On Monday, I walked out of my college for the last time.
I had been imagining that day for quite a few weeks. I had thought about what I would say, what I would do, and even at what point I would not be able to stop myself from crying. It was the day when everything would end. When I would ‘graduate’, leave an all girls’ environment, and bid goodbye to those red walls and green lawns. Yes, I had a lot of expectations about this Monday.
When the day finally came, I went to college, reminisced some moments with my friends in the morning, and sat down in my classroom for the LAST paper of my undergrad life. Time flew by quickly, and before I knew it, the 10-minute bell rang. This is it, I thought to myself. In 10 minutes, my life would change.
4,3,2,1.. ‘Stop writing’.
It was over.
As I walked out of the examination room, I felt… well nothing. No nostalgia. No weight being lifted. Nothing at all. I hugged my friends, shared wishes, and even shed a tear or two, but I did not feel anything different. What was wrong with me?
I came home and stood in front of the mirror. I looked the same, sounded the same, felt the same. What had changed? Nothing. And yet, everything.
I had changed.
From ‘Feminists? You don’t find those kind of girls in my department’, to ‘I think I agree with the concept of feminism, but I don’t think I’ll ever call myself a feminist’, to ‘There is one thing I can’t compromise on. Feminism.’ I had changed.
From the person who cried when she submitted her National Service Scheme form, to the person who can’t imagine a life without helping others, I had changed.
From the person who believed that she was the smartest girl in the room, to the person who marvels at the brilliance of the people around her, I had changed.
From the girl who entered a Women’s college with a lot of scepticism, to a woman who would have it no other way, I had changed.
I think Dramsoc summarised it perfectly when they said –
‘I have seen a lot of changes in the past three years. Good or bad, I don’t know. But the world seems new. I never questioned anything. My eyes were open, and yet closed. Jokes were jokes and concepts never mattered. But when I came here, I began to see things, question things. And now, I can’t unsee.’
Yes, I have changed. A lot.
While some might tell you that the magic of LSR is a myth, that it’s nothing but a bureaucratic setting which gives no voice to opposition, others will tell you that the magic is not in the institute but in its people. While some can’t wait for it to end, others struggle at even the thought of leaving.
You know what I think? I think that there is some magic in LSR. There has to be. How else can you explain the fact that at the end of the day, these not so like-minded people can sit together for a cup of coffee and spend hours arguing, fighting, laughing, and loving? I don’t know if the magic is in the walls, the lawns, the people, or the air. I just know that I am an ELSA. And that’s all that matters.