Free Spirit: I Embrace University’s Individuality Socially and Academically


I wrote my last post on protesting against university’s herd mentality which exists but I think in the post I have neglected the ways in which a university degree have allowed me to fulfill my existence. I explain to you in what ways university has made me rather free and brewed my individuality.

I have always valued the role a professor and a teacher can play in my life. The way they personalize the content makes it easier in understanding dense material. I would never pick up books, know intellectual personalities or learn to question everything the way I do without having the seminar classes that I had the opportunity to take in my upper years. I have felt my professor is my knowledge frequently. The way they encourage us to participate in class even when thoughts are underdeveloped and pre-mature. Professors are light to a darkroom equipped with books but where one would lack any capacity to read and grasp multiple point of views otherwise. I think what I can appreciate the most about professors is allowing students like myself to understand the material at my own pace. Your not called out to be wrong. If anything we dig into the arguments and narratives in so many angles that at the end of it, I think through classes, and office hours we pretty much dissect through the material in detail as much as possible. All that time spent with them I can’t help but feel that it has been an honor to be taught by Ivy graduated professors at my university. They’ve touched my life personally in so many ways. I, honestly thank them for their devotion. Their attention has allowed me to keep going, especially when I hit a rough patch in life outside of class. Knowing that I have a personal obligation to show up and be prepared means I have got to put emotional stuff aside and keep going. Professors in my life for the past four years have been a primary motivating force to keep going.

Furthermore, I think the people in my class definitely make the class or well break it at times. This has been a mixed experience. Its definitely not been rainbows and sunshine. I found my opinion to be a minority and often against the consensus. I found this to be disturbing at times and I have felt excluded. But I will say even in the worst of it, its been a growing experience. I have built a strong foundation upon which my opinions are based. I have learnt to listen to the other side with greater attention. Where exactly are they coming from and how do they contradict, or oppose my opinion? What are the arguments being presented? To move forward, I need to listen to the other side. It has only enriched my understanding of the different topics that I have studied in class. I’m honestly not trying to gloss this over and be a bigger person. At the end of it, I have become tolerant, patient and more self-determined to keep going. Socially, this is not always great. Some people come to respect you and will talk to you just fine. While others will giggle, and make eye contact with each other as if no one can see them but you –  I mean I just keep going basing my opinion on rational, and logical grounds. Partly what makes up my arguments is my own personal belief on how society must be viewed. My mentality is that, no man or women must be left behind. I am not allow others to fall through the cracks at the expense of my success. We should do our best to move forward and progress as a society. We are for each other first, then everything after. Despite feeling a little like an outcast in class, I feel rather a people oriented person frankly. My experience with classmates only prove this further. And besides I am not good at hating people anyways.

Moreover, the opportunities outside of class are abundant. Conferences, speakers and overall community-oriented spirit that my university has is impressive. My university is such a spirited place. Everybody has purchased university clothing and wears it. I have it too! I have been pretty involved for last two years. It has been an excellent opportunity and really a privilege. I went from being transferee student, not living ever on residence and moving to a 1 bedroom loft to being involved in various clubs and more occupied then 24 hours clock would allow. I almost never had free time on hand but even then I still managed to keep up with classes. And that’s coming from someone who thinks of herself to be a little slow. I have to put 190% effort to get a mark close to what I want.  Moving to the type of intellectuals that come by: Ignatieff, Chris Hedges, Naomi Klein, Jennifer Welsh, and Jeffery Simpson are some names who have dropped at my university. I have been here. After each talk I have felt damn I’m so glad I was here!

On the other hand socially I’ll be honest that days like St.Patty’s and homecoming are days I usually runaway from campus. Every year I have found a way to avoid. The idea of wearing green and intoxicating yourself just doesn’t seem like a fun time to me. I love meeting people but prefer conversation over particular topics, as oppose to sex and love – which you can imagine is a popular topic around campus. Don’t we have the rest of our lives to experiment with cute boys and if honestly anything dating in university is sort of like mixing drugs with drinking – its just acid and not good for you. And you know what considering I have not ever felt compelled to drink alcohol and have sex, my individuality has only strengthened. My curiosity in my Pakistani culture has only risen. The link to my national  roots and Islamic faith have been revitalized and affirmed. And I don’t think this would have happened if I was not exposed to this culture of partying and drinking. Its not that I don’t party – as  a matter fact I think dancing and dressing up can be so much fun at times. But point is I go dancing with my girlfriends when I want to and not because I am compelled to fit in. Going to university and living on my own I have learnt to define my own boundaries and values that I want to pursue in my life. I don’t think I could have done it without being around this culture.

So at the end of the day, I would not have skipped out on university at any cost. I’ll be the first to admit that I have felt lost but then I have found myself.  I have gone through this process not once but what feels like a million times. University then have allowed me to figure out my interests, and passion in life. University has given me direction. University has led me to recreate and give a new meaning to my life. Ultimately, as I move forward into my adulthood into my 20’s it is true that university has given me a new life. I am a free spirit because I had a chance to attend university.


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