By Bipasha Nath:
I suppose nothing really prepares you for the rush of emotions on the day of your last exam, which is also the last official day of college. The farewell celebrations, casual conversations with friends about spending more time in campus or even the admission pressure for Masters does not do what this day does. They all fail to shake you out of your comfort zone – where college life is still to be enjoyed at peace, where more acquaintances are to be made, more events to be participated in, and many more lectures to sit through. A sense of denial surrounds you for a whole year – the whole of final year – and only on the last day, do you actually feel the weight of having to end the ‘college’ chapter.
Fast forwarding time by ten months, I see myself looking back on the three years I spent in Ramjas College, Delhi University with a heavy heart. I may have an entire academic year to enjoy my college life, but having already said goodbye to the seniors one would probably only interact with over social media now, the excitement of being in the senior-most batch of college disappears almost entirely.
Some complain about their college life, saying they could have done much more, or chosen a different field and excelled there – but that does not negate what one experiences in college. I would say the same about myself. Two whole years after studying in Ramjas College, I see what school teachers meant when they said these three years would be the first block of our foundation structure, and how we must all make the most out of it. From classroom debates, discussions and course-related reading, to actually enjoying the afternoon winter breeze with friends and canteen food – Ramjas has made everything much more memorable than I could have hoped for. It is true that the first year somehow goes with hardly any concern about having to sail through the last day in college, and that things are really taken for granted. For me, come September, and the feeling of having only one semester left sank in; but only partially, for the sense of denial still persisted.
The college recently started a year-long celebration for its hundredth anniversary and it only makes final year more difficult to meet head-on. After all, who wants to feel like a senior when all these celebrations are in full swing? Who wants to walk down the canopied path which links the entry gates to our canteen area, with the knowledge of being able to do so just for a few more months? Who feels comfortable with the idea of wishing guard bhaiya in the morning while patting the pocket which has the college ID card in it, and knowing it would soon be time to store it at the very end of the table drawer? ? I doubt many jump excitedly when confronted with such thoughts. But with these, come memories that are surprisingly heart-warming, too. Time spent in college grounds is time well-utilised. Be it sitting in the sutta lane, doing what you like and engaging in conversations with friends, or sitting back and reveling in the progress that has taken place structurally – they all add to the charm this century-old college has.
Out of lecture rooms and in the open, green spaces between different blocks, it is always exciting to watch people practice harder to inch closer to getting the college’s name on the top spot for both theatre and dance. You will also find artists painting graffiti on the walls near our basketball court – or giving touch-ups to the beautifully placed mosaics en route to the canteen area. The college seems to be ageing with grace, and the freedom young enthusiasts have here plays a major role in showcasing their talent in a somewhat permanent manner.
Sitting in the open corridor with a book in hand, or turning the music on high to tune out everything except for the view, is my idea of enjoying some ‘alone’ time. College may be the phase where casual acquaintances blossom into friendships, but but the time that literally flies during the three years needs to be captured and slowed down. And how best to do it but to explore the college, understand all that it has offered for years, and imagine it 20 years down the line.
I also know for a fact that leaving college would not necessarily mean having to say final goodbyes to professors, for they have been nothing short of inspirational figures, with a degree of playfulness, which surfaces at the best possible moments. Because of them, college life has turned out to be such an eye-opener and is yet so relaxing that school days appear to be highly regimental in comparison. One feels at ease while conversing with them – having academic debates, enjoying their ‘non-college’ avatar on college trips, and striking up a good relationship almost immediately after the first official college day. Ramjas would not be the without its professors.
Seeing how Ramjas shaped me as an individual, ending the Ramjas episode would be difficult. The now-empty-now-overcrowded red corridors would be more than a memory; the little puppies whose numbers keep growing on a half-yearly basis would be loved and petted even after college days get over; professors would remain life-long mentors.The college would not be complete without its departments and a good department makes up a good college. Needless to say, both turned out to be excellent, and what more could a student really wish for?