Edited by- Malavika Suresh
If someone told you last year that you’d have to experience your first semester of college online, you’d probably laugh in their face and call them delusional. Fast forward a few months and that delusion has turned into a reality. I can’t imagine spending my first year in front of a screen. I don't have to consider that as I was on campus (not virtually) for my first year and have learnt a considerable amount about this not so tiny university in Sonipat which a lot of people call home, and you will also.
This article is in a way, selfish. I hope to remember Ashoka by writing about some of it’s best parts but in the process of doing so I also hope to help you live vicariously through my words so you wont feel like you're missing out on a whole world. Here are a few things that hopefully will make you nostalgic of a place you’ve never been before. Welcome to Ashoka University.
- Mess Lawns
If you've been to campus for a tour you've probably seen the long stretch of grass which adds a good compliment of colour to the brick red buildings. This plain stretch of land comes to life on a sunny winter day. The clock strikes 1:20 and an influx of people head towards the mess. Hours and hours of lectures will do that to you I guess. A grumbling stomach waiting to be fed. Soon after, the mess lawns are filled with people. Some seem to be sitting in circles playing their hundredth game of cards, or others simply passed out under the sun. (In Ashoka sleeping at night is a foreign concept). The music is personally my favourite part. Coachella on a budget I like to think. The music comes as a result of some event or the other taking place and I doubt anyone's complaining. You may just hear Watermelon Sugar on repeat but if it goes with the vibe, why not? The whole scene of the mess is something out of a movie, it’s very picturesque and you will feel lucky to experience it soon.
- Cold Coffee
I’m lactose intolerant but if you try the cold coffee at every Ashokan’s favourite place you wouldn't care less about how your digestive system would react. The Fuel Zone is a crowd favourite and you’ll know why when you try it. To be honest, I didn't get to try anything from Fuel Zone until my second month there. I was overwhelmed by the crowd that gathered around the counter every time a class would end. Somehow the bhaiya always seemed to know everyone and their orders. When I finally got to trying the cold coffee, I knew why everyone loved it so much. It’s a signature piece. Something you relate to this place you now call home. It becomes routine for many like me to wake up, go to Fuel Zone and say, ‘Bhaiya ek cold coffee, strong, bena chini ke’ ( Bhaiya one cold coffee, strong and without sugar). You may go to GK market in Delhi and order cold coffee that is supposedly world famous but nothing hits like Sandeep bhaiya’s special.
- Ashoka's Emails
I was thrilled when I got an email ID ending with ashoka.edu.in in my first week on campus. It made things official. I was officially a student at Ashoka with the university's name in my email ID. As time went on, the workload increased and so did the emails. I would get hundreds of emails a day. From clubs recruiting members, to professors sending you your grades to someone losing their card and offering you a sandwich if you found it. It became so normalised that even if I got a notification I wouldn't even bother looking at my phone. So if emails are so pestering why would they ignite a sense of nostalgia? Well, during this ‘vacation’ or COVID-19 break I rarely received emails. When I did, I opened them without fail no matter what it was. I guess in someway the emails maintained a sort of connection with the university and you always miss something when it’s gone. This was the case with Ashoka’s favourite form of communication.
- Dorm Rooms
Moving in is 80% stressful and 20% fun. You’re constantly googling ways to set up dorm rooms. So many questions yet there's something mediative about setting up your dorm room. Something so small as putting up posters ignites a sense of control in you so longed to have. After the numerous amounts of videos I had watched on youtube on setting up a dorm room or essentials to take to college, nothing mattered. Since it was just me and my space and I could do what I wanted with it. I long to go back to a space which is mine (well not entirely since I do share it with a roommate) and I hope that you are eager to move in whenever you do.
- Thursday Nights
Ah, the infamous Thursdays at Ashoka. My article would be incomplete if I failed to mention this beauty. Thursdays at Ashoka are something everyone looks forward to. At the end of the academic week and safe to say, everyone wants to party. Parties can mean different things for different people. For some it’s watching a movie on a huge projector in the science block, for others it's going all out and making your dorm room a private club. Whatever may be your cup of tea, Ashoka changes colours on Thursday nights and it'd be a shame if you graduated without experiencing it. Some tips for you, find a group of friends that will drop you back to your room after you’ve exceeded your limit and always buy snacks in advance as the Tuck Shop sees a spike in sales on a Thursday night!
I hope this makes you look forward to a rollercoaster ride you are about to experience and if you did feel some form of nostalgia to a university you are yet to go to, my job is complete.