Campus journalists write about their first few weeks in college
Taking off: Our campus journalists write about their first few weeks in college and about discovering new things.education Updated: Sep 01, 2015 21:01 IST
It’s been a month in college and we, the campus journalists, have discovered new things at this juncture of our lives.
We gauged the changes in our lives since school to college, joined exciting societies, and tried out the delicacies of various canteens. We have also looked into the various changes that could be made in DU to make it more disabled-friendly. Also, we looked at how different school uniforms are to our general college attire.
Niharika, who has always been interested in extra-curricular activities, feels at home with the variety of societies she has explored. Out of the numerous options, she chose ‘Enactus’, an internationally recognised platform for social entrepreneurship and ‘Vyaapar’, the entrepreneurship cell. Both of these are a step towards her dreams.
Ishita takes a look at the efforts taken by Delhi University authorities to make DU 100% disabled-friendly. She also talks about her observations on different colleges of north campus, pointing out things that have been done for the differently-abled candidates and the things required to make DU a completely comfortable place for all its students.
Jessica, who has joined an exciting language course to broaden her horizons describes how she loves being able to learn Spanish. New language implies new experiences, but managing both studies and an additional course can be hard. Spanish, with its sweetness, however, helped her manage everything with considerable ease.
Zaid, whose only sincere love, he says, is food, explores some of the canteens and cafes of Delhi University and says it said it has been a dream come true. He travelled far and wide, to Hindu, Hansraj and Stephen’s and brought us details of where and how to find the tastiest sandwiches or bhel-puri.
Meanwhile, Tushar, ponders upon how college has changed him and his peers. He has now learned time management, is more independent making that tough adjustment to hostel life. He also talks about how everyone has something in them and how studying what you really want to is so fulfilling.
Lastly, I, Ria Yadav, analysed the differences and the sudden change we all experienced while shifting from school uniforms to college attire. In college, you can wear anything you want, and sometimes that’s a liberating thing. At other times, however, it’s a pain to choose what to wear every day.
A variety of topics were mulled over, and here we try to give you the best insights into a fresher’s mind, from what to eat to what it feels like to wear what you want, from societies to language courses, from the changes we went through in college to what DU can do to make itself more friendly to the differently-abled.
If life throws a burger at you, just eat it
Instagram: insta- @m_zaid_h
Eating is not merely a material pleasure. Eating well gives a spectacular joy to life and contributes immensely to goodwill and happy companionship. It is important to boost your morale.
Keeping in mind these wise words of fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli, I set out on a journey to discover one of the most important part of DU – its canteens.
I started my day with north campus, St Stephen’s College being my first stop. Famous for its non-veg dishes and a Kolkata-style cafe, cutlets and chicken curry are a hit among the students. Regarded as one of the best canteens in DU, Hansraj college offers its students north Indian, Chinese and south Indian food which is both mouth-watering and reasonably priced.
I really enjoyed having chocolate frappe with grilled sandwich which is the most popular combo available in the canteen.
Hungry for more, I stopped by Hindu College. One of the most economical canteens in DU, it serves a wide variety of street food and beverages. Shahi paneer, fresh fruit juices and samosas are loved by the students here.
SRCC offers its students American and continental dishes such as egg sandwiches, scrambled eggs and a full continental breakfast. It also includes south Indian cuisine on its menu. Concluding my trip at north campus, I ended up enjoying masala coke and wonderful desserts at the Delhi School of Economics canteen.
Continuing my food-mania, I moved on to the colleges of south campus. Sri Venkateswara has a vegetarian-only canteen.
Popular for its south Indian cuisine, one should also try aloo tikki and fried rice in Venky’s canteen. Lady Shri Ram College, with its elegant cafe, served me with croissant, cheese macaroni, cold coffee and tarts which made my day a memorable one. The Jesus and Mary College canteen has delicious chilli potatoes that are loved by almost everyone on campus. I also enjoyed the bhel puri and sev puri prepared by the Defence Colony waale bhaiyya.
There is no sincere love than the love for food. Interacting with students made me realise how influential food can be in a student’s life. If life ever throws a burger at you, eat it.
Making DU disabled-friendly
Being one of the premier educational institutions of the country, Delhi University has made several attempts to make sure that it lives up to the expectations of people, not just when it comes to academics, but also from the perspective of facilities, safety, opportunities etc. But can we say that Delhi University is as congenial to a candidate who is differently-abled as it is to a candidate who is not? The efforts made by Delhi University authorities to provide students a disabled-friendly environment are evident, but are they enough?
The establishment of the Equal Opportunity Cell (EOC) is a major step. Active participation of students, by joining hands with several societies and groups, to help their differently-abled friends, can be seen. Efforts taken by different colleges are praiseworthy. Several colleges of the university proudly talk about their NSS (National Service Scheme) teams, for their work and help provided to differently-abled students across the university.
One also thinks there are a number of things that can be improved.
