I usually tend to start my pieces with a quote that really stands out and then try to mould it with the topic at hand. So, here goes:
“We are captives of our own identity, living in…,” wait. Where are we living? I don’t remember the quote. It’s probably because I tend to take quotes off TV shows/web series and I haven’t watched one in the last 2 months.
While this might result from 10th-grade finals looming over, it is also because of the inadvertent pandemic circumstance. With 8 hours of our day spent in a virtual school and another 6 hours in assignments or additional studies, there is only so much strain our eyes can manage to take.
If you haven’t guessed already, this is an accolade to every student during the past year, with limited social interactions, campus life and the outdoors in general. Everyone has shown their respect towards the medical fraternity, government, teachers, but us students are being overlooked. Our “struggle” doesn’t even begin to match what some members of society have gone through, but I thought bringing it to light would help others empathise.
I’m not saying that online school doesn’t have its fair share of perks, because it does. Aside from waking up an hour later than usual and studying in pyjamas, there is an additional platform for students to communicate with teachers easily. With lapses in connectivity, all classes are recorded and stored, allowing anyone to refer to them in the future. Additionally, notes are updated on the drive, making revision a lot more systematic.
It’s been months since we have shifted to this “new normal” and there are dozens of millennial escapades that have come to light. Be it mastering the art of sleeping with the webcam on, or attending classes while in the parlour. Understandably, the past year wasn’t particularly called for, but students have managed to make the best of the circumstance at hand.
It’s said that the primary purpose of a school is to provide for the fullest possible development of each learner for living morally, creatively and productively in a democratic society. I understand that our situation has stripped us from learning “morally and creatively”, but we miss out on it.
We looked forward to going to school to learn off our peers, the fun during recess and the ability to mock others without being on mute. We never had to check five times if our microphones were muted if our parents walked in to remind us of something in the middle of a test.
Very honestly, this is one topic on which I don’t have a fixed stance. There have been highs and lows in students’ lives during the past few months, in a way, drawing a parallel to the realities of life — how anything can change at any moment and how we need to adapt to the scenario come what may.
One thing that truly frightens me is what is left to come. I think that I have made myself so comfortable in this virtual bubble of mine that I will have a hard time bursting it when things go back to normal. I would much rather not put on a belt and shoes every morning and have to carry a 10-kilogram schoolbag before climbing up five flights of stairs.
To any student/teenager out there, I know the past year hasn’t been the one we wished for in our wildest dreams. We lost friendships, connections, social skills, the ability to walk to classes. We’re stuck in a seemingly never-ending loop.
But if we take a minute to replay the year and focus on the positives — the quality time with families, the online parties, lighting diyas in our balconies, multi-layered coffee — the year wasn’t half bad. I guess what I’m trying to say is that we might get hit with many hardships through our lives, but if we manage to stay positive in a negative situation, we win. After all, it is our creativity that makes us perceive how good or bad a situation is.
“We are captives of our own identity, living in prisons of our own creation.”