A Social Life That Includes Friends And Dating – Ayushi Gupta, XLRI Jamshedpur

“Your social circle determines your net worth.” – Robin Sharma

First day of college, and the first interaction – Hi. Where are you from? What background? Engineer or non-engineer? Are you a fresher or not? …the bombardment of questions generally goes on for another 10-15 minutes, and that too by only one individual, and the same ritual is followed by every other person you meet on campus, be it a senior or your own batch mate. This goes on for the next few days in an attempt to acquaint yourself with the new, exciting and a little intimidating environment.

When we are all get-set-go to start a b-school, there are butterflies in our stomach – for a new life which is awaiting us. We are full of confidence and new possibilities – firstly, being able to get admission in a prestigious b-school is something big and to be proud of (trust me, it is :p), and secondly, it is probably the last time for most of us to experiment and do something new with our lives; a clean slate to start with. But little do we realize that, though all of us come with amazing academics and intellect, when we enter the so-called level playing field, the differences are lit up like stars in the night! There is so much different in each and every one of us, that to find similarities and yet simultaneously cope up with those differences is what ultimately defines our social life.

Before coming here at XLRI, I was told: “you won’t make friends here, there are only acquaintances, and ultimately it’s all about the competition”. I had thought to myself that it’s all exaggerated and that it would be easy to cope up with everything. Little did I know that I was soon to be proven wrong and woken up from my sweet slumber. But if left to you, do you think it is true, Patthar ki lakeer type true? At least I don’t think so, not 100 percent at least.

We get to experience so much diversity in a b-school, both cultural and linguistic and diversity of opinions and attitudes, that social life takes an entirely different meaning here. You may become best of friends with a Tamilian, being a Punjabi yourself, and every time your friends talk in their native language, you just might think to yourself
“I know you are cursing me, I’ll also take revenge someday”. But since you are helpless and have no clue about what alien words are being spoken, you just beg your friends to talk in English and give you a sneak-peak into the conversation (generally it is just something to annoy you, over which they have a hearty laugh :/).

I saw two different types of social groups here – one which is need-based; need for acceptance, need for inclusion, need for achievement, need for power, and take every other possible need which you will stumble upon while studying OB. The second one, which is the most difficult and rare, is compatibility-based; the type of compatibility we had and still have with our school and graduation friends, the type of compatibility which would not go away even if those friends are separated by geography or lack of time.

Dear friends, the second category is very precious here, and to find even one friend who fits that category should not be let go of for any “need”, as it is that friend which is going to be with you through all the turbulence of a b-school, and trust me, they are endless. From working in class groups, completing endless assignments, torturous committee selections, going through the heartache and ecstatic joy of placements, to the endless kaleidoscope of all other events and activities, it might become a little lonely, as it all gets to you – the pressure, the competition, the thirst to prove your mettle, the chaos, the will to survive, everything. And during all this, the one answer which we get for every problem faced and every confusion is – “Welcome to a b-school”. It feels nice to have someone at that point to say, “It’s all ok”.

“Social life” – everyone craves for it, even the introverted introverts. Friends are very important, as we all agree, but what about that special someone, with whom you may just happen to cross paths with and share a parantha at the campus dhaba? I don’t know about you, but I came with a mindset that no matter what, dating is a waste of time and that is something for which I don’t have time for. And I think that majority of us come here with the same mindset – to study and to achieve. But I now believe that this concept was a little flawed. You can study and achieve all you want, but if you find someone here, that special someone, stay close to that person (the probability of finding that person is well, based on your luck :p). It is all very stressful, friends are not constant initially, your social circle keeps on changing almost every 2 months, there is no stability and neither is there any time to have a good heart-to-heart talk with your friends and family. Amongst all this emotional turmoil, that one constant keeps you sane, and you sail through happily.

However, it is not necessary that that constant has to be your partner (seriously, I still believe that a best friend is better :p). But then ultimately, it is all about the connect. MBA is an experience for life. At a b-school, you are tested to limits you didn’t even know existed, and amongst all that, you make an effort to find yourself. You become open to possibilities and try to accept the randomness. In that journey, social life plays a very important role – it can make you happy or sad, satisfied or depressed. But whatever the case may be, follow your heart, be yourself, and the right circle and the right people will find you, even at a b-school.

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