The use of Man. This novel of Aleksandar Tisma brought me to the most beautiful city of Serbia, Novi Sad. There I started my psychology studies. But the novel was soon replaced by a city map as was mama’s dinner by sandwiches and McDonald’s. I was ready to deal with all that, because I was on a mission to “change the world”. Little did I know that soon that mission would be stripped down to the universal concern of freshmen - “to survive and not to make a complete fool of myself”. I did survive, even with making a fool of myself many times, as was true for everybody else.
Oh, yes, I remember feeling like an adult during the lectures. Professors would ask us serious questions and would speak to us in a serious manner as well. However, when the first exams started, we all begged to be treated as children, hoping that somebody would tell us what to do and how to do it. There was this omnipresent anxiety about details, such as finding a room, learning the schedule, and doing the assignments. The worst thing was listening to what older students would say constantly -“Everything will be fine”. As if you can help a drowning person by yelling this wisdom from the shore. But the truth is that nobody was drowning, and that the water was just up to our ankles, even when it felt different. Luckily, that feeling was easily massaged away with regular students’ parties.
After a month or two, things started changing. I got to know people in my group and selected those I liked. I learned the schedule, I ask many questions during the lectures, and, at least, I didn’t any longer have to check a map to go back home. Everything was fine, indeed. We could have known that if we would have understood this sentence in Tisma’s The use of Man: “…As he believed that knowledge opens the door to every aspiration for prosperity, he felt like the master of his destiny. "
Soon after, I could return to the original mission of changing the world. Still busy with that.
Irena Boskovic, Ph.D. Candidate, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience