there is no denying the fact that there is a disease called Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), the practice of self-love can sometimes be undermined. In such a case, it becomes important to transcend the subtleties associated with self-love and practice narcissism instead. Self-love can sometimes be deceiving, in that it entails a certain level of responsibility towards others. There is an element of consideration involved. Quite possibly, one might not have the ability to indulge in this exercise at times.
Ovid’s “Narcissus and Echo” is a story wherein Narcissus, a beautiful youth falls in love with his own reflection, rejecting sexuality. Narcissism has been misunderstood to mean self-adulation of physical characteristics. Again, it is about that, but it is much more.
College somehow makes us more vulnerable to tension, because, from the safe space of school competition, it throws you into a world of versatility. You might have been the best at Fine Arts in your school, but the society President at your college is definitely better. This is when narcissism helps. It hauls you out of your insecurities. It gives you self-awareness and boost, that is often found lacking in college societies or academic circles.
The boost of self-importance goes on to define our behaviour. It is good to be self-absorbed for the simple assurance that “yes, you have got this.” Self-love fails us here, because it is considerate, and as previously mentioned, the faculty to be considerate for others might be lacking in personal crises. You need to be there for yourself, sometimes more pressingly than you need to be available for others. There is a lot of joy in giving, but such joy is retained in our potential to be happy in our own first. And given that we are, no doubt, a generation of burnt-out dreamers, which constantly needs validation and assurance, narcissism is the way forward.
College is about giving yourself time, finding your mood and your element, and that invites a lot of mental strain. So be a narcissist and applaud yourself, be a narcissist and claim you are the best until you are indeed the best.
As long as you are not drinking from a cup that has your picture in a victory pose or wearing a similarly styled shirt to college, you are fine. If you have already done these things, well, good luck.
Feature Image Credits: Mail and Guardian