The pandemic and successive lockdowns have stifled several endeavours, but some students have used this time to channel their energy into polishing their skills and igniting their creativity. On International Day of Education, Edugraph caught up with a bunch of students who tried out new hobbies and developed new skills in their free time.
Riya Jagdev, a 2021 Media Science graduate from NSHM Knowledge Campus, was introduced to visual designing in her first year of college. Back then, it was just another subject that she had to get done with by the end of the semester. When classes went online in 2020, Riya started exploring digital illustration in her spare time.
“I started following artists on Instagram like Superwrong Magazine, Graphicsbakery and Kwon___a. I began with simple steps like tracing posters using Adobe Illustrator. It helped me deal with the pandemic blues. After my online classes, I would create something on my own. Over time, I got better at it and came up with ideas. I created a page on Instagram, Theillustragirl, in August 2020. I regularly post my work. I have started doing paid illustrations for clients,” Riya said.
Riya’s digital illustration Source: Riya Jagdev
Koyna Dutta, a Class XI student of Sushila Birla Girls’ School, started learning app development on the Android Studio interface from the YouTube channel CodeWithHarry.
In January 2022, she made a prototype of a messenger app using the MIT App Inventor, a beginner-friendly interface developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“I discovered how versatile coding is as a subject with all its different applications. It serves as a foundation for app and web development. I thought of creating something similar to Hike, the messaging app. I created a prototype using the MIT App Inventor, which I was introduced to in the National Coding Olympiad Junior Season 2. My coding quest has been fruitful because I got time to spend on other things apart from studies,” said Koyna, who has made it to the top 100 at the ongoing National Coding Olympiad organised by IIT Bhubaneswar and Superteacher Team.
The messenger prototype created by Koyna. Source: Koyna Dutta
Anika Ebby, a third-year liberal arts student at OP Jindal Global University, Haryana, enrolled for two courses on Coursera — Sharpened Visions: A Poetry Workshop by the California Institute of the Arts, and The Cycle: Management of Successful Arts and Cultural Organisations by the University of Maryland.
“The poetry course helped me understand literary terms such as allegory and the different meters. The course requires you to submit one or two poems at the end of each session for peer review. This helped me understand poetry from a different perspective and my writing became more fluid,” Anika said.
The Arts and Cultural Organisation course highlighted that an organisation is a family where there is no structural hierarchy and people are connected way beyond the business side. “It helped me understand the various nuances involved in curating and managing an art organisation. The poetry course helped me hone my skills and I can express myself better now. The pandemic has heightened certain emotions such as loneliness and frustration and introduced so many new feelings and experiences as well. These courses helped me navigate all these thoughts skilfully,” said Anika.
Anika’s painting inspired by Instagram page art.mmd. Source: Anika Ebby
Hiya Kundu, a Class X student of Adamas International School, Kolkata, started learning the tabla two months into the lockdown. She has been playing the sarod for four years now. “I started learning the tabla from Rohen Bose on WhatsApp video. The lockdown gave me more time to learn the new instrument. I practise for at least two hours a day. I watch concerts of famous artistes on YouTube. This keeps me occupied during my free time. Learning the tabla has been an essential part of my musical experience; I can feel the rhythm coursing through my veins,” Hiya said.
Hiya playing the tabla. Source: Hiya Kundu
Ipshita Datta, a third-year BTech student of The Northcap University, Gurugram, explored robotics. “I learnt from various YouTube videos and websites like Electronics4you. I have always been fascinated about the mechanism of robotics and how to keep a robot under control. The videos also enhanced my problem-solving capabilities and I started looking at my courses in college from a new lens,” said Ipshita.