▪ 2. -I wanted to be rich with friends & Enjoy my ‘campus’ life.
-He proved me to be a misfit. . Knocked down hard by prejudices, & betrayal over and over again.
-I developed very Strong antibody against nasty people. I too realized those teachers were my vaccine to resist a lifetime of nasty people out there. He made me realize how Independent & Strong I truly am.
I too learnt to Appreciate the lovely friends in my life. . Then & henceforth. And always will.
At 19yo, I was a kampung girl, first time living in the big city. Undergraduate at University XYZ. As at that very moment of time, I was emotionally unprepared for the next phase of my life, I inflicted adjustment disorder on myself. I used to sleep a lot.
For the first few months, my life went like this. Fetched from hostel to campus by a bus in the morning, it was either 7 or 8am, I can’t recall exactly. With only 2 hours of lectures per day, spent the remaining time in the library…freezing *brrrr*. I am cold intolerant. My brain froze in that temperature, and I found no success in reading the book(s) I was supposed to. So, I just wasted hours in the library, while awaiting the bus at 6pm. I either slept, or went online and tried to connect to friends and family via emails. What a massive waste of ~8 hours in a day! Not to mention that my demotivation upon reaching home made me hit the sack very very early!
With parents’ consent (as the payment for an entire semester’s stay has been made), after a month or two, I shifted out of that faraway hostel provided by the Uni! Come on…there are condominiums right opposite the University, but they had to rent one a few km away. And having no transport of my own made me dependent on the 2 bus trips per day (1 per way). Rest of the hours, a total waste of time – thanks to me!
I was offered a room by a coursemate, and so I shifted in to the condominium just across the road from XYZ Uni. I started taking my personalized Bus No 11, henceforth 😉
Things improved. I was sleeping lesser, and revising/reading more. I only went to Uni when we had classes.
Little did I know one of my housemate was prejudiced towards me. And when I was left out in activities, when previously I was included in some, I too kept my distance & swallowed the hurt.
There was only 3 of us in the apartment. But many others used to come to hang out there. I even changed my sleeping pattern to doze off from 8pm – 3am, and woke up in that wee hours to study till morning, before class. So as not to be disturbed by the noises. I tolerated a lot…I am generally a tad too nice, and do not belief in fighting!
BUT, when after some time I started to feel like a maid that has to clean after them, my patience was running low. And finally one day, I snapped! It was an ugly fight – have never fought with anyone that way…not even with my sister! :p
Of course, I admit I had my faults that irritated them too, but with lack of communication, when they stop speaking everytime I enter the common room (when I considered one of them as my friend) – that hurt! And it naturally made me wonder if I was the topic of their gossip. I was young and immature, remember?
I hung on for a few months in that house. With 1 person who has sworn to never speak to me again…one who even when accidentally smiled to me, would turn away scornfully, remembering her vow. I must say one of my strength is quick to forgive. A good night’s sleep, after a good cry, if often what it taken. But that doesn’t work in the same way for others. With this particular ex-housemates, it took 3.5 years for her to forgive me. When we were in the final year, we could sit around the same table for a meal, with fellow coursemates. And her sincere message scribbled in my graduation book made me glad that she found a little corner in her heart to forgive me – good for her.
As for the other ex-housemate… I gave up! Hailing from the same hometown, she was worried I will tell tales about her to my hometown buddies, which might tarnish her image. *what the –tuuuuuuuuuuT- *. Talk about being prejudiced.
But what followed was my fallout with 2 people in my batch = A whole group of backbenchers boycotting me. Some of them might have been neutral, but when they belong to a certain clique, they can’t befriend me. The hostility was very palpable.
I moved out after a few months & lived with some juniors for the rest of my pre-clincial years. That was a whole new experience. I befriended more juniors through my housemates. Attended some Buddhism meditation sessions, and Wesak Day parades with either my housemate or my ‘angel’.
From someone who came close to hating & disbelieving in God, I FOUND GOD during those trying years!
I had my fellow middlebencher friends to hang out for lunch or in between classes with.
And then, there was this girl…the one whom I officially label as my ANGEL. It is funny. The fact that we are from the same hometown (but we never knew each other personally before Uni days) wasn’t what bonded us. It was just that she was just there at the right time and place, when I felt very lonely in that house (after that fight) or had some issues and was on the verge of breaking down and felt like I wanted to talk to someone – she used to appear/just be there! Funny, isn’t it? Nothing is accidental. She was God-sent! Above all, she was the person who thought me how to hug. Both to receive & give one.
I was a bit too careful not to get too close or too dependent on anyone. As we ended phase 1 & entered Clinical years, that meant moving. For some, it was an overseas experience, for the rest of us, an adjacent state and our teaching hospital – which happens to be the very hospital that I spent the first 11 days of my life in!!! How symbolic 😉
Though it was mom’s hometown, I didn’t want to trouble my relatives. I used to visit them once in a while, and they have dropped by to visit me and bring delicious home cooked food…
I was offered a room in a house a few kms away from the hospital by the people who were then considered my geng – fellow middle-benchers. The best thing I did was to stick to my principles of not burdening others (I would have been dependent on the other 3 girls for transportation). I took up a room just a few hundred metres away from Hospital & Campus. Olden style British house…and I had the smallest room with attached bathroom. My then housemates were this 3 guys, who were my batchmates too.
I MUST mention that I got myself a second hand bicycle, which serves me for the next 2 & a half years…and even travelled across states with me, for the final semester! Miss my little blue bikey.
If u haven’t already guessed, the 3 girls whom people considered were my geng & I; had a major fallout less than 1 year later. I was just slowly evicted from our routine lunches and occasional dinner outings too. There were other parties involved, as well as jealousy, rumor-mongering, and backstabbing. To put it simply, when the people whom you have learned to TRUST (despite all the trust issues you earlier had) happen to be the same vindictive venomous vipers, what do you do? For me, I TOTALLY gave up on friends!!! After that incident (not another fight, just a confrontation, during which I got no answers but only lies) I learnt to respect and protect myself more & walked away, without any remorse. It would be a shame to me to associate with such people…
This will be hard to believe…but can you imagine a group of people ‘badmouthing’ you right in front of you. I initially though I was just imagining things, but as the rumors started reaching my ears – I knew I wasn’t being hyper sensitive, but just very much attuned.
And I was disgusted with their behavior & even more at the motive, when it finally became cystal clear to me, over time – All that for the drama queen to achieve something? *sick* And I had to be the victim! 😦
That was the time I learnt who my true friends were…not many, I would say. The drama queen and some of the geng who had herd mentality might have ‘won’ in tarnishing my name, but I knew I was the bigger ‘winner’ because I walked away from lowly people.
I was the bigger person. And in learning to forgive each and every one of them, without most of the apologizing for it (except one of them, who tried to atone it to me during the final semester & years later, I would say we are still friends who keep in touch occasionally)…I have come to realize over time that I AM the bigger person.
I sure hope so 🙂
I was seen as a loner, a senior even sounded me once for always roaming on my own & eating alone, in one of the chairs at a resting area in the campus. I just politely smiled, and said nothing because he wasn’t in my shoes. I still had to meet people I would have loved to avoid, even on daily basis, as they were my groupmates.
For me, in my final ~2years of Uni life : I trusted nobody…was courteous and professional to all…and as I truly enjoyed my clinical studies, I focused my heart and sinews into it. Or so, I tried. I was super thankful that I wasn’t housemates with those back-stabbers.
An electives break was a much needed time-off from all the drama & a good change of environment for me. Not like I had much support back home, I was lucky if I wasn’t blamed for all that has happened – I was just seen as a misfit by even people whom I thought best know me. But the change of environment, and meeting new people, even making new friends during my electives postings – BLISS. And I recovered…heart & soul.
After that, back to campus. Life went on…
A bitter pill to swallow everyday. I became pretty much an emotionless zombie-like person as the fact slowly dawned on me, as to why I was ostracized and painted with a black-paint. I only felt disgust at the involved parties!
Sometimes, you had to deal with the very same people because of work matters. Somehow, I pulled through by being courteous, but not friends with ANYONE in my batch, for the remaining years there.
I had friends in some townspeople I met at the temple. And I joined my neighbor aunty for some cooking sessions and Divine Life prayer/ meditation meets. And then, there were family functions and visiting my relatives too. I even was elected to be in a committee for Music Night (a campus event), was an active participant in the first SCHOMOS meet that was organized by my juniors…etc etc.
God gave me all these people to make me realize there were still a lot of good in my life & that the people I once considered my geng weren’t everything – and it wasn’t my loss to walk away.
