After a long hiatus, students are back to the campus. These are a new cadre of young students, just out from the confines of their homes, after spending nearly two years ‘studying’ in their comfort zones. These are the students who have got used to their phones, laptops and I-pads to attend classes, read e-books, and their gadget addiction is so massive that their concentration levels are almost zilch now.
They have forgotten time management, have learned to procrastinate and get immensely restless in the physical classroom. The library is an alien concept, and the labs are entered without the earlier enthusiasm. Right now, all their attention is directed towards the campus crowd and getting to know their batchmates better. They are even fine with attending online classes on the lawns of the campus!! Selfie time is back in full swing; Instagram reels and stories are doing the rounds, announcing their grand arrival on their campus. Most of them are seen hanging around in the cafeteria and the sports facilities. On top of it, the warm weather makes it difficult for the students to wear masks all day through.
The pyjama parties are finally over, and it is time for upping the wardrobes and donning attires they had hanging in their closets for two years. Their animated conversations go on unending throughout the day, and the whole campus is abuzz with their chit-chats. The students who could not do much antics earlier in Zoom and Teams are back in action, and as a result, the studious ones are complaining that they were better off in the virtual classrooms, where the disturbances were lesser, and they could concentrate a lot more! The same teacher with whom they had ‘anonymously’ chatted in the virtual classroom – anonymous because they refused to switch on their videos most of the time – is unable to recognize them, and their ego does not accept this rejection!
On their part, University campuses like IILM are going out of their way to restore the pre-pandemic campus life, ambience and environment, whether it is by way of creating highly engaging classrooms, or organizing events and celebrating festivals. The involvement of students in these efforts is being given impetus. The otherwise dormant Clubs and Societies are suddenly enthused with life, and the campus is slowly limping back to the ‘old’ normal. Industry experts and alumni are being invited to physically interact with the students, an aspect which the latter missed a lot in the pandemic.
These times are also physically exhausting for the faculty, as they had got used to comfortably sitting while conducting the online classes. They are also trying their best to adjust to the old routines. With a majority of the students distracted and not focusing on the learning in the class, it is difficult for the faculty to hold their attention for a long time.
As of now, the experience of both the students and the faculty in the physical classroom is mixed – both as trying to adapt themselves and change themselves back to the earlier times. Hoping for the earlier ‘normalcy’ to return soon!!