The expanse of brown and white looked newer than ever, unpolluted by the minimalistic activities of the nearby village; the knowing trees swayed slightly, enjoying the breeze that overcompensates for the unpredictability of the Bangalore weather, and a sea of unfamiliar faces, smiling nervously, made their way to meet and greet the life that awaited them for the next two years.
If only I knew then what I know now; if only I could see that the grass is always greener on the other side. Despite what we may think, no one has it easy.
Fresher graduates worried that they would know very little in comparison to those who come with work experience, commerce students fretted over the learning pace of an engineer, while these two “privileged” parties couldn’t fathom how they’d manage to go back into the habit of studying and learning completely new subjects all over again. The students who took up apartments as an accommodation all advocated how the hostel residents were swimming in luck, they’d be familiar with so many people even before college began. These same objects of en vy, however had their own set of worries – “The hostel rules are so rigid, what are we going to do? We should have taken up a flat. Life would be so much more happening.”
The first day at any institute is a whirlwind of emotions, anxiety and nervous excitement, and NMIMS was no different. These anxiety levels broke all records during the lunch hour. Some of us knew a handful of people, but what about the others? A few tables were already full of large giggling circles with faces that looked so comfortable and at peace, whereas other students were busy looking for that one face who they could find a friend in – they didn’t want to eat alone. Everybody was under pressure from the first day itself; but this was a different kind of pressure, a pressure you put upon yourself to feel ‘one of them’, to feel that you’re accepted, to feel home.
A week into the college, as I look back now at my first day, I wish I could tell my batch-mates that all our worrying was baseless and futile. We’re all in the same boat, and we’re all more alike than we realize it. If somebody were to walk from table to table and overhear the small talk that was taking place, he’d be astonished at the synchronized questions – it was as if somebody was reading off a script.
“Hey, where are you from? Okay, flat or hostel? Nice, are you a fresher? So which stream were you a part of? Which specialization are you considering? Awkward silence.” The guide to making friends had hit its last page, and one was out of questions.
What should I do? What should I do? What should I do?
It is ironical how it was the conversation that followed this regime that determined who were going to be your friend- because that exchange, my friends, was genuine.
We spend months preparing for our first day in college. We discuss fervently about what would be appropriate to wear, try our level best to finalize a “furnished” accommodation with people whose interests match our own, some of us try even to learn basic cooking, look up placements, interact with seniors as to what to expect, memorize the course structure by heart. In reality, none of us really prepares for the first day, or expects the training that we’re going to be embedded in from the first hour itself. So when the time actually comes, and we find ourselves sitting in the seminar hall, with accomplished personalities telling us about hard work, dedication and balance, our brain springs back into action after a long hiatus, exhausting itself in the process. The result- we’re tired, at a loss of words, dazed and numb. Our apprehensions take a front seat and we wonder if we’ve made the right choice, whether this really was the right time to do an MBA, what if we don’t fit in, what if we fail? However, the very next day, we find ourselves marching right back into our headquarters, waiting to find out about our divisions, armed with a yet new guide to make new friends; a sea of now somewhat familiar faces, smiling a little less nervously, a sea that doesn’t realize that it has crossed the first hurdle, it has made it through its first day.
– Anushree Kanoi (PGDM 08)