The Coronavirus has taken India by surprise.
It has made us realize how little we are in control of the world around us, and called into question how safe we actually are.
India wasn’t prepped to deal with a new type of virus, when it arrived. And it was unimaginable how big of a social challenge it would present.
The unfamiliarity of the situation has made most of us feel strangely confused, senseless, and in many cases has left us not knowing what to do with ourselves.
The challenges brought about before the global community are unparalleled. One of the most severe pandemics of the century, COVID-19 has already affected over 200 countries around the world, including our homeland, India.
Admittedly, before COVID-19 had become widespread in India, we had not thought much about how it would affect us. It was not particularly clear as to what degree, an Indian medical student needed to be concerned about COVID-19. While some sources claimed it was being blown out of proportion, a few others were not oblivious to the serious nature of the disease.
Now, it is disrupting routines in hospitals, medical colleges and beyond.
The health consequences and mortality are already catastrophic and medical education is being adapted due to this worldwide threat.
The paradoxical dual role of medical students is that, as the future health-care workforce, we potentially form part of a health-care system’s response to public health emergencies but, conversely, are considered non-essential in clinical delivery and might be restricted from clinical practice.
With the government’s advisory on immediate closing of institutions, the student and education bodies both were faced with the challenge of provision of quality education via online platforms. Medical institutes called for broad cancelling of in-person medical classes, with most being replaced by recorded lectures or live-streams.
Our experience with online classes was… to put it simply, not the best.
Problems ranging from poor internet connectivity to excessive background noise made these online sessions quite troublesome. Combined with the fact that most of our professors were not quite tech-savvy, which led to audio-video disruption and difficulty in learning, we were vexed. Moreover, several of our classmates hailing from remote villages, did not have access to proper internet connection, and were unable to attend the classes, much to our despair.
The experience made us reminisce about the days before the pandemic, and as much as we hated it back then, we can’t help but miss those times.
“Normal classes may have been difficult, but having friends makes it so much more manageable and less stressful. Online classes take out the benefits of having friends to socialize with and being stuck alone with nothing but assignments.”
As students of Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University, a premier medical college of India, we’re glad to say that our institute and associated Sir Sunderlal Hospital has been actively combating the tremendous workload of screening and treating an ever-increasing number of COVID-19 suspects with the help of its healthcare professionals, while also doing their best to provide quality education to us.
Amidst the darkness, still there is hope
Despite all of the disease and death ravaging the country, we as medical students have faith in our healthcare workers as they continue in this war against Corona. Looking at the positive aspects, the lock-down has brought about a much needed break from the rigorous routine of medical school and its deadlines.
The pandemic has ushered in loads of free time for recreational things. We can proudly say that we have impressed our mother by picking up the pieces of our co-curricular activities where they were left off before we got busy with the punishing schedule of classes! Most of all, there has been a lot of family time which the entire world had run out of, and the bonds once lost are strengthening day by day. These were the trivial aspects of life that had been lost in our daily hectic routine.
“Patience is not simply the ability to wait, it’s how we behave while we’re waiting”– Joyce Meyer
The Earth, burdened by the enterprising humans, is recovering in all forms- pollution, wildlife, climate…
We don’t know what the future holds but aren’t we all waiting with excitement of what we shall do when this phase ends? And definitely hoping to come out as stronger and better individuals.