Insider's Guide to High School

My World Transformed When I Stepped Onto My New College Campus

Students at Kinnaird College for Women in Lahore, Pakistan gather at the "big tree," a focal point on campus, for academic and social activities. (Arooj Khalid/YJI)
LAHORE, Pakistan – So after all the fun and enjoyment, summer is over. It’s time to pack up your school bags and get prepared to face reality.
Last year I had the honor of being a first-year student at Kinnaird College for Women. Where I live, colleges and universities also offer the last two years of higher secondary school, so I entered college early, instead of my final years of high school.
Fortunately, I got admitted to one of the best colleges – Kinnaird has a reputation for producing students who are quintessential women in almost every way. I didn’t know what it really meant at that time, but I knew whatever it was, it was worth all the hard work I had gone through to get there.
I was exhilarated and excited.  
As I stepped onto the campus, my whole world transformed. It was spacious and green, with red brick buildings here and there.
The vast grounds included a bank, an admin block and clusters of girls wearing tons of mascara and eye liner.
Nevertheless, as I advanced and saw some old faces and many new ones – all of them as confused as I was – I got to know the place better. Days went by and I came to know so much of Kinnaird that I began to love and cherish it. The students, the teachers, the studies, the facilities, they were all so beautiful. It seemed like a dream come true.
Studying, which was supposed to be the hardest part, didn’t seem all that monstrous now. Here is some advice that might work for you if you are going to be a first-year like me.
First year fools

First-year students gathered last October in the Perin Boga Amphitheatre” at Kinnaird College for Women for a welcome party hosted by the college. (Arooj Khalid/YJI)

“Ragging” is quite common on the first day of colleges. It is when senior students sort of bully or prank the new first-years who are already much confused and unfamiliar to the college. It’s usually not harmful, but now even the slightest attempts are being controlled by almost all colleges. Luckily, I didn’t catch the eye of any senior on my first day except one whom I already knew. But many of my friends did. I guess there’s no avoiding it. If a senior catches you, they catch you. The only thing you can do is be cool and friendly because of course, all the friends you can make among the seniors will be useful.

Searching for classes
If you succeeded in making any friends or even come to know a senior student, then your problem finding your way is solved. They will help you find your classes or you will at last reach there together somehow.  Unfortunately I wasn’t good at this. But using my time table and a little help from strangers walking by, I navigated my way to classes. If you can’t find classes on the first day, try to look for a council room or staff rooms. Teachers and council members will probably help you.
Ah, here comes the most important aspect of the day. Food. Where to get it? There should be no problem in locating a place from where everyone emerges happy and chattering with something to eat or drink in their hand. In the first few months of college, I spent a lot of money on food. With a cafeteria that was at least thrice the size of the one in my old school and the amount of delicious and tempting dishes, I had to try them all at least once. But soon I realized it was way better to stick to normal food and not spend every penny on one thing, as you’ll need it for other stuff.
Here comes the most difficult part – making new friends. After leaving your old group of friends behind, it feels as though you will never make new friends or at least as good as the ones you left. It is somewhat true as you can’t possibly prefer someone you’ve never met over someone you’ve known since your childhood. Also, beware of the plastics. But not too much, or you’ll end up judging people.
Somehow, it will happen. You will make friends eventually. Just remember that other first-years are just like you and they need to make friends as well.

Students at Kinnaird College for Women enjoy the nice weather recently. The benches connect Haladia Hall, the basketball court and the post-graduate block. (Arooj Khalid/YJI)

Extend your hand in friendship first if you have to. There is no fun where there are no friends. Of course, everyone will be different, and have different views and approaches. But you know what? I couldn’t have survived this awesome college experience without all the friends I made. And that one girl I didn’t like is now my best friend! Never make the mistake of judging someone by their appearance.  The key is to celebrate your differences. Realize that everyone has a few evils in them, but there are a lot of good parts, too.
According to what everyone told me, studies were going to be more difficult than ever. But to my own surprise, I found classes interesting. I did every assignment happily. Maybe it was due to the sense of responsibility, or the fact that I was now studying the subjects I really wanted to, or I was studying in my dream college. I think the best way to study is to actually take interest in it and in what’s going on in the classroom. Make schedules and manage your work and entertainment. If you don’t like the subjects you chose, there’s usually still time to change them, so go ahead and don’t be afraid. Studying something you don’t want to will only increase your stress.
As I said before, Kinnaird has a reputation and I feared that I would never fit into it. What society perceived as a Kinnaird student was a beautiful young woman who was flawless. She is confident, strong, and at the same time affectionate and understanding, with open views and opinions. Beyond that, she’s modern, wearing elegant clothes, eye makeup like mascara and kajal and two kilos of other makeup – needing none of it  and just too perfect in every way. Trust me when I say it’s not true at all. At  Kinnaird, I realized that such a woman never existed. Students of Kinnaird are quintessential women because they embrace whatever they are. They don’t try to fit themselves into certain types. They enjoy their uniqueness and that of
others. And that is exactly what every person must do and what you must do. Be yourself.
Goals and Self Development
Whatever you do, you must plan your goals. Think about why you are doing this. Setting honest goals will help in almost everything from studies to the development of your personality. I like to keep a collection of motivational and inspirational quotes, pictures, poetry or whatever I come across and go through it once in a while. It works like magic.

If you ask me, this is the most important part of these two years. So much will change and you will experience so many new things. What anyone with brains would do is to sharpen themselves along with it. Work on the areas of yourself that you know you need to improve. These years are the perfect workshop for you to make yourself stronger, sharper and a
better person as a whole. You must have heard that diamonds are produced under pressure, so don’t be afraid of it. Work harder and have faith that you will succeed and achieve your goals.

Arooj Khalid is a Senior Reporter for Youth Journalism International.
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