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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Ashoka chapter.

Edited by: Shreya Jain

Everyone tells you that you enter a new world when you walk into college. A different one from your life back home, for sure – but does that make it new?

In my first week at Ashoka, I felt overwhelmed. By life, by people, caught up in the mindset that something has changed, that I had changed as a person. I believed that this change was inevitable. That, one day, I’d look  at my life back home, the girl I was when I left Hyderabad in the rearview as a completely new person- new memories, new qualities, new experiences.

Maybe that’s not how it works, though. Maybe I always will be the girl who  needs her parents to wake her up for class- I need my dad to gently say “Mishu, wake up, or you’ll be late for school” and my mom to turn off the fan, only to give in to my mumbled “Five more minutes…” and quietly shut the door to give me that time before I’m ready to face the day. That encounter has now changed to a phone call, but my parents’ voices remain the first ones I hear every day.

When I get dressed for class, I put on a shirt I bought while street shopping in Mumbai with my cousin sister, and aunts. I remember how my sister’s eyes lit up when I tried it on, how she instantly smiled and said, “Mihika, yeh waala lena college ke liye- bohot cute lag raha hai!” and how my aunts then proceeded to find matching jeans and bargain for everything else I’d liked. I quickly snap a picture, so I can show it to them the next time I visit.

I rush to Fuel Zone to get a Cold Mocha before class, realizing that this wasn’t always my order – one of my friends put me onto it during our school MUN when he tried my coffee, winced, and then laughed, as he said “That’s too bitter- how are you casually sipping it? Here, try this!“, not knowing that I’d be getting his coffee order for the days to come. We aren’t in touch anymore, but I still think of all the memories I made with him fondly.

Walking into the lecture hall, I smile to myself, reminded of all the times we would have guest lecturers at our school, and save seats for our best friends so we could sit together. We’d place pouches, bags, and ID cards on the seats to occupy them, and make countless memories every time we yelled, “Here, I saved you a seat!” While all my friends are now scattered across the globe away at college, we remain just as close.

After classes, at the mess for lunch, I think of how my mother would ask me, “How was your day?, and immediately dial her number. She is still the first person I want to share everything with, be it gossip, class updates, or even how much I miss ghar-waala Rajma Chaawal.

Eating the caramel custard, I remember my grandmother, who would always make caramel custard for me when I visited. I miss the times I’d spent with my cousins, playing & screaming, only to settle down for a yummy bowl of Nani’s caramel custard. To this day, her recipe remains my favorite.

Hanging around in the common room with my friends, playing cards or Monopoly Deal, I think of my young cousin brother, who’d always come up to me with a “Didi, let’s play something!”, and internally swear to play every game he names when I see him again, and cherish those moments.

Passing by the stalls of different clubs at the Atrium, I pause at one that engages with works of art and has a marble painting stall. I take a picture, knowing my best friend back home would love this – she is the most artistic person I know, and would definitely be in her element here.

Grabbing a snack from the vending machine and choosing a cold drink reminds me of my best friend at home. We’d always share our cold drinks and mocktails wherever we went, both of us being unable to finish one, but also enjoying the experience of sharing this with one another. All the times we’ve gossiped and had engaging conversations over a bottle of Thumbs-up run through my mind, and I long to see her again.

Making a papad while studying in my room takes me back to every night at home after dinner, where my brother and I would argue over whose turn it was to make the papads this time- “I put them in the microwave yesterday, so it’s your turn,” he’d always say. As I give him a call, a few of my floor mates walk by, wanting to try some – which makes me feel at home somehow, getting to share this ritual of ours.

Lying around in the football field, I remember how I’d go there back in school to spot my crush then, and talk for a few brief seconds – a conversation I’d then spend hours analyzing with my childhood best friend on the terrace of our apartments. She now stays in a different city but is still the only one who understands my hopeless romantic tendencies and deep conversations.

Walking into club interviews, I still call my dad for some reassurance – he is the only one who knows how to calm my nerves and make me feel at ease before I can do this. Overwhelmed by work, I still call my younger brother, who really is the calm to my storm, who’d get me fruits and water when he noticed I was stressed. And whenever anyone says “Speaker de, let’s play some music,” I think of my friend group back home, and how we’d all sit around and vibe to Bollywood songs. Late enough into the night, my guy friends who claimed they couldn’t dance would bust out a few moves, and then say “Vibe aa rahi thi yaar, I don’t actually dance!” as we laughed together. I cannot wait to be reunited with them all when I go back home.

So, maybe you aren’t meant to emerge from college as a whole new person. What if you’re just meant to be a mosaic of everything you’ve loved? Maybe you’re meant to be a collage of everyone you love, everywhere you’ve been, and every sight you’ve seen, and add more pieces to this version of you as you go along.

I cannot wait to make more such insane memories at Ashoka, and add more pieces to my mosaic as I grow into who I am. Here’s to the people I will now encounter and love, places I will explore, and days I will see – here’s to the next four years!

Mihika is a mental heath advocate, and content writer at Her Campus Ashoka. She is a student at Ashoka University, and is majoring in Psychology with a biology minor. She also engages in volunteering and can be found giving advice to her friends and having engaging conversations at any time of day. In her free time, she enjoys reading, watching romcoms, and listening to music with freshly baked cookies or pasta.