Design by Shaurya Rawat
Dear Class of 2020,
Coming right to the point, you did not get the final year you wished for. Making it into one of the premier institutes in the country instils an unparalleled sense of confidence. But nothing could have prepared us for the situation we find ourselves in right now. After spending a significant part of your growing up phase in insti, this situation isn’t fair to you. It isn’t fair to not attend your last hostel nite. It isn’t fair to realise that you already had your last night out.
The trip to Goa which never materialised in the last 7+ semesters was supposed to happen this semester. You were supposed to avenge the loss of all your food taken away by the insti monkeys.
You would have prepared for the ‘after-party’ of your viva/ final review down to the very last detail (a tad bit more than the review itself). You would have romanticized giving in your final end sem paper and walking out dramatically with a Bollywood song as your background score. Playing and replaying all those moments in your head versus the reality must have been anticlimactic. You didn’t deserve to have all those small moments stolen from you. You definitely did not deserve not saying one last goodbye to all those people who took this rollercoaster of a ride with you – watching and being responsible for you goofing around, initiating you into rituals which you still hold sacred, inspiring you, breaking your heart, mending it back – to all the people you owe for the person who you are today.
Insti culture is such that the batch matters only when you come in and when you leave. In the time in between, with x number of teams (solve for x :)), and Schroeters, and LitSocs, and Clubs, and niche interest groups, you get to bond with so many people (and get added to (SO MANY!) many more WhatsApp groups). The batch one belongs to is the last thing one cares about. This situation is hard for the non-final years too. Because you have also been the person they have looked up to. There are people who owe you for the person they are today. They too never got to say their goodbyes.
A lot of you expressed your denial about the entire predicament:
“We lack the closure we need to accept that this part of our life is over.”
“Half a decade of your life was spent in a place and then one day you left and you’ll never get to return. You left without saying goodbye to any of your places or people or rituals.”
Everything seems surreal. “School and college are supposed to end. [But we] seemed to be in a state of limbo and were then wrenched out of it with no warning, and just like that it’s over. There’s nothing marking the place where we grew up and became adults.”
No number of messages from alumni or inspirational speakers is going to quell the raging voice inside you asking “Why us? Why now?” Nobody but you can relate to the pain of all the above. You don’t have to think that your farewell getting cancelled is trivial, given what is going on around the world. It does matter to you and that is what matters the most.
But nobody but you can boast of completing all your credit requirements when half the world is tackling a global health crisis, and the other half is burning. You stood against all odds and came out winning.
You have taken to expressing your grief through the endless memes based on your unenviable situation (typical millennial humour). But on a serious note, with virtual onboarding sessions in companies and universities lined up, all of you are on a very tight schedule. Not having a uniform policy with regard to the end semester exams for the final years, did not help in the least. It wasn’t fair that the onus was shifted on to you to figure out how to finish your final credits. Between being concerned with the fake news regarding the majority of the students opting for online exams and not having enough time to prepare after the announcement of the dates for end sems, along with the constant sense of uncertainty looming in the background, you have had a lot to deal with. But ultimately, you definitely came out winning.
You might not have had the farewell you wanted or planned for. But you do know that the memories you’ve collected over the years – small, beautiful, brutally real, cringy, devastating- are yours to keep. And that will be forever.
If there is a lesson we have taken away from the crisis, it is that people matter and that enjoying the small things isn’t that hard as we thought and things will definitely work out. Do the things you’ve always wanted to. Because the world could make do with a bit more passion. Say the things to the people you wanted to say it to. Because saying nice things makes the world a little more bearable.
Here’s to wishing that you get to do all that you wanted to do with your friends – the Goa trips, recreating photos from a lifetime ago, and hugging them tightly and never letting them go – happen soon.
A (non-final year) Insti Student