Being a First Year Student
by Awais Tarar
“first year, come here”, this phrase, simple it may seem to you, is scary enough to frighten any new comer. First year is the class where one is exposed to a whole new world and you feel yourself stuck on the very first step of this never-ending ladder ( its end is probably death if I’m not wrong) , new class, new fellows, new way of studying, new campus and especially, you are regarded as new in this old historical institution and you are lost in all the newness imparted to you.
First day, wearing new, clean, pure white overall fells awesome, one imagines oneself sympathetically operating a patient in an operation theatre. This “Good Feeling” quickly buries itself when we are made to wear overall inside out and roll on ground and dance in the anatomy lawn teaching us our first lesson “ never overestimate yourself, there are bigger giants already present”.
We prepare to start ourselves on first gear as we feel we have already miraculously achieved a non-achievable task by entering into Pakistan’s most prestigious institute and need to take a rest but our departments wish to make us work on fourth gear :- substages ,tests and post-test vivas are granted as welcome note and we are left to wonder what lies ahead. First substage seems like a monster who could not be knocked down, cramming each and every word of B.D Chaurasia including distance in centimeters , one structure is from other tiny structure. Everyone is exhausted and scared and yes, sharpens his theta weapon to top substage, the weapon which was used excessively during FSc but they forget unfortunately that this is now KEMU where everyone is destined to drown , atleast once and hardly passing the substage means you have topped it. There are few sensible folks who understand it soon and are thus freed from the anxiety and depression others suffer throughout the session.
First two months are the hardest, a first year student feels himself being constantly targeted by arrows of department’s warnings, threats, tests and bullets of seniors’ ragging, their horrifying description of life at KEMU( never ever fall a prey to these stories, otherwise you won’t survive a day), parents’ constant inquiries “ beta, kaisay din guzar rahay hain” , cousins’ irritating questions” janab, class main kis position par aa rahay ho”, depressors by your roommates and friends “ main nay raat ko Guyton kay 2 chapters kar liye” the time when you put stress on your poor mind to remember you have only read “ Guyton died in a tragic automobile accident in 2003” written in preface, by some ‘people-who-can-do-everything’ constant posts about achievements here and there, staff’s “chai pani demands” , intense homesickness so much so that you start every week marking days which could hopefully turn into holiday if so-and-so event occurs and yes, last but not the least,” when you fight over the cadaver for your turn to dissect it”. It takes complete one year and lots of understanding and patience and use of risorious and zygomaticus muscles to counter these attacks by the weapon of SMILE. Whatever happens, just smile and problem solved!
Everything’s new in first year and it is an experience worth enjoying. One explores a new world, just to mention a few: it is a duty of every first year to take a tour of the mayo hospital, each and every department, take pictures of historical sites, especially Patiala block and its domes which look like a palace to some passionate new first years, roof of physio department, view from form top of ophthalmology department ( flower is not historical but even if you see that picture on your KEMU Batch Group, do like it just to make that person happy). You make new friends, hostel life is the best part of it, first time in life, you meet people very similar to you, everyone is a topper of his or her city and thinks he or she knows everything and summing it up, everyone knows everything and thus, a long debate is ignited which continues till late at night only to be extinguished when they sleep to get up early , otherwise ma’am Zahra would mark them absent and according to her “you need to have a minimum of 100 percent attendance to appear in a substage” :p
Dreaming is at its peak during first year. We have hardly passed our first substage and we dream of becoming a neurosurgeon, cardiologist and psychiatrist and of course, how can I forget, doing steps and landing in United States in a blink of eye. We receive a lot of advice from a lot of people and interestingly, many of us promise all of them to do exactly what they say. And we get very pumped up when teachers, staff and other people call us “Doc. Saab”, uffff, to the extent that ,I still remember, during a physio test , one of the student wrote her name on the top of page as “ Dr. XYZ”. Who poses in front of emergency dept. wearing overall and masks and gloves in first year……? Have a look at the picture…..!
Election campaign for the CRship has its own place in our memories. Candidates fight for it as if they would get the powers of vice chancellor by winning it and their friends leave no stone unturned to elect their friend as if they won’t a survive a day if they lost the elections and CR only learns later on that CR is elected to perform all the tasks which are supposed to be done by administration and is a soft target for all the blame whenever something fails in any event. And our campaign had its own special impact, one candidate Mr. Wajahat had all the campus including the palace-like patialia block decorated with his posters requesting all the delegates and visitors to please vote for him as CR for first year if they happen to be there on that day while Mr. Hamza campaigned with his actions being louder than words.
