It kind of feels weird. What began as a journey that I didn’t even want to embark upon, now seems a little bittersweet to let go of. I remember that I wanted to go to LUMS for the longest time ever, but my parents weren’t so into the idea and the whole, “Akelay kaisay rahou gi kisi aur shehar mein,” was what made me apply to only one university in a state of utter confusion and rebellion: IBA.
When I got into IBA in the very first round, I was kinda surprised because I only appeared in the test to sort of understand how the thing goes, and then reapply in the second round to ace it. But khair, getting into a university before I had even taken my final A-Level exams felt nice. Really nice.
Now, after my four years here, I often find myself saying how it only feels like yesterday when we were all freshmen, and that this time has gone by in a snap.
However, that very time taught me a whole lot about myself and about others, and I’m kinda eternally grateful that I came to IBA.
If there’s one thing I love about the IBA community it’s that you will always find someone who will help you out with whatever you need in life – whether it’s an entire slot helping another slot to cheat on a quiz, or someone helping you out when you’re at your lowest.
I remember very recently someone posted about how they couldn’t cope with the burden of their courses, and I remember how numerous people volunteered to help them out with their courses, assignments, and their emotional troubles.
When I was a freshman, I had only heard how if you’re reaching out to an IBA alumni, they will be there to help you out. By my senior year, I know for a fact that it really holds true.
It taught me how to deal with all kinds of people.
People are different, I always knew that. But all of those group projects, and all of those internships really taught me what that actually meant. There have been many conflicts and disagreements, but despite all of that, you had to get the work done no matter what – and that’s what we all did. You learn how to accept the differences in people, differences in views and being wrong – and that’s what helps you grow!
It taught me the importance of friendship.
I can’t even stress on this one enough. IBA gave me friends that I know I can count on for literally anything, and that’s not even an exaggeration. But most importantly, it taught me how it’s indeed a blessing to have a network of friends who are not only there for you, but also criticize you and build you up to become the badass person that you are.
It gifts you with people who help you realize your strengths and weaknesses with no bullshit and no drama. I don’t think I’d even be writing this cutesy article with all the good things about my years in IBA had it not been for my friends who have managed to make it all worth reliving.
IBA also taught me that your friends will not always have the same opinion as you – and that doesn’t mean they are your enemies.
I wanna scream this because this one is legit the MOST important thing I’ve learned.
It taught me how to get out of my comfort zone
I’ve done so many things and have held so many opinions that I didn’t even think I’ll ever do or hold. From miming for a course project to being the only girl out to interview shop waalas and random men on a random road, the confidence this institution has given me has been incredible, TBH.
It taught me how to stand up for what I believe in.
I’ve never been very outspoken about my thoughts, but ever since my second year I started to become more vocal about all the things I believed in – Facebook posts and all of that. If you know even a little bit about IBA, you’d know that elections are a fairly serious deal. The politics – uff, it’s all immense.
Being apolitical is one thing, being anti-political is an entirely new domain and trust me, the art of saying, “I will do what I please,” on a call which was made to threaten me is something I’ve learned only at IBA. Along that path, I’ve made a couple of friends and I’ve made an awful lot of enemies. But you know what makes it worth it? It’s when a freshie walks up to you and says that they look up to you. I guess a little impact is better than none at all.
It taught me how things will not always turn out as I plan them, and that’s okay
There have been so many things that I’ve wanted but fate had it otherwise. I remember how badly I wanted to get into a good FMCG when we were looking for internships, and I ended up at a Bank – a marketing kids nightmare. You know what happened? My entire department was firstly, IBA alumni, and secondly, super considerate. That internship is pretty much the best I’ve done to date. So no matter what happens, there’s one important skill that you need to have: flexibility, and once you learn that, you can manage to make the best out of literally anything!
It taught me how life is brutal and I will have to fight for what I deserve
IBA kids are super competitive when it comes to a lot of things, academically or career-wise, and along the way I have learned that giving up or stepping down should never be an option, and that nothing in life is ever easy – you ALWAYS have to put up a fight for all the things that you think you deserve.
It taught me how to accept the fact that I’m weird and shamelessly own it
Understanding who you are and how you behave and react is super important, no matter what, but it’s very rare that you acknowledge it and own it. IBA kinda gave us all the courage to shamelessly blast cheap songs in the courtyard, even when a couple of freshies passed by, side-eyeing us and saying, “Wow this is so cheap…”
It’s okay, because another group just asked us to turn the volume up and we all partied with our collective “cheapness.”
It taught me more about the world and gave me causes I could root for
I remember my friend made me attend this seminar where Kami Sid and Bindiya Rana talked about their community and about acceptance. I remember that I was so touched that I decided that I would definitely want to do something for the marginalized here in Pakistan. That’s also how I wrote a research report on transgenders in Pakistan and interviewed many of them, which taught me many things that I wouldn’t ever have known had I not been forced to attend that one session.
But apart from this one thing, IBA generally changed my outlook of the world and its people and made me more humble and accepting.
It’s just a couple of months before I step into that brutal corporate life, but I know my heart will always stay here, for this place has given me so much more than I can ever give back and has made me into the person that I only ever dreamed of becoming.
Cover via @bismarizwan/Instagram