Going back to the first day in the university, it was the day we went for the placement tests. New faces. New voices. New conversations. New aura. Basically saying, everything was a new experience. Then and there I realised that the years I would be spending here were definitely going to be the most adventurous years of my life.
Of course, being an introvert, I stood alone and away amidst all the chaos and noise around me, hoping someone would come and talk to me. Suddenly someone tapped on my shoulder. I turned around and there she was, my soon to be best friend. If someone were to ask us why we were friends, we wouldn’t have an answer to give, we just are, friends. Getting back to the day of the placement tests, everyone suddenly started to head somewhere else. We had no idea where they were going, but we followed along. We did the placement tests and headed home hoping the university might start soon. But the first semester was online. We had no idea who we were talking to or engaging with during those endless virtual group activities; we had not seen each other’s faces, but we certainly clicked. The group activities although endless, were fun. I soon became a fan of some of the voices of my classmates. I desperately wanted to see them and match their voices with faces. Life was rather monotonous until one day the IDC announced that exams were going to be held onsite. A scary yet simultaneously exciting prospect. It was ironically during exam season that I was able to meet most of my friends whom I had spoken to over text, but never seen in person. I failed miserably at identifying faces. But of course, it was fun in its own way.
After nearly a month, the university finally announced they would be starting onsite again. I was happy and was excited, I would finally be able to experience the real university life! The atmosphere at the boarding place was also fun and better than what I had expected. Being someone who had never travelled alone by bus, I started enjoying new experiences and the feeling of being independent. Onsite lectures meant that we could now get acquainted with a whole lot of new friends, the “ala canteen”, “stone benches”, “thummulla” and “ambalama” being the most frequent places we’d hang out. During those short but very welcome breaks between lectures we visit the indoor stadium to play a game of table tennis or badminton.
I cannot proceed with this article without a mention of the architecture of the Arts’ Faculty which I personally believe to be slightly insane and very disorienting. I got lost several times while trying to the correct lecture halls, and I still do. The third floor looks like it came out of a scene from a horror movie.
There is of course another side to university life. It is very hectic, and living alone, finding good food, keeping up with assignments, all make life rather stressful. There are also strikes and protests that get in the way. University is the only place that makes you miss home once you are there, yet once you are at home, you miss the university as though you’d lived your entire life there. This is still the second semester of the first year though. There’s more to go and I for one, am looking forward to it!
Rtr. Raziya Lareef
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