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Musings of a Sophomore
Contributors: Ammar, Gaurav, Hiral, Prerna, Sanya, Navjit, Sreyashi
Now that all UG sophomore students are allowed to return to campus for their fourth semester, we take a glimpse at the journey of one such young adult making the transition from a completely online experience of the institute from home to campus life.
Finally, I got a break for lunch. The last lecture was really frenzied and the topics got blurred as time passed. But whatever, I don’t want to think any more about it, so let me tell you how my day was. Started at 6:00 am, as usual, waking up to the sound of my younger brother screaming and my parents doing their lockdown cleaning, with the first lecture from 8:30. These classes always make me realize how much better it would be to do things more practically on campus. And after that, classes, tutorials, classes….now my hands, back, legs are all hurt and I am terribly hungry. So I am going to have lunch and a walk thereafter. Hopefully, the fresh air will do some wonders and I will meet you in one piece at night!
I am back, sleepy and tired. Just had a chat with my friends on campus and they had all gone out to explore Mumbai. But here I was stuck, completing an assignment for the dreaded 11:59 deadline (you know how Moodle sucks when everyone’s trying to submit at once!) Every online meet I attend reminds me of our department trip to Pachmarhi where I met my branch mates for the first time offline. Oh, how wonderful it was to meet people face-to-face rather than on a screen! I really hope I see something positive on webmail tomorrow. Goodnight!
Finally, the weekend is here. Last week was hectic, but I hope I don’t procrastinate and get some work done this weekend. Though I missed hanging out till late on Friday night VC’s with my friends, I’m glad I woke up early today. I also have a convener meeting to discuss offline events we are planning to conduct. While I really don’t get the point of having an offline event when half the batch is still confined to their homes, let’s see what happens. See you later!
Finally done with the convener meet. Hybrid meets are terrible – it not only gives you FOMO but also makes it hard to figure out who is speaking since everyone is cramped into this one small window on your screen. Anyways, the offline event was discussed, and I’m glad I am not on campus – the on-campus conveners have a ton of stuff to do. Other than that, my eyes are straining and my back hurts after sitting for over 2 hours. Binging three episodes of HIMYM did the trick, but I wasted the entire afternoon and still haven’t done anything productive. Argh! Perhaps I’ll have to cancel movie night and work on this assignment. I’ll probably grab a quick snack and then get started. Later!
Finally, I got the mail I’ve been waiting for for over a year. All sophies are being called to the campus, at last! Everyone is going crazy – every group literally spammed with messages and stickers. Finally meeting those people whose faces I’ve only seen on a screen will be worth the wait. This mail has completely lifted my mood and spirit and I can’t stop thinking about what lies ahead.
One thing that struck me today was how, in all of this excitement/anxiety about going back to campus, I haven’t even paused to think about the most important part of IITB life: academics. God, I can’t even remember what it was like to actually have a study group around me. I suppose it’ll make things easier — spending less time on WhatsApp certainly won’t hurt.
More than anything else, I’d like the feeling of having other people around me doing the same thing as I am. This is not something I could’ve felt at home – with the rest of my family occupied in their own tasks, it’s hard to defeat the sense of isolation that creeps up sometimes.
It’ll be heartening to have shared experiences again — the exhilaration of a good test score, the RR for a prof who unnecessarily cut marks and a million other little feelings that aren’t (and probably can’t be) discussed over text.
The closer I get to D-Day, the more I appreciate the little things about life at home. I get delicious food and can delegate dozens of tiny chores to my family without really thinking about it. Need some stationery? Ask my sibling to pick it up on their way back from the football field. A button came loose on my shirt? No worries, mom will handle that. All of this will change on campus and if I’m not careful, it’ll take up way too much of my time. I guess it’s a tradeoff between the comforts of home and the perks of being on campus. At this point, after having lived in my room for almost 3 years, I’d take door number 2 any day.
That actually brings to mind a “grown-up” realisation that I don’t feel ready to even acknowledge — this is probably the last time I’ll be staying with my parents. Going to campus feels like the first step to, well, adulthood. Hell, in less than two years, I’ll probably be applying for jobs or universities! It’s difficult to imagine, and I’m unsure what to even feel about this. Or, this could be just a generic 2 a.m. musing!!
