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Tuesday, August 04, 2020

Unsaid goodbyes, incomplete plans of graduating students of 2020

With a graduation like no other, students talk about how it feels to graduate amidst a pandemic and why this time fills a void in their hearts.

Written by Shambhavi Dutta | New Delhi | Updated: July 7, 2020 7:21:25 pm
 coronavirus, covid-19, coronavirus pandemic, coronavirus pandemic in india, covid 19 pandemic, covid 19 pandemic in india, graduate students during pandemic, graduation during lockdown, graduation during covid 19, graduation during coronavirus, graduation in pandemic, graduation in covid 19 pandemic, student graduation during pandemic india “I wanted to throw my graduation cap in the air and click tons of photos” shares Riya Bose, a final year student at Delhi University. (Photo: Getty)

Nimisha Nair’s notes and assignments lie neatly on her study table, waiting for the day she would wear her graduation day gown and throw them ceremonially in the air. But for the student who did her triple majors in Chemistry, Botany and Zoology of Christ University, Bangalore, there’s no telling when that will happen, if at all. 

In the five months since lockdown, restrictions may have eased, but there’s no word on the reopening of colleges and schools. For the batch of 2020, wearing the graduation gown seems a dream.

So do plans for a much-awaited Goa trip, clicking pictures in every corner of their college and simply enjoying the cafe’s yummy chole bhature for one last time as they prepare to start a new chapter of their lives. Graduation night, sari-clad photos, scribbling on each other’s shirts and wearing graduation gowns while throwing their caps in the air won’t be happening either this year.

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However, even when colleges are trying their best to give students a memorable farewell, an event that they have looked forward to during their college years many don’t know if they will ever have a chance at bidding their crucial years a heartfelt goodbye. 

Meanwhile, Chitra Mehta, an outstation student at Lady Shri Ram College for Women studying bachelors in English, assumed her farewell would take place after her mid-semester break but four months down the line, it’s still to happen.

She says: “We had our mid-sem break in March and since I was to go home for only two days, I left with just my backpack, leaving my room in Delhi as messy as it was.” Chitra was hoping to get back to shop for buying her graduation sari with friends. “The last days of college were meant to be as crazy as possible. In fact, my friends and I had a pact to get tattooed before the farewell and now even though I am graduating, it doesn’t feel it anymore.”

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With uncertainty looming for final year students, examinations are another issue. Remarks Chitra, “We don’t know when we are graduating. Imagine getting an update five days before the examinations that the entire model of online examinations proposed by DU will be scrapped and revised. It is pretty sad but, right now, the focus is more on getting a degree. What use is a farewell when the entire degree is at stake?”

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The end of college marks an important turn in the lives of students, who are finally eager to carve a place in the world. The farewell is an important milestone in this journey as everything culminates to this very day. 

Tenzin Zompa, studying PG Diploma in journalism from Asian School of Journalism, was really looking forward to the convocation but at the moment her real concern is about landing a job. “I realise it’s now more about learning to hustle and adapting to the chaotic times,” shares Zompa. 

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For Rigzin Deldan studying MBA from Symbiosis, Pune, his farewell hasn’t taken place so far. “My heart sinks knowing that I will not get these moments back ever.” He’s not the only one waiting. For Riya Bose, a student Motilal Nehru College, the farewell was something she looked forward to since she didn’t experience one during high school either. ”I just feel we were an unlucky batch because neither did we get our fresher’s party nor a farewell.” 

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Facing graduation like no other, all Rigzin wants is one day where he can hug his friend’s goodbye and roam around in his campus. He says, “The last time, when everybody was leaving, it was simply a mess. People were panicking and everyone left in a matter of two days. My last memory of the campus is that of a ghost town.”  

”I just feel we were an unlucky batch because neither did we get our fresher’s party nor a farewell” shares Riya Bose. (Photo: Riya Bose)

Simran Rawat pursuing her course in Journalism from Lady Shri Ram College for Women describes graduating amidst a pandemic as “really hard time”. “All of our plans are on hold, it is difficult to get a job or even pursue a Masters. Pretty much, every option I had been working on over the last year has just come to a halt, despite my solid plans.” 

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For Vagheesh, a masters student in development studies at Ambedkar University says even though he missed the farewell, he didn’t take part in the Zoom call farewell either for a reason that the Indian education system has a hard time dealing with. He says, “since many of us don’t have access to Wifi or laptops, it doesn’t seem like a farewell. Rather it becomes an exclusionary act.”

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