What an uncertain time to graduate! As the world around us is crumbling and the unpredictability of life is becoming evident, one is left wondering about what is in store for us in the future. However, this is one more reason to be sanguine, as we have not only age and energy on our side but our future is also in our hands
Our nation is desperately battling the dreadful second wave, hoping for a brief relief prior to the anticipated third wave. Above all, it has been so unpredictable that one day we came home on our mid-semester break and never went back to our colleges.
Since then, we have been stuck in our homes, attending online classes, submitting assignments day after day and living the “exciting college life”.
However, now our time has come as well, as had for the previous batch graduating in the pandemic and I suspect our immediate junior batch awaits the same fate.
The years 2020 and 2021 have been full of challenges, both physical and mental. So many of us have lost our near and dear ones and so many of us have battled Covid-19 ourselves that this disease has left us pondering what this ailment is.
I think, however, that this pandemic, more than anything else, has warped time for the most of us at such an unprecedented rate that we have been unable to recover the lost time.
For an average candidate, the current job market isn’t the ideal place, and frankly, it’s no one’s fault. Due to the staggering number of people that have lost jobs in the past year, you can see experienced candidates vying for entry-level positions, ideally, which is for freshers.
Final-year exams are another uncertainty. Being a DU student, I can still sit for it as the university wants to conduct these exams even though our final semester examinations hold less credits than our previous years’ semesters and as such, they don’t hold the most weightage in calculation of the final GPA.
Furthermore, if the examinations are delayed any further than 7 June (ending on 25 June), the results are sure to get delayed, as we had seen previously as well.
This will hinder those who wish to continue their studies from foreign universities, as the final graduation marksheet is required.
This is accompanied with a technological gap between those privileged enough to attend online classes and having a stable connection compared to those who aren’t so fortunate.
A battle on many fronts
The surging pandemic was accompanied with cyclones, new variations of fungal infections, lack of beds, lack of life-saving drugs, deficiency of essentials like oxygen cylinders, concentrators, subsequent black marketing and astronomical pricing, troubling geo-politics along with multiple international crises and climate change.
We had seen last year during the nationwide lockdown, the brief relief we had given to nature to heal, but alas we are back at messing with nature again.
In a few decades, I wonder whether we will collectively hold ourselves accountable or realise our folly now?
Even if everything around us is going south, I want us to remember ourselves as ‘Pandemic Graduates’.
For the past year, we have grappled with our health, both physical and mental and yet we are here to stay.
We have so far made it and will definitely make it through, perhaps one of the toughest times in history. The secret is perhaps ‘positive reinforcement’.
We keep giving ourselves a sense of hope that our efforts will yield positive results and things will improve for us collectively and individually, even though everything around us is shrouded in a cloak of uncertainty.
We are stuck here, for the time being, so what can we do?
In my view, the starting point is being compassionate and full of gratitude. Yes, ‘further studies’ and ‘job prospects’ are competitive and yet this pandemic has shown us our collective strength.
The popular adage ‘united we stand, divided we fall’ is quite apt in current times.
Help everyone around you to the best of your abilities, it’s ‘us vs the pandemic’.
Also, focus on individual mental health, take a break, watch a new series or movie and engage in something mundane.
It is true that we cannot remain cheerful 24×7, but we can be determined that similarly we shouldn’t be down 24×7 either.
Forgone memories of college life and lost opportunities will perhaps stick with us for the rest of our lives.
However, as we graduate, let us thank our family, friends and teachers who have stuck by us during this harsh period.
Furthermore, let us pray for everyone around us. Perhaps, we will revisit our campuses someday, eat in our canteens again and meet our batchmates again.
Let’s resolve that perhaps we will! If you are reading this in the current grim situation and you are graduating alongside me, then congratulations! Best of luck for your future endeavours.
The celebration may need to wait, but for now, let us be proud of ourselves!
Yuvraj Pratap Singh is a student of Aryabhatta College, University of Delhi