Bittersweet College Life

Kritika Kujur just finished her second year at IIT Kharagpur. Now midway through her journey, she’s hoping it “finds its destination, but not its end”. Here she writes about her various experiences and what she expects the rest of her journey to be like. Read on..

Brimming over with life and energy, college days are always cherished by the old and eagerly awaited by the rest. Stepping out of the school innocence, this is generally the time where you come out of your shell, explore yourself and the world around, making numerous decisions and a few mistakes; being crazy and being mature; meeting new people and coming across new ideas, some that will make you, others that may break you; you see yourself strong and you see yourself weak, and amongst all, you see yourself smiling. College life is definitely not the cherry on the cake you were looking for after coming out of the good-old school days, and you’ll definitely wonder as to how the daily boring classes with the compulsory X% attendance, dirty canteen tables with water you’re not really sure of coming from the drinking tap, early mornings with late nights and sleepless days are still good enough to keep this so close to your heart, always fresh in your memories.

Attendance? What attendance?

Four semesters gone with another four to come, exactly midway, here is my part of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of a journey that I hope finds its destination but not an end.

  • College canteens – Clean tables, filtered drinking water, properly washed plates and food that is healthy! If you are in college, you sure must be dreaming. Qualifying to be even worse, but as long as the mess food sucks and there’s no other place that could be less painful for your pocket, college canteens still manage to stand out as the most happening place in the campus with people not really minding to sit there for hours, in spite of the sun [and smoke].
  • Music, Good Food, Energy, Color and Crowd: College Fests – Comes once (or twice) a year, stretching for over a weekend and giving the happiest Monday of the semester and the much needed break from our monotonous life. This is one of the most anticipated time of the year with events and competitions catering to various fields of interest and seeing a participation of students from all the over the country. The campus is never livelier, buzzing with creative energy and even with the mid semester exams round the corner, you simply cannot afford to sit back in your rooms.
  • Roomies you love to hate: They love to keep their clothes on your bed, using and losing your things, keep you waiting outside the locked door with no spare keys and put every possible effort to make you wish you had a bit more patience. With one keeping the lights on till 4 in the morning and the other waking only a couple of hours hence, they’ll leave you with hardly an hour of sound sleep. And just when you’ll get enough reasons to hate them, they’ll come up and save you with notes just before the exam, money when you are running out of cash, surprise birthday cakes for even a belated one and be the sole audience to your pathetic monologue-in-frustration.
  • The morning classes – As long as you have managed to wake up at 7:20 for a 7:30 class, it hardly matters if your hair is in place or you’ve skipped your breakfast. You are definitely not the only one stinking in the room, with a couple or more who don’t even bother to wash their face or change their dress. Anyway, I really don’t know who really cares when all you have to do is sleep again, in this shortest of classes where the students are still entering till the first quarter of the hour and professors are too busy to talk to them in the next.Exams
  • 24*7 before Exams – The busiest time for the Xerox shops, fully packed library halls and the in-demand class toppers, sleepless nights and sleepy (sometimes sleeping) in exam halls, this is the official confrontation of the forever existing cold war between the students and the professors. With something sounding as easy as spelling a bee, they love to trick you with these open book exams and mock at you flipping over pages; you on the other mock at their efforts; setting a much simpler paper wouldn’t have done any good to you either.
  • Mess Food – If it weren’t for the mess food, I probably would have never found swarg in “ghar ka khaana”. It’s commendable how the mess staff has this impeccable talent of making practically everything taste alike. The semester begins with a decent score of 2/3 meals per day in the mess, running to 3 in every 2 days midway through the semester, and by the end of it you are craving to go back home and remind your taste buds of the forgotten definitions of sour, sweet and spicy.
  • Love it or hate it, you simple can’t ignore it: College Politics – Few things are worst done when tried hardest, and ignoring politics is one such thing. Even though I was quiet unaware of it in my first semester, my first acquaintance with it didn’t take long. From each event of the institute to even the money that goes into our society treats, nothing has been spared and to know how practically everything that matters to you is indirectly dependent on who-tried-to-be-in-which-pact, you definitely can’t be ignorant to affairs you otherwise thought had nothing to do with you.
  • Placement Seasons: This “black and white” season is actually more shades of gray. Have had enough of sharing smiles or tears with friends? Try sharing them both together. Not really sure of what hurts more, having to wait for your pie or seeing your friends have theirs [that could have well have been yours]. With celebrations visible all around, there is probably more mourning hidden behind. A time of endurance in the true sense, this is the peak for everything – joy, frustration and politics!3
  • Sitting in this chai ki dukaan, barely able to accommodate 10 heads, I’ve wondered many a times if I’ll ever get a chance the guts to be as carefree as I am today, chit chatting uselessly at 5 in the morning with a class in only a couple of hours. Very often mistaken to be careless, this is what I love the most about my college life. Least bothered about spilling the ketchup as you try to stuff that burger twice the size of your mouth or walking around in pyjamas or even getting backlogs each semester, you’ll simple love being shameless in this place where people actually have better things to do than poking their nose into your matters.

Missing family the night you fell sick and finding a new one in friends, those that made sure you had your food, got you medicines and cared to put out your lights.  When scoring a 7 point with all the notes managed from nowhere starts to give a bigger smile on your face than being a topper back in school ever did. How you love cursing every small thing about your college being totally aware of how you are going to miss every single one of them once they are gone. College life is far from being perfect, but isn’t that the very fact that makes it all the way more special?

Image Credits

http://elaccampusnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/WEB.Cartoon.attendance-600×404.jpg
http://www.beloit.edu/reason/images/366026.jpg

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