This article was submitted to Ergo by Naman Lohiya, who will be starting his second-year at the Gujarat National Law University in June 2016.
Note: This piece of literature (as I would like to call it) might not be the most artistic narration/display of events/emotions, however the content is true and has been entirely based on my experience, and my credibility is something that is subject to question, similar to everything that you are expected to dogmatically follow and are informed about, in a law school.
I entered the university gates holding the same ambitions and expectations as the other hundred and seventy-nine did. I wanted to know everything. I wanted to learn everything. I wanted to experience everything. In no time, I saw myself standing at the hostel gate and hours after I entered the place I’d call home for the upcoming five year, I saw myself trying to untangle and sequentially place the various opinions/ suggestions given (imposed) on us by the ones who have possibly experienced or at least claimed to experience similar dilemmas.
When given audience, they did not hold back and limit their suggestions to survival in the concrete jungle, but they bequeathed their unwanted opinion about people who stayed four rooms down the corridor. They did not only mention the customs but also prophesied the various ‘types’ of people who’d be joining the college with us. Their mere expressions were efficacious to shape our sentiments towards a person.
This was problematic on two fronts.
Firstly, it clouds your opinion and your judgment skills. You have a pre-conceived notion about a person which would probably be with you for the years to come. You decide the amount of importance a person deserves, not entirely depending upon your own thought process, but depending upon a person who delivers it out of his/her experience, while not letting you experience and decide for yourself. In the process, we’d not realize that these imprudent and mindless judgments would probably make us less experienced and informed, which would make us know and learn less. The elements we wanted to gain in the first place.
Secondly, it created groups even before any of us got to know each other. We were categorized, bifurcated in groups and were almost instructed to stay with the people who belonged to the same ‘type’. Even after coming from a boarding school, this is one of the last things I expected to come across in a residential university. Some quickly got over the baseless categorization, some hung on to it and some are stuck right in the middle of it, wanting to break free.
Manmohan Singh once snapped at his media advisor, Sanjay Baru, asking him to tell Mr. Singh what he needs to know, and not what he needs to do. There’s a very thin line which is often blurred, between what needs to be known and what needs to be considered. We can’t attribute this solely to those who shape our opinion; we are also to be blamed for our fragility, allowing their words to easily shape our opinion.
The first year refurbished my belief in knowing people, knowing as many of them as you can. I was briefly influenced by those clouded and narrow-minded judgments, however, that is precisely what strongly reinstated my belief in the notion of breaking these barriers, getting acquainted with the people you’d go on to call friends.
This has been one of the most important takeaways for me from the first year. Don’t let these glibly created fragmentations hamper your process of knowing, learning and experiencing.
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