Greatest regret: Not being able to walk through the college corridors one last time
High-fives and goodbye hugs on the last day of college were replaced by virtual waves and emoticons in a group video call. Here’s what we missed out on while graduating online.
It was a rainy Friday and the last day of our college classes. With Google Meet malfunctioning and internet issues multiplying by the minute, I realised our journey would be ending in the most abrupt way possible. On rainy days, I would often find it terribly annoying to have to travel all the way to college. But that was before COVID struck. Now when I look back, I wish for a longer-than-regular class, sharing of memories and looking at the road ahead with professors giving us send-off advice along with the customary note on how this is just the beginning.
--- Sriroopa Dutta, 2021 English graduate
This is not the way we expected or wanted to graduate. As soon as the pandemic hit, we were buried under assignments, deadlines, and projects. From celebrating Holi and meeting professors to field trips and farewell parties, we, the batch of 2021, have missed out on everything. I can't even remember the last day of my online classes. Probably it was a weekend when I just closed the tab, shut down my laptop and got done with it. My whole college life ended, without even a chance to bid goodbye to the campus.
--- Saheli Saha, 2021 Geography graduate
One year ago, when we were throwing an online farewell party for the 2020 batch, our seniors joked about crashing into our farewell parties on campus. Sadly, now, a year later, we are in our seniors’ shoes, and we can finally understand what it truly felt like to mark the end of a three-year-long journey over Google Meet. My last day was nothing like I had imagined. Our professors delivered a sad monologue. Nothing could prepare us for saying goodbye in a Google Meet with our videos turned off. The world didn’t pause for a moment to let us process the feeling, to grieve, to feel relieved, or something in between.
--- Vasundhara Chatterjee, 2021 Economics graduate
My college life ended with a single click on my computer screen. It was a far cry from what every undergraduate stepping into college expects as an epilogue to a wonderful three years. We didn't even get those three years. There was no rush of voices at the college prangan, no last hurray, and no visible camaraderie of farewell parties. It was almost as if the computer screen played a mediator between us and the campus. Looking back now at the year that just was, I feel that at some point the screen became a barrier more than a mediator. I would trade a lot of things to have one last evening of absolute, untethered joy with my college friends.
---Sujato Datta, 2021 History graduate
An email from a professor at 2pm on August 13 marked the end of my graduation, and sadly, of my college life. I hate the rainy season, but sipping tea while chatting with friends in the canteen on a rainy day had its own charm. With classes going online, we could only meet our classmates and professors on screen. We received an invitation for an online farewell ceremony, but looking at a picture of a dessert and eating it are two separate experiences. The way my college life ended was like a meal without dessert.
---Biplab Dey, 2021 Statistics graduate
Our campus was supposed to remain shut for only 15 days. That 15-day vacation never ended. Going out with friends, having a canteen adda… the college life that we took for granted never came back. These last two years taught us that anything can be lost at any point of time. On a random weekday, we pressed the ‘leave class’ button on Google Meet and that marked the uneventful end to our three-year college. No farewell parties, no goodbyes, no tears, no T-shirt writings, and no “we will keep in touch” promises. All our last-day-in-college plans ended with a joke: “Am I audible?!”
---Suchetana Bandyopadhyay, 2021 Chemistry graduate
I entered the gates of Presidency with a bagful of dreams, much like everyone else. Those one-and-a-half years spent on campus are the days that I miss the most now. None of us ever imagined in our wildest dreams that we would have to complete our graduation sitting at home. Our entire college life was confined to a laptop screen for the past one-and-a-half years. The pain of not being able to return to campus is overwhelming at this point. To be able to stand at the end of the departmental corridor one more time, attend the last class with friends, meet all the professors once again... all these will remain elusive to us.
---Adrija Karak, 2021 Bengali graduate
To graduate on a random weekday over Google Meet has to be the saddest thing that can happen to a student. The last day of class was emotional for all of us, including the professors with whom we have shared a bond. As our professor bid us goodbye, there was a strange sense of loss and the haunting realisation of not being able to go back to classrooms anymore. If only we could step inside the classroom one last time. The college has always been more than just a classroom lecture. From being scared for the very first test, making friends who became family, meeting professors who have changed our lives in more ways than one, to becoming a more confident person, the college has truly been the experience of a lifetime and it feels too soon for it to end like this, amidst a pandemic.
---Anisha Pal, 2021 English postgraduate