It has been some time now since the uncertain phase of our life began. In all these days, sitting back at our quarantine destination, most of us must have seen people facing the toughest of the challenges and unimaginable pain, fighting from problems apart from the dangers of the disease itself. The pain of being away from the family, the pain of being away when their family needed them the most, the pain of suddenly losing their jobs, incomes, and even accommodation and the pain of losing hope, to count a few among many. My heart goes out seeing them how vulnerable they have been while being equally important for us.
Taking note of the magnitude of the suffering we develop empathy for sure. That’s our inherent nature and for the good. Being a student and having lived a significant part of it naturally makes me feel downhearted for the students like me including those who are living the days I have been through and those who are sharing the same timeline with me. Most seen in the news is the suffering of the students in Kota, who miles far from their home are finding it hard even to have a good meal, let alone the good mental state to continue their exam preparation. Some of them were lucky to get to their home early but most of them were compelled to stay despite raising their voices through various media platforms including social media and even reaching out to the court. I could relate to them, at least to some degree, not just because I happened to be a student like them and lived in Kota but because while I was in Kota in 2014-15, around the month of February-March in 2015, the threat of an old influenza pandemic named as swine flu was very widespread which infected more than 33000 people across India, and the threat was really severe so much so that we had to study in our coaching classes with masks on and even there were cases of some student getting caught by that disease. It was really unfortunate for them to have left Kota in the middle of the preparation. I remember praying for my good health every day. I know I was being selfish to pray for my good health only but I didn’t want to lose out on an opportunity as big as I had and it could not have been done without good health, both mental and physical health. I was so fortunate that my prayers were heard. The concern of the students not getting good food is also somewhat relatable to me. Be it around 10 days of holiday in Diwali or a few days of holiday in Holi (Read Here), I struggled to get a good meal. But I was fortunate that I could at least get out on the streets, struggle for any possibility, and finally get a meal. The situation right now is more dire and painful. The students can’t get out leaving them with very few choices of food, mostly from their room owners and no choice to not compromise for the quality and the quantity. This is about the pain of the present which is no way less important but more uncertain is the future as the exams have been postponed with not even the tentative date announced. But, I personally see this delay as a double-edged sword as the students can draw advantage out of it through proper planning, self-discipline, and optimism. Because of the delay in the examination, the students would have more time to prepare as the coaching institutes complete the examination syllabus by March. But the mind does not act the ideal way, there will be several factors in the play. They, in fact, no one expected that the month of March and April would unfold like this. It is just like you suddenly encounter a speed breaker on the highway, it might just go wrong sometimes if we are not aware and prepared. Now, it would not only be about the volume of the syllabus that one has learned, but it would also be about maintaining the continuity through optimism and gratefulness. One should be optimistic that the examination is going to happen anyway as one entire academic year simply can’t be let go. And this optimism can better be achieved while being grateful. Grateful in the sense that it was not the worst. Had the pandemic and consequently, the lockdown started in the month of November-December it would have really created chaos among the students with a crucial part of their syllabus waiting to be seen. I say it was not worse from the student’s perspective. There’s no doubt the country, especially the weaker section of the society who has been taking all the pain even in the normal circumstances are taking most of the brunt. But as far as the students are concerned, they can minimize, nullify, or even withdraw advantage out of the situation that they have at their platter. It’s not that I write this just as any other theory but it has been a part of my experience and I have always seen it working.
If not me, this simple but stimulating line should inspire you:
“In the middle of difficulties lies the opportunity.”