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Open Letter to the Class of 2022

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Whether you got into your dream school or not, whether you’re studying what you wanted or it was parental pressure, I want you to know you are quite lucky to be where you are. Just being in a university for 3-5 years will transform you. Today, we’ll not talk about differences. Today, the debate about school X is better than school Y or one major is cooler than the other is really the last thing that you should be thinking about. You made your decision (or it was just fate) whatever it may be. Wherever you are going and whatever you are studying, I want to tell you that we’re all very proud of you.

We are all waiting for you to become remarkable citizens of the world. We need you more than ever before (we, as in the whole society, fucked up real bad so there’s a lot of fixing that we have to do together). We want you to do magical things with your life, it doesn’t necessarily have to be acknowledged by the system all the time. There are things like leading societies and scoring 4.0s or availing study abroad scholarships that may seem like exciting and a clear goal at the beginning, but be open to new experiences that might not fit into the bracket of academic/career success.

Basic Reminder

/*ye thora generic hai. reminder samajh kar bardasht karlo*/
Fall in love with exploring, make curiosity your best friend. Never ever limit yourself. Take lots of free electives, go off-track. (okay sorry for mentioning this if you’re going to pursue a degree in medicine or engineering) but there’s no harm in taking the risk. Do not tell yourself that you’re going to be *insert some cool profession* and allow yourself to be distracted because even passion is overrated. Keep things fluid. Rigidity will make you redundant before you are out of school.

Always put your mental health first

No one cares about your self-esteem so you must do it for yourself. Your self-esteem will be destroyed over and over again with new experiences, you just need to have the energy and support system to build it every time after it’s shattered. Be okay with burying your old self each new day.

No one will remember your screw-ups

Did you ruin a presentation? or you couldn’t articulate a thought when the instructor asked you something? Or your anxiety made you cry in front of the whole class? These things will be forgotten soon. People are too self-indulgent to remember these things which might be so huge for you but for them it is a minor event that they will probably forget in a day or two. The same is true for rumors. It will become boring in a week so don’t let “log kya kahege” interfere in your life at this golden time.

Do anything except self-destruction

I am not a big fan of amatonormitivity or careers in general, so even if you are a rebel who has decided they won’t marry or do a 9-5 job, just understand life will never be more kind. In a few years, you’ll not be allowed to do the things you can do as a student. The world becomes a lot less unforgiving as you grow up. Even grad school will be half as fun as your undergrad so be stupid, reckless, and amazing. Go with the flow. Enter spaces where there is no one to stop you until someone actually tells you to “get the fuck out of here”.

Adulting came uninvited in everyone’s life

Just like you others will have a hard time taking up all the responsibility that will eventually come their way. Be kind to everyone. Understand we all are fighting something or the other. Their war might be different but the difficulty level will almost be the same. Practice empathy (even during group projects) thora bad scene hona he hai just keep this in mind that you have to understand their battles, you CAN’T fight on their behalf. You must not. Being self-centered is the key. Give your notes generously to anyone, explain, talk about course or life or anything but don’t try to be that champion who ends up consuming themselves in the pursuit of keeping everyone happy.

Forget pleasing the crowd

Don’t do things because they are cool. Trends will probably change before your sweethearts. Do things because you want to, not because they are acknowledged by all. External validation is super important but make sure you are getting it from the right people.

Proactively decide who’s the keeper and who’s not

You might have seen all this “my university friends are snake” memes and a romanticization of school friends over university friends but that’s just a generalization. You will be free to carve out a new experience for yourself. My tiny advice will be to put your friends first. I’m sure you come to university to get a degree with a desirable GPA but is it all you want from life.

University is a social experience

This one time a teacher told me, we are getting all this education to be better understood, to be heard, to be someone who matters enough that the other person is interested in striking a conversation. It all comes down to love. Give love. We all need love more than wisdom or truth or any other value you’ve been prioritizing. A good social experience outside the classroom will teach you more than you can ever learn in a class.

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Written by Ramsha Afaq

I am everything that begins with A. The list begins with artist, anarchist, asocial, asshole, and awesome.