It’s always hard to make new beginnings and harder to find your niche, but the hardest part is fitting in. But do we always need to fit in? No, it’s okay to stand out.
Going to college was something I’d been looking forward to all my life. Movies and books had painted the perfect picture of college life in my head. I couldn’t wait to start off and have the most amazing time of my life.
But what I failed to realize was that somewhere along the line I had shed my extrovert self and had quite dramatically transformed into an inhibited being.
And lo, began college. On the very first day I entered the classroom with my heart in my mouth. Dazed, I looked around and saw close to three dozen girls with immaculate hair, manicured nails and perfect makeup. A small shudder went down my spine when I thought about my bare face, messy ponytail and sneakers.
Mustering all the courage that I had, I tried to strike a conversation with the girl (who had the air of a super model around her) sitting next to me. She answered my questions quite objectively and didn’t even bother to ask my name. Not wanting to give up, I turned back and tried to chat to the girls sitting behind me. Those girls knew each other from school and were deeply immersed in a conversation. My frail attempts at gab took to the same destiny as before. After a few more miserable ventures I finally gave up.
Going to college changed from something that I looked forward to to the most dreaded thing ever. My plans of making a zillion friends, long drives and midnight chit-chats, all went bust. I tried my level best to not lose my cheer, but with each passing day I ended up being more and more isolated and downhearted.
Eventually, I decided to try my hand at dressing up. I was never a tomboy, but neither was I a feminine goddess. I always had my own hybrid style of dressing up. I started experimenting with lipsticks, mascara, high heels and glitter. Not only did my hardwork yield me no results, but also I ended up bleak and uncomfortable. I continued to remain invisible and lonely.
Slowly, lessons began and I started enjoying poetry, fiction and linguistics. I receded into the world that I knew best, the one of Dickens’ and Shelly’s and bid farewell to my rendezvous with Volumizing Mascaras and Superstay 14hr Lipsticks, that didn’t even last me for two hours.
Then came the first sessional examinations and I poured my heart out in the answer sheets. Never before had I actually enjoyed examinations. Even though I had always been good at academics I was never able to relish my science subjects. I was overjoyed when the results came out, for I had topped my class.
Slowly, people started recognizing and talking to me. There was a strange turn of events and I was earmarked as ‘the nerd’. That was far from my hope of being ‘the cool girl’.
Then one fine day, one of my friends (which accounted to a very tiny number) applied nail polish on my fingernails and asked me to pose for a picture. Accidently, her hand brushed against mine and I loudly exclaimed, ‘Oh no! My nail colour.’ and more than half of the class looked at me and started murmuring. I caught someone saying, ‘Dude, she is like us!’ and I felt elated.
Gradually, I came to realize that my classmates were ordinary people (when you looked beyond their exorbitant makeup and out-of-the-world Instagram posts) who had gone through the chaos and confusions that I had been through before finding their set of friends and finally settling in. Thoughts similar to those I had felt had passed their minds too.
I was finally happy and started making friends among the girls. The very valuable lesson that I’d learnt was that you don’t ever need to strive hard to fit in, because you are the best when you are yourself. Life is much more than matte lipsticks and perfect selfies.