I bet we all must have been told once in our lives that “beta, 12th ache se karlo, uske baad life sorted hai!” (Son, just do your 12th right, life is sorted after that.) I wish we hadn’t remained silent at that point and asked “Really? Do you guarantee?” College life is nowhere near the rosy picture that Bollywood puts in our heads, like that of random people coming together to start off their day by dancing on “Apni toh pathshaala, masti ki pathshaala” with teachers joining them to end the song.
When you enter college, you certainly enter a phase of independence. Accept it or not, college life is relatively more relaxed than school’s. You can use phones during class, you can bunk any period you want and nobody comes after you for attendance and marks. More or less, you’re solely responsible for your existence.
However, as tempting as that sounds, college comes with its own set of stressors that if not dealt with at the right time, in the right manner, can impact your entire adult life severely. So before I talk about them, I’d like to iterate that none of these problems can’t be solved. Trust me, all it takes is a change of perception (and I say that with repeated emphasis) to get over our plight and move on. The question is, are we ready to do that? Think.
• MAKING NEW FRIENDS AND FITTING IN
College life demands us to come out of our comfort zone, to find new friends. For some of us, that may not be a big deal but for some others, it can prove to be a daunting task. They find it hard to cope with the new standards set up for them which might result in major self esteem and self worth issues amounting to anxiety.
In case you’re going through something similar, remember that you aren’t alone. People who try to intimidate you might be using that side of theirs as a defence mechanism to cope with issues of their own.
You also might come across people who used you to hang out with you earlier but now have changed over time that must’ve hurt because clearly, things didn’t go the way you expected them to. Changes like these can be hard to adjust with.
•PRESSURE TO REMAIN SORTED AND STRIVE FOR EXCELLENCE
As mentioned in the beginning, college life gives us relatively more autonomy over our lives than what we had in school. We opt for a specific course and are expected to do wonders in only that, otherwise society thinks of us as confused and indecisive.
Now, for those who feel that they have lost the interest they initially had for the subject they are currently studying (or those who just think that they were never meant for it), please know that is okay to feel that. Life need not be always planned. If you think, you can do better in any other field, pursue that! PLEASE! It is your life and your pace. If it means that you can be happy and content with your existence at this very point in life, go for it. Parents? Try to convince them into thinking it is about their kid’s happiness and the question of one’s whole life. It will only be worth living if he/she is allowed to take steps on his/her own and learn to be independent.
For those who are satisfied with their course but can’t cope up with it because of the abundant amount of pressure put on them, understand that the pressure builds up majorly because we don’t manage our time well. We wait for deadlines to get us working. Why? What stops us from working is the thinking instilled into us by our friends, that “school main padh liye jitna padhna tha,college main kaun padhta hai?” ( “All the studying has happened in school , who studies in college?”).
The thing is that either we can follow this line of thought or the one which says “we are the master of our destiny.” Before choosing, just remind yourself that you live most of your life inside you head. Make sure it’s a nice place to be.
And finally to those, who are able to manage their time well but still find it difficult to finish their work, try reconsidering the things in which you are devoting your energy. If you are sure that certain tasks can be taken up later in life, probably it’ll be a nice idea to drop them. Don’t spend your college life entirely to make yourself a successful future. That won’t work.
Remember to devote time to yourself along with your work because that is how your future life will become worth living.
For some of us, college life means leaving hometown to study in another city or country. This can be really hard for many of us for obvious reasons. Hence, apart from staying in constant touch with your family back home, you have to understand that it is necessary for you to create yourself an inhabitable life in the pg/hostel or apartment you are living in.
You could do that by first replacing those frequently arousing feelings of abandonment by feelings of gratitude. Feel thankful for having to live another day with all your close ones even if they are separated by distance.
Think of it like this way, not everyone dares to come out of his/her comfort zone. You are the daring one! Be proud of that. I don’t say you remain motivated and avoid feelings of sadness all the time thinking that. Be sad but don’t forget to start your day again because you chose to evolve by deciding to live on your own. That’s rare. You mate, are rare.
• EXISTENTIAL CRISIS
When people get into college, they look forward to having new experiences, experiences that allow them to bring changes to their identity and their way of life. While the level of preparation that one does beforehand matters, but it cannot keep one from facing conflict between the old and the new identity, the familiar past and possible future , who they are and who they would become. Hence, almost everyone finds themselves existentially lost in college.
It doesn’t matter which event, negative or positive, causes one to start questioning the meaning of life. What matters is how we are able to get over our fear toward change and to be different.
We might perceive ourselves as directionless and confused during the crisis that might even cause us to have sleeplessness, anxiety, social adjustments issues, etc but the only way to get over it is to take the pain and suffering as the part of our spiritual growth and that shall automatically change it’s value.
Almost all researchers who have studied the anxiety believe that personal growth and anxiety are inseparable. So we have to understand the need of change to enter a non-crisis state.
Mere acknowledgement of the fact that the crisis is an opportunity to change something about our life and that its period of discomfort is only transitory can bring us inner peace.
Hence, each stressor presents you with a choice: evolve or remain. If you choose to evolve, you will connect with the strength within you, you will explore what lies outside the comfort zone, you will awaken to love, you will become what you will be. But for that first, let’s be more receptive? Because according to “The Happy Equation” authored by Neil Parischa, only about 10% of our happiness is based on our external world. The other 90% is based on how we see the world.