The third decade of the 21st century has had an inauspicious beginning. What was last year a localized epidemic in the Chinese city of Wuhan is now a pandemic arresting nearly all of humanity to their homes. I look back at the times when we speculated whether the government would extend the initial 21-day lockdown and that our class excursion might be rescheduled, with a bitter sense of irony.
Annual exercises such as ‘back-to-school’ shopping, hasty completion of the long-neglected holiday assignments, and the exhaustive exercise of labelling each item, which I have been judiciously doing for the past 11 years, stand unceremoniously cancelled.
However, no disaster is too large compared to the collective resolve of mankind to restore normalcy. Schools resumed after a little delay; with computers replacing classrooms to ensure strict social-distancing norms. Barring a few obvious merits such as the absolute elimination of the possibility of inadvertently forgetting to carry a book, I find online classes to be a poor substitute to the actual school-going experience.
As a newly-elected prefect, my peers and I had busily spent our time excitedly planning our agenda for the coming academic year. My blues might seem frivolous in a world full of death and difficulty but I cannot help but say that my school life has been unfairly cut short.
It is exhausting to sit in front of a computer screen for hours, trying to focus on what the teacher is saying. I can only imagine what our teachers must be going through correcting all of our assignments and brainstorming over ways to make us understand topics online.
The other day, observing the way my sister’s classes were progressing, I was humbled by how her class teacher Sheeba Chechi masterfully managed to keep a group of 40 fidgety 10-year-olds engaged for over three hours per day.
I feel that survival in these pandemic times will be an interesting topic to ponder over later. It is an excellent and shining example of humanity’s perseverance and its capacity to change and adapt, no matter what the requirements of the times maybe. This pandemic has disrupted our lives but we have all found a way to carry on and go about our lives.