Finally done with the last leg of packing. There are so many tiny details I hadn’t thought of before, from curtains and naphthalene balls to debit cards and ATM PINs. But after all of my mom’s fussing, some last-minute panic and dad’s classic “I told you we should have bought this last week at the supermarket,” I think I finally have everything I need. In the worst case, I could, of course, buy practically everything on campus, but I like to think of this as me proving a point to myself (and my parents): I am reasonably responsible and capable of surviving independently (a bit of a stretch, but we’re getting there).
For some reason, I’ve been paranoid about the flight tickets, constantly checking whether I booked the correct day and time. I’ve also been looking again and again at the Pre-arrival Google Sheets. It’s still comforting to see my name there every time I check, almost as if I’m afraid it’ll magically disappear and I’ll be denied entry. This is illogical but it still feels surreal that I’m going to be on campus so soon – it’s long overdue, but I’ll take it.
I’m finally here, I’m finally on campus!
Though my entry through the main gate was almost anti-climactic. I don’t know what I expected but it was definitely something more than just giving your roll number at the gate and making your way to your hostel with all your worldly possessions. The campus is massive and walking between any two places here is the equivalent of a proper cardio session. I’ve started setting up my hostel room, it’ll take some time getting used to this tiny space after roaming in my house but oh well, as everyone says, people don’t spend much time in their rooms anyway, there’s so much to do here!
A couple of friends showed me all the places there are to see here and where they like to hang out. Smiling painfully while they make their inside jokes, socializing offline seems like a different ball game altogether. I’m so used to communicating through social media, it feels like starting from the basics here. But I’ll get accustomed to it, especially since we have a lot of free time on our hands before the next semester starts.
I had arrived in the morning and was in for a rude shock, almost all of my friends on campus were asleep! I had to wake them up at 10, which was quite an effort – believe me, and then we could proceed to sort out all the arrival formalities.
Today’s been a hectic day. I went to D Mart to buy all the basic essentials, felt like such a grown-up while buying soap cases and shampoo bottles. It almost felt surreal, does getting excited over household shopping make me boring xD? It was also a day full of firsts, first time interacting with batchmates, living with a roommate, the infamous mess food (which doesn’t taste all that bad, but maybe I’ll have a different opinion by the end of the week), staying up this late and living without my parents. They had come to set up my room and met a few of my close friends but they were gone by the evening. Of course, they left with all sorts of subtle “take care of yourself and don’t get into bad things” messages, but we’ll see if they’re of any use 😛
I had forgotten what it felt like to identify people from their faces and heights, instead of their sticker collection xD. The semester’s about to start in a couple of days and I’m nervous about whether I’ll actually be able to manage all the credits I took. With most classes being held online still, I hope we get to leave the annoying Gmeets soon and have real offline classes.
Got to go, roommate’s proposed an all-nighter, don’t know whether I’ll be sharp enough to call out a bluff in cards, but that’s another first we’re trying!
P.S.: Definitely not waking up before 1 pm tomorrow, hope my parents don’t call🤞🏻
I might have been ignoring you for a while but everything seems overwhelming right now. After arriving, it was as if a ton of people hit you in the face and it really shakes you to socialize so much after a year of isolation. I used to think online interaction was hard and it’ll all be better when I finally meet people face to face. Turns out it was just a pipe dream. I can barely hold a conversation with anyone. At times, I just want to stay in my room and work but even, work has taken a backseat. Time moves slightly differently in Insti – there are days that feel normal and then there are days when I don’t seem to be doing anything and time seems to be passing by at the speed of light, blurring them. I can feel my thoughts drifting away from myself – as if I can’t control them – and as if my role in my life has been reduced to that of a mere spectator.
The institute is more dynamic than I thought and I am moving away from my ‘online’ friends. I am sort of back to where I was when college started and have to go through the familiar ordeal of making friends and desperately trying to make people like me. Granted that I can now avoid the pitfalls I didn’t know about before, but it still takes a lot of work. Everyone is trying to catch up for lost time and making new plans with different people each day. It did help me make new friends but the FOMO doesn’t really go away. There have been a lot of hybrid and sometimes, online meets and I’ve been meeting new people with similar interests, working with them on things and finally having proper discussions. I have started working in Mood Indigo and working on-ground with my peers has greatly improved my mental health too and kept me active. While I still have mixed feelings about being in insti, it overall has helped. Life is pain still, but I do hope it gets better 🙂
Until next time, old friend.