© Copyright First Draft

Varsity in the pandemic: A rollercoaster ride

With Covid-19 shutting down the campus, how is the JGU community dealing with it?

By Diptanshu Kashyap

Over the past few months, Gehna Mantri, who graduated from Jindal School of Journalism and Communication this year, has experienced both joy and misery,.

“I feel like my feet are in two boats,” she told First Draft. “I have happy that I graduated, but I missed many events such as farewell parties, the dinner with the dean and so many other things that my friends and I had planned.”

“It has been a rollercoaster ride,” said her batchmate, Shambhavi.

As the country went into lockdown in late-March to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, Jindal Global University (JGU) campus also shut down. Nearly six months later, not much has changed.

No one is hanging out near the Flagpole, the massive National Flag that’s a landmark on the campus, to ordering their favourite food or snacks at Chai Tapri or the food court. No one is playing fuse ball or billiards in the common room.

JGU's own Chai Tapri

Source: https://jgu.edu.in/new-facilities-chai-tapri-and-the-hangout-inaugurated-at-jgu/

Classes have begun for the new semester — on August 17 for the older batches and September 1 for the incoming one — but it’s all online.

Zoom and MS Teams is OK for lectures, but it is not as much fun or lively as the lecture halls, claim students. Patchy internet connections in the homes of many often makes the experience of online classes difficult.

Microsoft Teams and Zoom have helped all schools and universities to continue classes

Source: https://engagesq.com/microsoft-teams-will-never-have-zoombombing/

“All classes are being recorded so that the students who miss out for any reason can look them up,” said a member of the JGU administration who did not want to be named.

“The pattern of examinations has also been modified to ensure that there are fewer essays,” they added.

Students of courses with more practical component, such as architecture or journalism, are finding it a a tad difficult.

“It has been a bit of a struggle,” said Varnika Dalmia, a second-year architecture student. “Our on-site, atelier-based work had to be transferred to an online medium. It meant that we were more engaged with software and seeing our homes as our studios.”

“We lost out on the fourth semester because of the pandemic and were hoping that the fifth one would be on campus,” said Chetna Vasudevan, a final-year journalism student.

She added: “I was hoping to use the TV studio — but that’s out of the question now.”

Vasudevan, however, has spent this time reading more. “I would like to go back to college and use the facilities when it is safe.”

The biggest challenge is perhaps for the new batch who have never seen the campus. While there have been orientation and other programmes organized for them, it is still a challenging time.

“The whole world of virtual learning has definitely been a little tough but also has been a unique experience connecting with people online,” said Shravani Singh, who knows her batchmates and seniors through social media.

Edited by First Draft team.