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Act II

So the spring semester has already started. The second sixth of my undergraduate education...

It is sometimes hard to believe how relative time is. And how relative what you learn can be. I learnt more in the last two years of high school than I probably did in all the 10 previous years. After having complete the first semester of my first year in college, I feel the same way again. And it's not only academics.

To start with, I started living in a country and culture totally different from the one I grew up in. The transition was not easy (as if it ought to be!). There were things to worry about and hurdles to cross before I landed up here, and thankfully, with the help of everyone around me, I did end up in the middle of Europe at this wonderful place in Germany that we call IUB. At times, it can be an ass of a place to study at, while other times you sit down and marvel at the picturesque campus and the world class facilities, not to mention the rigorous (too rigorous?) course curriculum. And then there was coping with continental food. I think I did okay in coping with it, and Aramark, the catering company, did an ok job of creating a menu with at least some items in it that I could consider edible. (Not including days when they only serve five different dishes of beef and pork so you have to survive on cheese sandwiches).

Then there was this interesting experience of me running for the student government, getting into a draw with another candidate, publicizing myself and ending up being tried at the student court for violating no-publicity rules. The whole incident was more fun than tragic, as the election committee itself said it was ok while the court said it was not! I missed the opportunity to be among the ten parliamentarians - something that I am now glad of, because I wouldn't have had the time that the job requires. But it was still an opportunity that I missed, along with another big one - the opportunity to represent my university in the European semifinals for the ACM international collegiate programming competition. Due to some error in the online judging system, I ended with no accepted submissions despite having solved five of the seven problems. I was rank two in the local final, but ranks 1, 3 and 4 were selected to represent IUB at Stockholm. I cried that evening. I still remember the Professor applauding when I said "five" - and my name goes up on the board, below the top ranker. Then they check the online page and it says zero. I exclaim - "But I have all the solutions here on my computer."

"That, of course, doesn't mean anything!" -Professor
I did not have an account on the CLAMV (IUB's computing platform) because my lab course hadn't started then. I was asked to use my laptop while everyone else was on the computing cluster. Could that be it? I don't know. In retrospect, it doesn't even matter.

Yes. Nothing matters. While material things like the two incidents described above can appear important at a fleeting glance, what's more important is that you learn from your experiences. Certainly my whining about it is not going to help me, but not whining about it might.

There were opportunities that I grabbed. Like getting a job in a lab, DJ'ing for my own radio show, performing Incubus live before an audience of hundreds, visiting the US, or learning to play the piano.

The roster of experiences doesn't end there. Perhaps the most important of those is having matured mentally and emotionally. I found myself caught in a mire, a hurricane of emotions, at the center of which I stood. I faked calmness. To tell yourself "it's okay" when it's definitely "not okay" means two things - you are either weak and are taking the easier way out, or inhumanely strong to be able to take it all within yourself. Which of these I am, I don't know. But I sure know that I am standing.

I am standing here - before all of the people I know. Hollow from the inside, but still standing. Standing at what Shakespeare would call "The Stage." I'm playing my part; whether I choose to play Antonio with his inexplicable sadness or Gratiano with his nonsensical, yet jubilant behaviour; that remains to be seen.

But one thing I do know. That I have to stay up. I have to keep standing while the show goes on. It has to. This time not for myself, but for the audience that stands before me...

Wish you all the best for the semester!
Just go on, i feel like i am on fire, after the debacle in the last sem :)

Take Care!

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