Hamza won comfortably while GR election was very tough, thus proving that they took it more seriously, as girls usually do on petty matters e.g. solving the water issue in hostel, promising to resolve attendance issues etc. just to mention a few promises. However, hamza was really good in the beginning, then boys lost him. Sometimes we actually had a feeling “ we have got two GR’s and no CR.”( sorry hamza, plz don’t take it to heart). CR’s only benefit that could be considered , many boys feel it, that he gets the free permission to talk to girls whenever he wishes to. And that is a big benefit and you’ll feel it if you were a candidate and lost it.
Things start to normalize after February. We are fully adjusted in university, warnings and threats fall on deaf ears, we get to know the real value of a substage, we learn to pass a test without actually preparing it and festivals and events start. Sports week, theme day, colour day, stalls, class function, trips finally make us feel we are studying in a university, not school.
On the theme day, with our theme being “all around the world”, people from different parts of the world gathered in Patiala ground to honour our university such as cowboys, Arabian sheikhs, Egyptian pharaohs, dehatis, African junglis, Chinese ladies with fans in hand as well, gilgitians in their traditional dresses, European stylos and so many others while on colour day, we were all dressed in yellow. Stalls were prepared and many people worked day and night to succeed in making the best stalls, going as far as FAST university to get the ideas and things(Mian Saab, do you remember! ). Another advantage of being a first year student is that you can do whatever you want because you are considered a kid. Is there any senior who can come to colour day dressed like a baby, even I won’t do it now but we did it in first year….!
In the beginning, we wished for holidays but then holidays were considered normal days. Almost every week has got one event waiting for us, societies wake up from deep slumbers, we are provided with much entertainment and work if you are willing to work, to the extent that class is divided into two groups: people who are seen in lecture theatres only and people who are never seen there but on stages and screens doing things only few people understand( again I am tempted to mention mian umair saab for details).
And first year wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the demo-boy, farhan. While he had his own way and reasons, nobody ever described the feelings of other boys who were not demo-boy. Imagine a situation and especially envy and jealousy in a boy’s eyes when a group of pretty girls comes to him and instead of saying something to him, asks “ do you know where is farhan? We wanna get a demo on leg muscles”. That poor boy is literally drowned in a cup of water and regrets he should have read B.D. Chaurasia last night instead of watching a movie!
Well traversing through the months of newness, adjustment, studies, relaxation and then enjoyment and entertainment, we finally arrive at the prof. season, the biggest nightmare if you are serious about it and even if you are not. It swallowed our summer vacations, both eids and was really too long. The season started with our summer vacations in july and ended on 20th November and worst part of it is that even if you pretend you are not taking any tension about it, you still feel it somewhere at the back of your head and to put oil on fire, Syed Ahmed’s constant and immense depressors on our online prof. common room , this man needs to be caught and beaten severely for this act but then of course all the gratitude and credit goes to him who worked really hard to keep us updated and informed about prof. and to all those who worked with him.
Anatomy paper was the first and the hardest one and everyone went beyond his limits to prepare it and fortunately, it wasn’t that difficult but still, one gets really irritated when one sees a question of 10 marks like this “ define and explain transverse and oblique pericardial sinus?” when this topic has only got 2 or 3 lines in department’s standard book “KLM” and you didn’t pay heed to it considering it to be a very minor topic. Well that’s how things work in K.E. , seniors were right after all. Dressing up nicely like we never did before, staying up all the night before viva, taking coffee each night to keep the orbicularis oculi from shutting and asking your mother to stay on jai-namaz round the clock, we did actually reach 20thNovember and prof. finally ended. Some were freed on 16th nov and only they know what it feels like to be as light as air when your mates are as heavy as rhinoceros. I was one of those lucky ones, thanks to my name which starts with alphabet ‘A’.
As it happens, we had planned to take the world head on once we are done with this prof. but then, we had nothing special to do after that. Days passed normally. We are in second year and are glad to have ascended first step but there is something missing , something like newness. There is nothing new left, 2nd year seems like an action replay in slow motion as we are not that passionate and enthusiastic as we were last year.
Feelings of being a first year student packed up its things and left the day our ears heard the words “ bhai jaan” or “Bhaji” , when we were questioned as if we are boss here and know everything. Yes, these were our new first years, on whom we could lay our hands whenever we wish to. And announcement of prof. result, the last missing piece in our first year picture. I wonder why people start crying minutes before its announcement. People shouted, yelled with gaiety when it was announced. Thanks to Allah, almost all of us passed, our sympathies are with those who couldn’t somehow pass it, you will inshallah pass it and it’s a long way to go, don’t worry. We were officially declared “2nd year” and one year at KE is gone, with many years still to go. May Allah make our every year as good as this year. And of course, our result was hanged till death because it was too good to be true…..!