Welcome to the 100 acre wood, which you will soon come to know as home. An overpopulated forest where courses dangle from the highest, unreachable tops of the tallest trees; the feline species is the most dominant and pesky inhabitant; 4.0’s are hidden in the darkest, grassiest thickets found only by the swiftest cheetahs; tiny, cramped nests and caves are forcefully made to be occupied by three critters stranger to one another and the law of the jungle is highly applicable. The world outside is often unknown and foreign because several elements within the confines of the 100 acre land ensure that its inhabitants never have the time to step into the outside world for play and adventure.
Yes, LUMS is our very own 100 acre wood – it’s literally 100 acres (or so they say). And it’s all those things which you wish weren’t true. But here’s the thing: you’ll enter the forest fearful of the rule of the superiors and the struggle to keep up with the rat race but you’ll leave with a lifetime of memories and precious friendships.
Most of these friendships are formed over a cup of PDC’s famous elaichi chai while gloomy faces let out their frustration about wanting to study abroad but having to end up at LUMS just because they were given little or no financial aid. I remember distinctly how this was somehow a popular point of discussion in freshman year. It’s only with the passage of time that one realises that the wood isn’t as dark as one thought it would be. So, in that spirit, here’s a list of what you would have missed out had you not come to LUMS:
- The chance to interact with people from all over Pakistan and to break the highly distorted image which the media creates over certain areas in the country. It’s often mind boggling when you’re just sitting at the khoka with your friends, and suddenly realise that you’re all from different parts of the country: Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad, Peshawar, Multan, Bahawalpur, Skardu, Hyderabad etc. Who would’ve thought that, one day, you would be best friends with someone from a completely different region of the country? So here’s to breaking absurd stereotypes!
- The incredible opportunity to learn that whatever you have been taught about Pakistan and its foundation during your school years has been a complete lie. Yay Pakistan Studies!
- Where else would you have gotten the ultimate chance to expand your language bank by learning Pashto and Sindhi!? Not only are there courses being offered now at LUMS, you can also learn directly from your ever diversifying group of friends.
- The once in a lifetime opportunity to explore the breathtaking northern areas of Pakistan at reasonable costs, security and most of all, the best company. Culture trips to monuments and forts are also worth taking as it’s the best time to learn and explore more about our history and heritage. (There are also trips to the neighbouring forest aka India, which would not have been possible had you not come to LUMS).
- You would’ve definitely missed desi food if you were studying abroad. Not only do you not have to worry about meat being halal or haram (and trust me, this is a major issue abroad), PDC does not fail to ensure that your food is swimming in oil and masala. Once in a blue moon PDC manages to cook up a surprisingly pleasant dish which really makes you value good food and not to mention – home food. Your parents might actually be surprised as to how grateful you’ve become over the span of four years – all thanks to PDC.
- For those of you who are brought to tears just at the mere thought of leaving home, LUMS is literally a drive or a two hour plane ride away. It’s a great chance to learn how to live independently, while knowing that home isn’t so far away if homesickness gets the better of you.
- Cricket matches, dharnas, jalsas, meet and greet with popular regional writers, activists and journalists are just some perks of studying in Pakistan.
- Exchange programmes to Austria, Japan, America and debate trips to Turkey and other countries is a great chance to satisfy your desire to adventure abroad all the while staying close to your roots at home.
Our 100 acre wood has its fair share of dark passages and rocky trails but, like any other forest, it provides shelter and refuge to all its beings along with a plethora of unique experiences. A journey through this wood will change you in unimaginably pleasant ways all the while preparing you for the bigger jungle out there – real life.