Quarantine has marked the longest vacation of the year 2020. Globally, people are at home to curb this pandemic except for the frontline workers who are working day and night to serve humanity. Neither this life nor the lifestyle is familiar. Where a sizeable number has got the sack, another significant fraction faces the risk of receiving pink slips. A considerable number of firms have gone through closure. Even educational institutions continue to be closed, making students uncertain about career prospects. We spoke to a few to find out how they lived during this phase.
Ishani Maheshwari, a student at Mumbai’s Welingkar Institute of Management, spent the lockdown by upskilling, binge-watching web series, following her doodling hobby, connecting with old friends and making new social connections.
“This lockdown is the first of its kind for most of us millennials and also a dream come true for people like me who fancy a 24/7 homestay with no academic pressure,” says Ananya Sahay, a Gujarat National Law University student. “I always wanted such a time that allowed me to do anything I liked, from activities related to academic study to physical well-being. personality building and reading books, but at my own pace, without any stress of deadlines. In the initial days of lockdown, I binged on some of my bucket list of movies, television series and books, my sleep cycle was disrupted too. I had no routine whatsoever and I was clueless of the passage of time but after a while, I craved change. So I tried to follow a routine inclusive of all my favourite activities.”
That is when she realised how tough it is to follow a routine “when you don’t have external factors such as deadlines, lecture schedules and more controlling your day”. All of a sudden, it became so tough to get out of the bed to do anything on time. And to think Ananya used to make it to the gym at 6:30 am because her packed schedule did not permit any other time slot. “Being locked down at home, one can do anything any time, with absolutely no-one pressing upon you and holding timetables in your face, except your mother, but then you know how to impress her by cooking something for her. I was satisfied with my practice of self-discipline by following a routine amidst the deadlines and college schedules but this lockdown made me realise that actual self-discipline is when I can follow a personal routine uninfluenced by any external constraints. It has been a challenge, to be honest, some days I succeed and some days are marked as failures but the hustle is on.”
For Rohan Sharma, a student at Delhi Technological University, the brakes on academic research internship didn’t mean an end to his pursuit. He decided to go for specialisations on Coursera. He is now looking forward to his research internship under his college professor. During this time, he explored history and psychology and watched a lot of war documentaries too.
Jash Jani, a student at VIT, reports that for the first few days he took a break from his normal schedule. As the days went by he started building his academic and non-academic skills. He even utilised this time to pursue online courses. Preparing for higher studies and taking online classes for the remaining semester organised by his college kept him busy too. And among all this, he managed to learn some keyboard along with callisthenics too.
For Sardar Vallabhbhai National Institute of Technology student Harshal Lalwani, his hobby of playing games and exploring their latest versions took up most of the time. Meanwhile, he took up a remote internship at Mastercard to learn about networking. He even connected with his long-lost friends. “I could sleep a lot more than I did, a privilege for an engineering student!”
The lockdown was an opportunity to upskill for most and many took up virtual internships too as a lot of companies offered them to students to help them get an insight into industry culture and work and add to their resumes. The pandemic has indeed given us a lot of time to introspect and build on what is worthwhile for us.