A Virtual Lens Over The Pre-UWC Journey


by Shubhanshi Gaudani, United World College Mahindra College 
July 24th, 2018


Being one of those fresh-faced seduced minds, I’ve been thrilled in the past few days by how relatable, people in the UWC community are turning out to be, in spite of them rooting from a country that I plausibly have only ever noticed once on the globe, in one of my most mundane geography classes of middle school. What I’m trying to stress on is that all of this amazement has arisen just from a virtual rendezvous over social media, so I can’t actually predict how it’s going to turn out whenever it’s going to occur amongst the 3 dimensions of reality (I guess ‘on a next level’ falls short too). We’re stepping into this journey like Alice did, inquisitive and yet supposing minds. It’s here, I’d like to switch focus to how our group chats on social media are becoming our Cheshire cats all along, how they’ve paved our way to knowing and making our co-years a home even before meeting them. They’ve been aesthetically characteristic, in so many terms:
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Mastering Timezones: What I’ve noticed ever since I joined these groups is our groups “die for a second, and then come back to life for a whole sixty minutes” for a never-ending cycle of 24 hours (consider different time zones). The best part is it started giving me timezone identification practice. Parallelly calculating what a 7:00 PM in India meant in Canada or Finland now sounds a piece of cake, after the enactment of this group. So I can spring back anytime saying “hey pal, it’s 3:00 AM in your country why are you still up?” (trust me, you feel proud when you say that).
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Sturdier Vantage Points: I’ve also come to realize hot intercultural debates can sprite up at the weirdest hour. Because pride, right-wing politics, sexual assaults, ceasefire violations, and introvertism are topics not worth staying stealthy on. You get the most unexpected point of views, most un-intended and purest of puns, and the most high-key rational so-called ‘understatements’ from your co-years, who could turn your intellectual quotient to a 45/45 mood (at midnight). Through an epiphany you realise that at UWC, you’re going to meet some of the smartest people you could ever have in your life.
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Culinary Quests: Gastronomical attractions, and talking vegan biscuit options aren’t ‘deserted’ discussions. Trust me, explaining Pani puri like a crispy brown ball filled with salted potatoes and spiced mint leaf water to people who haven’t quite gotten around with digesting Indian cuisine, doesn’t sound apt, a description to what it actually deserves. Also, pineapple on pizza is something our entire cult is debating like an emergency global crisis that requires the most attention on this planet.
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Hasty pep ups for IB: From Dank IB Memes to confessing that Maths HL, isn’t for me, to call dibs on tuition buddies for Economics; to the fortifying debate, about which graphics calculator to carry, to whether I can manage choosy and rare notebooks at Pune, to which laptop tops the recommendation list, to carrying a hard drive for every future time my device is going to crash,  to the ancestral ‘Apple’ and ‘Microsoft’ debate, to sharing the same Quora Digests with the first question that reads ‘Is the IB Program a scam?’, we’ve come across all of it and done it successfully over the oceans. I’m pretty sure all our Extended Essays are going to look like, “Was Snape a good person?”
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Sporty Discords: We’ve now also soundly acclimatized into each other’s highly possessive sports stances. Be it the FIFA World Cup or the Wimbledon, we comment on their hair colour,  appraise a player for marking the honour of sportsmanship, and jinx a total of five people on the group for every time a fine conglomeration of eleven blessed souls attain grace by a freekick, or enlightenment by a penalty shoot-out, (it goes like, GOOOOAAAALLLLLLLL!) (Also helps as a remedy for missing matches due to unavoidable reasons)
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Charred Paper and Congruent Musical Notes: Music and books. I can’t say how many similarities I found. Right from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “Americanah” to Aristotle and Dante, and discussing rock and pop culture we’ve gone in to our very own Taylor Swift concerts (sing-alongs), so if you ever get fed up with the original tracks we’ve got the remixed and typed ones (refer group chat history) that have the same line sung along by 5 different people in a non-cohesive order that gives the perfect effect of stress-relief you want from the life that is demanding you to emotionally setback and mentally prepare you for the most exciting period of life you’re going to see in the next month. (There is a disastrous amount of impeding resistance from certain members, but they’ve learnt to ignore and change the subject of the discussion thereafter 🙂 .
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Gender Betting is the new Black Jack: The entire world may bet on political elections, or cricket match wins, in here, we bet on genders. ‘Gender Betting’. (Noun). An act of postulating the gender of a recently joined member on the Whatsapp group chat, via the most ambiguous piece of one’s identity: name. Disclaimer: Success in such bets, can offer amaze lottery wins, to one and all. Also, don’t be intimidated when you realize a person you actually assumed to be a girl for two weeks, is a boy.
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Maybe, all of this sounds familiar if some senior is reading it. Each social media group has its own piece of identity, which has been sculpted with different trademark discussion topics, funky roles enunciating a string of memories that we get used to over time. I can say that I’ve started growing with them, already before I’ve met them. Obviously, it’s definitely a wrong modus to make suppositions about people’s personality and traits from a social media platform, and maybe one should not fall prey, to relying only on these groups to know people, but all that I’ve come to realise is: if we can get to listen, accept, and befriend people from all over the world over a screen, I think UWC’s mission of uniting people, nations, and cultures profusely gets executed right from the time one applies. I already see it getting fulfilled, even before I’ve started the journey, (right from wishing happy Ramadan to cheering for each other’s countries in the FIFA World Cup) and maybe that proves how effective the driving force is behind the entire UWC family, which I’d like to take a moment to thank before starting this compelling journey. Thank you UWC!

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