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The College Survival Guide: 7 Tips To Have The Best Time in College

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By Ruchika Joshi:

For everyone I know, the first year at college is a whirlwind of new people, new surroundings and new possibilities. After all those years of living in a regulated environment — thanks to school and parents, we’re suddenly propelled into this unfamiliar situation where we’re responsible for our decisions, we choose what takes up our time and we set our own priorities. Slightly scary, isn’t it?

Fret not, for here are a few things to keep in my mind so you can make the best of your college years. After all, isn’t this we’ve been waiting for all along?

  • Meet New People!

As you traverse through the corridors and holler at new faces, your dorm-mates, classmates and the society folks, don’t let it end at the names and hometowns. Get to really know these new friends and strangers on a deeper level. Ask questions, share interests and explore. Everyone has a story to tell, and meeting new people helps us understand our own selves better.

  • Have New Experiences!

College is a lot about societies, fests and co-curricular activities. So what if you’ve never acted in your entire life or have never tried debating before? Seize this time to attend orientations and auditions. You’ll never know what you’re capable of until to actually go out there, take a stand for yourself and explore who you really are. Just because you’ve never done it before, doesn’t mean you can’t do it now.

  • Find Your Ideal Study Method!

There’s always something going on, and sometimes studies take a backseat in college. Before you know it, the exams are already here! Academics are equally important but that doesn’t mean you have spent every living minute buried within the books. We all learn in different ways, and we all have different methods that work best for us. The point is to really think about what kind of learner you are and then use that to maximize your study output. Be regular with your assignments and try to grasp the lectures in class itself. That saves a lot of time, and keeps you updated with your studies.

  • Take Care Of Your Health!

Health takes a backseat for a lot of freshers. Don’t let that happen to you. Eat healthy meals at regular intervals, get those much needed hours of sleep and make some time for exercise everyday. If exercising isn’t your thing, get involved in a dance class or pick up a sport. One important tip I learnt was to always keep healthy snacks in my bag, be it a fruit or a granola bar. That way, I can snack healthy and reduce my intake of junk food. Health is primary. College life won’t be fun if you’re always exhausted or sick.

  • Use A Planner!

College can get busy. There’s so much to do, so many people to meet, so many places to go and so much to learn. You don’t want to miss out on anything and that’s where a planner comes in handy. List down everything you need to do, prioritize and get down to it. That way you’ll never forget anything and will even be left with time to spare.

  • Be Yourself!

Amidst so much newness, it’s hard to maintain individuality. There will be days when you’ll question who you are, what you’re doing and what you really want. To face those days, you’ll need your individuality to keep you strong. So stand by your principles, explore your possibilities and be courageous enough to make decisions for yourself! If it helps, have a signature something, be it clothing, music or opinion.

  • Always Keep Looking Forward!

Things happen, sometimes good and sometimes terrible. They just happen and you have to go through them. But it’s important to let go of what’s over and to look forward to what life has in store for you. Never lose that childish enthusiasm that paints your life. It’s a beautiful world out there just for you.

So Happy College Life, everyone!

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  1. Umang rao

    I agree with the points mentioned above, but one thing I would like to add is that college life has become synonymous with ragging these days.
    Ragging is a menace that needs to be stopped now!
    Busaurnahin is one such campaign that has taken a step towards tackling the issue of students being unduly ragged in colleges. You could also play a part in this endeavor by joining in at http://www.facebook.com/busaurnahin2010, http://twitter.com/busaurnahin and raising your voice against this social hazard.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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