If you want to be amused, amazed, shocked, perplexed, inspired, totally disgusted on how human beings are and can be, please go to the campus, university or even to a college. By the end of your first semester, your mind lies to you that you’ve seen it all, yet, you haven’t. These characters are increasingly surprising; you just never know when to get your next bombshell. I am sure you will relate to some extent to the following characters. Perhaps the time for self reflection as well?
1. The Manipulator: You may or may not be friends with this person. You may never have talked despite being classmates. But since it is within a class of over a hundred students, it is all cool. Well it is cool, until this stranger-classmate suddenly recognizes you as a classmate and a dear friend and they casually decide to ask you for a ‘loan’. The kind you will easily (or maybe not) fall into their act of ‘something very urgent’ and you decide to help this fellow with what can be a weeks’ time pocket money. They will be very apologetic for asking, be very sweet and grateful for your help. They will promise to pay you back soon and even apologize for the delay until slowly and gradually they totally avoid you everywhere. In class, your phone calls, your text messages. You will remind him of your debt until you get frustrated and let it go. Then they prey on the next person. The manipulator may not necessarily be your classmate. Could be a hostel neighbour or a friend of a friend or a union colleague. They are everywhere.
2. The Manipulated: Is usually a peoples’ person; a charming fellow with a large network. Or the total opposite; just a timid introvert somewhere who is known to have a problem saying no. Everyone recognizes you for your friendship and willingness to help. They fish your pockets in the name of friendship. They will always include you in outing plans, lunches, parties, shopping sprees because they expect you to be the one paying the bill. Sadly, your friends are not your friends. They are your pocket’s friend. You go dry, they go missing.
3. Food Visitors: They know you like cooking or perhaps that your room always has something to bite. They may not even be your friends. Well, we all love visitors don’t we? But sometimes we all know we are just being used. They invite themselves to your room’ mostly during your cooking/eating hours. Always pretending to be apologetic for coming ‘at the wrong time’. It is not the wrong time, it was the intended time. Where there is free food, there is free-ndship.
4. The complainer: The one always complaining that they lack something. It could be food, money or even hair oil. They hope for your sympathy so as you can keep sharing your stuff with them. It is all good, fine, let us share. But unfortunately, they only want you to share and not the vice versa.
5. The selfish: This one is always a pest on his/her mates while he/she saves what she has. They could be rich, working or having enough yet they still opt to store what they have for other luxuries which most of the times are unnecessary. They could survive an entire semester depending on others.
6. The prying one: Always too inquisitive about other peoples’ lives. What you ate last night, where you slept last week, whom you went out with, where you buy your clothes. They enter your room, open your wardrobe without permission, log into your laptop etc…well, curiosity did kill the cat, don’t they know?
7. Keeping up with the rich: They could be coming from struggling families, but they yearn to have a high lifestyle. They go beyond to achieve this which most of the times involves manipulating friends and partners. They associate themselves with rich groups of friends and hang out in places beyond their budget.
8. The focused one: This one knows where they are coming from. Is content with the life they lead and has goals. They are serious about their campus life because they have a vision and avoid too much interactions.
9. The religious one: They uphold high values of their religion and despite the crazy campus life, they strive to become better individuals and avoid the temptations.
10. The bookworm: Mostly found in the library or in some quiet corner, reading. It could be anything really; a course book, a novel book or even a cooking book. They feel safer in that world than the wildness around.
11.One leading a balanced life: They know when to study and when to have fun with friends. They have limits and spend their time wisely.
12. Spendthrift & spending influencer: They spend a lot and sometimes, unnecessarily. But they make sure they are not alone. They always invite other friends along and they encourage their friends persistently and with so much determination to spend extra too…or sometimes, to spend on them. ‘If I am getting bankrupt, we should get bankrupt together’.
13. The hustlers: They multi-task, a lot! They study while working, sometimes more than one job. They are hard working and go out of their way to make ends meet and to achieve their goals. They are in several groups, clubs and unions and taking part in several extra-curriculum activities.
14. Study distractors: They don’t study and they don’t like studying so it always bothers them to see you studying. They will distract you in any way possible or mock how you are leading a boring life of books only. And sometimes, they could be ones that study yet they wouldn’t want you to study more than them. They just try to bring you down in one way or another.
If there is anything I learnt from my University life is that, people are so different. This barely covers it all. There are other more positive characters and the vice versa too. You need to know whom you are allowing into your life. You need to be careful, to be keen and alert, to be humble, to be empathetic. You never know where someone is coming from or what troubles they have or how much sacrifice was made until they reached that place. Be considerate. Be kind. Have limits, because too much of anything is poisonous. This is the place you either change yourself for the better, build healthy bonds and personal growth or it is the place that you entirely lose yourself. Reflect.