The Universe of the University of Colombo

The Universe of the University of Colombo

University of Colombo was a fever dream. Stepping through those gates knowing anyone but myself was a challenge I quietly yet gradually overcame with time. The first two weeks were the hardest, I am not your typical extrovert who would strike up a conversation with a passers-by, (I’m not, Uvinya. You can sit down) it took me time to settle into the routine, and understand the lectures and meet my clique, I guess. To add to that, I was miles away from home, staying in a random place and the homesickness that takes you over in the first few days, with no homemade meals and just you in a small room you rented is not just lonely, sometimes a little painful. (I learned that I’m terrible at taking care of myself too, I forget to EAT)

The Universe created in the University is one of a kind. Making your way to lectures on subjects you never learned previously, and trying to walk over a kilometre just to get to the said lecture room seemed simple madness to me. But if I was being truthful, as horrendous as this might sound, I love what I learn here. The interactions you can make within those lecture rooms with lecturers who listened to you. (School teachers please take notes) My favourite has to be English (CRAZY, I’M AWARE) but it’s a nice feeling to be surrounded by readers like me, who would say one more chapter and end up not sleeping through the night.

Aside from the freedom, University is not without its madness. Sometimes, staring at the assignments, presentations and exams, I just sit there wondering if all those dreams I’ve built since coming are just fever dreams after all. It means sleepless nights sometimes, crying yourself to sleep, trying to take it in but miserably failing to do so. Second guessing yourself every step of the way and trying so hard, only to find sometimes that your hard work has not paid off at all. It sucks. Really SUCKS to have all those expectations of others on me and not be able to meet them. To go back to my lonely room and wonder if this was a HUGE mistake.

This made me come to this sudden realization as I’m writing this… maybe it’s not only about the assignment deadline looking over like bosses in games that you never defeat. Maybe it’s also about the people you meet along the way. The friends who I take detours with when going to lectures because we’re both too bored to sit through the whole two hours, (Yes, Senali, I think another bathroom break sounds nice) The friends who noticed every change in my mood and send me long text messages and voice notes just to make sure I’m okay, (Yes, Sarah, you’re simply a gem). The friends who I read psychological horror with and wonder if there’s something wrong with both of us after all- (Binuri, we might need therapy). Not forgetting those friends who keep motivating you to write, to pursue what you love, (Saya, you will be my biggest supporter to the end of this journey).

Maybe it’s also about the friends whose arms in you fall apart, as days of anxiety wash over you like a hurricane and you simply do not have the energy to go on (I will get the whole world for you, Uvinya). And that one cool girl who you thought never be friends with but ended up being practically soulmates (Vibz, let’s make some damn good memories in here). Also the painters, the friends you often share poetry with (Michelle, I hope you keep writing, your talents mesmerize me) And that one girl who’s so pretty and pesters me to keep playing that one game and I actually did (Yes, Chamo I should’ve listened to you much earlier). Lastly, all the seniors I met through Rotaract and Debating, who are ready to give you a helping hand whenever you need it, make this whole thing a bit better. Because, though your mind forces you to believe you’re alone, at the end of the day, you know there are people in your call log you can call when things get bad again.

It’s all of these things you see. The university is not you being Hermoine or trying to pull an academic intellectual move. It’s the fun parts too. You learn, you get stuck, you question every aspect of life, but at the end of the day, you’re here, and you’re moving forward with good people around you. I think that’s all worth the “sucky” part of this whole journey.

I’m all the more corny teenage self of mine still when I say, maybe it is about all the friends you made along the way. Those who make you want to live another day and pull through when the darkest part of your mind keeps telling you to stop and give up. I don’t love University, in fact, sometimes I HATE this place, but I do love what I’m learning here, moving with so many people with so much knowledge. I love existing as a part of these people’s lives and it genuinely makes me happy.

I might as well end with a Taylor Swift lyric here, because ‘This is me genuinely praying that, This was the very first page, not where the storyline ends. I was enchanted to meet all of you.’

Rtr. Barani Elwatta

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