Replacing apathy with joy

I was an unknowledgeable and unimpassioned person when I entered college. I was not particularly excited — though that argument could have likely been made about anything — and I managed to coast through each day with a misleadingly loud voice and detached countenance. One might expect me to follow up that melancholy introduction with a sentence along the lines of “that all changed one day.” While that might be the more appropriate way to continue my final opinion piece with the Technique, it would be an abject lie. 

Like many of my peers at the newspaper, I too struggled to think of what to say when writing this. Should I write about my experiences as an editor? Should I give readers advice or sort through my regrets from the past four years? That all seemed rather droll. 

As I sorted through my various ponderings, one fact seared itself into the forefront of my mind: I am not at all the same person I was in Fall of 2020. For one, she was a bit of a loser. But more importantly, I have experienced so much growth that I cannot even imagine embodying the person I once was.

I often feel as though my college experience began during my third year. Halfway through the second semester of my second year, I forcibly removed myself from toxic circumstances which had made me feel shame and apprehension to enjoy myself, spend time with my friends and meet new people. I found myself living in the past, stagnated by my life and plagued with constant self-doubt.

I don’t even really regard the first two years of college as part of my experience, though I still hold so many valuable memories with people I love to this day. My growth, however, began after those years, as I threw myself into the things I cared about, stood up for principles and causes that meant the world to me and created a version of myself that I was able to love.

I made time for hobbies; I started reading again and kept up to date with politics, a love I shared with my dad. I was able to keep up with him again intellectually. I found music genres I had never been exposed to, went to concerts and expanded my interests. I increased my involvement with the Technique and began thinking about my future. I even embarked on a journey to decipher my identity. 

For the first time in my life, I felt like I had found myself and I liked the person I had become. Gone was the apathy and moodiness and unhappiness I had come to associate with myself. I imbued myself with positivity, hope and, most importantly, excitement. 

I was excited to see what the future would hold and what iterations of myself I would one day meet. It may have only been two years of unbridled growth, but I would not trade those years for the world (though, if we’re talking money, I could probably be convinced). 

As my chapter at the Institute closes and I move on to the next, all I feel is a sense of bittersweet fulfillment. 

While these four years were filled with ups and downs, I am grateful for every little moment I shared with the people around me, even if I may never see or speak to them again. I am grateful to my friends at the Technique who made every Monday through Wednesday more enjoyable than tiring. 

I am grateful to my friends who stood by me as I ebbed and flowed and stumbled my way through this river of life. I am grateful that the next iteration of Nithya is one that starts law school in the fall and even leaves Georgia for the first time.

Now, here I am, writing this article, smiling with the knowledge that this is the last time I rapidly type my way through an article while listening exclusively to my Radiohead playlist. I laugh a little thinking about how little sense of self I once had, especially compared to today. 

I was an unknowledgeable and unimpassioned person when I entered college. That can never change. However, I leave as a strong-minded, independent and deeply fulfilled individual — and I have never been prouder.