Law school. Nothing anyone told me could have ever prepared me for it. Eight months of elation, coffee, adjustment, newfound freedom, coffee, friendship, a tsunami of information…and did I mention coffee? There are no words to describe the past two semesters. I found roommates who are closer than family, a friend group that is as supportive as can be, an environment conducive to positive growth and experimentation beyond academics, and some brilliant professors who share my love for food, books and dogs.
They say life is like a roller coaster, with its ups and downs. I would like to think of my time at JGU so far to be more like a jar of Nutella. The deeper I immerse myself into this experience, the more happiness I find. There have been some emotional breakdowns, but the beauty of JGU life is that you will never find yourself coping alone. Even if you are still in the process of making friends, be it a senior whom you have never met or a professor whom you can relate to, you will always find someone who is willing to listen. On the saddest of days, that is pretty much all you need.
JGU taught me the value of independence. It taught me how to make my own rules. A college can easily make rules for you. I know people in other colleges who have an 8 PM curfew (yes, 5 hours before ours!) have lunch hours that don’t go beyond 30 minutes, and have everything from their schedules to thoughts directed by the college. Maybe because I am in my first year and from a conservative family, this sudden freedom feels huge and maybe in a couple of years I might find this place restrictive. Maybe. But for now, it’s good. And now is all that really matters.
Freedom of habit is one thing, and fluidity of thought is another. It is fascinating to be a part of a university that, in addition to the conventional, has downright crazy expressions of thought. A Hindi ‘shayari’ society and an Anime society; a research project on gaming running parallel to an academic paper on how ISIS recruits teenagers; a Shakespeare theatre festival followed by a Harry Potter week: these are just some of the beautiful contradictions that are found here. The best part? You can be a part of ALL of it.
Now let me talk about the love of my life- Food. Yes, I do know that this would have elicited groans from most of you reading this with thoughts about the mess food coming to mind. But I will leave that aspect for another day. For now, let’s focus on the positives. Biryani, Ice cream, Chicago Pizza and Dosa. Enough said? The food court is the reason why I have had to adopt the vagrant lifestyle in the last week of every month, but it is also the reason I have survived through my cravings for hot wings and French Fries and endured my all-nighters, with chicken rolls, and coffee of course. The food court is a recent addition to the University and it is a savior. After a bad day, some hot Butter Naan or a Virgin Mojito is all your heart wants.
When I first came on campus, I was a clueless fresher who did not know what to expect. Hostel life, intimidating law subjects and thoughts of sleep deprivation filled me with a mixture of excitement and dread. The thought of leaving my dogs and not meeting my friends as often weighed down on me. No more playing fetch with my dogs, no more of my mom’s yummy Macaroni and Cheese and no more movie marathons with my sister. But, in the end, I did leave all of that behind. I was looking forward to start this new phase of my life. Besides, who can say no to bunk beds, right? (Apparently my roommates could. Such people do exist.) When I look back, all I can recall is that the initial weeks went by in a frenzy of homesickness. But now, eight months since then, I can happily call JGU my home in so many ways. Ways I didn’t know existed.