I still remember the indecision and uncertainty; a plethora of colleges to choose from that somehow simultaneously outweighed and fell behind each other. While my Facebook friends were busy going on vacations to beaches and burrowing their feet in the sand, I was busy burrowing my head in college brochures and first-person accounts of University life as posted on the web. It was a tough decision to make.
The day I knew for sure, however, that I would be shifting base to Sonipat, Haryana, I experienced what (I hope) psychiatrists would call an appropriate mix of elation and grief. I would be leaving home for the first time ever but by doing so I’d be gaining some of the independence I’d been craving ever since my Mum chided me for having ice cream for breakfast.
I don’t need that kind of negativity in my life.
But the most important thing one does not do well when one has never moved houses before – because that is quite literally what one will be doing – is packing. When you make it into your hostel room and triumphantly open your suitcases that may or may not be bulging at the sides, you will feel both underprepared and over-prepared at the same time. For instance, where you might have brought some rope and some clothespins to hang your clothes out for drying, the people in your neighbouring room might have brought a stand.
And then you’ll realize there’s no place to tie the rope you’ve bought because your room is on the ground floor and there is no balcony.
First world problems, am I right?
Don’t try to fight it. It’s a feeling you’ll feel over and over again every time you have to turn in a paper or give a test. Life will become the axis around which nervousness and confidence revolve and maintaining the precarious balance between the two, punctuated by liberal doses of online shopping (possibly for the right kind of detergent), will occupy your efforts 24×7.
Remember to bring some nice clothes for the fancy dinners at the Food Court. Carry some sunscreen on you unless you’re secretly a camel. Buy tons of mosquito repellent once you get here. Once you’ve been sufficiently bitten and have scratched all over, ask your parents to send a mosquito bat via BlueDart. Such are the necessities of life.
Worry about the things you have to bring, but not too much. There’s always ways to manage. There’s a convenience store and there’s Cash-On-Delivery and there’s, most importantly, always someone more prepared than you. And if you befriend them, you’ll be cushioned.
Bring a little bit of where you’re coming from that reminds you of Sunday lunches with the entire family followed by a cheesy movie or some other tradition that you can think of. (I highly recommend chutney/pickle that you can store in the aforementioned neighbour’s refrigerator).
But most importantly, bring yourself.
No matter how many suitcases filled with absolute necessities you manage to set down in a position that’s just comfortable for you to unpack but that doesn’t bother your roommates with their unpacking, nothing will substitute the importance of just being. Even in the mad rush of unpacking your things and making new friends, stop, and think ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is’.
These are the next 3-5 years of your life.