As the months of March and April loom by, the hearts of students in India fill with dread, anxiety and terror. These months mark the peak of final exam season. For high school seniors, this season is the worst, as it not only induces immense stress but also huge bouts of nostalgia for the school years gone by. As a college freshman, it seems almost unbelievable that a year ago, I was in the same shoes as present-day high school seniors. To be quite honest, I feel like an entirely new person.
During this time last year, getting good grades and getting admitted to a great college were my only matters of concern. I worried more about the final result and less about how to get there. However, after spending a semester and a half at college, I have come to realize the importance of learning for the sake of seeking knowledge, as opposed to acquiring a fantastic final score. The happiness achieved after mastering a challenging concept you’ve wrestled with for a long time is indescribable. I’m proud to say that I would rather experience this elation than the short-lived joy from getting a good grade but not understanding any of the underlying logic.
About a year ago, I was probably the laziest teenager on Planet Earth. Things like doing the laundry or fixing myself some dinner never crossed my mind because my parents would take care of these things. Now that I live far away from home, and I have to make sure I’m alive and somewhat well, all these responsibilities lie on my shoulders. Initially, all these chores intimidated me — I had my mom on FaceTime the first time I did my laundry in college — but now, I am actually kind of glad that I do all my work by myself. I feel more independent, more confident and, in a simple way, more empowered than the person I was a year ago. I think I needed this experience to mature and feel like I can handle anything that is thrown my way.
The most important thing college has taught me is the need to be true to myself. I feel far more liberated and less confined than I was a year ago. I worry less about what others think and do exactly what I believe will bring me the most happiness and fulfillment. Last year, I would never be comfortable with approaching people outside of my friend group and starting conversations with them. Now, I find myself going out of my way to get to know as many people as I can, even if during the process of making new friends I embarrass myself profusely! I love the fact that I am more comfortable in my skin now than I was a year ago!
The amount I have grown in just a year is amazing! I feel like I’m slowly growing into the person I was meant to be, and with each step I take in that direction, the more confident and empowered I feel.
Chandreyee Mukherjee is a freshman in the College of Engineering. She enjoys singing, eating and daydreaming whenever she can spare five minutes from homework. Her blog appears on alternate Wednesdays this semester and she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.