I see most of my classmates once a week, for a span of three hours. That's it.Three hours, when we're trying so hard to get our head around ideas, to learn, absorb, assess and impress. The moment it stikes four, everyone disappears, only to reappear the next week looking their calm, perfect and collected selves! So much so that in the first few weeks of class, I wondered if we would ever be more than just classmates, if we'd ever open up and get to know each other as individuals and whether it was only me who seemed to be uncertain about so many things. It didn't help that my friends on other programmes in the same department seemed to be hanging out with their classmates after class, going for meals, concerts and sharing a great sense of camraderie.
But the moment came. It was on a bleak morning when we were supposed to hand in our first formal assignments, when I walked into the library, and found myself surrounded by familiar faces. The only difference being that this time, I saw sleep deprived individuals, who had simply put on clothes and dragged themselves to college, pushing themselves to read their essays one last time, people united by the desire to make one last ditch effort to save their essays and to use a very Asian term, to save face. We waited while people edited, proof-read and printed and then walked together to our department to hand it in. It took less than two minutes for the deed to be done...but I'm glad we did it together. Because it those few minutes of shared anxiety that forged a sense of camraderie. I now feel at home!