Hello, I wish you all good health. We are facing an unprecedented health crisis in our living memory. The COVID-19 Pandemic has shaken the world. It is really a hard and depressing time. At this juncture, there are so many questions swirling through your heads. What impact this will have on your studies, your families, and on people around you? How this will impact your lifestyle and social settings? And how this is going to impact your career? As your teacher, I am concerned about your emotional state. I understand it is not a snow day or a holiday, it is a crisis. This crisis is leaving an indelible footprint on the hearts and minds of millions across the globe. The impact across our livelihoods is too vast to comprehend. I am sad but I am hopeful. I know that you are a generation of smart and talented who will weather the storm. I want you to be strong, very strong to manage the roller coaster of your emotions in days ahead. Emotional stability is critical to your physical and mental wellbeing. First and foremost, please take all precautions, adhere to health advisories, maintain personal hygiene and of course social distancing is important in flattening the curve.
The biggest challenge you might be facing is to keep yourself engaged and upbeat. You might be feeling low, stressed and scared. This is genuine. COVID-19 is taking a toll on our mental health. You will find more meltdowns and anxiety in the coming days. This is normal in these circumstances. I know you will not ask me what to do, all these years, I don’t know why you are no more interested in asking questions. But yes, as usual I will answer, because I care for you. Let the stress be at arm’s length. Navigating such a situation is not an easy task but with utmost resolve and resilience you can. I understand this is challenging but I know that you always like to take bull by horns and it is my firm belief that you will beat this situation as well. Many a time in our class we have discussed that stress works both way – productive and destructive. Don’t let stress overcome your mental wellbeing, rather control your nerves and remain optimistic. At the end of every storm, there comes a mesmerizing rainbow. This too shall pass and the nature will greet you with even more colors of life.
Don’t worry about your academic loss. Soon we will be back to our classes, chasing our dreams, drawing our future on white boards and some of you even yawning when my lecture goes beyond 60 minutes duration. Believe me when you will be back, you will find lush green lawns of your sprawling campus greeting you with full blown flowers and fragrance of life in the air. Soon you will be with your friends in your hostels, canteens and lawns of your campus.
During all these days spend quality time with your parents and siblings. Talk to them. Listen to their tales of life. And more importantly share plenty of time with your grandparents. Bring life to your families. I know it is hard to smile in such a situation, but remember your smiles are more than anything for your parents. This is the best time when you should share your dreams with your parents and make them feel that it’s not about your career it is about your dreams. Since you are good at convincing even the Roll no. 01 to bunk the classes which you shouldn’t, I am sure you will win in convincing your parents to allow you to chase dreams
Rediscover yourself. Think who you are and where you have been all these years. Make self-assessment to reclaim your self-belief. Trust me if you know who you are, none can stop you in achieving what you want. While the world is turned on head, you have the opportunity to make self-appraisal and to recognize your contribution toward building the future we want to build for ourselves and for everyone around us. I wish more strength, power and wisdom to you.
These days you have plenty of time with you. No class tests, no presentations no assignments. When you are finished with social networking platforms ( online ), please read some good books. I know your library is in pdf form and Google has quality reads as well. Reading will not only improve your communication skills but also help in refining ideas and setting new ideals. Please read the autobiographies of some of the greatest men and women on earth. That will motivate you to sail through even if the wind is blowing in the opposite direction. Not only this, also read the poems of Shakespeare and Ghalib, you will find the colors of love and life around you. Before you sleep, let your fingers type in some good memories of the day in your notepad. After many years from now when you will be sitting with your children and grandchildren sometimes during harsh winter nights, these memories will bring warmth to your life.
And yes take a deep breath and think about your career choices. We are going to face a tough time ahead. Better be well prepared. Sense the global perspective, think of future jobs and get yourself into the right direction. We often discuss in our class that plans never fail we fail to plan. Therefore, it is the right time to plan your career. Get out of the conventional decision making and think for the future which is going to be more unpredictable and challenging. Talk to your peers, your teachers and friends to get an insight about the futuristic trends and how the job market is going to behave. Remember we are not going to step in the same world once we will be back to the normal.
During all these years, I have tried to make you a better human being. This is the time when I expect you to work for the wellbeing of your family, society, country and the whole world. Please look around and ensure no one sleeps hungry in your neighborhood, this is the Guru Dakshna I am expecting from you.
May you succeed in your endeavors? Please remember you are more important to us then your examination grades. I just want you to re-join my class with good memories of all these days.
Danish Iqbal Raina is Assistant Professor, BGSBU