24 April 2022 06:18:32 IST

Freshers of 2020 are finally on campus, but it’s tough to cope

The transition from online to offline is impacting students in more ways than one

A week ago, Himanshu Kulkarni took out a pen to write an assignment on a sheet of paper, after a two-year hiatus. That was when he realised that it wasn’t a cakewalk as he thought and ended up not writing it. “Two years of online classes later, I could not get myself to write an assignment and submit it physically. I am still trying to cope,” he says.  

Since March 2020, everything this 20-year-old wrote was on an electronic device, which slowly, much to his despair, became his world. . 

He is a freshman of the year 2020, where everything right from enrolling in college, attending classes, meeting people and writing exams were all online, owing to the pandemic and the lockdown. He is now a two-year integrated BA-MA psychology student in the University of Hyderabad

What’s different? 

In-person classes began a month ago for Himanshu. But it all felt quite different.

Neelima NV, BA student, Miranda House, Delhi

“I feel that I am not as smart as I used to be before. In these two years, I lost some of my ability to focus on what I am doing,” he says. Hariharan M, a second-year BA journalism student of Madras Christian College, also shares a similar story.

“While attending online classes, I would promptly take part in answering questions. However, I do not find myself doing that a lot during in-person classes,” he says. 

Neelima NV, a second-year BA student of Miranda House, Delhi, says that she is worried about her scores in the upcoming offline examination.

“Until now, our classes were online and we had open-book examinations. I will be writing a proper examination after two years and I have started doubting my abilities. What if I do not score well?” she wonders. 

Of fests and friendships 

There is quite a lot that the freshmen of 2020 missed. That includes their fresher’s party, meeting their seniors and attending fests and club activities.

Luck has been unfair especially to the ones who started their three-year-long courses, for they would hardly get to spend a year in college.

Hariharan, who belongs to a small-town bordering Kerala and Tamil Nadu, says that he was looking forward to a good exposure in a big city and was frustrated being confined to his house. 

Hariharan M, BA journalism student, Madras Christian College

In fact, a lot of them haven’t gotten to know their classmates properly too. “It is different, meeting them in person. I used to message a few of my classmates online and had a good rapport with them too. However, they turned out to be completely different in person,” Himanshu says.

On the other hand, Neelima, who hails from Kerala, says that she is yet to bond properly with her classmates, who are from other States. 

Things are getting back to normal, slowly. But the news of Covid cases rising in parts of the country certainly worries these students.

“I was, in fact, talking to a classmate some time ago about this. I hope cases don’t rise and they don’t send us home. We have missed a lot already. We cannot miss the remaining good part of our college life too,” says Himanshu.