A Tour of the LUMS Academic Block by Amenah Mahmood
The alarm rings and I wake up to find that the day is up and going. The pizza from last night’s sleepover is still on my study table. I jump out of my bed in great excitement as it is finally the first day of my university––the elated excitement might also be because of the leftover pizza, because let's be honest, is there really anything as good as cold pizza the next morning? As I take a bite of the pizza slice, I head to the window to open the blue khaddar curtains that remind me of my school uniform and I instantly get into the zone of starting my day.
After finishing my pizza, I roll out my dark green yoga mat on the floor between two beds. Khair, while noon is not the ideal time to do Surya Namaskar, I am reminded of this verse that I read on a rickshaw ride on my way from Lahore Railway Station to LUMS on my first day in Lahore. It goes something like this: awaz de k dekh lou shayad mil hee jae. It helps me every time I indulge in self-doubt or procrastination.
The plain door of my dorm looks dull with the number 221 engraved on it, but it also makes me look forward to experimenting with the artistic skills that I learnt from watching an Indian guy on POGO when I was younger.
As I am on my way out of the hostel, my head swirls with thoughts of my first ever literature class. Growing up I was obsessed with Victorian veils and skirts and I often found myself enacting Victorian characters from the books (mostly, though, it was Elizabeth Bennet).
The white ducks* by the pond are just minding their own business but, in my world, they are a part of my story. The lush green trees were tall barriers of strength against the vicious heat of September. The security guard at the hostel entrance looks weary, but when I say hello, he greets me with a smile even though I am standing far from him–it is a smile that makes me feel at home.
On my way to class, I admire the library lawn, which looks like a bed of shiny green fur. The tree leaves look lustrous as the sunlight falls directly on them. Along the way, I say hello to, and wave at my O Week fellows who are as clueless and excited about the first day as I am. Yes! I finally reach my classroom after taking three rounds around the academic block’s super confusing structure.
The instructor, Dr. Saba Pirzada, has already started the introduction and the newbies are introducing themselves while I am still finding a seat in a class of more than 40 students. The projector behind her has a picture of the Wuthering Heights movie poster, a book that I read three years ago and have been obsessed with since then.
The class ends after half an hour. As I turn on the internet on my cell phone the phone starts ringing with notifications from hundreds of my phone apps making it a rather embarrassing moment. Some of the text messages were from my friends who were waiting for me at the Pepsi Dining Center (PDC) spot where we used to sit during Orientation Week.
Upon entering PDC, I spot my favorite people, my O-Week coaches, Taha and Alia, who helped me with my enrollment. Enrollment had been a tiring and stressful experience. At any rate, it is almost three in the afternoon and the food is almost finished, so I decide to order a cup of doodh pati instead, and have it at the khoka.
While more people are joining us at the khokha benches the sounds of conversation and laughter are growing louder. At the khoka, I am introduced to some friendly people from different societies. They’re distributing invitations for the society orientations, which I am already extremely excited about. The khokha is all dressed up in fairy lights and cardboard decors for marketing purposes, but it only elevates the feeling of being alive in that moment. My O-Week coach, whom I had many conversations with regarding my interest in acting, introduced me to a member of PhotoLUMS, and she invites me to the society’s orientation.
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