By Ishita Mishra:
My days at school were over and it was time for a big transition in life. College. While I was in school, I had built a picture of an ideal college life in my head which was mostly inspired by the books I’d read and the movies I’d watched. Every bit of my imagination had painted a scenario of a happy and carefree life, but little did I think of the difficulties that I would face before making it to college in the first place.
I researched about all the courses I was interested in and after days of analysing and counselling, it occurred to me that I wanted to do journalism. I informed my parents about my decision and was delighted to know that they respected my choice. As far as the college was concerned, I’d applied to all the colleges offering journalism in my city Calcutta and also to the much acclaimed Delhi University. On the day the cut-off lists for DU came out, I was overjoyed to know that I had made it to Kamala Nehru College (KNC) in Delhi University. This meant that I would have to travel to Delhi for the completion of my admission procedure. Tickets were booked. I headed with my mother to the national capital. The flight seemed like the longest journey I’d ever made. It was full of excitement, anticipation and a subtle fear. I couldn’t stop a million thoughts from creating a labyrinth in my mind. Finally, the never-ending journey came to an end and we reached Delhi.
The view outside the cab made me realise that studying at Kamala Nehru College meant moving out of home. It is something that I had never thought about much. It meant leaving Calcutta and the thought hit me hard when I saw Arvind Kejriwal and not Mamata Banerjee smiling from a poster put on the back of a bus. Before I could organise my wandering thoughts, we had reached. Big bold letters in black read ‘Kamala Nehru College’ at the top of the gate. The guard welcomed us with a smile as he directed us to the front porch, where the admissions help desk was located.
As I moved towards the admissions desk, I was both afraid and curious. I was greeted with a smile and asked about the course I wanted to take. The girl at the desk seemed to understand all my fears and nervousness. She helped me out with a few formalities that were to be done before I was sent to a room for the admission procedure. Two women greeted me there and introduced themselves as professors of journalism. They asked me about my parents, my relatives in Delhi and my reasons for choosing the subject. The kind and amiable tone in which they spoke drained all the anxiety in me. When everything was complete, they congratulated me on becoming a part of the KNC family. As I moved outside the room, my happiness knew no bounds and the excitement to begin college had multiplied.
The feeling of beginning college in DU had not even sunk in when my mother reminded me that there was a ‘paying guest’ (PG) accommodation to be searched for as the college did not have a hostel. After weighing the pros and cons of the numerous PGs we visited, we finally booked one and we returned to Kolkata on the very same day. With uncontrollable emotions of excitement and curiosity, I then started packing all my belongings as I had to leave in less than ten days. The thrill and restlessness continued until finally the day to bid adieu to home and Calcutta came. I was given almost a million instructions regarding my safety. My father advised me to handle my money with care, while my mother told me to eat healthy food. Relatives called up and shared whatever little they knew about Delhi. At one point, I felt like I was leaving for the moon! I was sad about leaving the comfort of my home and the care of my family, but the excitement to begin college soon overpowered it all. After I had wiped my mother’s tears at the airport and promised my family to take care of myself, I bid them goodbye and boarded the flight.
When I reached Delhi, I went to the PG I had booked for myself and was welcomed by the owners. I was introduced to my roommates who were all from different parts of India. We spoke to each other and in no time we got along really well. None of us could handle the enthusiasm for the next day, which was going to be our first day in college. The next morning, I stepped into college and was astounded to see it superbly decorated. A few girls, who looked like seniors, directed me to the auditorium where the orientation for the first year students was to take place. A huge banner outside the auditorium read ‘Welcome to KNC’. The auditorium left me dumbstruck. It was huge and exquisite. I took a seat and waited for what turned out to be a warm welcome. The college principal spoke to us. She told us about the college, its rules and facilities. Teacher-in-charge of every department introduced themselves and provided us with information about the department’s functioning. After the formal orientation, the various college societies performed for the freshers. I was amazed at the brilliant cultural performances and each performance made me want to join every society! We were then instructed to go into our respective departments where I met my teachers, classmates and department seniors. We all introduced ourselves and everyone seemed wonderful. The seniors were very interactive and told us to never hesitate in asking for help. With all of this, the first day of college ended on an extremely happy note.
During the first few weeks, when there wasn’t any scheduled lecture, I’d explore college with the friends I’d made. Every place was marked with a board and that made it easy for us to see around the college. The library was the most enriching place in the entire college-numerous shelves packed with books and spread over three floors. It felt like a dream come true. The college also had an amphitheatre where the street play society would perform and practise. We came to know that the college had a fully-equipped gym and a small, cosy common room. Everything we saw or heard of, got us excited. Every society seemed to be so good that the freshers were in a dilemma over which society to join. While some of my friends went in for the performing societies, I chose to join the creative writing, photography and film society.
Soon enough, the college had become a familiar place. Yet, it never failed to surprise us with something new each day. The lectures never seemed boring and every day I went on to fall in love with journalism. Going to college, attending lectures, working for the societies and enjoying with friends in the college canteen became routine. The amount of love and care received from people in college never made me feel homesick. KNC has taught me innumerable lessons – it made me grow so much in my first year than I could have ever imagined. Everything from college fests to semester exams has made me more creative, as well as instilled more confidence in me. It has given me abundant opportunities to learn and gain maturity; living in a new city would have been unimaginably difficult if the warmth, help and love of people at KNC had been missing. It has become such an integral part of my life that during the semester holidays, I was craving to go back.