Law student Esha Bathija has been a champion in debate competitions, while it was a great shock for her when she fumbled while participating in one competition during her first year of college.
“For the first time I forgot my speech. I was completely blank. Thanks to complete loss of opportunities for over two years of confinement due to pandemic induced lockdown,” said Esha, who has decided to now prepare early-on to be prepared for the next competition.
Omkar Vernekar, a native of Solapur, moved to Mumbai to study his dream course of architecture at the J J College of Architecture. He was understandably worried about ragging and other struggles of adapting to a new city with hostel life. But it has rather been a smooth process. “After two years of online learning, the seniors too are nervous,” said Omkar.
These are just a couple of examples of changing college life in the city campuses, more so for the first year degree college students. From a restricted environment in schools to much open discussions on various topics in degree courses, the transition has been real-quick for them after having lost two years of junior college which provide a window to college life.
In the Campus Talk this week, we spoke to four youngsters pursuing different degree courses in separate colleges in the city to get a peep into the post-pandemic era of this new generation embarking on their life’s journey.
Quick jump from school life to college life
Samruddhi Ghanekar, a first year BAMMC student from MMK College, who has had a peep into college life through her elder sisters there were several expectations which are more or less about having fun. “But having had no friends from junior college with practically zero social life for two years; suddenly we were expected to interact in a class-setting among groups. It really has been a struggle for the introverts. There are some students in the class who have not really spoken for weeks together,” shared Samruddhi, adding how most of them are directly in degree college after school life.
Even as interpersonal interactions have been a struggle, dialogues with the professors have been rather surprising. “Here the teachers really understand us. Unlike strict teachers from schools, the professors are really free in a lot of discussions. I am glad I still have more years of college life to enjoy unlike my seniors, who hardly have had that chance,” she added.
After being home for most of junior college, there was no question of appearance or what to wear to college. “But with the beginning of offline college, unfortunately the old stereotypes too are back which are based on fashion, appearance, looks and vehicles of an individual or even on whether you smoke or drink,” shared Aakash Khithani, who is pursuing Bachelor of Management Studies at the H R College.
Khithani shared how people do have the pressure of maintaining standards and a circle of friends, especially girls. “Whereas the most important part should be what the person is bringing to the table in terms of insights, ability, skills etc. Thankfully I am not the one to succumb to such pressure. But I am working towards a freer environment, especially by initiating a free dialogue between the seniors and juniors,” he said.
No pressure of seniors
There are assumptions of pressure from the seniors as you begin the college life. But as Esha from VES College of Law expressed that it was in fact the opposite. “Seniors have been generous.” The best part Esha shared, “We both were in the same boat. They too were nervous to start offline college. A senior shared how after spending two important years of law course online, she is unsure what she actually has understood,” shared Esha. “But many of us are holding ourselves back, thanks to much overthinking. We have started thinking twice before saying anything unsure of how I will be judged for it,” she expressed.
The academic loss
After starting his architecture course during lockdown, Omkar Vernekar, a second-year student of J J College of Architecture, said: “Drafting is very important in architecture even as it is now digitally possible. In the first year, the teachers train for hand-drawn draft, which is the basis of the course.
We started the course during online learning and have missed that part.” Just like Omkar, the focus for most others in the second year and above in various degree courses is to bridge the gap in learning and managing their college life. “There is absolutely no form of ragging on campuses due to this shift of focus. Everybody is busy making the most of college life,” added Omkar.