At first glance, my college doesn't even look like a college. It is one measly floor, but for some reason, it has become a second home now. I spend the majority of my day in college. The way my college has molded me in just one year is truly amazing. My choice of picking this college serves as a testament to my good decision making process and skills.
I'm studying in Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts (SSLA) in Pune. Liberal Arts, as a degree, is fairly new in terms of the modern educational system and quite unexplored in India. It's a holistic form of education that does not just focus on your major but allows you to explore different disciplines and subjects you otherwise would not select.
Historically though, Liberal Arts is one of the oldest forms of educations, whose roots can be traced all the way back to the time of Plato and Aristotle.
Adapted to it really well
For me, this kind of curriculum is the best because the fact is that I don’t want to study just one thing. I have wanted to explore different disciplines for a while now. It’s not that I’m confused with what I want to take as a major. I know for a fact that I want to do psychology. But I also want to explore subjects such as philosophy and anthropology.
Liberal Arts is a four-year course. In these four years, there are certain requirements that the college has. I must complete the required hours of community service. I have to finish an internship, and I must complete a seminar paper as well as a dissertation in the fourth year.
These four things are the main criteria in my college. Apart from that, every semester, we have different core subjects that we have to study. They range all the way from subjects such as philosophy and research to maths, science, and law.
All the interest in co-curricular activities
I have always been mediocre at academics. Anyone who knows me will know that extra circular activity is what I thrive in. SSLA offers so many extra-circulars. We have different clubs that we can be a part of. It is through these clubs that we take part in different cultural fests and other college fests. I am a part of a few clubs. I'm an active member of the Music club, karaoke club, and the film club.
Through the music club, I have taken part in many college fests for their music competitions. The karaoke club is for fun, honestly. Club meetings for karaoke happen every Friday, and we all come together to destress and chill after classes.
One of the main extra-curricular activities that I take part in is football. I have been playing football since the second grade. I've represented my school in different tournaments, and I have also played at the national level. So when I realized that SSLA has an active football team, it automatically jumped to my second option when I had to choose a college.
Following my passions
Staying in Pune, which is my home base, actually allowed me to branch out when it comes to football. I play not only for my college but also for a club which was started by my senior from school. I've also taken up the challenge of coaching football. I coach young children from the 3rd to the 10th grade.
With my college team, I have won many tournaments. We practice almost every day at very odd times. Normally you would think that we would practice in the mornings, but we actually practice in the night.
Every time we practice, my captain makes sure I play on the side that faces the road and not the side that is towards the airport. Some of our kicks are so strong that it tends to go towards the airport, and we end up losing a lot of our footballs that way!
We’ve made it a habit to play with the boys’ team. Usually, boys are so arrogant when it comes to sports and playing with girls. But the boys in college are actually so sweet and always like playing with us. They give us opportunities to make plays and improve our game, which has been key to helping us win many tournaments.
The starting at SSLA
People always asked me what made me choose this college. The thing is that I actually got the college I wanted, which was Christ College, Bangalore. It was giving me the subjects I wanted, and for that one week, after I was accepted, I knew I would be going there. But when I went for my interview at SSLA, something changed.
For the interview process at SSLA, it’s the faculty that take your interview. Now because you select your major in the second year, you don’t have a specific faculty who will interview you. I got interviewed by the law faculty.
During the interview, they didn’t even once ask me about my mark sheet. Instead, they were more interested in my extra-circulars and why I wanted to come to this college. In a twist, they even allowed me to ask them some questions. Now, after going through interviews with colleges like Christ, who was only interested in my marks, this was a breath of fresh air.
The turning point
So I took the advantage that I had and asked them many questions about the course and why I should take a four-year course rather than a three-year course. I think it was in the interview where I changed my mind about Christ. I thought to myself that here is a college that is not at all stressed about academics. They are more interested in who I am as a person and what motivates me rather than my marks. This you can say was a turning point for me.
The college campus
We share our campus with Symbiosis Law College. The Law College actually makes up most of the campus. They have the ground, first and second floor. Students at the law college have to wear only black and white when they come to college. So the best way to identify SSLA kids is by looking for color is a sea of black and white! We don't have much restriction when it comes to the uniform. We can wear anything as long as it adheres to the guidelines that the college sets.
Since we are on the third floor there are many of us, I included who take the lift sometimes to get to class on time. It also happens if we’re carrying coffee or food from the cafeteria back up to college. What we SSLA kids bond on the most is the absolute annoyance we feel when a law kid takes the elevator to get to the first floor!!
Many times the elevator will be filled with people from my college, and there will be one or two law kids. The worst thing that can happen is the lift stopping on every floor just for the law kids. For me, it's happened to a point where I have gotten late for a lecture! I learned from then on that the stairs are my friend!
The amazing part about our college is that it's so colorful and personalized. The art club is allowed to paint the walls and change up the decoration in college every year.
Above is just one of the walls painted by the Art Club. They can put their own creative spin on what they want to paint. These paintings and personalized stuff make college feel homely and warm. It's very rare to see a college allowing its students to showcase their creative sides in such a big way.
We have a common area in college where we come to chill or finish up work after classes. The common area also has three beanbags. So we can sleep, eat, work, practice or relax with our friends here. Most of our cultural activities are done in the common area. The music club performs here, the dance club, poetry club, and many more activities take place here.
Great environment for bonding
I think because we are so small for a college, all the students have bonded really well here. We all get along well and can approach each other for almost anything. You can always see the faculty conversing with the students, and it's such an amazing thing. The faculty don't treat us like school children, they know we have to make our own decisions, and they help us move towards the right path.
All our professors are such amazing people, and they really do put in maximum effort to make sure that we are learning to our best. With some of our teachers, you can make out the depth of knowledge they have. The amount they have to dumb down their content so that we can understand it is also quite evident!
All in all, choosing this college for my bachelor's was a very good decision on my part. The friends I have made here are pretty amazing, and I feel like I've properly set into the person I need to become.