Man is a social animal and because of this, individuals cannot survive anywhere in this world alone. All my life, I have been blessed to have people around me: people from different backgrounds and different states. These people surrounding me either knew me or knew of me. I had my comfort in most crowds.
While I was comfortable in crowds; at the same time, my story was different in school. Up until 7th standard, it was hard for me to fit in. One could say I was cocooned in my shell because, in all my other social groups people knew me, so they came up and spoke to me.
But, in school one had to make their mark to be known – either be excellent at academics, or play a sport really well, or just stand out in some way. It was only in the 8th standard that I moved out of my comfort zone and finally managed to not only fit in but make a good bunch of friends.
From the 8th to the 12th, I cemented some solid friendships. But, most of those friendships lasted only in that phase. We all moved on and found our own niches and got busier with life. Those promises that we made of ‘keeping in touch’ never lasted. This definitely made me very cynical about friendships.
Before I entered the college I am studying in now, I had my share of disappointments. Not just friendships, but even pursuing the struggle of finding a good college. My entrance exam did not go well and that led to me not getting into any prestigious National Law Universities (NLUs). Due to certain mistakes on my part and due to our poor education system and it’s cut-offs, I didn’t get admission into the colleges in Pune, my hometown. These rejections and disappointments hadn’t left me with many options, and I landed up in my present college. I entered with this bag of disappointment with myself, because of my previous results.
As educational rhetoric goes in India, I was disappointed with my college. But, that can make for another anecdote altogether. Though I was battling with the academic mediocrity in my college and trying to make my peace with it, there was something else that was bothering me and that I had to constantly work on: social interactions with people around me.
For most of us, college is a place where for the first time we taste freedom. Not just freedom, but college is also a place where we hope to make and build lifelong friendships.
But, for me my cynicism came with its share of insecurities and didn’t allow me to build any friendships. I thought I could survive alone and for quite a while, that was possible. But at some point, I realised that no matter how cynical I am, I just cannot do it alone.
I realised, this meant that I had to make more efforts in my friendships. This meant I had to accept people as they are, even if they didn’t fit into that box I created for them in my head. I learnt that not everyone was going to be principled and true in their relationships as I may be, and this is something I’d just have to accept. This was very hard for me and is something I am still working on.
First year was more about coming out of my shell and making compromises while accepting other people. In this process, I’ve lost some friendships and made new ones too, all while keeping in mind to not make the same mistakes as before.
I also learnt a great deal about working with my peers. While working for events and competitions together, a lot of the time, our personal life gets mixed with our work life. Trying to maintain a steady balance between the two is a hard thing. That balance between work and personal life is something I learnt in college and these relationships continue to evolve.
Understanding friendships and maintaining those relations can definitely make it easier to go through the roller-coaster that college is. From being in a place where I had decided to sustain on my own, to learning to trust and depend on the people around me – I have come a long way. And I can say with content that my college survival kit are the people around me.