1. Sleep. It knows no religion. Sometimes the only way I know something is wrong is when the sun is coming up and my essay still needs another whole page.
Basically, waking up at amrit vela (or even in the morning, oops) already requires a lot of discipline and it’s difficult to juggle that with inevitable collegiate bad habits. Just promise me you’ll separate your paaht time from your sneaky increasing-the-margins time…and set an earlier alarm.
2. Fitting in. Unless you go to a school where there is a prominent and active Sikh community, you’re probably one of the only ones not going out drinking, partying, and doing other morally questionable things in Sikhi.
But really, let’s just be good kids and not do things that will end up making our Sikhi look bad. Listen to me, I know what I’m talking about.
3. Almost forgot about this one: studying. Regardless of where you are or what you’re doing in school, studying should be your main jam. Try to make time for paaht/keertan/sangat as well planned out study breaks and not just an excuse not to work hard.
And people definitely need to stop singing this in my face.
4. Responsibilities. On top of studying, working, commuting, sucking up to that prof for a rec, and figuring out how to feed yourself without getting diabetes, is there even time for anything else?
Yes, I promise there is. The key is to make Sikhi an integral part of your life and not just another “thing” that can be dropped when you’re busy and picked up when it’s finals time. Guru sahib loves us to no end and doesn’t let us go if we have even a kilobyte of love for him; whether your goal is just to say “vaheguru” ten times in a day or to get all of your nitnem done, do SOMETHING. Srsly, don’t be a bum. God will know.
5. The hipster life. Yeah that’s right, I said it. My kachhera is not made for skinny jeans. Those horrendously large glasses frames do not fit in my dastaar unless someone is handing me two ibuprofen as well. This gets its own category because it’s some kind of revolutionary thing especially among college-agers to “not be mainstream” and other junk the media told you.
Look, be your own awesome Sikh self. Sikhi is like the ultimate hipsterism because it teaches us to be proud of the way we stand out. Own it. College is the best time to figure yourself out and not worry so much about what people think. Building that self-confidence is most generous thing you can do for yourself because everything just gets better from there. I may or may not be basing that off of the happiness I feel when that dude in class refers to me as a Power Ranger based on the color of my dastaar that day.
Overall, don’t forget that #ardaas is super powerful and you shouldn’t be going to Taco Bell that much anyway.
Ravneet Kaur is currently studying medicine; this post is about her experiences.