Being a fresher isn’t easy. You’re thrown from one institution of education to another – one that is even more intimidating and daunting. I had heard that universities were dismal cavernous structures filled with frenzied students who walked from lecture halls to libraries – reading books and sipping cappuccinos, in the hope that some day they would understand why they were doing what they were doing.
Then I walked into the University of Edinburgh.
During Fresher’s week, I made a lot of friends. Most of them were international students, just like me. It was easier to mingle with them as we all felt we understood each other. Coming to a massive university which has more than 30,000 students is not an easy change for anyone – let alone students who have come from different parts of the world; students who, in addition to getting used to their new life, also have to get accustomed to a country which is culturally different. The fact that the institution is highly ranked and respected and that the lecturers and professors are amongst the top echelon of academics makes the first few weeks even more daunting. It’s easy to feel small and lost – it’s easy to breakdown and miss home.
But I didn’t experience any of it. I didn’t feel small or lost, nor did I feel left out. The only thing I felt was free – I felt independent. I was a bird who had left his nest, and was now soaring majestically in the sky – above and beyond.
Today, it’s been three months since I moved in here. But I am still not homesick, in spite of the fact that most of my friends are. Yes, I’ve kept in touch with my parents and friends – I talk to them nearly every other day.
So is that why I don’t feel homesick? Or is there some other reason?
I went for a walk today – with hot chocolate in one hand and a newspaper in the other. I walked for half an hour with no particular destination in mind; and during this very walk, I realised why I haven’t felt homesick yet:
I haven’t had time to feel homesick. I’ve kept myself so busy, that I’ve had no time at all to even think about being homesick (until now, of course).
Maybe that’s my coping mechanism towards change – and if it is, then it’s a pretty good one.
In three months time, I’ve written three photojournalistic pieces for The Student – UK’s oldest student paper, and have done photography for more than six of their issues. I have represented University of Edinburgh at Oxford International Model UN, and I’m going to represent it at Cambridge International, London International and Harvard World MUN.
Apart from that, I’m also the International Students’ Representative to the Academic Standing Committee of the Edinburgh University Student’s Association (EUSA).
All of this and studies, has rendered my mind catatonic towards thoughts of homesickness.
In hindsight, I don’t know if it’s a good thing – people keep saying burying feelings is not a good thing. But what if doing the very same thing makes your life better? What if your coping mechanism is good for you (and your CV)?