I blame the movies.
For those who didn’t understand the topic from the rather clichéd title, allow me to spell it out for you. I’m talking about the hype surrounding college life; About how almost everyone elder than you will take the time to mention at least half a dozen times that college was the best time of their life.
Which, by the time you’ve dressed up for the first day at your campus, leaves you feeling like you’re about to attend your prom night – except that this one’s stretched out over four long years.
And if your first few months were anything like mine, you felt massively disappointed. In fact, let me tell anyone who might be reading this after having heard an encouraging comment about their future college from an uncle or aunt – odds are you will be let down.
The reasons are simple. From the time puberty hits you, you are exposed to movies, ads and stories that describe the joviality of college life. About how students can enjoy complete freedom, have endless fun and – this is the gut wrencher – fall madly in love with someone and get married.
After experiencing my college life, I realized that the entire experience is similar to watching a movie. Expect that you’re watching it three months after it’s released, and everyone you know has raved about it – not to mention the great adverts on T.V. So you end up sitting in the theatre, shaking with excitement, ready to have your mind blown.
Two things can happen from this point onwards.
Firstly, the graph shoots up. And that’s the beauty of it all. Someone once said that happiness is like the twenty minutes to sunrise. The sky above is pitch dark, and while you keep staring at it, faint rays of light creep into the canvas, so feeble that at first it’s hard to distinguish it from the darkness. And without you even realizing it, the sun rises, dispelling all the darkness that existed just minutes ago. And by someone, I mean me.
But it’s true, and I’m hoping some of you will agree with me (while simultaneously providing credibility to this article). Most of us enter college (hood? Is that a word?) with our eyes fixed on the front door, waiting, some really desperately, for the long awaited best friend / friends, amazing moments, life changing incidents. And while we’re facing the door, those above mentioned particulars creep in through the back window.
So don’t sweat it. Don’t try too hard. Don’t expect it. Because the four years that you will spend in your college will, despite the initial struggles, self-doubts and obstacles, morph into one of the best experiences of your life. Why? Because there is a sea of similar souls all around you, hoping for that as well.
Now there is the second course of action-The bitter pill that a few of you may have to swallow. College life will not turn out the way you expected. Sometimes, it might even be the worst few years of your life. If a few nasty college professors, fellow students, strict parents and unbearably boring campus conspire, that’s very much possible. It’ll be a devastating feeling, having to watch your fellow school mates recollect how wonderful their college days were while you have harrowing flashbacks of the horrible food in the mess and the miserable drug fueled days of heartbreak caused by a devilish ex – lover. You might sulk and kick the can on the pavement as you walk away wondering why you were the only one who had it differently. Why you were the only one deprived of the promised ‘best days’.
Well, if someone who fits the above mentioned description is reading this, prepare for a myth buster. College days are not the best days of your life. No, don’t think I’m going to sell you another period for you to look forward to and ultimately get let down by.
My point is no amount of movies, T.V. shows or Airtel ads that joyfully sign ‘Jo Mera Hai Woh Tera Hai’ can decide that you have to confine the greatest experiences of your life to a four year window in your early 20s.
There are countless people who love their early school days. Their friends may have despised those same years since they were bullied, unattractive and deeply unpopular. While these chaps gained all that they’d desired during their college life, they were comforting unhappy souls who later went on to have a blissful married life. No one can decide which will be the best years of your life, and to think that college life should be the best years of everyone’s life would mean that there is a sizable chunk of our demographic that are always smiling and laughing during a four year window. This isn’t mandatory North Korean military service. No one can force, endow, or rob you of your happiness. And if it doesn't come in your early twenties, it may come later.
I remember reading about an old man who said in an interview that the best years of his life were the last ten, when he could nurse his ailing wife back to health. That’s what I mean. You might have the time of your life when you are 30, 40, 50 or 80. And by an old man, I mean a fictional character conjured by yours truly to drive home a point.
So if you are preparing for college soon, best of luck, and hopefully you’ll have the best time of your life. If you’ve finished your college life and are disappointed, don’t worry, I lied. Because the truth is, no one, save God alone, knows when you will be happy.
Movies and Airtel ads can only guess.