What if you finally get the opportunity to enter your dream college, and yet all you can feel is sadness and anger? Sounds strange, doesn’t it? You would have expected me to write perhaps happiness and excitement, however, these words were far away from my mind at that point in time, let alone feeling them.
So what really happened? Given my father’s job posting, I have spent most part of my life in Shaktinagar, a beautiful small town located in Uttar Pradesh. I am sure most of you have not heard of this place. Just like city dwellers are kind of oblivious about the lifestyle a small town entails, we as small town people are also separated from the fast paced city life. We usually have our own little world with utmost comfort. And that’s about it. Not many struggles, thus, not much growth. As much as I wanted to be in my own sheltered niche, a part of me also wanted to stretch out my boundaries and explore. Grade 11th was a turning point in my life when I moved to Jaipur where I stayed with my uncle and aunt, chose humanities as my course stream and started living the city life which to be honest I had only passively experienced in movies. So, for me being a small town girl, it indeed was a big deal!
Soon after, I had to make decisions regarding pursuing Graduation and I realised how much of a prestige St. Xavier’s college, Mumbai, holds especially in the field of Social Sciences. And hence, it became my only target and being a scholar student I was pretty sure that I will clear the cut off. To my surprise, or rather shock, that couldn’t be the case and I didn’t get in. Mumbai regardless happened, and I made peace with the fact that perhaps Xavier’s will always remain a dream. That aside, I began my journey in Mumbai, made some of the best friends, best memories and in this big city of dreams I built my niche where the small town girl in me felt that familiar comfort and love.
By the end of my Under Graduation, I came to know that Xavier’s is introducing an MA Course in Lifespan Counselling Psychology, exactly the kind of programme I wanted to enroll myself in. I felt as if the doors were opening again for me. However, getting into Xavier’s was not a part of my plan of action last year. I had made up my mind very strongly to take a year off and invest more time in performing arts. Nonetheless, a friend of mine suggested that I appear for the entrance just so I will have an idea about the exam pattern and I will be better prepared next year. I thought that giving the entrance exam is no harm and moreover, I can have a mini tour to South Bombay! So you can already imagine how casual I was about the exam, because, unlike previously, on the contrary, this time I was pretty sure that I won’t get in. But, guess what? A few days after the entrance exam, I received a call that my name was on the merit list. And the first thought that crossed my mind was, ‘Why now? This was supposed to happen next year. Why can’t life go as planned?’
In my personal journey, I had always made very precise and concrete plans, and most of the time, they failed. Perhaps it doesn’t sound that significant because now that I had gotten in, I could have just dropped the idea to take a drop and enrol for the course especially when I wanted to get into Xavier’s since a long long time. However, for a person like me who used to be very rigid about her plans, it didn’t seem as easy. It was extremely confusing for me to take a final call, so much so, that I made a choice literally one hour before the deadline for fee submission and registration formalities. Within, I knew that I had convinced myself only superficially because taking a year off really did matter quite a lot to me.
And yet, I went ahead and still remember that on the first day of my orientation I was feeling quite thrilled. Literally exploring the vintage campus, the woods, the library, which I had only seen on screen, felt so surreal. At that very moment, my small town being kind of felt proud.
Having said that, it’s never really smooth, is it? As and when days passed by, I wasn’t able to feel very positive about the course. My self-talk was getting extremely unhealthy. It was as if my niche was lost and this time I was not ready to build a new one. I was not ready to devote myself to academics all over again. It was just me who was getting rebellious. However, slowly I realised that this course was giving me not only technical knowledge, but also taught some real life lessons. Because everything about it was so real! As classmates and as counsellors under training we shared real life stories with each other which ultimately made me realise how much strength vulnerability holds and the shared struggles led to some close bondings.
I am halfway through my masters now and it’s been a roller coaster ride already. I would say that this current time turned out to be a blessing in disguise for me, because it only made me value my course more. Perhaps sometimes things do happen for a reason. Had my first year not been a mental turmoil, I wouldn’t have noticed this shift in my feelings towards college. Most importantly, the experience so far helped me grow emotionally. I realised that it’s okay to not be a scholar all the time, it’s okay to share your pains and it’s absolutely completely okay to be flexible. Our perspective matters a lot for how we view life and what we want from it, and perhaps we are only kidding ourselves when we think that everything goes according to the plan. And no, this is not the perfect story. I still crib about work load and tons of assignments, and yet I have learned to not be so harsh on myself. And thus, if my college experience can go beyond the textbooks and teach me about these little yet significant chapters, I guess it’s perfect for me. We all can have different definitions of ‘perfect’, can’t we? Most of the time, things do fall in place eventually. I am too grateful that at this very moment I am looking forward to what different experiences college holds ahead of me.
Let’s just hang in there! We may feel that the plan has failed, because that’s what the societal outlook is. But, you never know. It may just turn out to be ‘your perfect’ plan.
MA Lifespan Counselling Psychology,
St. Xavier’s College (Autonomous), Mumbai
Follow – Shreya Pandit
Read More at Humans of Campus
- I am a Rainbow with so many shades of happiness to spread!” – Twinkle Makol – Bharati College, DU
- FAILURE, BETRAYAL, GETTING MISLED and anything that has to do with giving up has never stopped me from putting my foot into things that fascinate me – Ayushi Baaliyan , College of Vocational Studies, DU
- When times are low, you can lead life two ways; you either become your biggest motivator or the destructor – Niharika Singh Ahlawat , Maitreyi College , DU & OP Jindal University
- I had my share of ups and downs in college but at the end, good people were the ones who stayed by my side. – Manvi Anand , Maitreyi College , DU