A taste of ‘real college life’ beckons students as colleges reopen in West Bengal. The excitement of returning to campus comes with its share of anxieties, offline exams being the prime fear.
College students share mixed feelings about offline classes with Edugraph.
Asmi Dasgupta, First Year (English Honours), Heritage College
I am really excited to be back in college and am waiting to enjoy campus life. Our college reopened on February 3 and all students were asked to attend offline classes. Our professors have been considerate about students who are not from the city and they have been given a week to rejoin classes on campus.
We had earlier been told that our term exams would be conducted online. We do not know yet whether the exams will be offline now that colleges have reopened. I have attended online classes both in school and now in college and feel that nothing can replace in-person learning. Most of my friends, too, prefer the offline mode of learning.
Ashutosh Patro, First Year (Hotel Management Degree), International Institute of Hotel Management (IIHM)
I can’t wait to get back to college. Our college will resume offline classes on February 7 so that outstation students have some time to return. For industrial training, our attendance requirement is 85% and so we have to attend college every day for practical classes. But our theory lessons will continue to be held online for now.
The college authorities are yet to inform us about how our examinations will be conducted but I think theory exams will be online and practical exams will be conducted offline. I am not too worried about that as I feel I can adjust to any mode of exam if I am prepared.
Muskan Sharma, Third Year (Bachelor in Journalism and Mass Communication), Shri Shikshayatan College
Our college is yet to announce a date for resumption of offline classes but knowing that we are close to returning to campus, I have mixed feelings. Over the past two years, we have become accustomed to online classes from the comfort of our homes. In December, our college had re-opened for only two weeks and we had to attend offline classes twice a week by rotation. The shift to offline mode is very different. While I am happy that I will get to experience ‘real college’, I also know that academic pressure will be high.
The biggest point of concern with the offline model for me are the exams. Offline exams will be drastically different from online exams. Our online exams had been very concept-based. We do not know what kind of questions will be set for the offline exams. My peers and I have discussed the best way to be prepared for the offline exams. We have decided that once offline classes begin, we will have to diligently start taking notes and studying every day. This way we will be well prepared for the exams.
Ayushi Ghosh, Third Year (Bachelor of Journalism and Communication Honors), Muralidhar Girls’ College
The hope of returning to college makes me and my friends me happy. We felt isolated when college was closed. While some colleges have opened on February 3, we will not be having offline classes this week because of Saraswati Puja. Students can start accessing the central library from February 7. The college authorities are in the process of preparing the routine for our semester classes. Once the routine is drawn up, we will be notified about when to return to campus.
When college had reopened for a short spell between November and December 2021, we had to attend offline classes twice a week. For now, we are unsure if classes will be completely offline or if there will be a hybrid model. I hope that offline classes will be conducted every day so that our syllabus can be completed on time.
I prefer offline exams as they help gauge our academic preparation better. Even if I get fewer marks in an offline exam than in an online exam, I would be more satisfied with the marks.
Going back to campus will give us a break from screen time. For my stream, there is a lot of practical learning that we missed out on all this while. We were compelled to opt for theory-based papers instead of papers that needed fieldwork because of this limitation.
Suhana Chowdhury, Third Year (Bachelor of Fashion Technology), National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), Kolkata
This is my last semester and I can’t wait to return to campus but NIFT, being a central government institute, will not re-open just yet. Offline classes are expected to resume at NIFT in March.
Going back to campus would allow us to use the institute’s resources and library. We do have some online resources that we have been using but the resources we can access on campus are far greater. We have also been missing out on peer group discussions. At this stage, all of this is important for our graduation project.
I believe that exposure in college is also important for personality development. Even though at first, being an introvert, I was happy with online classes, now I realise how important campus exposure is.
As a part of our offline exams, we have to present our work to a panel. In the online model, instead of a presentation, we had to submit our projects. This deprived us of a major learning experience. I am optimistic that we will finally get to appear for offline exams. Reopening colleges is necessary for us to be prepared for the professional world, too.
Meghma Saha, First Year, Department of Multimedia, St. Xavier’s College
The very thought of enjoying normal life is exciting. We will begin our classes from February 21 and will have to attend college every day. I am in my first year, so it will be my first time in an offline class. I am happy as well as unhappy — happy because offline mode is much better than online as we face a lot of difficulties in online classes and unhappy because this may be for few days only. I am a little anxious about offline exams as we have lost the habit in these two years. But with the flow, I hope I will learn and adjust.
Aishik Gupta, First Year, Animation and Multimedia, iLead
We have been told that offline classes will be held soon but the dates are not finalised yet. I would like to attend college when it reopens, especially because my course involves a lot of practical lessons. It is our first year and I haven’t had a proper classroom experience in around two years. My comfort of learning has vastly shifted and for tackling it I would have to attend offline classes. I would just keep anxiety aside and try my best to cope with the environment.
Somudro Nandi, First year, English Honours, Gurudas College
Being able to interact with my batchmates and professors in the real world is the best part of going back to college. I also feel I can learn better offline. But I am also a bit anxious about the risks involved. As far as I’m aware, our exams will be online. The students of Semesters 3 and 5 in colleges under Calcutta University have already had their online examinations. We have not been given a specific date yet but it should be either around the end of February or early March. I am anxious about the prospect of potential offline examinations. Five months of online classes with intermittent offline classes isn’t exactly ideal preparation for offline examinations in a traditional college setting.
That said, I do believe my professors have taught me well and I’ll try my best to ensure I’m able write what I’ve learned on my answer sheet, regardless of what form the examination is conducted in.