We missed our last day of college by five months! When we received a notice that college would be closed for about two weeks because of a spike in COVID cases, my weary soul did a little happy dance because that meant no long hours of classes and internals. I had no idea that the two-week break that had just been announced would change my life and take away my happiness with each passing day. Graduating online has no bright side at all.
Even though we will not be able to attend classes or sit for lectures, some of us went back to campus when colleges returned on November 16 to revisit our favourite hangout spots and relive old memories.
What going back to campus felt like...
There was no rush to catch the bus, no brisk walk down Park Street lest we miss the first class. It was rather a relaxed stroll for the first time. The feeling was completely different as I walked in through the gates of St. Xavier’s College as a graduate. Memories rushed back as I stepped into the auditorium/classroom. I attended my first seminar here back in 2018. I still remember our principal, Father Dominic Savio telling us how we are the chosen ones and that we should always be proud of being Xaverians. It was an overwhelming sensation for me.
As we walked through our campus, we were filled with “what ifs”... what if the colleges had reopened a bit earlier? What if we had one chance to enjoy the last day of college? What if we suddenly relieved the thrill of being in college as a student?
Online classes had stripped us of all emotions, leaving us with nothing except teachers discussing topics in front of a webcam and some virtual seminars we attended unwillingly. We missed being a part of the everyday college buzz for one last time.
Visiting every corner of the campus for the last time...
We missed every corner of our campus — the library, green benches, canteen, and the table tennis room. We missed the last fest of our college life where we had dreamt of showing off our talents. This is not how our three-year trip was supposed to finish in such a way.
“I miss sharing my food with friends over adda in the rooftop canteen, which is the hub of many of my memories. I went back to the college library which is the only silent place amidst the chaos. We sat on the field and chatted for hours today, without knowing when time passed by. The Depelchin auditorium was one place I had been waiting to revisit because that is where I performed and found a platform for my artistic creativity,” said Ayan Mondal, a 2021 Mass Communication and Videography graduate of St. Xavier’s College.
The green benches at St. Xavier’s have seen more students study and finish assignments than the classrooms. Most of us have spent our time on the green benches talking about our future goals, planning the “Goa” trip that never materialised, catching a glimpse of our crushes and trying to draw their attention, practising for departmental fests, and so on. This was also the place for jammers. The unending jamming sessions were something we all looked forward to.
“As a graduate who missed half of college life, I was waiting to go back to campus one last time. As I walked down from the Maidan Metro station to our college’s back gate, every step was filled with nostalgia. The iconic Medi Point, where we all would meet up; Chotus where I have spent time dealing with my problems. Every nook and corner of the campus reminded me of memories that made me emotional,” said Saumya Shukla, a BCom graduate from St. Xavier's College.
Everyone masked up...
On entering the campus, the sight of everyone wearing masks and trying to maintain social distance despite wanting to hug was not the kind of feeling we are used to. We spoke to our juniors about what we used to do during lunch breaks and all our mischiefs. It felt like yesterday when we used to sit there with a cup of coffee or a bottle of cold drink, sharing notes.
It was painful for us to see a different batch of students sitting in our classrooms attending lectures by our favourite professors. Even though we ran up to the rooftop canteen, it was closed. We missed a last glimpse of the place where all our interdepartmental friendships began.
“Today when I met some of my batchmates, we realised how our journey was full of ups and downs. Going back to the canteen and waiting for momos, taking the flight of stairs to meet friends and professors, sitting on the green benches where we used to jam and eat cheese dosa gave us closure,” said Sneha Sarkar, a 2021 Mass Communication and Videography graduate of St. Xavier’s College.