College is a crazy time, a time to learn, figure out ourselves, be on our own, and start to understand life. It is a totally different atmosphere full of energy and radiance. In short, between fresher and farewell, life happens.
I was fortunate enough to leave my home and take a giant leap to a big city for my graduation. It offered me a range of opportunities and ways to explore every side of my personality. Coming from a small city, the exposure offered was quite vivid.
Although scared, I was not alone. Every fresher went through the same rush of emotions. Every weekend, I planned to explore new corners of the city and actively engage in college activities. Brimming with excitement and joy, I was all set to enlarge my social circle and keep pace with the new cultural trends that I encountered.
Along with academics, the college offered numerous opportunities to be the artist I always wanted to be. The world outside college was like a set of windows, with each window offering a different approach to life. Some students sought positions, some knowledge, freedom, and yet others, money.
In this quest, our dreams and potentials were umpteen and unending. But this bubble burst with time. We all got comfortable in our small circles and spaces, which stopped us from exploring the new. Now we were more concerned about making a career and building our resumes, in short, running after the future.
And then, with the blink of an eye, one global pandemic changed everything. After the mid-semester break, I never saw the college gates again. Classes, reunions and exams, all happened online, and unfortunately, I graduated amidst a pandemic.
Left with the wistful memories of my college days, I scroll through the pictures, which leave me teary-eyed with a broad smile and I wish if somehow I knew the future, I might have enjoyed myself more while staying in the present. All our lives, we think about making our future pleasant, missing out on small things in the present.
No doubt, planning is important for life, but there is no harm in being spontaneous at times. At any point in life, one always has two options: to operate from a space of fear or to let the heart guide one’s decisions. And at times, it is necessary to listen to your heart and surrender over everything else.
We often say, “We’ll do this later (Baad mein karte hain),” trying to assess our present situation and avoid breaching the limits of our comfort zones. But today, I would say step out and do things right away. There is no “best time” to do the thing we want to. It becomes what we perceive of it. Let us seize every opportunity coming our way.
I can still study for my career, still work hard to make my job profile, but the college fests, concerts, and trips we cancelled out of fear or some limitations are things I will miss for not doing at that very moment. And now, with a heavy heart, I realise that I’ve missed the deadline to relive those moments again.
College is all about meeting new people, which exposes us to different cultures and teaches us to understand their behaviour. It’s the memories of all the foggy mornings, gossips at the chai/sutta/Maggi adda, tedious afternoon lectures, faces of the grumpy gatekeepers and hilarious hostel life that will stay with us even long after when we’ve climbed the ladders of success.
It’s a life that we get to live only once, so let us live it to the fullest. This unprecedented lockdown created a huge void in our social lives, but instead of sulking around, it’s better to remember the important thing it taught us — to do it right away.