The High Life (Good Life), Take 2.

high life carved on stone
Photo by Wendy Wei from Pexels

When the final year (High school) national examination results were announced, I was anxious to know what I had scored, but I preferred that someone else look at the marks on my behalf. And this is exactly what happened. My friend called and gave me my results. She had checked both mine and hers. This was a critical moment because it determined whether one had qualified to join the University, or vocational training institutions, or nothing at all. It mattered a lot to have qualified for the University slot, because then, you would have to pay a smaller amount of fees, as it was subsidized by the government. Besides that, it was a source of prestige to go to campus.

Those who joined the University were given more respect, than those who joined colleges and vocational training institutions. They call it (University) institution of higher learning, meaning it is higher than the rest, by all means. The marks I had scored meant that I had qualified to join the university, however, it would have to be through the self-sponsored route. It was either this, or the college route. Fully aware of the prestige that campus life had, I was all for the campus idea, even though it was upon my uncle (my sponsor) to decide. I was thrilled when he agreed to sponsor my education further! I had no idea what course I was going to take. And even after I was guided on choosing one, what really mattered was that I was in the University.

When I got on campus it was apparent that I was not alone. Most students knew nothing about the courses they had chosen, or they had been chosen for, all that mattered to them, and to some of their parents was that they were in the University. By being in the university, we had a higher chance of having ‘the good life’. This is what we believed without question. It then dawned on us, that we were a conglomeration of students from every part of the country, and even some came from abroad, and they were given the name, ‘international students’.

What now stood out was the diversity. It was in everything. In the way we spoke, the way we dressed, the music that we listened to, the food we ate, and the way we worshipped the creator. This was now a test for those who would remain loyal to their tradition and culture. Not forgetting that the school had a culture of its own, and this would be passed on to us by the senior year students. This was truly a culture shock for us, the fresh year students. Even though I had lived the better part of my life in town, and I had experienced diversity, this was on a different level.

It was then obvious that some of us had come from well of families, while others were from poor families. There are those who were somewhere in the middle. But here we were, all trying to show that we were here deservedly and not by mistake. Well, wasn’t this the beginning of the much talked about high life? Now we were here to experience it first-hand. We would live to tell the stories to those who would come after us. It then became obvious to me that this high life was highly characterized by having, or possessing things that other students did not have, and they had to be highly-priced, for that matter.

It was not enough to just have shoes or clothes or a radio. You had to get the highly-priced ones, and guess what? This was the fastest way to get the attention of the ladies. It then seemed that people were only attracted to the conspicuous appearance of things. Everything about you had to be cool. In the hostel, you had to own a woofer, and it had to be one with power, so that when turned on, everybody would notice that that is your woofer, and not someone else’s. And so, we were high on pleasure hormones trying to compete, and look better than the other. The competition was not as strong on the academic side, although being smart in class added on to getting noticed, you had to be both cool and smart to really pull the crowds.

It seemed like an important thing, to participate in activities that would expose you to being noticed by others, especially those of the opposite sex. So much pressure was now on the introverts, and those who came from very poor backgrounds, as they couldn’t cope with the rest. It was so demanding! This high-life craze was so energy-consuming though, and it got us duped, thinking that that was the ideal life. We were none the wiser, and our little bubbles were burst the moment we completed the university education and had to readjust to new environments again.

I still see the university highlife cycle go on like a never-ending loop. Every year the freshmen join campus, and they are oriented into the school culture. People rarely get to express their true nature, as they are pushed to please others except themselves. And they live on like this, thinking that it is their time to enjoy life. Thinking of it now, this is a struggle for most students. It was a struggle for me. Because in seeing other students with better things than I had, I was envious of them, and I pressured my guardians to get me those things. The whole time on campus, one lives a life that is not theirs. But they have to do it to fit in, lest they are viewed as aloof.

Everybody wants to be in good books with other people. We treasure the connections with our friends, and we never want to turn them down. So, invitations to go to parties would be agreed on, regardless of how many times the parties are held. This one got people attending parties every weekend. This is the ultimate breeding ground for peer pressure. So, while graduating, I think some of us graduated with a higher level or degree of peer pressure. It is a shame that some of us are not able to shake of this madness, and it continues to rule our lives. The group mentality in the university was the biggest weakness that I ever faced, when on the contrary they say that it is safe to act in or as a group.

This is the place where I held the lowest vibration in life. I suffered for not having cool things like other students. I put a lot of pressure on myself for not being as cool, and outgoing as other students. So, most of the time, I was blaming myself, and not accepting myself as I was. Is campus life really the high life as it is portrayed? In my opinion, I experienced most part of it as a low vibrational frequency. My life only changed for the better when I got a friend who was honest with themselves, and it taught me to also see myself for who I really was. So, I experienced ‘a high life’ for the shortest time in my whole campus life. It may be viewed as a loss, but I consider it a lesson that I was meant to learn.

I hope before one concludes that a practice is of ‘the high life’, they ought to consider what how benefits them. The first influence should be on you. If it is not, then leave it. Everybody has a different interpretation of what high life or fun is. I am sure if we opened a debate on these terms, it would never come to an end. What is this high life? Is it having the most expensive material wealth, or having the highest thrill from what you call having fun? Why do you think that your type of fun is better than, or worse than someone else’s? How would you know someone is having fun, while you are not, or that someone is not having fun, while you are?

Does it make you feel more important, if it seems to you, that you have the best outfit in the room? Does it make you more important, if all the girls are fighting for your attention? And there are those who forsook their cultures, and even religion as they assimilated the campus ‘high life’, was it worth it? I wonder if we have learned the lesson thus far. Let us share in thanksgiving.

“Dear Father, sometimes I am lost, but you still hold my hand and bring me back to this path, sometimes I am stubborn, but you still hold my face lovingly and smile back at me.

Dear Father, thank you for not losing patience with me. When I fall for the traps that I set for myself. Even when you have already helped me to evade them numerous times before.

Thank you for the air that I breathe, and for the sense of smell. With this gift, teach me to smell danger from far, so I can prepare myself to face the situation. With this gift teach me to smell negative company, and get myself out of the traps on time.

Thank you for your loving support that is present in my life always. Thank you. And so it is”.

Namaste.

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