A place of Growth and Experience

A place of Growth and Experience

Getting enrolled in a university and continuing my higher education was the biggest dream I had when I was schooling, mainly because of external motivation: the norm that you can’t get a proper status in society without a university education. However, as I grew, I became aware of the significance of getting into a university, and mostly a state university, specifically after discovering the subject area in which I excelled. I should say that it was during my time in the AL class that I found my talent and had a greater enthusiasm for my studies. Before that, I was just a hopeless girl who did her education because of the push of her parents.

Hence, the University of Colombo was not my dream place. I wanted to get enrolled in the University of Peradeniya so badly, but I think fate has its own ways of deciding one’s life. Although I didn’t like the climate, the busy roads, and the materialized and insecure environment, I made up my mind to come because they had International Relations as a subject, and most importantly, my elder sister was in the neighboring faculty, the Faculty of Science. And now, looking back on the year that has already passed in the blink of an eye, I feel as if it is the best decision I have ever made, and the University of Colombo has become a place of growth and experience that have shaped my life in every possible way. This is just a bit of my experience that I’m sharing with you all, exactly on the day that it has been a year since I came to the university.

I clearly remember the first day at the university: I was simply lost, not knowing what to do. My elder sister dropped me off at the university, and not having my mother beside me on the first day was the greatest worry I had. I was a latecomer to the university, as I came through the additional intake for the special subject category, which means two weeks had already passed since the enrollment of my batchmates. So, I had no orientation, no time to get adjusted to the environment, and I straightaway sat at the lectures. Luckily, I had a friend, a colleague of my sister whom she had met on an external course, and the best part was she too got selected to Colombo, in the same category as mine. We both had a hard time finding lecture halls, and by the end of the day we met two other friends facing the same situation, and by the end of the first week another two got into our clique, belonging to the same category. We six were just like stray dogs, not being able to grasp the situation and not knowing anything inside the university. We had thousands of questions about the subject system and exams because we missed the orientation, and honestly, we felt left out because other batchmates had already gotten together during the orientation period. But the bond among us that was built in a shorter period of time kept us going, and we made a bunch of memories together. After a while, we were a bit popular as the whole bunch was always together and did the same subjects, and most importantly, we were back benchers every time.

I’m forever grateful for my clique at the university, as they were the reason that I could stand independently in an unfamiliar environment and planted confidence inside this extremely introverted girl, who couldn’t even make new friends. Not only them, but each and every person I met through the university had a great impact on my life, as they taught me different aspects of life. I got to know people from different areas of the country with different social backgrounds and personalities, which added experience to my life. The most mesmerizing thing that I learned was the difference in the language that people spoke. After meeting so many friends, I realized that the jargon differs greatly from region to region.

To my disappointment, I also learned a few harsh lessons on friendship by being too honest and treating them with my ever-melting heart. It made me realize that not everyone is your friend; there can be classmates, colleagues, batchmates, and just a person I know among the people that we consider friends. It had such a huge impact on me that, for a while, I was insecure about the relationships I had made but could soon overcome it with my own encouragement. It made me stronger and stronger day by day.

Staying away from home was the biggest challenge I faced throughout the year. Coming from Badulla, I could not go home on weekends like everyone else because of the distance and the long hours of traveling. I had to wait until a long weekend to go home, and that was also for only two or three days. Doing my things on my own, going to the campus alone by bus, and not expecting my mom to pick me up at the end of the day had a great toll on me. As the youngest of the family, I’m too close to my mom, and I wanted her beside me to support me through this new chapter. But by the end of the first semester, I had adapted to this new life and began to do my work more independently than entirely relying on my mom. Being away from home also saw the rise of a new me.

Furthermore, I was also a victim of the academic stress that we all talk about with too much worry, but it’s also one thing that I overcame. I learned to work on time in order not to overlap any of my schedules, as I was following another two external courses other than my university education. All while doing assignments, making presentations, and studying for exams, I managed to have fun with my friends and my sister. It all helped me to work towards my dream under any pressure, and being a member of the Rotaract Club also allowed me to enhance these qualities. Through the Rotaract club, I learned many new things, and it also helped to bring me out of my shell and stand with more confidence.

In fact, I see the university as a great place for one to build up their personality and experience the outer society that we’ll soon encounter. Though many of my friends regret their decision to come to the university and see it as a burden, I view this amazing hub as a blessing. Indeed, it is a place of growth and experience, and I’m proud of the person that I have turned into, thanks to the University of Colombo.

Rtr. Senara De Silva

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