Rahul Bakshi, 19, just out of intermediate, has hit the gym with a mission. “I gained weight sitting at home while preparing for my twelfth standard exams. I can’t go to college looking fat. Fat is ugly,” he says.
Rahul is not an exception. With the admission grind over, freshers are now gearing up for the real challenge: looking good for college.
It’s an annual fad, no denying it. Most freshers look to get into shape before classes start. Shedding that extra weight, mostly put on during exam time, is something both girls and boys focus on. No matter the body type, everyone wants to look “good” by becoming “thin”, just like their fashion icons.
“Body image matters a lot to adolescents, especially those going into first year,” says Dr. Samir Parikh of Max Healthcare. How the peer group looks at them becomes important for their identity, he adds.
So freshers are trying every trick in the book to attain an “acceptable” physique for college — from going on crash diets to spending time at the gym. Membership in gyms all over the city rises during the interim period between the end of board exams in May and the beginning of colleges in July. T.M. Rajeeb of Power House Health Club confirms the trend: “Membership in various branches of our fitness centre increases by 25-30 per cent in these months. The bulk of this percentage comprises adolescents in the 16-20 years age bracket who, on an average, workout for more than an hour every day.”
Anisha Mukherjee, all set to join Sri Venkateswara College, is happy with her recent weight loss. “Now I can wear stylish clothes to college and, of course, attract all the cute boys,” she says, adding that having lost over 25 kg has also made her more confident of beginning a campus life.
And it’s not just about weight — freshers also focus on changing their whole look for college. Martina Wu, who works at Ambika Pillai’s salon, says, “A lot of youngsters come in at this time of the year, asking us to do something new with their hair. They want everything from straightening to colouring to adding bounce and body to their hair.” She attributes this trend to the newfound freedom that most teenagers enjoy in college.
For their makeover, classmates Anisha Mukherjee and Shoma Mathews have decided to get their noses pierced. “We want to look more mature in college,” justify the two DU freshers. A few even join grooming and etiquette classes to stand out in the crowd.
Getting ready for college cannot be complete without a wardrobe makeover. Girls and boys are hitting places such as Sarojni Nagar, Janpath and GK to shop for clothes and accessories. Says Anuschka Malhotra, who will join the Maitreyi College crowd: “My old clothes are school clothes. I sure want to look smarter in college, so I am shopping these days.”