Newbie No More: Welcome to your Second Year!


Second year of college!
Hey look, I made it!

The month of excited exclamations and dejected sighs has dawned upon us, and it marks an important transition: from the first to the second year. It’s still slightly hard for me to completely digest the fact that it’s already been one year. I’m going to resort to a cliché out of necessity: It only seems like yesterday when I walked into college, hesitant, with too much baggage to fit in my literally small hostel room. College has been a series of pleasant surprises, happy conversations over caffeine, endless assignments (also, over caffeine) and learning how to figure things out for yourself. Perhaps every teacher must make it an honest practice to share this message of great wisdom with the batch that is due to pass out: They don’t spoon feed you in college. You’ll have to make your own choices and nine times of ten, it’s going to be a tough call.

I’ve begun thinking for myself now, stepping out of my comfort zone and taking on tasks I never thought I could see through.
First year to second year is a transition from naïve neophyte to veteran dreamer. In your first year, you’ll find yourself struggling to carve your own space. In your second year, the real struggle will be to retain it – or to find newer spaces (which may very well include new food joints, just saying).

What tops the list of second-year thrills is being a senior. Congratulations, kid, you’ve grown and are now adept at the art of enslaving your juniors so you can coerce them into buying you free iced tea. (No, remember you signed the Anti-Ragging affidavit?) We’ll all probably be able to sympathize with our juniors when we see them for the first time – the initial phases of anxiety, cringing at the vast magnitudes of our hostel rooms (!!!), everyday dilemmas at the café (seriously, I could never figure out whether to go with the sandwiches or noodles) before zeroing in on fixed favorites, making it a point to not be in the immediate bandwidth of a teacher they’ve skillfully warned you against, awkward conversations in the mess and deciding what to wear so you look adequately sassy. But sympathy isn’t enough – go help! Be approachable! Smile at them generously (not too much; you don’t want them to quickly unveil your true identity of a hardcore creep). Donate your old books (or, altruistic soul, get a good bargain for them).

Apart from being infectious carriers of social goodness, try sorting yourself out too. Begin prioritizing (caffeine and alcohol>girlfriend>college assignments). But no, seriously, you can have as many all-nighters as you want to, but you’ve got to keep yourself together. Expectations will keep piling on in quick succession – expectations not only from others, but from yourself as well – and you can’t keep making your ‘But – I don’t give a damn’ face forever. Truth is, you’ve got to start giving a damn. What you do matters. Every choice counts. Second year’s often advocated as the comfy middle phase of college life, and it is, but you’ve got to add enough cushion to your mattress before you can call it truly comfortable. Get credits, internships, new friends (Hey!), talk, analyze, make (in India, preferably), remake, define, redefine – be who you want to be.

Flaunt your aces and sunglasses, and make every bit of college worth it.


– From the archives

By Swastika Jajoo


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