Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, September 22
The pandemic has been nothing short of a nightmare for most students who came back to Chandigarh in March and are studying online at their universities abroad. While erratic timings, courtesy time-zone difference, have sent their biological clocks in a tizzy, most students are losing sleep over picking between pre-recorded lectures and live lectures.
A second-year student from a university in Canada, who has been here since the lockdown, said, “We are expected to be up all night and sleep during the day. It is taking a toll on our health. I feel like I am isolated from family and friends. Our university gives asynchronous lectures. The pre-recorded ones lack interaction and if you want to be involved with the class, you need to attend live lectures.”
A third-year student, who is studying in a university in Seattle, US, is facing a similar situation. “My classes start at 9 pm. The hardest are the lectures that start at 3 am,” he rues. The student added, “It’s easily five hours of classes and then we have assignments and mid-terms too. The hardest thing is to sit up at wee hours to give a mid-term (exam). While some professors are benevolent to give us a 24-hour bracket to choose from, others want us to appear for exams at the designated time.”
Most students said they missed the classroom environment and community activities centred around academics. “In the online setup, you cannot even text someone else because those settings are blocked by professors to avoid spamming,” said a student. “I want to become an insurance actuary and we have a club for actuaries in my university, but I will not be able to join it,” he said.
Another city-based student from a university in British Columbia said, “I didn’t have the transfer credits, so for me, in order to graduate in four years, I have to take a full course load. The classes are hectic. I am taking five classes and doing internship too.” He added, “On Mondays, my classes start at 10.30 pm till 5 am. On Tuesday, I have pre-recorded classes and have another class in the morning. So I stay up one day and the next day, I am sleeping early. It’s messing up with my health.”
Another student studying in Canada is planning to leave in November. “My parents called me here in March. They said international flights would be shut in March. Only recently have they opened up flights for students with visas and I am going back. I am applying for medical insurance and looking for a place to stay.”
One of the students’ parent shared: “It’s been a stressful time for our children and we are now sending them back to their colleges. That’s the only solution.”
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