2020 is not exactly the year which will be remembered for its ideality by you who must be thinking of everything that was planned and everything that didn’t fall in the right place. The hard work that you had put in for good grades in the even semester, the summer break that was going to be a constructive one with internships and projects at hand or the much-awaited vacation to your favorite destination. Instead you are stuck amidst a global pandemic with deaths and downfalls all around. To not invite the risk of possible infections, you have chosen to lock yourself inside your homes.
Some of you are mentally at one of your lows because you find it suffocating to be locked inside your homes, while some of you crave for normalcy because you miss your fast paced life and some of you cannot accept the fact that the world will not be the same post restoration. In addition to these grievances, your college, Manipal Institute of Technology has announced online exams that are planned to be conducted through a special software application which will ensure that the exams are conducted fairly. It is also being said that these exams will require laptop as a primary device.
On 13th March, the university declared holidays till 28th March in the light of the Corona pandemic, students left for their homes hoping that the situation will be under control within a few days. This included the students who did not take their study material and laptops along with them and students who chose to not go back home. As of a few days back, there have been screenshots of text conversations between these students and faculty members who suggest to “borrow (laptop) from neighbors” or simply to “arrange it somehow, it is not a big deal”. There have also been questions about the compatibility of the ‘special software application’, that will be used for conducting online exams, on iOS devices.
There seems to be absolutely no consideration of the students’ mental state whose parents as doctors or police officers are at the front-line in dealing with the worsening conditions or whose family members are fighting the disease itself. There are students who are desperately trying to cope with the quarantine, or who aren’t on the best terms with their family members, or whose families are going through a tough financial time. There are NRI students who are stuck in the campus hostels and are uncertain about their journey back to their homes. To top it all, the eastern part of the country namely the state of West Bengal and Odisha confronted a destructive cyclone, Amphan-that has left the students from these regions mentally devastated and deprived of electricity, stable internet service and water supply.
Manipal Digest tried to reach out to a few people who were stuck in campus or are presently in the cyclone affected areas. Their responses are really worth the attention and sympathy.
“The internet connection is very unstable it keeps connecting and disconnecting at times. Making it difficult to attend online classes and submit assignments”, said a first-year student from DOC who has been stuck in the campus after the lockdown was declared.
On being asked about the efficiency of online lectures, another student said, “It has been very difficult as everything is not clear on video calls with teachers and there are disturbances that make online learning very tough. If online learning method would have been efficient, we would not be paying so much to the university.”
A student from MIC who is presently residing in Kolkata, one of the cyclone-affected cities, stated that the cyclone was stopped by the well cemented walls of her apartment but not the terror that it brought along.
“Water seeped in through the windows flooding our homes. The networks went down. There was no signal whatsoever. As I write this, around 50-60% of Kolkata still doesn’t have electricity and water supply”, said another student.
As we tried to enlist the statements further, we realized how mentally exhausting it must be for all these students with genuine problems that the concerned parties are said to be unwilling to attend or haven’t given satisfactory answers to the questions raised.
“This is one experience that I wouldn’t wish to ever relive. I hope Kolkata along with other affected areas recover as soon as possible.”
“Safe? Yes. Mentally? No. In just two hours my school, my house, my dad’s office my city was finished and devastated”
“My grandparents are stuck in Kolkata and my family does not live in India. They still do not have light and water supply from last five to six days. One cannot imagine the trauma until witnessed.”
Everyone’s now expects that the coming official emails bring good news to them. Until then we all hope for the best with only that left to do.
To be continued.