Why I chose Karachi University
Karachi University (KU) is to Karachi what Karachi is to Pakistan. I was the first member of my family to attend KU for a Bachelors degree and even after completing four years at the institution, I still get concerned queries from people wanting to know how I survived.
It seems strange to me that KU appears like such a distant and uncharted territory to those who have never studied there; it is as if people from KU are aliens!
Hence, I thought that I would shed some light on this mini universe for those who have never been here and who have no idea what they missed out on by choosing other universities over KU.
Getting a ‘lift’
Yes, asking random people to drop you off at a certain distance is exactly what I mean by ‘lift’.
Before coming to KU, I had only heard about taking a ‘lift’ in Bollywood movies. I would never ask for one on the streets of Karachi because it is just not safe. However, you see in KU, the size of the humongous campus can make it difficult to travel on foot, especially during the summer time. Therefore, asking for a lift is very common in the university premises. In fact, it is a routine phenomenon in KU.
Yet, it took me a while to learn the correct technique of hitching a ride on campus. When I was a new student here, I would just wave at every other car that came my way, but then I realised that the trick was to just stand and wait, until a kind soul would halt his/her car and offer you a ride.
It is almost like having our personal chariots on campus to take us from the gate to the department and vice versa.
Burqa-clad girls and bearded boys are just one segment of students on campus. The campus is home to people belonging to a range of strata, coming from different walks of life and various neighbourhoods of Karachi including the posh areas. Moreover, studying at KU invariably gives you the chance to interact with foreign students – Turkish, Iranian, Kenyan and even Nigerian. This, in itself, speaks volumes about how amazing this institute is. Simply put, KU is diversity personified – from financial background to age and ethnicity; you can find all kinds of people under the same roof.
Let me ask you how many universities you know that offer admissions to visually-impaired students? You guessed it right – hardly any. However, KU does, and it was in KU that I first met my visually-impaired friend.
The political activism
KU is infamous for the political activities which take place on campus. From clashes to rallies, the student wings of different political parties can raise havoc in the university.
However, this has a positive side as well – it represents the true spirit of Karachi. If you are not aware of the political dynamics which surround this city and how to manoeuvre these divides carefully, then you cannot be a true Karachiite.
KU recognises that and helps the youth come out of the bubble and face the reality of their city. Being a pampered middle-class person myself, I only came to understand the real politics around me after I got admission in KU.
The street culture
Eating at dhaabas and sitting on the floor; donkey cart rides and cheering for your department’s cricket team at the top of your lungs – KU is the place to be if you thrive in adopting the street culture of this city.
Prem Gali (Lover’s Lane), fondly referred to as PG, is KU’s own little food street, famous for its small potato samosas and other culinary delights. We have Sufi’s Dhabba which offers scrumptious, local Pakistani food. Food, interestingly enough, is not the only speciality offered at Sufi’s. True to its name, it provides the perfect setting for all our spiritual musings and gives one the platform to connect with nature, amidst which this restaurant operates.
I won’t exaggerate and say that KU provides the best quality education available. However, for the fee that it charges, KU gives more than expected. From digital libraries with all the latest and up-to-date research journals, to the main library which houses books ranging over a hundred years, KU has it all.
KU’s main asset is its teachers. The qualification of these teachers, enhanced by their understanding of the subjects they teach beyond the binds of academic books, is what makes most classes addictive. I won’t say that all teachers have the same ‘magic’, but many do and this is what makes this institute far better than others.
Moreover, the relationship we have with our teachers is ideal for university culture; it is causal and invigorating, not intimidating and foreboding. Teachers at KU teach more than just academics; they teach us about the real world, about our role in society and about how we should strive for goals which could potentially bring betterment to all of us.
In essence, KU teachers educate students about life and all its shades.
Hence, my friends, if you are uncertain about whether to go to KU or not, I hope I have answered your questions! Whatever it is, enjoy university life and work as hard as you can. Pakistan needs bright minds.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.