The final 6 months in a totally different state the the first two…my attitude was pretty much the same. But ties with 2 of the friends who deserted me along with the drama queen et al was ammended during that final 6 months.
I gained some popularity among groupmates during a secondary school group project during our O&G posting – and was praised for being able to talk! Can’t we all? :p
A girl I met at the school, introduced me to her mom’s kitchen (shop, I mean) & so, I had my dose of good Indian meals, mostly on weekends. Or whenever I could find the energy to cycle under the hot sun there, for lunch. What I liked about the 2 aunties who operated the stall is their motherliness! They would serve us students with extra love and care…even up to reserving our favourite dishes on the days they expect us!!
I was voted to contest for the Batch’s Project Committee. Well…it was heartwarming to see my groupmates had enough Faith in me to nominate me to hold some responsibilities. I didn’t get enough votes to make up the main committee, but ended up as a committee member, representing my group.
The most touching incident though, was when a couple-friend in my batch surprised me with a LAMP for my bikey!!! WOW, how thoughful of them…they noticed that I always cycle to and fro classes and hospital. Even during night sessions mostly, I preferred NOT TO rely on others as much as possible. Ate my humble pie on rainy days though. (Once bitten, twice shy)
Otherwise in that little town, there was a temple I frequented weekly. I will always treasure the nursing students I befriended there, during my Friday evening trips to the temple. A few kilometres of cycling would take me to the temple. Yes…alone, and I often came back after nightfall. But I knew that GOD was with me…all along.
Dad’s hometown was 2bus rides away. .a few hours journey. I visited grandparents & relatives there a few time in the short 6 Months’ lifespan there.
And then the Project took place, with a whole big twist – but is one of the most memorable events in my Uni life. Especially the pre-events leading up to the big weekend! Experienced flood for the first time in my life…and that period of time was also one that turned me into a full fledged, published writer *a feather in my cap* 😀
In every town my University had a campus, I had a lake to jog around – as and when I fancied. 😀
What a period of time those 5 years were for me…I have lost many, yet gained many more precious friendships; trusted & been betrayed; etc etc.
During my clinical years. .special mention goes to my ‘school forum’. The bond of sharing one alma mater made some strangers into my brethrens… if not for them, I might have lost it.
And my Uni counsellor who was a good friend of mine. ..met via student coaling group set up… ended up gaining another friend. .one I could confide in & talk to.
End of Flashback #2
P.S: My favourite Quote on Forgiveness remains – “Forgiveness is like the Fragrance a Violet sheds on the Very Feet that Crushed It”. Beautiful, ain’t it? That is EXACTLY how it feels when you have truly forgiven, and learnt to let go of something….anything…!
Lesson Learnt: I learnt that I should never ever let anyone treat me like a pushover! I learnt to protect myself and stand up for myself. .Total Independence – this is where I picked it up! Uni.
I learnt to always put myself in others’ shoes before judging anyone. I learnt that those who smile the most might be the ones who are suffering the most.
I learnt the meaning & power of a HUG – and I learnt to Give & Receive HUGS.
Thank You, my “Life-Teachers”! The worst way I can punish you is via forgiveness, as I free myself from your wrongdoings.
Thanks for teaching me what Not to be! And for making me REALIZE the value of friends and to Appreciate the ones I had back then. .and the ones I had before. .and met after that phase of life.
Thank you to my God sent angels in the Form of genuine-FRIENDS.
You guys made me realize I’m a friend-worthy person afterall. My self esteem (that did erode time & again) was still intact in the end of the day Thanx to you all – BOTH from campus & outside, in the form of townsfolk. I will always treasure you all, though time & space might have separated us far.
Thank you, God. I FOUND YoU during those toughest years! I realized you were always there. .and that I wasn’t all that a bad person. Instead, you only let the Kind ones remain in my life & weeded out the rest. TQ!
▪ Disclaimer: I TOTALLY Believe in LIVING IN THE PRESENT. But these flashbacks are Essential for me at this point of time.
Each of these are ‘soul searching’ walk down the memory lane which I have to embark on to lift the transparent veil clouding my heart and soul lately. .I suspect THIS is the real reason for my insomnia!
The best way for me to unravel myself is through WRITING & you are welcomed to join me on this Flashback Journey.
Not to brood over.. but to learn from!
If I manage to inspire someone, or prevent someone from making the same Mistakes I did. .. Mission Accomplished as a Writer ▪