Have you ever been to a roller coaster ride?
The feeling is exhilarating. Scary yet amazing. Before the ride,all you want is to push through the crowd and go grab a seat in one of the carts. But when it’s your turn, you glance back at your friends, waiting for some sign of reassurance. The aftermath of the ride never matters. After it’s over, you never even take a second look at it, you’re off to experience something new. It’s the time during the ride, when you gain experience. That is how i felt on the first day of college.
At school, you are surrounded by familiar faces. You grow up with them, you share your woes with them, you know everything about each other, merits and demerits, past trauma, family issues, happy moments, whatever it may be. You never realize the value of being with such precious friends. Once when it’s over, it hits you like dagger. Everybody is up with new innovative facebook statuses, expressing their surprise over the flight of time, their deep regret over how much they would miss their friends and even foes. But it is not until you enter college when you actually yearn for your school-hood.
I still remember the day i entered my college with my parents, carrying a ton of luggage’s, trying to find the way to my hostel with repeated failure. Finally after quite a long maze-play, we located it. There was a buzz present, with students and parents bustling everywhere, shifting bags and whatnots. Thankfully i got my room in ground floor. Carrying the hefty bag’s up the flight of stairs din’t seem like a perfect starting of the day to me. To be honest, i was a bit appalled at the plight of the room. It was pretty small, with three metal cots, three cupboards, old yet cleaned fans and tube lights, two tables and two metal chairs. I wasn’t expecting a polished room with plush beds and air conditioners, but certainly not this. Nonetheless, being a neat-freak, i started arranging my stuff in my cupboard. After an hour’s work, finally i was almost settled in my new home and got introduced to my 2 roommates.
Organizing can build up a large appetite in you, trust me. So we went to a canteen inside campus and had some tasteless food, at that time it seemed delicious though. Finally it was time for my parents to depart. As anyone would expect, my eyes welled up with tears which i suppressed for their sake. All these years, i had enjoyed the comfort of home that the thought of living independently suddenly seemed daunting and ominous. But along with me, 900 other kids are doing it. So there was really no question of me lamenting. Just have to deal with it.
First day was filled with people shuffling around in groups, introducing themselves to each other with a plastered smile on their face, trying to gain and at the same time extend as much comfort as they can with one another. I too ended up talking with a whole bunch of girls, trying to remember their names and departments. Finally after all the ‘hi’s’ and ‘hello’s’ came to an end, night veiled upon us. I still remember the fear and sadness which engulfed me as i lied down in my un-homely and questionably thick mattress. I drifted into a disturbed sleep thinking of all my school pals and the best moments shared with them.
Things went downhill in the first two months, with my yearning for school progressively increasing every day. Our college hosted an orientation program which spanned over an entire month. We were made to wake up at 6 for yoga practices, and other unlikable stuff such as department visits, motivational speeches, lectures, etc. I seldom attended them, especially the yoga practice, consequences of being a nocturnal kid since childhood. I felt like i had wasted that one month, following a hopeless routine everyday, which now i wish could have used in so many fruitful ways.
Slowly things picked up as time healed my sorrows and friends started forming. Within the end of first semester, i knew that the current curriculum has been thrown into gutter and is transforming students into cramming-machines, slowly stripping away their practical knowledge and the curiosity to experiment.
Physics was a subject that was numinous to me. And the reason for this was my physics IIT coaching teacher, Mr.Ravi Shankar. Every week, the 6 hours that i would spend listening to him teach and explain physics was incentive of my ambition. He never closes a topic with just plain and monotonous theory. He transgresses everything to a new practical level, demonstrating each and every phenomena, which leaves us all spell-bound, awe-struck and wanting more. After witnessing such legends, the teaching in college disappointed me a lot. Yet not being in a position to alter the system, i kept quiet and read for the sake of my parents, and scored a good CGPA.
The winter holidays went within the blink of an eye, a mere one month. I always had an immense flair for Badminton. I regret not pursuing it further during my childhood. But chanting the ‘its never too late’ mantra, i joined a coaching centre and was stumped at myself by how much i was able to improve within a month. Along with this, I also started pursuing my other interests such as playing keyboard and writing articles. Hence that was one month worth relishing.
Second sem felt much more homely. By the time we returned to college, we were familiar with the place and people. Yet even in the second semester, your friends circle will change a lot. I believe it is only at the end of the first year that you finally form a circle of trustworthy people, travelling with you through thick and thin, or i feel so now.
We had so many cultural events and our college technical fest fell in the month of march, that the book of second sem, unlike first, was skimmed through, but thoroughly. One thing to be happy and even be blessed about being in NITT is that, there are dozens of clubs, for anything to everything. You name it and there it is. Ranging from robotics to dance to music to astronomy to to 3-D modelling to management to even something as inconspicuous yet important as ‘freethought’. Clubs are the only way you could achieve something and be satisfied with it. Scoring a 9.5 CGPA might make you and especially your parents happy, but i bet you can’t feel contended, because even after scoring such a high grade you’ll feel like you retained so little.
Even if i ramble on and on about the happenings of first year of college life, you won’t be in the same wavelength as me unless you experience it. Now a year has gone by. From an educational point of view, I’m ashamed at how little i’ve learnt over this year. But from a mental point of view, I couldn’t have asked for more. There were so many ups and downs, more of the latter. So many disappointments. Numerous let-downs. Plenty of woes. And of course never-ending fun.
To trace back to the first line of this article, the entire year was a roller coaster ride for me. Something that i’ve waited for a long time in my life, something that seemed scary when it was about to happen, something that taught me numerous lessons, something which has had a deep impact and something at which i’ll never look back again. A quintessential year of experiences.
The destination is what you always want to reach in your life, but that’s not the best moment of your life, unlike what most people say so. The best moments are experienced without your own knowledge during the journey. Finally when it’s over, just make sure you tried hard enough to leave footprints, not on your path, but on others.