College is one of the most important milestones in one’s career trajectory- it is your first taste of the “real” world.
College was a very, very forgettable experience for me. Never fitting in. Too afraid to stand out. When blending in was suffocating, I could not wait to get out.
I have noticed boys are more forgiving. Girls can be mean bitches. And when you are in a women’s college; one misstep is all it takes to land yourself in the bottom of the pit, gasping for air.
I visited WCC last week, it was an official visit, from work. Walking into campus caused memories to rise up my throat like bile. The smell of the pine trees, the clearly demarcated cohorts of students. The race up the stairs of the science block, the pungent smell of the laboratories.
And then I spy the girl dressed like an oddball- she is wearing a thin t-shirt and the wrong bra. Her hair is not conditioned; her eyebrows have not been shaped ever. A classmate would eventually show her how using eyeliner would do wonders to her face, yet another would offer her some strawberry lip balm, which would prompt her to buy some of her own. She walks by herself, yawning, because she spent all night unsuccessfully trying to finish Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. She is contemplating if she should skip her Human Genetics class to read what happens next.
Sometimes I wish college had not been so bad. But then I am grateful I had a chance to make all those mistakes before I hit those (they progressively became more troubled) 20’s. And I got wiser in the process.
WCC taught me that it was futile to change things you cannot- and it is wiser to channelize energies in other productive ways.
She gave me teachers I could look up to. And examples of girls I would never want to turn into.
WCC taught me how mere words had the power to crumble a person to dust. It taught me that a pack of women can get more vicious than one made up of wolves. And that it is not necessary at all to be a part of one.
She taught me that letting go was key to being happy. There was nothing to be gained by holding on to angst. And time heals, makes you wiser, and gives you a chance to prove yourself- to yourself, again.
WCC gave me a total of 2 friendships that I will carry to my grave. One of these two fine ladies is kept busy by motherhood. The other, I watched La La Land with today, giggling like mad caps, and eventually lapsing into melancholic silence as the movie concluded.
WCC taught me how transient every detail of life is. Our definitions of success have changed, our dreams are different today, as are our priorities compared to what they were ten years ago.
And when friends I have today reminisce about their college lives, I withdraw into my little shell- not different from the one I used to habit in college. I have a little smile and nod my head, clenching my drink tighter.
Then I catch my reflection’s eye on the mirror, and she gives me a reassuring smile. Undeniably, WCC’s made me what I am today, you’ve got to give her that.