Enthralling and terrifying, often at the same time, with a robust momentum: that was first year of college for me.
In some ways, it barely touched me on account of its incomprehensibility and unpredictability, and yet in other ways, I was introduced to a new culture, nurtured with the passion of youth, reliant and contingent on how I could fashion and tailor myself intellectually, like a deflowering of the mind that had slept too long unencumbered, untroubled.
I could imagine myself and who I wanted to be and it was exhilarating, but the undertone of fear always accompanied and diminished me, uncertain if I had the courage and drive to persevere, be authentic or present the imagined self to the world. It was easy to introspect and critique within the personal realm, I was familiar with the morality attached to it but the world, its politics and temperament was dynamic and massive, the mind boggled at the slightest cognition of its ways.
I decided to study History because I had no real sense of the grand scheme on which the world operated. Everything seemed random and unfair, the expediency of living bothered me and sometimes, even drove me mad. Two years of studying commerce had only aggravated the feeling. So, when I became an Arts student, I was without wisdom or any real comprehension, but I was excited and starved.
As time passed, though, it was clear that the discipline required more from me. I was always caught in the age-old dilemma: whether to follow my unguided instincts for the sake of pleasure and ease or to press myself to engage, read and work hard. The bullet train that college is, I let everything happen to me. I became a spectator. When really, the first lesson I should have tutored myself on was courage.
In retrospect, it was disillusioning to witness from the periphery. It generated an inferiority complex and I became conscious and uncertain of myself.
I am willing to believe that the grandiose of intellectual engagement is a mirage produced by the insecurity and lack of belief in ourselves and I solemnly hope that when you enter college, you marvel at it without letting it press on you with fear. Feeling intimidated at the threshold of a new world is natural but don’t let it dictate or impede your engagement. Nobody really knows what they’re doing or talking about, a senior at college once told me. Learn to be playful and invite the spirit of jest, another friend said. Everything begins to fit if you just don’t let it pass you by. Don’t let discomfort deter you, navigate and have fun.
Invoking an Instagram poet seems apt, she said, “There is freedom waiting for you on the breezes of the sky and you ask, ‘what if I fall?’ Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?”