The Youth, Covid-19 Virus, and a Bleak Future
The Covid-19 pandemic has left a devastating effect on all of us, especially the younger generations. Dealing with pressures such as unemployment, incomplete education, and to be in competition with peers has resulted in anxiety. Also, a string of failures was not far behind and lockdown blocked some of the promising opportunities as well. This article highlights some of the common levels of stages faced by today’s generation.
I still remember as if it were just yesterday; I was toward completion of the final term of the post-graduation program and the Pune University announced a week off in March 2020, due to the onset of the Covid-19 virus. The next thing I knew, there was an announcement on a news channel stating a one-day curfew on 22st March 2020 to curb the infection rate. It was going to be just a week off, but that has stretched till April 2021. During this time, we have lost people, businesses, houses, mental health, education stability, opportunities, and the future of today’s youth. ‘We are all in this together’ was being posted online in 2020, but are we? Employment, place of residence, healthcare accessibility, education facilities, and much more divides all of us today. Yet, there are some minds among us who have come up to aid the needy during these harsh times. My generation, the youth, and children are the most affected due to a blurred future ahead of us.
Dealing with Pressures
Studies and I go pretty much hand in hand, and so I never had to undergo stress about incomplete assignments, exams, or teachers’ approvals. However, peer and parental pressure magnified rapidly during the Covid-19 outbreak. The possibility of my mother losing her school job, incomplete education for me, loss of promising prospects in well-known establishments, and the strain experienced by grandparents during the lockdown build tremendous pressure over time. Job opportunities went down the drain as college’s placement cell’s web page was looking blank as ever. The reality of not being able to achieve my dream job or gain newer heights hit hard every single day in my mind. The tension of witnessing a bleak future took a toll on me when bonds broke with friends and I lost a promising love life. It seemed as if things were moving very fast and obstacles were being bombarded on me in one go. It was not easy to sort out priorities and place them in order, but the saying that ‘with time, everything falls into place’ added to my comfort. Counseling and the necessity to keep up my mental strength added to the motivation that was needed to deal with such pressures. Managing health & wellness along with family support eased out pressures by 60%.
One of my friends, who lived in a remote area, found it difficult to attend online classes and submit assignments via e-mail. Lack of access to computers and internet connectivity put him in that condition; one can only imagine the kind of pressure he might be experiencing. In addition, our maid was having a hard time dealing with the new education protocols. Her two kids, one in 10th standard and the other in 8th standard, weren’t able to attend classes due to the availability of only one phone in the household. Taking care of internet expenses along with dealing with inflation and seeing an uncertain future for her children stressed her out to such an extent that she started experiencing body aches regularly. These two stories of my life are just a part of a much larger picture of children going through difficult times. For instance, an article published in the newindianexpress.com stated that the lockdown escalated the torment of the child abuse survivor as home confinement during the pandemic resulted in more of child abuse cases. The CHILDLINE India Foundation reported around a 50% rise in the number of calls during the lockdown as compared to the previous years. Approximately, 92,000 child abuse and violence calls were received in 2020 in just 11 days of lockdown. These numbers has put all of us in a grave situation, and we begin to question ourselves whether we are heading toward a prosperous future or not?
The covid-19 outbreak brought numerous failures in my life – from encountering rejections in government exam interviews to not making it on the merit list. Failures tend to create additional stress on one’s mind and repeated setbacks make you doubt yourself even more. The need to change my path and head toward something I am sure about pushed me toward a road less traveled. Constant thought whether it will work or not lingered at the back of my head all the time.
2020 was a year where board exams of 10th and 12th standard students were either getting postponed or canceled. This is a failure as the education sector in India functions way more different than that of other nations. For example, a child whose 10th/12th standard exams stand canceled is more likely to feel challenged in the outside environment because he/she hasn’t faced the exam pressure or failure at all. In addition, lack of focus by educational facilities on vocational activities and culturing interests or hobbies are likely to hamper the skill set of the child in today’s Covid-19 crises. Apart from this, Covid-19 attacked the small and medium enterprises and huge businesses as well. Apart from this, the recent controversy about Twitter deleting pictures and tweets, upon the center’s request that criticized India’s ability to handle Covid-19 crises signifies a huge failure in itself. Winston Churchill once said that success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. I guess embracing failures is as much important as conquering success, and Covid-19 is just another failure.
A Lost Feeling
A feeling about missing out on something important and something being taken away will always remind me about the missed opportunities. My entire batch of 2020 kissed goodbye to ever getting a farewell, seeing each other’s faces, or making it toward that long-awaited trip to Goa. Delay in chances of traveling overseas for education has driven my generation to settling for what is at hand at this moment. Apart from this, anxiety, nervousness, and not able to view the end have indeed put me in a state of confusion. The inability to continue martial arts and trekking are like putting a full stop to exploring the adventurous and fun side of my youth days. However, as Ernest Hemingway said, “It’s good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters in the end.”
Growth is Outside the Comfort Zone
The shift towards online businesses and working platforms are pulling millions out of their regular and comfortable 9 to 5 shifts. The ability to work from anywhere with just a laptop and a stable internet connection are the new normal. Lockdown norms brought us out of our comfort zones and helped us to retrospect our lives closely. On the other hand, it also reflected the shattering lives of underprivileged people and how they had to cope up with this scenario. All these hindrances will eventually pay off one day, in the meantime keep growing!
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