Manipal Calling: Do I Want To Go Back?

Nearly six months ago, we were all uprooted from our comfortable lives and forayed into an unexpected journey through a long winding tunnel of mixed emotions. It felt as if aeons had passed and that the journey would never seem to end. However, recently there was a glimmer of hope, that sent a wave of happiness among most of my peers. There was a possibility of colleges reopening. The mere idea of that seemed to make our inboxes fill with messages from friends and acquaintances, all excited to go back to the old way of life. But did I want that?

A certain sense of shame crept into me; I was finding myself sad at the prospect of colleges opening soon. Why couldn’t I be just as excited to meet my friends and see the legendary Manipal sunsets once again? While others thought about meeting each other, going back to Bacchus, if not DeeTee, all I could think about was the craziness which would follow us, the rush colleges would be in to finish the syllabus and conduct exams, and the worse of all, the mould on our clothes in our dimly lit rooms ready to welcome us back.

It wasn’t always like this though. Being at home ever since March-end, I have reminisced about all the fun that I had back in Manipal and I had been praying for this very day. However, I don’t think I am ready to be pushed into this new fast-paced situation– the pandemic made me comfortably settle down into a more slow-going, relaxed lifestyle.

Like the majority of the people, when I went back home, I decided to take a small break from my usual routine of academics. I binged incessantly, compensated for the weight loss due to mess food, and did what anyone would for a two-week vacation. I thought I would be able to pull myself back up when the time called for it. Yet the lockdown seemed to extend week by week, and so did my ‘small break’.

I decided enough was enough, I had to regain control back in my life.  I wanted to be in my most productive mode just like I usually was before University exams but now sans the exams. Yet, I felt as if I failed on several accounts. What could one do with an endless amount of time in hand and no sense of normalcy? So, I turned to my trusted advisors-my mother and friends. My mother recommended waking up early to get a bright start to the day, but sadly I hit the snooze button way too often and my friends suggested studying via YouTube videos, but I somehow ended up in a random section of the internet, analysing cat videos.

Overthinking about my failed attempts at studying, made me realize the importance of exams. Due to the lockdown, all of us missed out on exams and which initially felt as a boon later began to feel like our bane. This failure of being unable to study made me feel guilty-the guilt of lacking any form of self-control. However, the answer seemed obvious to anyone I spoke to about the same. If you can’t study, you force yourself to. Shut your phone, and give yourself two dedicated hours; yet, it never worked. I couldn’t explain how something so trivial could uproot all the reliability and confidence I had in myself.

After many failed attempts of bringing some sort of structure to my life, I began to justify my actions to myself- “I was taking a break.”, “I would be fine when the time comes.” but would I really?

These confused and inexplicable feelings about going back to college made me feel like a buzzkill. However, I realised it was natural to feel overwhelmed at the uncertainty of it all. The upcoming challenges in the “post-COVID” world were going to be completely new and unprecedented for us all, so I decided to take this uneasiness with a grain of salt ready to go back to Manipal whenever called upon.

Written by Siddharth Dwivedi for MTTN

Edited by Nitya Sai T for MTTN

Featured Image by Dani Pendergast for NPR

Artwork by Murugiah for the Times


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