When the pandemic struck our country it presented every single student with challenges that couldn’t have been fathomed in a world without Covid-19. From dealing with uncertainty regarding board exams and entrance exams to entering a crisis-hit job market, none of us had it easy. This is not a competition of who’s got it worse, but it is highly important to recognise everyone’s struggle.
It is difficult to digest the fact that as a final year student, I might have to graduate after going to college for just 18 months. We lost our last semester of the second year and will probably lose the whole of final year too.
On the first day of our final year, every student attended our online class and that never happens — especially for a 9 am class. There was a sliver of hope that these classes would bring some sense of normalcy back into our turbulent lives. It wasn’t the old normal — I couldn’t look at my friends’ faces when our professor said something funny or gave us another assignment. I was looking at photo tiles that hid behind mute and video off buttons — the new normal.
Canteens and campuses are empty, and so is my will to concentrate in classes. I miss out on every other point made by my professor due to either poor internet or my growing disinterest with being productive. It is somehow assumed that we find this rut of continually looking at the screen, comfortable.
Family and teachers, sorry to make you feel uncomfortable; it is not easy. “You are anyways online all the time, how hard is it to turn up for online classes” — is not a valid argument to make when we talk about how stressful the past month has been. The involuntary increase in screen time has made me averse to my phone. As I sit down at the end of the day to catch up with my friends, the emojis do the talking for me as I seem to have no energy to make conversation.
You would think that 18 months are not enough to form pure bonds and friendships. But we did. We are facing the consequences of the pandemic together. We could only cling on to each other because we knew how the other person felt. How much purer can a friendship get? Being an outstation student, this was the last year I had with them. Who knows if I will ever go back there after college?
The term “Final Year” is attached with tags that are meant to determine my future after college. Post-graduation? Job? Gap year? I was supposed to panic about these decisions with my friends beside me, with a cup of coffee and momos, as we sit in our beautiful field and look back at where college has brought us. We could do it over a video call, but who has the patience for it now?
I am a part of the batch of 2021. Every other batch that will pass out in the next few years will have lost time to make those cliché school and college memories. It’s not just the batch of 2020. We are all the chosen ones.