By Aarthy Iyengar
Assuming myself to be one of the common students out there, this writeup is a generalization. It would be wrong on my part to say that the pandemic has turned my life upside down given the fact that I still have a comfortable sleep pattern and do not have to worry about the next meal. However, not meeting people has certainly hurt me; it had kept me moving and helped me stay physically and mentally put together (I at least bothered to wash myself and comb my hair daily). The irony in the current scenario is, there has been a lockdown to protect people from physical health issues and infections but nobody has cared to think about the mental health of the people sitting at home in a panic state.
The world around us is trying much harder to operate uninterrupted as if everything is normal but I would suggest some interruption, some pause, since everything is not normal. The online classes at the preface seem fun, since one can lay down and attend classes, but no mode of virtual interaction can replace the direct interaction. There is not much of a discipline in an online class which is essential for learning. Though the medium is different, the truck loads of syllabi, assignments, and exams remain. Focusing at a screen for seven hours a day certainly is tough. Eyes start hurting, clarity of thought gets lost and one ends up feeling dull and sleepy all day, leading to nothing productive.
Everything is online: the classes, the books and the entertainment. So it is like me staring at a screen all the time except while I am sleeping. The phone remains by my side all the time with the classroom notifications popping up as intermittent reinforcement. Social media and meeting apps today are also the only medium of connecting. If scrolling on social media was a job, I would receive increments and promotions every year. Home and college/workplace have merged, there is no coming home, keeping the bag away and relaxing. Everything is home, everything is work. Even the travelling part, though at times felt tedious, was a necessary detox which is absent in this scenario.
Though people on social media often say one must not compare oneself with others on the same platform regarding how productive one has been during the lockdown and that it is important to just keep oneself put together during these difficult times, social media does lead to comparison resulting in feelings of worthlessness. Even while working on internships from home, attending classes and having a hectic schedule, a feeling of “time being wasted” exists. The realisation that no time is wasted and one always evolves through experience takes time.
Thus, the pandemic has been a difficult time for everyone, there is no comparison in terms of degree of difficulty experienced.