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Citizen Voices

Coronavirus And The Life Of Pakistani Students

Come the year 2020 and nobody knew it would bring in its wake a disastrous pandemic—namely Coronavirus—leaving the people with no option but to remain indoors and avoid mass gatherings. The pandemic revealed social disparities. To a great extent, it was feasible for the bourgeoisie to adapt to such conditions. It was the poor who had to bear the brunt of the havoc caused by this merciless contagion.The major concern for the latter was simple: how would they eat if their bread earners were restricted indoor.

Meanwhile, the students were not exempted from these conditions either, as they had to stay home and study via online classes. It is worth mentioning here that more than 1.5 billion students and around 65 million teachers from 180 countries of the world have shifted to online classes leaving the institutes unoccupied. This so-called new normal posed severe educational challenges in a country like ours. Study requires undivided attention and the presence of all family members all the time made it difficult for students to focus. For some, the absence of a proper room to study and dearth of resources to fund their education were the mind-boggling problems whereas for others, accessibility of Internet remained key issue. On the flip side, a large number of students had to grapple with these predicaments all together. Much to our disappointment, despite agitations from miscellaneous parts of the country, neither the government nor the universities attempted to redress the students’ grievances.

Online learning has never been an optimal option, yet students have become inured to it in time. They have eventually realized that the termination of this pandemic is nowhere on the horizon.

We are already amid the second wave of this death-dealing virus and this time, it is emerging to be more aggressive and lethal in wreaking havoc as far as human lives are concerned. Reports of Covid-19’s variants being found in different parts of the world further consolidate this view that this contagion is not going to leave humanity anytime soon. Therefore “transition” is the only alternative we as students and other human beings are left with. The sooner we adapt ourselves to this new normal, the better.

However, not all is doom and gloom and there might be a silver lining for students like me—whose more than four hours of a day were spent in commutation in order to reach university and come back home. We have the opportunity to spend more time with family members and friends and thus to solidify social bonding. Never before did we have such a good amount of free time. Covid-19 compelled me to renew my views on life, success and other worldly matters and after that period of contemplations, I feel myself a better person now. I have come to know that compassion for humanity, charity for the destitute, and tolerance to accept people with different views are such commendable traits that benefit not only the person who practices them but help make this world a better place for everyone. With the arrival of 2021, it really seems like we—who have been lucky enough to survive the pandemic—are now living a second life with the first one being left in the turbulent 2020. Though the second wave of this pandemic is still in full swing, everyone is advised to enjoy this “second” life responsibly.

In the end, it would be unfair on my part to not mention the role of all mentors who did their best to ensure a smooth run vis-a-vis online learning. Unlike students, mentors hardly groused against the predicaments they had to face. For a large number of students, it was a highly disgruntling experience to study online. But it was not easier for teachers either. They empathised with concerned students and complied with their requests as far as they could. They pragmatically proved that we were all in this together and together we would come out of this crisis.

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Naya Daur