Almost twenty months ago I posted this. Before anything had started, before I knew that these two academic years were going to be the best of my life. Back then, the process of A level admissions was stressful and nerve wracking, because of course, university was something to be thought of in the very distant future. When I look back at it, A level applications had absolutely nothing on uni apps. And I applied to just two places, but I speak for all my friends as well, when I say that the whole process can make one cry.
When I walked into The Lyceum, I knew this was the school I had wanted to go to. What I hadn't expected was a completely different world it was from the convent school where I spent seven years of my life ( and hated, quite honestly, most of them). People whined about how strict the admin was. I marveled at how the teachers were actually approachable ( I was usually in trouble at my old school), how they marked more leniently, how I was seen to be one of the "good students", how my teachers actually liked me, how shocking it was that other students had stories to share of "that time when" they got some teacher kicked out of their job, or how they would blatantly talk back to teachers (we'd get kicked out if we dared talk back to our teachers). I found myself, for the first time, appreciating the insanely high standards set by my convent school teachers.
I met people. Many new people in school and outside school, who did more to shape my experiences of the world than those past seven years ever could. I went in being judgmental, feeling I was "better" than the others, looking for new friends, wanting to prove myself. Two years on, I find myself trying to understand the reasons for why people are a particular way, and not the way I'd like them to be. I found out that being diplomatic is important, that you shouldn't be quick to put people in certain moulds and label them, that things and people are very, very quick to change. That the moment you stop caring what people think/say about you, you'll turn into a much happier, more confident person. I stopped wanting to live in the little bubble where gossiping about other people, being bitchy, judging them would be the only way you could socialize. I became, at the same time, more sensitive and desensitized. I learnt that the only people who I should care about were the ones who would care if I lived or not. I learnt how to say thank you. In other words, I grew up and matured- I'd gone in a child. I know there are people who didn't, who don't share my experiences of the place, but every one of my friends will vouch for how they can relate to at least one of the things I'm speaking of.
I remember how the October '08-January'09 period turned into one of the most bittersweet times of my life. The hurt, the typhoid, the bed rest, the altered brain chemistry, the knowledge that I could live without certain people in my life- I firmly believe the typhoid changed me for the better. And how February 2009 marked a change I thank God for every day. It's the change that allows me to just let things go, let them slide and happen as they want to, as they have to. I met someone who changed my life for the better, has been the one person who was integral to the whole process of my growing up. That person is the only one who can tell anyone how painstaking it was to make me grow up, to shape me into who I am now.
I'm extremely lucky to have made it on to the debating team. I remember my first MUN in school, how I didn't make it on to the team that would be sent to Lahore. How I cried for two days in a row. How my mother tried to explain to me that maybe I just wasn't ready for it- and I actually wasn't. I stuttered. I couldn't hold my own. I lacked confidence. And how in September '09, it was a different story-I actually made it on to the team. The trip to Lahore was one of the best times of my life. If there's one thing I will never forget, it will be that entire experience- there should be a whole post about it, but I wouldn't know where to start. Even Boston, where I was so incredibly homesick, only elicits fond memories in my mind now that I think about it.
I wouldn't know who to thank and where to start. But amongst the people who stand out are my mother, who finally felt it was okay to let me go, that going to "boys' houses" wasn't that big a deal anymore,that I could be trusted to go to another country without her and for her faith that I'm going to do something with my life. My sociology teacher who inspired me to make one of the most important decisions of my life- choosing the college I wanted to attend-, for making sociology fun, for everything she did. That person I mentioned earlier in this post, who literally moulded me. My friends- old friends, new friends, people I met on the trips- everyone who made these two years worth what they are to me now.
After saying all of this, I still don't know what to say.
The Lyceum, you will be sorely missed.