Lifestyle

Being young in times of lockdown: Online classes, virtual dates and more

For starters, dates have become virtual, teachers are seen behind phone screens, and movie nights are all about screen-sharing now.

Classes, endless cups of coffee, canteen banter, notes exchange, cafe meet-ups and occasional parties once defined the bitter-sweet pre-quarantine life for youngsters. But, the lockdown period has changed things in unfathomable ways. For starters, dates have become virtual, teachers are seen behind phone screens, and movie nights are all about screen-sharing now. To top it off, there is a slight tinge of nostalgia and regret, too. Regret at having cancelled so many plans, when there was still a chance to head out.

Riya Bose, a final year Delhi University student — who had decided to spend her last days in college with her friends, exploring the city, clicking pictures and making new memories — feels the pang. “All of that was before the government announced the lockdown. I never thought my mid-semester break would never come to an end,” she says. Marina (name changed), a master’s student from Jamia Millia Islamia, agrees. “It almost feels like we live in an alternate universe, wherein staying away from our loved ones is an act of love now.”

Virtual classroom

Lectures, wherein if you entered 15 minutes late you would have risked losing your attendance, now begin half an hour earlier just so the call can happen on time, and the class is free from any distractions. “Now, we do not have to mark our attendance by shouting ‘present’. Instead, when the clock strikes 8.30 am, we show our face on the video call,” says Danish Khan, an IIT, Varanasi student.

“Even though online classes seem to be keeping the education system going, most people are having a hard time,” says Bose, explaining that the professors are not used to it and even students are struggling to keep their interest.

Students no longer resort to scribbling notes in their notebooks. Their course material now encompasses PDFs scanned with teacher’s notes and voice notes from professors sent on the class group. You no longer have to go to the library to issue paperback books because now most of the study material is replaced by e-books.“I am procrastinating a lot. Despite having so much time, I am not able to finish my assignments. The other day, I told my teacher that my laptop’s battery has some defect. Had the lecture been taken in person, I would have simply skipped it,” says Aditya Peer, a master’s student at Leeds University in London.