An Interview with a Graduate in 2020
Q.1 Please tell us about yourself and your background.
Ans 1. Hi, I am Vinit Gupta, a fresh graduate in the field of Architecture. I am 23 years old and a resident of Narwana, a small town in Haryana. I come from an upper-middle-class family who owns a small business. Currently, I am unemployed and am being supported by my parents.
Q.2 What has been the impact of this pandemic over your final year in college?
Ans 2. During my final year in college, I was supposed to present my graduation thesis. This thesis is of great importance in our profession since it is a culmination of our learnings throughout our degree course. To complete our thesis successfully, we needed constant support from our thesis guides and extensive discussions over our designs so that they can be presented in front of a jury for an external examination. However, this pandemic hindered our entire schedule and I feel that I was not able to produce an extraordinary design.
Being in the final year, I was very nostalgic about not being able to see my friends regularly and wanted to make a lot of new memories. We had planned on going for weekend getaways and post jury celebrations, but all our plans went in vain. We could not even bid each other proper farewells.
Not only did the pandemic affect our academics, but it also ruined our final chance to see each other often since everyone gets busy with their jobs post the end of the session.
Q.3 How has COVID-19 impacted your job situation?
Ans 3. I left my college premises as soon as the lockdown was imposed and went through with my classes online while staying at my residence in Narwana. Due to the pandemic, I had no other option but to apply at local offices for a job but there are no architecture firms/ offices in my town. I had planned on moving either to Delhi or Gurugram initially, in search of a job. However, my parents were extremely concerned about my health since cases in these areas were increasing exponentially. Even after convincing them to allow me to move, I was only receiving offers where I was underpaid and could not afford to stay at such hot locations. Eventually, I decided on staying home and rather study for my masters instead of compromising my safety.
Q4. How do you utilize your time efficiently during this break that you have taken after your graduation?
Ans 4. Although I had planned on gaining some field-based experience before going for my master's, keeping in mind the pandemic situation, I have moved up my plans and am preparing for the GATE entrance examination. I feel that by the time I'll be done with my post-graduation, the situation of the market will improve, and this break can prove to be an excellent time for preparing for the same. Simultaneously, I am contributing to my family business since even that took a hit because of the pandemic and we suffered some major losses.
I have also minimized my screen time and am trying inclined towards keeping myself fit, healthy, and safe with a home workout. This break has also allowed me to spend quality time with my family whom I had missed during all the years I was busy with my college. In my opinion, this pandemic has proved to be both a boon and a bane. On the one hand, where it altered my career goals, on the other hand, it United our family and we got an opportunity to stay close after many years.
Q.5 What are your views on the overall response of the education institutions towards the pandemic?
Ans 5. COVID-19 situation was a bolt from the blue for all of us and we were not prepared to either mitigate or deal with the situation. Even the lockdown that was imposed was very sudden and almost surprising and left everyone extremely uncertain. I feel that almost all the Institutions in India took some time to process and analyze the situation for almost a month and later came up with shifting the semester to online classes. On the one hand, where I appreciate that we didn't have to waste an entire year, on the other hand, the students and the teachers faced major communication issues. While the teachers lacked the skills to handle online teaching platforms, mostly students were taking advantage of these classes and started acting up. There were so many stories that surfaced over social media talking about how teachers were losing their confidence and we are unable to deliver lectures on a foreign platform. Corona has proved to be an eye-opener for all of us and made us understand the temporary nature of things. Not only has it emphasized on strengthening the teaching structure, but it has also taught the youth about being sensitive to others, especially those teachers who were getting a salary cut and yet were fulfilling their responsibilities as teachers.
by - Meenal Sharma
graphic by - Gayathri Nair