Friends, canteen food, youth fests: Ludhiana’s college freshers say they have missed out on a lot - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

Friends, canteen food, youth fests: Ludhiana’s college freshers say they have missed out on a lot

By, Ludhiana
Jun 21, 2021 01:13 AM IST

Asked what they have missed out on while home-bound due to the pandemic, students listed freshers’ and farewell parties, a chance to get ready for college after years in uniform, evening strolls on the college lawns, canteen food, student body elections, cultural events and the quiet of the reading room of the library

From side-splitting anecdotes to sobering misadventures, for 19-year-old Bharti Arora the best conversation starters always seemed to originate on the college or university campus, but unfortunately when it was finally time for her to embark upon the much-touted “golden phase of life”, the pandemic struck and online classes became the way of life.

Colleges in Ludhiana have been shut since March last year. While final-year students were able to visit their colleges earlier this year to attend physical classes for two months and then for practicals, first-year undergraduate students have not been able to visit campus since their induction in August 2020. (Representative Photo/HT File)
Colleges in Ludhiana have been shut since March last year. While final-year students were able to visit their colleges earlier this year to attend physical classes for two months and then for practicals, first-year undergraduate students have not been able to visit campus since their induction in August 2020. (Representative Photo/HT File)

“Really, the coronavirus pandemic could not have come at a worse time!” laments Arora, who is pursuing bachelor of commerce at Khalsa College for Women, Civil Lines. “I had been looking forward to participating in the youth festival and inter-college dance festivals the most, but the virus threw a wrench into the works and colleges remained closed for the whole year.”

Unlock exclusive access to the latest news on India's general elections, only on the HT App. Download Now! Download Now!

On the threshold of their adult lives, the newly inducted batch of college students feels it has been robbed of a pivotal milestone. Asked what they have missed out on while home-bound due to the pandemic, students listed freshers’ and farewell parties, a chance to get ready for college after years in uniform, evening strolls on the college lawns, canteen food, student body elections, cultural events and the quiet of the reading room of the library.

Around 25,000 first-year students enrolled at Panjab Univertsity-affiliated colleges will be starting with their second year in two months time without having enjoyed campus life.

It was the lure of the vast college library that had Government College for Girls BA first-year student Manveer Kaur on tenterhooks. “ I was planning on issuing four-five books a week but thanks to the pandemic I have had to make do with my collection at home.”

It was greenery, lawns and the iconic annual freshers’ party that had sold Kaur on the idea of studying at Government College for Girls over some colleges in Chandigarh. Little did she know that she would not get to enjoy the facilities at all.

‘Deprived of a chance to develop life skills’

A teacher, who did not wish to be named said, “Interacting with classmates and participating in extra-curricular activities teaches students team work, time management, and an assortment of life skills. However, the freshers could not experience it last year.”

When 18-year-old Geetika Kalra was admitted to Guru Nanak Khalsa College for Women, Model Town, in the bachelor of arts course last year she was excited to impress classmates with her oratory and anchoring skills. However, now she spends most days listening to virtual presentations on her laptop.

“I would participate in all events at school, but I have not gotten an opportunity at college so far. It is surreal to think that we have been at home for a year,” she says. However, the silver lining is that Kalra has been able to make two new friends during online classes.

‘Haven’t been able to make friends’

However, Rohit Kumar, 19, of Satish Chander Dhawan Government College, says he hardly knows anybody in class. “Last year was tough in itself because of the pandemic and attending online classes for two whole semesters was also a challenge. I worry about how I will cope once college reopens as I have no friends there.”

“While teachers are doing their best by organising online seminars and contests, the virtual is no substitute for the real. Lack of physical interactions, I feel, has hampered our growth and all-round personality development,” he said .

DD Jain College for Women principal Sarita Behl said, “All colleges have switched to online classes during the pandemic and students have not been able to participate in extra cultural activities. So, whenever colleges reopen, we will hold more cultural and sports events.”

Colleges in Ludhiana have been shut since March last year. While final-year students were able to visit their colleges earlier this year to attend physical classes for two months and then for practicals, first-year undergraduate students have not been able to visit campus since their induction in August 2020.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Saturday, May 18, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On