It’s almost unfair that decades of our life must be left behind at once. But transitions don’t announce their gravity. They just pull. If you have ever felt a sinking feeling while stepping into the new building they expect you to call home, then read ahead.
A year ago, at this very time, we weren’t doing the things we are doing right now. A year ago, all of us- the college freshers, were struggling to keep a routine and a life between our school assignments, tests, and extracurricular activities while maintaining a steady relationship with our textbooks. Personally, I remember wanting my last year at school to end quickly. I remember wishing for a miracle to bring the last exam closer. I remember praying for the end so that a new beginning could fall into place.
Yet when it came to walking out the exam hall, wearing the uniform for the last time, it hit me- this is the last time I’m in the same boat as these people who spent six hours a day for a long while with me. It hit me, however glorified, endings are meant to close a part of your life but they seldom close your heart to it. When you enter a new place for the first time, the fear grips- what if you feel new even while leaving the place? The transition is hard on our hearts and minds because we are afraid of never reaching anywhere.
Anura Pareek, a 1st-year student of BA Programme at Lady Shri Ram College, shared the same haunting realisation, “Months leading up to July were spent daydreaming about life at Delhi. Now that I am finally here, there are moments when I want to pack my bags and run back to Ajmer. Leaving family and friends behind is easier said than done. Life at college is so different from school, and not in a good way either. Everyone seems to be so talented, it’s quite intimidating. But I am hoping, soon I’ll find my niche, my safe haven at college.”
This isn’t to say that beginnings are only waving a giant flag of doom or dullness. After being in a system of constant oppression that has taught us to obey unquestionably, a sense of liberation also arrives with a warm cup of tea in college.
Dev Chopra, a 1st-year student at Keshav Mahavidyalaya, opened up with an experience of his own, “I was hanging out with some of my ‘new’ friends in the garden of the college. We were clicking pictures and playing music softly. Whenever somebody passed by- a senior or a teacher, it was an instinct for me to lower the volume significantly. I later realised that this isn’t school. People here don’t seem to be bothered with stuff like this. School has made us so cautious that I still have the fear of ‘getting caught’ doing stuff that doesn’t fit into ‘discipline’.”
Transitions allow us to change, but change is not a really happy process. Everybody wants to be evolved and successful, whatever their parameters of success may be, and yet it is fundamentally difficult to embrace change with open arms. Those who say they didn’t struggle while changing, and it happened in the blink of an eye, they lie.
Shubhit Gaur, a 1st-year student at Symbiosis Law School in Pune, believes that changes hit the hardest in the smallest moments of our day. He says, “You wake up in your bed and there’s nobody to hand you a glass of warm milk. You fetch it for yourself. On some days, I don’t feel like doing it because nobody would know or care that much here. If you’re sick, you’re on your own. After 10 hours at college, you come back to a room which is just the way you left it. You’ve nobody to come home to and then you feel alone. But you also feel stronger when you live through those moments.”
Many others find it hard to connect with people they’ve never known. As kids, it is easy to laugh with somebody, share pencils, fight over tiffin-boxes, and you may get a friend for life. As adults, we all get our guards up and find it hard to trust people. Out of need and loneliness, we may spend time with these new people from our new world. Comparisons between the friends from school and these new ones make things no better. This transition becomes a lesson in acceptance.
We understand the gravity of our privileges when we hear of a Kashmiri girl’s struggles, where she had to fight and resist and thrive harder, just to be walking down the same corridors as us. On some days, it’s important to understand that the thing about things is- they end. This end may hurt or may be the brightest spot in your world. It’s there, nonetheless. On most days, getting out of bed and warming milk for yourself is all the strength you need to believe that this transition would find its home in you, somewhere, somehow.
Feature Image Credits: Favim