Written by: Nehal Jumani
As a college student we all have certain dreams, hopes, and expectations as we near our graduation and when we become final year students these expectations and our determination about career and degree increase by tenth fold. We start planning our last days in college while preparing ourselves for what lies ahead. From our teachers to our peers everyone has same thought process on how we can be prepared for our life after school.
Like any final year student that was what I felt too. I was ready to embrace the new chapter of my life while making sure that my last days in college are full of memories that I would be cherishing for the rest of my life. Reality started settling in once the recruitment drives started. There were test dates scheduled for almost every week, all our batch mates were discussing the preparation and about the companies they would be applying for.
On the other side, half of the batch had already started preparing for the grad week celebration. Last days of the semesters were designated to cherish the four years’ worth of memories we made in our college. However, life hardly goes like you plan it! On 27th of February, there was an announcement by the local government for shutting down private institutes because the first case of the coronavirus was identified in Sindh. Our mid-termswere postponed and where some of us wanted to get done with the exams, others took a relief because they still had to prepare more.
But what none of us didn’t realize was this closing was the beginning of the indefinite period of lockdown. The exams which were postponed were soon cancelled and now there was ambiguity of what was coming ahead.
The world has been hearing about Novel Coronavirus Disease since the end of 2019, the virus which had begun in the city ofWuhan, China, and soon had the whole country on its knees. It was still just considered an odd sort of pneumonia. Till February 2020 the virus was only the Chinese problem even though the disease has long crossed the country’s border.
It was 11th March 2020, when the disease was referred to as Pandemic and the chaos enveloped the world. People were scared of a virus that was still unknown to them and which was crippling the economies and health sectors of various countries around the globe. We became the witness of the struggle Italy and Iran are still going through. The news spread like a forest fire and the reaction was nothing but chaotic.
It took a toll on Pakistan as well, we were now worrying about our health, noticing slight change in our temperature, praying to God that we make it alive. On the other hand, a part of me couldn’t help but reminisce about the beginning of this year. When we couldn’t even imagine that how our lives would-be put-on halt in next two months.
Everyone was wondering about the health and economy; I was also wondering how we were now deprived of our chance to celebrate our academic and extracurricular achievements. It may sound selfish but the pandemic also robbed us of our chance to say proper goodbye to our teachers and the last four years of our lives. The news about the deteriorating condition around the country and the increase in cases along with no proper knowledge on when everything would be in control again made a lot of us anxious and negatively affected our mental health.
But this was not it, the real panic settled in when companies around the country started cancelling their recruitment drive. It was justified economically and, in the condition, where hundreds of people were laid off across the globe. But for some of us this was our chance to make things better for ourselves and our families. Many of us wanted to finance our future studies on our own. There were a lot of us who were supposed to financially help our families and now we didn’t even know whether we’ll be getting a job or not.
Now, this seems like a dream, where people are being terminated on short notices, where many are getting a cut in their salaries, this surely has become the worst time for the batch of 2020 to graduate. In the time of chaos, where half of the world is trying to survive there are also many like us who are still struggling through online classes with no surety of what’s future is holding for them.
This pandemic will end 18.5 million jobs, many out of their work so what can a fresh grad anticipate? Would companies be considerate enough to give us chance? Would government and those in power support us with grants to start our own businesses? How are we going to fight the aftermath of COVID-19? There are many questions we have and it seems like there’s no one to answer.