Though ramps have been made available in almost every north campus college, sadly, access to them is restricted only to the ground floor and mostly, there’s no facility provided to reach the upper floors. Most of the college hostels aren’t also disabled-friendly. Lack of adequate study material for the visually-impaired students, can be considered an issue which needs immediate attention. Making the college campuses 100% barrier-free for the differently-abled candidates will need a lot more work. As a regular DU student, I would say that the university has to ensure that all its candidates get an equal chance and an environment is created that is favourable for each and every student it enrols.
Clay is given its final shape here
In the brief span that I have spent here, I have realised that college is not just another educational institution, but a mammoth citadel of knowledge and growth. What makes college starkly different is that it is here that we gain knowledge that no book has ever given to anyone and it is here that the raw clay in us is given its final shape.
College life for me, ergo, has been about several realisations in life, which I find hard to digest.
College has, of course, made me more mature as I feel a sense of responsibility in managing my time and handling myself well enough. Gates to college have been gates to the professional world, where you have only yourself to fall back on.
College has made me come out of the cocoon as I have begun interacting with people from a variety of cultures. Although I never had preconceived notions about people, even the minutest notions have been dismissed. Everyone is the same, yet everyone has something unique about them, which has left me filled with awe. Staying in hostel with people coming from such diverse backgrounds has brought out the cooperative Tushar in me, about whose existence I did not know. Staying away from home has taught me how to value ‘small’ things in life – parents, extended family, saving money and needless to say, mom’s home-cooked gourmet delights.
Moving from hello to hola
At the midnight stroke of January 1, 2015, I made a promise to myself, to learn as many new things as possible, in the entire year apart despite the heavy load of Board examinations (alas!). Therefore, when I began making notes on all the things that I might try, I realised that learning a new language was something which I really wanted to do. And, the next thing I knew was, that I was standing in the queue to get myself enrolled in Spanish classes.
Why a new language, some of you might ask, like my parents did, and my answer would be: because learning a new language gives you the opportunity to blend yourself in a new culture. Language, like a key to Pandora’s Box is something that helps you decipher the traditions of a new country. As as film director Federico Fellini puts it: “A different language is a different vision of life”. It gives one the freedom to step inside the context and mind of another culture and to embrace it on its true account.
Therefore, with all the bubbling excitement within me, I envisaged my journey on the roads of Spanish language. I might not distinctly remember my first English class, where we all chanted “a,b,c…” like some holy verse, but similarly trying to adapt to the ‘abecedario’ in Spanish did give me a nostalgic blow. And, just like junior classes our first few classes were dedicated to adapt concepts of time, months, days and most importantly the Spanish way of life that is summed up in expressions like ‘siesta’ and ‘fiesta’.
It’s been exactly three weeks in college and two weeks in Spanish classes now. At times it becomes difficult to juggle both, or at others it becomes exhausting.
However, it is the passion to learn something new that inspires me to keep on going and never falter.
Debates, group discussions, MUNs, youth parliaments, editorial club, leadership summits. Yes, this is my school life described in a nutshell. And thus I was described as ‘Being extra active in extra curricular activites’ by my seniors at college.
For someone like me my college has opened a sky to explore with so many societies. Be it the dramatics society, debating society, fashion society or the social service cell etc, all appear to be equally fascinating for me. But the two societies that interested me the most were Enactus and Vyapaar because both of them gave wings to my entrepreneurial dreams.
Enactus on one hand is internationally recognised and more importantly it helps you to do your bit for the society by helping various people to improve their lives through your business ideas. On the other hand Vyapaar - the entrepreneurship cell is a great opportunity for all the budding entrepreneurs to get corporate exposure and learn and develop themselves in this process.
So the journey towards these societies started with their respective orientations in which our seniors introduced us to the seriousness of work they do and told us about the impact these societies have had on their lives.
Next was the registration and brainstorming group discussion sessions on some very interesting topics and personal interviews. The entire process went very smoothly with the sincere efforts of our seniors.
It’s school uniforms versus college fashion
Till about six months ago, I had to polish my shoes, pin up my hair neatly, cut my nails, and wear my uniform in a certain way. A convent school made these things necessary. Starting college for everyone is more exciting, because you can finally wear what you want.
Yes, college gives me the freedom to be myself, but sometimes, I don’t want to make an effort and channelise my persona into what I wear. But, that’s kind of hard when everybody else does.
There is this subtle pattern in college attire - some shop at high-end stores and others at the street shops. Everyone is different, and in college, their clothes are too. Students walk about wearing polo shirts and kurtas, long skirts, and denim shorts. For me it broke the monotony of 13 years of school. Sometimes, it feels nice to have your own personal style and wear what you want without anyone’s permission, but I’m still finding my own style and maybe other freshers are too. To some people having a uniform caused way less stress, and some people rejoice at the idea of wearing what they like. We are all different, in our views, in our appearances, and our clothing, too.