Editor’s Note: FII’s #MoodOfTheMonth for August, 2021 is Digital Realities. Throughout the month, we invite submissions on the many layers of experiences from the virtual world. If you’d like to contribute, kindly email your articles to firstname.lastname@example.org
2022 is just six months away, and many of us are yet to process 2019.
We spent nearly two years in the confinement of our spaces, with a little help from the digital windows that kept our sanity in check. A couple of years ago, if someone had speculatively mentioned about what lies ahead, most of us would have laughed it off. Graduating on a random Thursday evening from the bedroom is not something any of us saw coming.
At this point, millions of students are halfway through their courses, but are yet to visit their colleges and are probably thinking they will never have a chance to. Learning and attending classes in pajamas from the comfort of the home is a dream come true for many, and a nightmare for a others, especially for parents with tiny tots.
Preparing children, ensuring they sit, learn and pay attention through their online classes to what is on the screen is now a full-time job for many parents. We are pretty sure that most of them find their 9-5 desk jobs comparatively easier.
The month of July witnesses the mayhem of the commencement of the new academic year. Brand new uniforms, those lazy tears, droopy eyes, the smell of new books, meeting friends, catching up about the elaborate “summer vacation” – experiences we once looked forward to, are now a distant dream.
It is from the classrooms that the little ones learn how to interact, communicate and build bonds. Discipline was inculcated and multiple ways were adopted to make them more attentive. They were moulded into future learners, as well as individuals at large, all of which is now at stake.
On the other pole of the same plane lies the senior students who are being deprived of the precious years of their school life, the exciting moments and memories that are meant to last a lifetime – the very surprising- surprise tests, the many hands in a single lunch box, that one PT period that everyone waits for but gets hijacked by the math’s teacher, the long and never-ending assemblies, wearing a color dress on birthdays which gives an in-house celebrity vibes, scary vivas, never-ending fun, banter.
Also read: Traversing Academia Amidst The Pandemic
These experiences are not only precious, but also essential in the formation of one’s personality. They add value and intensity to one’s growing up years. The pandemic now stands in the way of all these lovely experiences, and the comfort of the home does not cut it.
The digital classroom can never be the replacement for those four walls, which act like a box full of memories. This is not to dismiss the traumatic school or college experiences some of us may have had. For those who struggle with the majoritarian ideas of fitting in, this pandemic is definitely a breather.
It also puts under scanner the problematic ways in which children and young adults are handles in educational institutions.
Covid has swept everything that it found on its way, along with the innumerable moments that are once in a lifetime experiences that would otherwise be engraved into our lives. The sad part is that most of the students don’t know what they are missing, unlike many of those who have already experienced “school and campus life” and certainly, that part is for many, life at its explorative best.
It is a glorious phase of living in a bubble of happiness away from the realties of life and the world. In this dynamic world, where everything is turning digital or has now inevitably been digitised, perhaps, some things must be kept “old fashioned”.
Raveena is half a journo who lives in black and white, currently stuck in grey. She describes herself as a girl who finds solace in words. You may find her on Instagram
Featured Image: Ritika Banerjee for Feminism In India