I have lived in a small town my whole life. Since I was a kid, I knew I would have to move out for college. A great deal of preparation went into making sure I got into a good college and out of this small, orthodox town. A year has passed, we are still here bound to our screens!

People often say, “college feels like home”— I certainly know how that feels. Classrooms have been replaced by MS Teams. Zoom has substituted the hustle-bustle of corridors. We have gone through months of online learning and dozens of incidents, whether it be me unmuting my mic by accident (and scrolling through reels for the whole class to hear), or giving a whole presentation (with my face so close to the screen that everyone could see my brain up my nose), or logging into class and sleeping, or even hosting all those zoom meetings with my friends. All these are moments to be kept close to heart.

Making friends was the hardest. Socializing through a screen takes the kind of effort that one cannot even begin to fathom. Finding like-minded people seemed almost impossible. Instagram and group assignments acted as catalysts and now I have friends for life I haven’t even met!

It’s bittersweet to close my laptop each time, having to come back to the real world. We’re all miles apart, wanting and hoping to meet.

Juggling the online and offline world is exhausting. I don’t know what college feels like. But, underneath all these uncertainties, there is a glimmer of hope. The heart knows it will soon be over and we will be together. Behind every screen, there is a story. I do hear it, and I hope to live it just once.

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Mudiganti Shalini
(Batch 2023)

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