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August 4, 2019

Welcome to Islamabad, dear students


August 4, 2019

People from far-off areas come to Islamabad with their young children before start of semesters in universities. Most of them intend to take admissions in graduation programmes.

Under 20, they will be living away from their families for the first time in their young lives. Other than one or two, all universities in the federal capital are now offering admissions in their BS programmes on the basis of first-year result of FA/FSc.

Bulk of the applications for admissions is for basic sciences disciplines, followed by professional degrees like MBA and Law, etc. Then the stream is directed to social sciences and humanities subjects. However, all applicants are not admitted in their choice disciplines and universities, so they have to settle for second and third options.

Universities had already been insufficient to cater to all these young souls. After drastic budget cuts on higher education, their capacity to hire new faculty, open new departments and launch new projects has been further depleted. Hence those who fail to get admissions or those whom the higher education system fails gradually melt in the backgrounds.

I ask students about their friends and mates from their cities and villages who could not make it to a university. And they reply that sometimes they spot them in their hometowns running a shop or something and sometimes they don’t.

Anyways, this is the beginning of a new chapter in the lives of the newcomers on campus and they will soon be accustomed to campus life. Its abnormalities are going to become a new normal for them, which they will cherish all through their life.

Late-night tea, washing clothes, getting accustomed to get into the university bus, which they cannot afford to miss, fried and readymade meals and crowded corridors and bustling classrooms...these are going to be permanent features for them for at least four years or so. They are going to make a lot of mistakes in this beginning phase as to err is human.

The one thing they need to keep in mind is that they can have their fill of follies but they cannot afford to fall from their dignity as once a fallen soul is always a fallen soul.

They have new liberties to enjoy and new realities to understand. Islamabad is a cross-cultural city which keeps in store a lot for them to relish. Unlike Lahore and Karachi or other big cities, Islamabad prides itself in its ordered life, which they will soon get accustomed to.

The newcomers need to understand that when they are in university, the spectrum of study is no more limited to classroom. Library should be their favourite place and the entire city their lab. The city is open to them and thanks to Metro Bus Service, they can visit most of its parts keeping in their budget.

The Margallas have spread out their serenity for them to write their tales that the winds are ready to blow them far and wide. The city of Islamabad welcomes you my dears.

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