The Pragyan Blog
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The Pragyan Blog

Adventures in an Online Semester

Connecting the dots to get a grip on the digital mode of learning

The alarm buzzed somewhere in the distance; it felt like a soothing background to the dream. Yeah, the same dream which had become a longing nowadays — getting back to that unkempt yet cozy room at the campus.

Source: Stockphoto

It seems like only yesterday when he had to deal with all the morning hustles in the hostel, the long wait at the mess, and at times racing to the cycle stand with a slice of bread — just to reach class on time. Then, after four sessions, some of them boring and some quite intriguing, heading back to the hostel for a quick lunch break. If that afternoon had a lab session scheduled, he’d better be ready to cycle all the way to the OJAS building in the scorching sun. But now, even that seemed tempting.

He woke up to his mom’s rant about how he wasn’t giving proper attention to the online classes of late. He murmured that the semester exams would happen online again, and he could refer to his notes while writing. Thinking of it again, notes?! Maybe mom was right; he wasn’t taking proper notes for any class for two or more long weeks. He would have to make a schedule to rewatch all those recorded videos this weekend and get the syllabus updated.

Back then, in college, he could manage with all his classes and occasional bunking in between easily while maintaining a good score. What happened to that student inside him?

Source: US News

Everything seemed to go on well initially, at home, with proper notes and references. Things became worse when he started watching a Netflix series at night. He became involved in it and stayed up late every night to finish episodes together. No wonder, within a few days, he found himself dozing off in between classes. Now, it had become his habit to stay wide awake past 3 in the morning and browse through the catalogues of Netflix and Amazon for new series and movies.

That left him finding his lost sleep during his classes, realizing there was nobody to disturb — let alone his professor’s voice from his laptop. At first, it all seemed good, scrolling through Instagram reels and YouTube videos, with voices and PDFs trailing in the background. He spent nights chilling with his gang over online movie parties, along with constant grumbling about how these professors had no intention to leave them some time for relaxation.

CT-1 and its results hit him like a truck. He couldn’t cover the portions in time, managing between classes for the next mid-term and unending lab reports. Somehow, he managed to squeeze out an average performance all over. Panic started building up when he realized he was ignoring academics. If this continues, how would he score well in the end-semester exams?

Source: Freepik

And even if it is open book type, without knowing the basics of his course, how would he move forward after college? Questions began swirling inside his head, and he felt guilty, confused, exhausted, and helpless all at the same time. He sat back and comprehended his worst sleep “schedule,” neck pain, and eye issues from the continuous exposure to blue light. Even spending time on social media seemed boring, of late. Some effort had to be made regarding academics, which could be possible only by restricting his screen time.

So, he completely cut down his time in YouTube series and Instagram and spent around two to three days setting out a detailed schedule for all his activities, giving importance to timely food and exercise at breaks. He was left with loads of messages from his friends enquiring about his mental health and wellness, which made him wonder why spending time for self-care was being confused with depression.

The only person happy about this was mom, as seeing him spending less time on his phone was one of her prayers. He tried to make up for his uncovered syllabus in the holidays and found that it was a bit easy to look up references and materials after a small brush-up of the topics covered. Now, allotting specific time for different subjects’ CTs and some efforts beforehand would definitely help him score better.

Source: gettyimages

Still, bingeing and gaming were a part of his schedule, but only during free time. Social interaction was the only reason he looked forward to every weekend. His friends encouraged him to get better and calmed down by letting him have time for self-care. He hoped to see them all in college soon and eyed at those pending assignments lying around.

Whether this online semester was a joyride or a headache, there wasn’t a conclusion to that; maybe it was a new innings to an unexplored genre of life.

This article has been written in collaboration with Bhavana R, Siddharth Raju, and Dhanyasri Raja

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