You can’t wake up one day as Timon and just follow the problem-free philosophy of Hakuna Matata no matter how much you want to.
I was born and brought up with eyes attached to my sleeves because strict parents mean knowing when you’re allowed to have fun. On the other hand, a lot of my friends and acquaintances have been quite easy going with ‘having fun’.
Not that I didn’t have fun growing up, but my definition of fun has been moulded quite differently than others. So here’s a fact check for all those coming from strict families: restrictions don’t suddenly disappear after school and your definition of ‘fun’ would decide your dispensable position in regards to reality.
To put it lightly, even if you woke up as Timon, Pumba would probably fart on your face first thing in the morning.
My idea of fun is a good book and popcorn; and blaring music over chips & dip, alternatively. And a lot of times, I wish that blaring music was a club of sorts but it isn’t and I’ve made my peace with it for the time being.
I’m 19 and I haven’t been to a club and it’s no big deal. I have my whole life to dance amidst loud music, weird light patterns, and strangers.
Everyone has their own timeline and direction, along with their own set of problems. So wherever I am, I’m on time and wherever you are, you’re on time — to each, our own flight to drive.
Leaving school doesn’t mean you’ll totally leave your old self and just walk head-on into a new life. Entering college doesn’t mean you have to fit in with those around you just because everything is new.
If you’re waiting for college to get freedom, I’d better warn you to tone down those expectations to a realistic approach. Freedom is much more than bunking classes, moving away from parental inspection at all times, and even managing yourself in a new city.
Freedom is as random as learning when you’ve had too much ice cream from your monthly allowance to as particular as choosing the kind of people you stay with, in college.
And with freedom, comes responsibilities that you are neither prepared for nor have any idea how to perform.
I remember something that stuck with me from my college orientation programme and has been an essential reminder throughout the first year: there will be no one to practically guide you, holding your hand, so you have to practice self-discipline and know when you have to be hard on yourself and how much.
The one month I was quite easy and gave myself space to settle a little, the next month way too hard. It was during the next few months that I taught myself the intensity and quantity variation tactics.
So by the time I was done with Semester 1, I knew that at times, I had to let me pamper myself with good food, leisure time and good rest. (Mostly, it was financial management that pricked me, and honestly, kind of still does. I’ll be talking about it separately in another part.)
But the most difficult thing to manage of all isn’t time, habits or money, it is expectations.
Especially during the transition, when you’re ready to have ‘the time of your lives’, you’re expecting something extraordinary.
For most children like me, the last two years in school are suffering years, dipped in the pressure of scoring well while struggling to grasp concepts that bounce off like stones on the lake of our minds.
And so hoping for extraordinary is only genuine, but instead of disappointing yourselves too much, you should realize the other end is too deep for you to judge from where you stand during the transition.
Rest assured, college is like any other experience: just a little too over-emphasized upon.
The time when college was supposed to be the best time of people’s lives was when there wasn’t enough exposure or space for discovery (or rebellion) outside the college.
Today’s world gives us forums that are way more efficient in voicing our opinions and helping us in rationally standing up to our beliefs. In today’s day and age, the kind of exposure and direction given to us solely by the internet, overpowers the total exposure available outside colleges at those times.
So, college can be great, yes, but please don’t give in to the socially set timeline of ‘the best time’ because the best time is not a one-time offer, it is a multiple-redemption offer with no expiry date or conditions and totally subjective upon what you make of whatever time you have.