By Tinky Ningombam
Admission time is here again. It means new students flocking all major cities in India and abroad. DU has just made way for admissions to open after its FYUP has been rolled back. Delhi always had attracted a lot of young ambitious students irrespective of what course they wanted to pursue. And most kids who I meet have always come to us for tips on how to handle their first day of college. But every experience is different though, depending on which college you go to.
For instance, how I remember my first day of college was for the fact that it rained when I came back to my PG strolling. That day, I was pretty scared because I had placed a lot of expectations on what might happen. Everyone had managed to scare me of how I would make my first impression. How I would make new friends. On the other hand, I was completely oblivious of the stereotype that people had of people of the north east. No-one harassed me though, thankfully. In fact, I really liked my class. I liked my teachers. I met so many people that I knew before that I did end up having a great first day.
I did my undergraduate program in English Honours in Ramjas College in Delhi University. And when I started my first year in 2003, we had about 40-50 odd students from Manipur in our college. So I never felt out of home because at any point of time, our college canteen used to be filled with a dozen of people from our home-state. Sometimes overwhelmingly so.
We did not have Facebook then. Which is a relief, come to think of it. Our only worry was to make good friends, like the college and enjoy the classes. If you didn’t get all three of them, it is always a tough 3-year stint to last.
For instance, we know what will happen this new season of college here – FIFA haircuts, huge headphones, crop tops and torn jeans. Delhi has always been a place where fashion is synonymous with college kids. So we get a lot of wannabe trend-setters. My advice is that you should not try too hard. Be yourself and dress and talk and behave like yourselves. Many a times, kids try to act like a completely new person. It happens whenever one enters into a new phase of life – first year into college, first job stint etc. People sometimes take this opportunity to become a completely new avatar. It is true that college will change you to become a renewed person but it can also make you susceptible to a lot of bad things in the guise of peer pressure. So baseline – Stay yourself !
Hence always try to have a mentor if not a support group. Always have someone that you can confide things to and place confidence in. This can be your friends or your seniors. Because they will have overcome almost similar hardships as you have. And you should always seek advice and counsel especially when you will enter into an independent life. And you should never be embarrassed to ask for help when you genuinely need it.
The most important thing above all, is not to allow yourself to be bullied and ragged. Ragging is a crime. The Maharashtra Prohibition of Ragging Act, 1999, definition reads: “Ragging means display of disorderly conduct, doing of any act which causes or is likely to cause physical or psychological harm or raise apprehension or fear or shame or embarrassment to a student in any educational institution and includes: i) teasing, abusing, threatening or playing practical jokes on, or causing hurt to such student; or ii) asking a student to do any act or perform something which such student will not in the ordinary course, willingly, do. Ragging within or outside of any educational institution is prohibited.”
Many of us are introverts. Not all of us are intimidating to other people. And there are a lot of kids just out there to create trouble. Freshers should understand that ridicule of any kind, be it in jest, cannot be tolerated. Because of the new Anti-ragging steps, there are a hosts of anti-ragging cells and committees. Freshers should be aware of where to turn for help. I have personally known a lot of my friends that have told me tales of dancing in front of seniors or running errands for their hostel seniors. While this may seem harmless for some but for most of introverted kids, this can lead to traumatising psychological implications. In cases as such, it is advisable to report it anonymously or to have a senior authority who can put a stop to the bullying. It is also in the hands of the parents to be aware of the college environment of their kids so that they do not fall victim to ragging. In cases of emergencies, as an informed student, one should be smart to know how to confront a group of bullies wit
hout inciting harm on oneself. Always have your anti-ragging cell on speed-dial. Start with that.
However the good part is that not all your college days are looming with perils. Though it might put a lot of pressure on youngsters, it is important to remember that life is not all bad if you start with a positive attitude. College will open up a lot of possibilities for you. Just make sure that you make meaningful relationships, act responsibly and enjoy life.
(“A college degree is not a sign that one is a finished product but an indication a person is prepared for life.” — Monk’s Reflections)