The transition from school to college is a hard one – the feverish tide of competitive exams just ebbing away, I, like every other student in this country, was leaving a life behind to start a new one in a place I had no clue about. Needless to say, the whole prospect was extremely overwhelming and scary, but I was expected to deal with it and be happy and excited all the same.
You know those scenes from those apocalyptic movies, where the protagonist is trapped in a disaster with nothing but blank faces staring back at him/her as s/he tries to make sense of the situation? That was how I was feeling. Completely blank about what lied ahead in my life or what exactly I wanted to do, with other people stepping out of their way to give me a hearty congratulation for cracking the Symbiosis Pune entrance in merit lists. I had no idea what to think or expect. The whole one day train ride from Delhi to Pune was me drifting aimlessly as I attempted to soak in the beautiful sights in the way and gulping down the idea that I was going to be alone in a big city.
The first day was bizarre, to say the least. My elder brother had cautioned me against setting off any senior students or faculty, but the first thing that happened was just after I settled in my class a bunch of seniors barged in to tell us how they were going to give us a basic tour of the college, and how all of us were literally prohibited from calling any of the students sir and ma’am or even didi and bhaiya (It took a while to get used to calling people obviously elder to you by their names).
We were handed out booklets to inform us about great food joints around the area, as well as the locations for the availability of all the general services a college student in Pune would need. Other than that, our seniors continuously encouraged us to feel free to walk up to any of them, whenever we needed anything at all.
All of this was a great relief – these people clearly understood what it felt like to be a fresher in the college and how incredibly hard the transition can be for a lot of us, and they really went out on a limb to support us throughout the process.
Over the course of that month, life became easier as the city progressively started to feel more home-like. Pune being a student city, the timings of the whole city were perfectly in tune with the time table I wanted to set for myself, so that was an added advantage. I will admit I did not study a lot and obsess over certain TV Shows (Read: Game of Thrones, Sherlock and FRIENDS), but I had fun, and I made it a point to learn as much as possible from my experiences in the last one year.
Being an introvert, I have always been awkward in social situations; I take my time to size up people around me and blend in, but what I found highly pleasing was how the college gave us reasons to mix up. As soon as we were in the college, we were given reasons to be hyped up about field visits, cell interviews, case studies, moots or the upcoming intra college fest ‘Symptoms ‘(held in September). We didn’t have time to be awkward, we just blended in, and we learnt a lot about each other in the process.
Life outside the college premises was no less exciting and enjoyable. Informal parties organised by someone in Symbiosis happened every other weekend in proper clubs. I went three times or so, just to get a taste of it, but soon grew out of it because I don’t drink and I’m not particularly fond of cramped spaces. The city itself, especially the area we live in, is considerably safer than a lot of other places in the country, so I have found myself randomly loitering around and chatting with my friends or even going for tea and Maggi at two in the morning.
The highly diversified batches we had made sure we got a highly differentiated group of people as friends, people we could learn a lot from, but could still relate to. I have found some amazing friends in the one year I’ve been in Pune and I firmly believe that these really are the Days of our Lives. That is the thing about Pune and Symbiosis – if you step in with an open and positive mind along with an optimistic attitude, you will find people you can relate to no matter what.
The first semester ended on a high note with a satisfactory performance in exams and the obvious aftermath – partying like a free bird.
The next semester was the Symbhav (we hold our annual fest in our even semesters ) semester. As Symbhav was almost upon us, I was already trembling in my boots. Cultural fests are where I feel like home – I’ve been participating in dozens of cultural events and competitions across schools and states my entire life, and I always feel like I belong to that kind of an environment. I was really proactive from the get-go this time – I started talking to seniors, particularly the head of the Extra Curricular Cell, about the ideas I had for the fest and how I wanted to be a part of it.
I got to manage an event – the Short Film Making festival, which on my suggestion had taken place for the first time. Not only that, since I got the opportunity to head it as a flagship event, it was something quite unheard of in the college. January and February went by, with me making a gazillion memories with a lot of new people from my batch and a lot of super adorable seniors from across all the batches and committees.
The festival was one of the high points of my life. An amazing three days with the participation of students and high-profile guests from all over the country The next two months was just waking up to a lot of study material untouched because of the fest and a laser focussed study schedule to cover up all of our assignments and prepare for the end semester examinations.
All this is not to say that the whole journey here will be effortless. Symbiosis Law School, I firmly believe, is unique in the sense that it minimises the imposition of general standards or expectations one might hold with students in an elite law school like ours, so you really got to keep your head together and start fresh with trying to create a vision of who you want to be. In SLS, you can be absolutely anyone you want to be, and that is both promising and scary.
If you don’t keep an open mind and keep judging new people with your past experiences, you might as well sit alone in your room because you’re going to be pushed around a lot. This college is promising, but it ain’t Disneyland – you need to have an accepting and lightheaded demeanour.
No matter what you do, make sure you read as much as you can. Make an effort to move outside your syllabus and find subjects that interest you. I myself found my interest in handling money and fondness for a business-like environment by reading books like ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’ and ‘The Icarus Deception’. And now, I have a clear idea of where and how to start.
Don’t be scared of just walking up to any senior you think is worth talking to and asking for anything you need. Trust me, I took my time to get over my inhibitions about this one and eventually realised that all my doubts were useless because, in SLS, the accepted convention is not to impose superiority, but to coexist and enjoy, much like in the modern world today. Remember, there are no stupid questions, and we will always be more than delighted to help you in any way we can to make this transition easier for you.
Finally, I will say this – if you’re considering Symbiosis Law School, Pune for your graduate studies, chances are it’s a great choice for you. If you’re already selected for the college and are definitely coming to Pune, you’re family now, and I, just like every other person am eagerly waiting to meet you and would be delighted to have you with us.
We’d like to thank Abhishek Singh(Batch 2021, SLS Pune) for taking out time from his busy schedule and sharing his experiences.
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