Don’t be scared to step out of your comfort zone
Juhi Negi, a third-year undergraduate student at Ashoka University, writes a letter to her first-year self, asking not to lose heart and have faith in herself
Change can be hard, and when it is limited to a 13-inch screen in front of you, it can be difficult to imagine that there exists a reality beyond it. I know that the pandemic seems never-ending and it feels like you will never have the college experience that you dreamt of, but I promise you that you will. Enjoy the days you are spending now because even this seemingly-permanent drudgery of online school is going to go by so fast.
First-year will make everything seem daunting. I know, it feels like everyone around you except you knows everything and is doing so much, whereas you are constantly questioning every decision you make. You may feel like you don’t belong here, but trust me when I say this—everyone is trying to figure life out, so you are not alone in your struggles. Don’t be scared to step out of your comfort zone. You are here to learn and grow, and adapting to new environments and adapting new perspectives is an integral part of it.
Try to be more confident in class – everyone around you is doing just the same. Do not think that your insights are not strong enough, it is only through listening and questioning that you assimilate, right? You might feel guilty about wasting your time or not working enough but know that it is okay to struggle – building habits takes time and you and the rest of the world are still going through an unprecedented catastrophe.
Don’t be scared to talk to the people around you. It is completely alright to not know enough, as I said before–you are here to learn. Your professors and peers are always there to help. Believe me when I say that reaching out to a professor at Ashoka is going to be one of the most cathartic experiences in your life.
It can be difficult to form a connection and wade through the sea of people online because of the lack of physical presence. Try reaching out and making friends regardless. People are going to come and go, but you will find like-minded people and form friendships that will last. Nurture them—they will be one of the major reasons that you look forward to offline school.
The transition is not something to be afraid of but something to look forward to. Don’t think twice before delving into the things that you love. People, professors, and courses are going to challenge you in so many different ways—let them.
Have faith in yourself and your abilities. It is all going to turn out just fine.
(Juhi Negi is a third-year student of English and Media Studies)