My semester exams are over but I’m not as relieved as I usually am. I’m just beginning to realize that my days as an undergraduate are numbered! Another six months more and yours truly will no longer be an undergraduate. And how do I feel about that? To be honest, I’m not looking forward to it as much as I thought I’d be.
It’s been almost 3 ½ years since I stepped into the Faculty of Science of the University of Colombo for the first time. With nothing but my admission letter and a few other documents in hand, I walked in for registration. I was so excited because I was finally starting uni! I had heard so much about state universities and about the Colombo Science Faculty in particular, but none of it did justice to the actual ‘feel’ of it when I entered the premises. Everything was absolutely new to me – from the buildings to the corridors to the trees to the canteen (and all the seniors gawking at the newcomers) and everything else in between. I remember having butterflies in my stomach and telling my father I didn’t want to go. Today I’ve grown to love this place so much, I don’t want to leave.
My first two years (especially the 1st year!) at uni were very hectic. It was difficult to adjust to the heavy workload at first. There were subjects I wasn’t particularly interested in, but had to do nevertheless. There were days when the only time we got to spend time OUTSIDE our lecture halls was while moving BETWEEN them from one lecture to another. I think we all managed to keep fit with all that running we did to make it to our lectures and practical sessions on time!
Once I got accustomed to the workload I began trying out various activities. I joined a few clubs and started playing tennis. This helped me make friends from different Faculties and that was really nice. There was also a diverse array of events on campus including Bhakthi Gee, Vaani Vizha, Christmas Carols, Stage Dramas, Awurudhu Uthsawaya and Blood Donation Campaigns, just to name a few. Most things you learn from organizing such events are things you can never learn from a text book.
With time I discovered beautiful places on campus out of which my favourite spot, to date, is the benches area. It’s a great place for study sessions, random chats or even to spend some time alone to reflect on things.
My third year marked the beginning of a new chapter for me. My best friend and I had to part ways as we selected different subjects. I started following the Environmental Science Special Degree with 9 other girls with whom I hadn’t previously interacted much. It’s safe to say that this was the time that I actually began to enjoy my academic life! The Department of Zoology and Environment Science became my second family. I loved my subjects. Our course work involved a lot of field components which meant that we got to travel around the country regularly, that too, free of charge! The girl gang became closer with each field visit and today the ten of us are a close knit family.
One semester of my fourth and final year has gone by and I can’t help but notice how fast time flies. It’s true what they say, time flies when you’re having a good time; although a good friend of mine gave a more logical explanation for it one day at the canteen. That’s another thing I love about uni life – the countless number of stimulating conversations I’ve had with friends from different walks of life! Be it along a corridor, inside the library, at the canteen, at the benches area or just on the middle of the road, you are bound to meet someone and then you just stop to chat. I am a very chatty person so some of these conversations can go on for a long time. We’ve covered topics such as Sri Lankan politics, university politics, environmental issues, sports, music, movies, books, love, heartbreaks, first impressions, food, travelling, career goals and the list just goes on!
You’re probably wondering why I decided to take a trip down memory lane in the middle of my fourth year. My mother reckons I should’ve waited till the end of this year. The thing is, I’ve been feeling a little blue thinking about life after uni and this train of thought had to be penned down. The next time I take a look back at my undergraduate years I may have a different view and a different set of stories to share with you.
Who knows, maybe I’ll be so stressed out with my final year research project that I may even be relieved to be done with being an undergrad…. (!?)
A special thank you goes out to my good friends Sahan Siriwardana and Dinith Pathirage for providing me with this beautiful picture of my favourite place on campus! 🙂