As we reach the twilight of our college lives, one can’t help but look back at the path that led up to the present. To some, it may have been a happy one filled with memories of joy and enriching experiences. To others (many, I suspect), it might have been one filled with travails of all sorts. In the end though, one question persists. ‘Was it all worth it?’
One recent experience that really made me ponder was when I spoke to an old school friend of mine. Despite the fact that I’ve known her for a really long time, the way in which I regarded the conversation differed greatly from the time I knew her in school. Why was this the case? I realized that I’ve greatly changed as a person over the course of the last four years. While I cannot definitively pin it down to solely as a result of college, it nevertheless must have played a significant part. The past four years haven’t fundamentally changed me as a person, but have definitely imbibed a few values that I hope to keep with me for the rest of my life.
As a grizzled old veteran (or so to speak), what have been my biggest takeaways from the past four years here? Firstly, the people around have been an amazing bunch. Granted, it’s a cliché that’s been done to the death. Nevertheless, it’s the truth. I’ve learned an innumerable amount from the people around me. Moreover, there’s something to learn from everybody. Almost every single person around has a quality that’s admirable and worthy of emulation. The sheer diversity of the demographic here automatically means that the people around have been through a wide variety of experiences, both positive and negative. That alone means that there’s so much to observe and learn from. I’ve been lucky to be around such a diverse set. In this aspect, Feeds has significantly helped me. I’ve come to know people from no less than five batches on a personal basis. To be able to view things from so many perspectives has truly been an enriching experience.
Secondly and more personal to me is this philosophy that I’ve embraced after entering college. It’s to never stop learning or developing myself. Not a single day must be wasted. As an extension to that, there’s always room for improvement, no matter how good one is at something. There’s always someone better at something than you, be it a senior, a batch-mate or a junior. Every night, I hope to fall asleep every night having learned something new or having become more adept at a certain skill. Why would I write this here? It’s because I fully decided to embrace it only after moving into college by myself, away from my parents. I’ll admit, I haven’t always been successful in implementing this to my daily life. Still, it’s something that I actively keep in mind nowadays and hopefully for the rest of my life.
It hasn’t been a perfect paradise. There are mistakes that I’ve made, things that I would have approached in a different manner. Or maybe it’s just hindsight bias that’s speaking. Whatever it is, I can claim one thing with certainty. It really has been worth it all.
– Vignesh Ramanathan