“Colleges are places where pebbles are polished, and diamonds are dimmed.”
“You’re going to meet a lot of exciting people in college, and it gives you a lot of exposure and a bag full of different experiences” nervous first-year students usually hear this before entering their dream college. After 12 years of anxious waiting, college is a new beginning in every student’s life. This experience is coming after the much-disciplined life of the schools. It gives us a sense of duty as well as of independence. Every student waits to enter college and to be called as a fresher.
After a lot of hustle-bustle, wait, lengthy formalities and sincere hard efforts, a student manages to be accepted to the college of their dreams. They have a feeling of nervousness, pleasure, and elicitation at the same time. That odd feeling we all go through but can’t describe it exactly.
College life can be a dramatic transition for a few. From staying in a hostel in a new city to travelling alone; college life could mean both independence and responsibility. It does bring a host of opportunities. Fests, mates and student elections are only to name a few. It’s possible to get frustrated in such a competitive environment. Freshers usually find it challenging to maintain a balance between academics and extracurricular activities. Often the pressure to maintain a steady attendance combined with peer pressure to excel in all aspects can also be exhausting.
And the only source of consolation in those times is advice from a final year student, who walked the same path and is now well aware of the rocky side of things. They can be resourceful and protective multiple times in your college life, and one can rely on them for advice or to hack a last-minute exam preparation.
So, the best advice that a final year student can offer to a fresher is ‘To live it while you can.’
If one wants to make the most of college life, it’s essential to be a little carefree. Take chances, bunk courses, break the rules, get caught, but make sure the repercussions are something one can live with. Live it while you can, because you’ll regret it until it’s done—a lot of it.
“Learning” and “having good grades” are not inherently synonyms. Learning will happen as well outside the lecture hall as inside. Of course, classes are the reason we’re going to college and, to some degree, they need to come first.
Secondly, Learn from the exploration.
Be open to the vast amount of new possibilities that you have at your disposal. This is a unique form of learning that inspires a love for the world around you. Engaging in the dynamic world around you is going to build the richest of college experiences. In the same way, discover yourself and your desires. You’re going to have more spare time than you used to. Get involved with something. Ideally, get involved in a lot of things. Follow what you’ve been attracted to. Try stuff that you’re not sure you’re going to like. Try something that frightens you. You don’t have to stick with anything, but find something that makes you happy, challenges you, or helps you meet a new group of people.
Like studying, exploration comes in many directions, but it begins with being accessible to the world and the people around you. It also includes being conscious of your comfort zone and breaking right through these unseen barriers.
Lesson three is about finding equilibrium.
The most critical thing is to find a balance between playing and working, learn to prioritise. Life is too short (and college is undoubtedly too short) to make time for individuals or things that do not fit well with your life. The last key piece of advice is to log your college time. Take images, take a number of photographs. Write about it, blog about it, take Polaroids or images, but find a way to catch some of the memories you are making that works for you.
And, at last, soak it all up, the good and the bad, every day. Learn from errors. Don’t linger on them. Learn to ask for assistance. When you need to, make apologies. Your parents call. For yourself and others, be frank. Take life not too seriously. Find opportunities out. More often than you say no, say yes to stuff, but know when to say no and say it firmly.
One day, you’ll be happy you did it!