A Babe in the Woods: The Musings of a Freshman
"Life begins at the end of your comfort zone." - Neale Donald Walsch
I cannot stress enough how relevant these words are to my current situation.
So, I came to college on the first day thinking, “Holy crap! College! This is going to be so fun! Finally, nobody to tell me what to do!”
The problem is, there is nobody to tell you what to do. You’re thrusted all of a sudden into an environment where you have to make your own decisions and manage your own life in every aspect- all by yourself. You might have had some independence at home- but nothing on a scale like college.
I spent the first week of college like anyone else- trying to sort out the mess that is my room, getting to know my wingmates, desperately waiting for internet passwords, trying to decide if the mess food is good or not, ‘introducing’ yourself to your seniors- and most of all, realising that adult responsibilities have just hit you in the face at top speed.
Even Bear Grylls would’ve had trouble surviving the first week of college. There’s just so much that’s new to you, so much you’ve taken for granted- and only now you realise that you’re finally an adult and you have to get stuff done on your own. Staying in a hostel will make you appreciate the simple things in life.
Really now, I never expected to appreciate the simple pleasure of using your own toilet, as opposed to the hostel shared ones. This profound revelation came to me when I went home for the weekend. It never really hit me that I’d be doing my own laundry- I spent the whole morning of the first Sunday staring at a bucket with clothes, soap and a brush in hand, having absolutely no idea what the hell I’m supposed to be doing. I never expected I’d be sweeping my own room- I kept praying everyday (in vain) for the laundryman and the cleaner to turn up- until I finally decided to take things into my own hands.
Another thing I realised that I really need to start doing is organizing myself. It’s easy (in theory, at least.) using reminders and alarms….. that is, until, you’re completely inundated by the sheer amount of them and you feel hopelessly lost. Trust me, we all will probably be there at some point.
For the very first time in your life, you’ll be managing your own accounts. Those who don’t do so may wake up one fine day to be greeted by an empty wallet. Cue rushing to the ATM to hastily withdraw more money (or calls to your parents trying to explain how you’ve managed to burn away your money so quickly.)
And most of all, finding a balance in between CGPA, social life, and co/extra-curricular activities. Achieving that golden balance isn’t easy at all. In the first few weeks of college, freshmen are subjected to a variety of slideshows and presentations about departments and clubs, each of them as enticing as the last. Deciding which to join, how many to join, or even remembering the names of every club/department and what they do can be slightly befuddling. Even more so when there are multiple clashes in between induction dates, and you’re forced to cherry-pick.
However, college isn’t only the stress fest I’ve made it appear to be. College is where you can find your true potential, discover new interests, and forge long-lasting relationships. Especially if you’ve been locked up in all those engineering entrance prep centres (I feel your pain too, brothers and sisters) college might feel a tad bit intimidating- but also quite liberating, when you discover aspects of yourself which you never knew were there- and also just have some pure, mindless fun.
College is also the time of your life when you realise that grades aren’t everything. Leadership skills, Technical skills…. The list goes on and on. College can be a very enriching experience, where you develop as a person in various ways. You might discover you’ve had a flair for writing all along. You might be an ace at tennis. You might be a leet hacker, breaking through Cyberoam (and not getting caught!) You might have the moves like Jagger and make hearts swoon as you groove away on the floor, or enchant people with your voice. College can transform even the most hardcore nerds into multifaceted people.
We’ve been handed such a wonderful and amazing opportunity- and as you’ve probably heard a hundred times by now- it is up to us to make the most of it.
It’s been just 3 weeks, and I can already feel it- life just got real, man. After all, you know it’s college when you get to pick your teachers and build your own timetable (and even get away with sleeping in class.)
Here’s to future’s late nights of coffee-and-noodles-fuelled coding and studying.
I am EricLightscythe, and these were my deep, philosophical ruminations on my first week of college.
Good luck, y’all. We’ll need it.
(I wrote this article as an entry for the inductions into the College's recently-started monthly newsletter. I think it's meh, but feel free to drop in a review. Of course, I did tweak it a little bit before copy-pasta.)