These opinions are my own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Peace Corps, Rotary, or any other organization to which I am affiliated.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

They Say College Years are the Best Years of Your Life!

So when I went to undergrad waaaay back in 2001 (it was not that long ago, so be quiet!  But slightly off topic, I did realize my age difference the other day when I was talking to another American student studying here and I asked her if she remembers where she was when 9/11 happened and she told me she was in 3rd grade and I said I was in college…YIKES!), people always told me things like, “Enjoy these years, they will be the best of your life,” or “Take advantage of this experience because there will never be another time like this again.”  And well, I always thought to myself, “man, these people must have really terrible lives because I plan on having the best years of my life every year, in college or out!”  And well, to be quite honest, I have tried to do so.  I have tried to make the best of every stage of my life, no matter how much I did or did not travel, I found something that made it exciting for me because I was determined not to be doomed to the life that these advice givers were suggesting.  Interestingly enough, I completely understand what they meant now that I am back on a college campus, living in a dorm, engaging in debates, staying up all night to study or random chatting, laughing…and sometimes dancing J.  It is refreshing to be back in this setting once again, even though I feel I have had an awesome life after college travelling, learning new cultures, and teaching.  But there is something special about college.  

So much of this experience reminds me of my college years and then one day it dawned on me…”Duh, Aisha, it is your college years, just another go around!”  I will fill you in one example:  Galolympics, I think that is what it was called, was indeed a funny time.  So one of the female dorms planned and organized a mini Olympic-type games event for the other 4 other dorms.  The day started with lots of chanting and marching around campus.  Dorms marched together shouting their dorm names and speaking of its prestige.  The noise reminded me of the divine nine coming out ceremonies, and the crowds of people coming together to hear a “dorm-sing” (Shout out to UVA!!).  I was in my dorm room (I am in a room alone) when I started hearing all of the commotion, I knew that the competition would be happening that morning, but I didn’t expect it at that point.  So I rush to get dressed so I could see all of the day’s events.  My dorm was gone by time I got ready so I ended up following behind the girls’ hall that would be rival to mine.  I didn’t know the exact location for the games, so I figured following them and their noise would indeed lead me in the right direction.  Little did I know that because they were hosting the event, they marched and chanted around much of the campus to bring in more participation.   Once I realized that they were taking what I thought was the long way even though I didn’t know exactly where the main event would be held, I had already walked around most of the campus.  By the time I got there, my dorm was already in place.  No big deal, I was just there to watch and cheer them on, but I would have loved to scream out on the way to the event. 
 Once the games began there were pretty funny events like the “Runaway Bride” and the dance contest.  The runaway bride event consisted of each hall racing to dress up one maiden for a marriage.  Mind you the dorms are separated by gender, so the boys also dressed up a “bride”.  It was quite comical, she needed to be dressed in her sari, hena on her hands, jewelry and any other final touches.  It was all done so fast…less than a minute, so the finished product was pretty funny.  But hey, who cares, MY HALL WON!  There was an egg toss, and some other events that I do not remember.  What stands out most was the dance competition.  There were partners from each dorm represented.  They were given a piece of news paper and challenged to dance within the news paper, but after each round the newspaper was folded leaving less and less space for both dance partners to be able to stand and dance.  There were some pretty creative ways to ensure that both dance partners were on the paper: some people put their partner on their shoulders upright, and others did more interesting things, like put their partners’ legs on their shoulders, but their head was facing the ground… I am not sure I can describe it well, but the pictures say it all!  Haha!

 Though watching the games was pretty funny, the judging turned out to cause some women to go on a rampage to have justice served!   Between the rounds, some partner groups took longer to get their positions together, meaning that some pairs were left holding their partner for quite some time before the music actually started.  My girls was one of the groups who had been holding their partner for quite some time and in the last round after holding the partner for about 6 minutes before the song started, my poor girl was so tired she had to put her partner down and was then disqualified.  One of the halls that took the longest to get their partner in place actually won.  Yeah…not fair.  The girls hosting the event consulted with their dorm warden and decided to redo the last round of the dancing.  This decision was greatly due to some of the strong women from my dorm fighting for a just game!  Sadly after it was announced that the round would be redone, a bunch of guys from the “winning” dorm came and screamed at the girls hosting the event and they decided to just give in to them and let them win.  It was an eyeopener of how much despite the intelligence of the women and their ability to assert themselves in the classroom and in the work place, that there is still a very strong and apparent gender hierarchy even amongst progressive college students.  I expected it outside, but not on campus.  But this is by no means true for all women!  Because a few girls from my hall refused to bow down and continued to fight for justice.  Though their demands were not met, that did not put out their fire.  I would not be surprised to hear that next year’s games will indeed have some clear changes.  The games ended well and one of the guys’ halls ended up winning the overall games.  My dorm won a prize because our entrance and march was overall best. 

It’s a nice touch being on a campus again…even though there are some differences in how the students dress, the music they listen to and the languages they speak amongst themselves, there is still the same spirit that is felt on a college campus at home.  So I am enjoying the time to relive my college years J

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