Each year towards the end of the spring semester, seniors huddle in front of the iconic, immemorial academic block at LUMS. Each year, the academic block witnessed something surreal. Students, having evaded each other’s gaze for a good part of four years, now come together, eye to eye, shoulder to shoulder and look up towards the sky. They want to get a picture taken. The camera man stands and signals on the second floor of the PDC, and almost instantly, the chantings begin. It’s a countdown. Ten…nine…eight…and just like that, the picture fails to capture the nostalgia, the depression, the ecstasy, the gloom and other innumerable feelings that hundreds of people are going through or have gone through, together. These people are all joined in unison by the colour they are celebrating. For the years they went to the same university together, they enjoyed the liberty of not dressing up in uniforms. After all, university is not like school. It is something much more special. These colours – blue, white, yellow, red, green, orange, purple and some more – are uniforms they wish they never wore. For four years, they wanted out. The sleepy 8:00 AMs, the exhausting evening classes and all-consuming stress of examinations and grading instruments: my people thought they would have it better once they leave. No heed is paid to accumulating suggestions from the batches above them repeatedly saying that good-byes are not so exciting once you come closer to them, even if they are beautiful. Why would a freshman, a sophomore or a junior occupy his mind with the end-of-days festivities? It would not make sense. Anticipation cannot do justice to the moment felt in time, and every batch lets that moment come to it at the time it is due. Today, as I look around my peers all dressed in the same colour, much like a uniform, I understand that the time has finally arrived. If you look closer, the eyes reflect a weariness, a gloom that the rest of the body is oblivious to. It has not been stirred just yet. The good-byes are dormant but they will be ceremoniously performed, and that realization is starting to dawn upon everyone.
It’s usually hard to pause for a moment, specially in a life that keeps you revolving from one thing to another, to think about the direction your life is flowing towards. Over the past month, I’ve found this task difficult – the self analysis – and to be honest, I think that sometimes I’d be better without it. However, seeing that my soul consistently runs out of inspiration, it’s only plausible to think back on what you’ve done and to find some solace there.
Solace is something that I ended up far from finding. My past is now a haunting dream, but strangely, as viciously scarred my past might be, it still manages to inspire me. As I ponder over this very thought, I can find links to it in various things around me. Let’s consider Chemistry as an example, the subject that I’m finding to be very pleasing these days. An element has the potential to get oxidized as well to get reduced; however, what might actually happen in reality is relative to each element i.e. some elements tend to get reduced more easily and some tend to get oxidized more easily – yet – they all have the potential to go against their convenience.
And abandoning convenience is not a walk in the park. Most of the students, like me, have a burning desire to attend a good college and pursue what we really are passionate about. However, to achieve that end, we have one way to go by as Hess’ law does not apply here; that way is the way of hardship and struggle, which is quite opposite of what we dream about every now and then.
So what am I enduring right now? I’m enduring the painful experience of recollecting all the dreams that now lie broken like a crippled soul. Those dreams once vented their way into my mind five years ago, and even though they no longer exist, their taste still lingers on and inspires hope and to dream on. I have been forced into taking a gap year, as the only college from where I received a conditional offer, deselected me as I could not fulfill my side of the bargain.
Moreover, I have no friends to talk to in the way I used to back in high school. Everyone, unlike me, is busy with their college work and a newly found life therefore, the quality time we had between ourselves is just nothing more than a really strong memory.
But despite all this, despite all the trauma surrounding me, I can see a glimmer of hope. However, I also see a mountain that I need to climb in order to fully immerse into the goodness beyond it, which I can see only as a glimmer of something. This is perhaps the only thing that is helping me to disobey Newton’s first law – otherwise I would’ve come to halt and remain in that state unless an external, unforeseeable force would’ve acted to liberate me into a dynamic state. There’s this beautiful girl at the Chemistry tuition class too, who I think I pretty much like. But then again, the task is arduous and the time is short. Life can sometimes be very cruel, and we can’t even make an excuse to vindicate ourselves.
Live on, brothers and sisters, and keep taking that difficult path. You only live once and there’s no fun with playing it easy.