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.

Photo Courtesy: http://cdn-media-2.lifehack.org

Four years ago, I didn’t know the existence of this word. Being a writer (not professionally) and someone who enjoys and loves reading, it is really a shame to admit that ”introvert” was not in my dictionary. But again, I have never been good with vocabularies.

Our dearest, beloved, respected, much appreciated and celebrated uncle Google defines introvert as a shy person. However, if you care to dig deeper to the psychological meaning of the word, you will discover that introvert has got nothing to do with shyness. So I will just blame uncle Google for misleading many of us. Why is it a big deal? Do I go around checking for words wrongly defined by Google? Absolutely no! I don’t even use Google, I prefer Oxford Dictionary 😉

The reason why I took interest on ‘introvert’ is, I believe it is not a coincidence that recently most of us identify ourselves as introverts. Before you throw your shoe at me, I know some of us are really introverts while the rest of us are just shy. Conventionally speaking, shyness is not a trait that is looked at positively; not unless you are a bride. Introvert on the other hand sounds cool to the ears and guys with this personalty are really productive people to hung out with; even though they are not largely celebrated in the society. Nevertheless, I’d rather say am an introvert than to admit my shyness.

The problem, however is not about being shy or being an introvert. The problem is actually how the world has forced some of us to keep to ourselves. We live in a society whereby, what is least important is considered to be the most important; yes I am talking about sources of entertainment. If you don’t know enough about them, then my friend you are automatically sentenced to life time silence. There is lack of kindness in our words and expressions. Our actions knows no boundaries nor show of compassion and consideration to the next person. We treat each other like the ground we step on. who would not want to keep to themselves in such a world?

Kindness, compassion, love, care, humility… they are important traits that give most of us the courage needed to get out of our shells and share our world with others. In today’s world, we listen, not to understand but to catch that shrub, or word said out of place so that it can be a source of entertainment to us years later. Making fun of one another and ridiculing each other is the norm. We observe actions not to learn from them but to find a slip up fit for our critics and harsh comments. We are busy looking out for ways to out do one another, competition is the order of the day leading to hearts that house jealousy and hatred towards each other. Love that is meant to be shown in actions is reduced to sweet meaningless words updated as status on Facebook or cute pictures posted on instagram. Our main focus is to accumulate more and more of anything and everything to ourselves, with no care whom we have to step on to get there. Many are in pain and tears because of our actions but we just don’t give a damn! Humility is a vocabulary to us and it does not matter how many definitions Google and Oxford Dictionary offers, we just don’t seem to get it. I ask again, who would want to be associated with such a world?

We need to see the urgency in making the world a better place. It does not cost you anything to show kindness, love, compassion and humility to others. It all starts with a smile, a ”how are you?” to the disturbed classmate. A helping hand to the lady from the market. A ”thank you” to the one who cooked your meal. A ”sorry” to the one you bumped into in your hurry to catch the bus. Holding the door for the boy coming right after you. A genuine ”well done” to the one who did better than you… the list goes on and on and I am sure I can list a thousand more a like without asking you for a penny from your pocket. So what is stopping you from taking action now?

So back to introvertism; it is so real. And these people too, need our love and acceptance. We should not view them as people with some kind of abnormality, because they are normal just the way they are. It is their different personality, their tendency to keep to themselves that bring balance to the world. So please, have mercy on them and don’t force them into gatherings for long hours, they literally get drained. It is in their solitude that they derive their energy from. But isn’t that what we are all about, diversity? Different personalities? Let’s allow our differences to bring us closer and celebrate the various personalities that are out there. Share your world with the rest of the world.

As for me, I am an introvert, I think. I’m also shy and know very little about entertainment world. So basically I am a part time normal person. And the people around me have accepted that. Most introverts, what they really need is their space. If you deny them that, it gets hard for them to function. But it is not a disease that needs cure. Being an introvert is just like being left handed and the society needs to accept you for who you are and make you feel comfortable among other types of personality. Our world is all about diversity, and we can co-exist. We just have to learn how to share the gifts of life.