Unless you’re part of the 1% or less of this campus population that lives in Goa, you probably made the tough decision of choosing a campus life away from home. Tough, mainly because your parents, well wishers and sometimes not-so-well-wishers would have alerted you about the difficulties of staying far from parents and managing life on your own. You notice a few changes immediately, but it’s only when one returns home that they realise how much truly has changed. Whether one blends completely into the mould of a typical college student, or manages to retain those hard-wired habits from home, the quirks of college life are hard to miss. Here are some of the most conspicuous changes.

Sleep Schedule

Indian dads, who have treated “waking up early followed by jogging” as the ultimate cure for all ailments, go into utter shock when they see us during semester-breaks. Needless to say, our family tries their best to fix (or unfix) our sleep schedules during break. However this doesn’t mean everyone is a night owl at BITS. There is always that ghot with the dreams of verti in his or her eyes, whose lights will be dimmed by 10:30 pm. Most of us will see that early riser with toothbrush and bucket in their hand walking towards bathroom when the thought of going to bed has not even crossed our heads. Credits to the so called “zero percent attendance policy” of BITS, many are treating those 8am tutorials and 9am lectures from their timetable as non-existent.

Proximity

Back at home, whether it was school, sports, parties, etc., reaching all of them required some or the other means of transport. It is not so in BPGC, because … we aren’t allowed to use any means of transport on campus (just kidding). B-Dome, SAC and all the eateries are at walking distance except for D side folks.  Another underrated benefit is the hostels housing hundreds of students, this might be a nightmare for introverts but it does provide a great platform to meet people who were out of one’s social reach back at home. Unlike Hyderabad Campus, which is a preferred location of students from the south and Pilani Campus, which is situated in the north, our campus hosts a good amount of regional diversity.  Contrary to a monotonous lifestyle we have been living at our home since childhood, hostel gives the taste of extrema of lifestyles when you visit a north Indian’s room and a south Indian’s room, sometimes next to one another. You will find that budget conscious lad who washes clothes every day to save laundry money and that rich (or reckless) dude who buys all department and club T-shirts (including those imaginary Waves T-shirts) just to make those PR drive volunteers feel that they have some purpose.

Chores

As clichéd as it might sound, hostel life makes us an adult. When you go back to home during vacations your mom probably still does your laundry, cleans your room and changes your bed sheet (hold that laughter, please). Living like a human by making efforts of carrying out the chores on your own or living like a stinking ape in dirty bed sheets with sweaty clothes (thanks to Goa’s humidity for amplifying this problem), the choice is yours.

Washing clothes on one’s own is undoubtedly the toughest job and requires the dedication level of a nine pointer, the most common escape from which is power (not gym, but the laundry). Just like the “no cycles on campus” issue, there is no logical answer to the “no washing machines on campus” issue.

Food

The frequency with which we reinvent ourselves to get special items in mess tells how much we crave good food. It is difficult to tell if the mess food is nutritional enough, but it surely doesn’t satisfy our taste buds. It is natural that many of us get bored of campus eateries very soon. Some of us didn’t like those eateries in the first place, remember the time you ordered cheese maggi and ended up with a cheese slice on maggi? Also try to recall when you used to get bored from the food at home. The monotonicity of that boring food now appears to be consistency. Eating Dominos’ pizza on the footpath, cheese naan at Red Chilli and some expensive and time consuming trips to not so near restaurants are things which keeps us going through the semester. Sooner or later, all of us start missing home-cooked food. At some point of time, many of us desired the freedom to eat whatever and whenever we wanted. It is only here where we get a better insight into that superficial desire.

Freedom

The newfound freedom can be overwhelming. Those having conservative and controlling parents finally get to move out of their home and enjoy a vibrant social life. On the contrary, introverts get the freedom to stay in their room without being forced to go out and get intimidated by social animals. A foodie gets his or her taste of freedom through those 2AM NC visits and those who take the freedom too seriously get to visit another form of NC. It takes quite a long time to see literally the cost of freedom. All of us had that phone call with parents at the end of first month where we explain the high expenditure. What makes this freedom overwhelming is the exposure to an entirely new set of ideas and people. It is tempting to move out of the shell and start exploring ourselves. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this temptation but the turmoil begins when the balance between responsibility and enthusiasm gets disturbed. Our teenage years were playground, with parents and teachers being always there to look out for us. The life here is also a playground, but swings are scarier, slides are longer and hence the falls are relatively dangerous.

In a nutshell, college was seen by most of us as the premium version of the teenager app, but it is merely the beta version of the adult app. The challenges grow, the responsibilities grow – but simultaneously, the opportunities to explore and do whatever you always wanted to, also increase. Slowly, it’ll be time to head back for the next semester and get used to college life again, complete with its pressure, absurd schedules and the constant hunt for satisfactory food.