The pandemic has put careers of many millennials, which were still in their initial stages, on hold. An economic crisis is what lies ahead, with a dry spell in the job market, dwindling salaries, and anxiety about the financial and mental challenges that are building up. 

In order to get an idea of the unprecedented challenge that students facing today SheThePeople.TV spoke with nine girls from Gen Z, who belong to different academic backgrounds. While some were in their final years waiting for discrete announcements regarding their examinations, a few others were dejected at the loss of internship opportunities because of the lockdown.

Who will take the onus of delayed submissions and thus impacted future prospects?

Samiddha Jana, a student pursuing a post-grad degree in History of Art from the National Museum of History of Art, Museology and Conservation has been anxious regarding the mode of assessment and uncertainty of exams. Moreover, she feels it is not viable for students and research scholars working on their dissertations/theses to communicate with their supervisors only through an online mode delaying the completion of their research work. “Who will take the onus of delayed submissions and thus impacted future prospects?” she wonders.

Anushika Srivastava, an MBA aspirant in her early twenties on the other hand is having a rough time despite scoring a good percentile in CAT. She had never thought she won’t be joining any college this year. The pandemic has derailed the interview process of colleges, “Due to which,” she remarks, “whatever we had been preparing since the last one year went waste. Essay writing is my forte, but my dream college, IIM Indore, scrapped it this year, putting me into the waitlist for the admission.”

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Saloni Singh, a final year student pursuing Economics from a Delhi University college has been dealing with a lot of stress due to the uncertainty over exams. Anxious about the future, she says, “On top of the already burgeoning pile of problems every student has faced due to the lockdown – final years also have to deal with other uncertainties like not knowing whether our job offers and masters offers will still stand after the massive hit that the economy is taking. With all our future plans put on hold and our expectations of the present (getting farewell parties and enjoying our last few days of college) dashed, a lot of us are just wishing to graduate as soon as possible.” 

When three years down the line, they are going to sit for placement interviews or entrance exams, will the concerned people take into account how their plans were ruptured by the pandemic?

Another third-year student, Amreen Kohli, is due to start her Masters in September but the pandemic has tossed all her plans into the trash. “I feel like I’m stuck in inertia, not able to move in any particular direction. It’s nerve-wracking and anxiety-provoking. I try not to think about it a lot, but it’s like a sword hanging on my head 24/7!”

While anxiety has been eating up the final year students, the national university has recently released a date for Open Book Examinations to be held for the first time ever in July, without giving consideration to the children belonging to the lower tier of the socio-economic ladder. How will they appear for online exams without having technology at their disposal?

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Samiha Sehgal, a first-year Physics student had it all planned out until the lockdown brought her to a standstill. She had secured a research internship that stands canceled now. She reveals, “It can’t really be done online because it’s in a lab and needs hands-on research work. So now I can only try again next year.” She is not the only one to have been laid-off from an internship, as per a report, the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy estimates unemployment rate in April 2020 to be 23.5 percent, up from 7.6 percent a year ago. This number makes it quite clear how the job seekers are going to have to bear the brunt of the economy-wide financial crisis. 

Apoorva Pant, a first-year student from Maitreyi College had started the semester with high hopes and looked forward to all the internship opportunities and hence the much-needed learning experience to gain from it. But, 2020 had other plans for us. Being someone who is not a fan of online classes she is having a hard time learning the concepts which would form the foundation of her Economics degree. With fewer internship opportunities, she is quite tensed as to how to go about seeking these with a lack of experience on her resume. 

Many students are in a fix as to how to go about seeking internships with a drop in the number of those available. When three years down the line, they are going to sit for placement interviews or entrance exams, will the concerned people take into account how their plans were ruptured by the pandemic?

Also, there are students who have been preparing for these tests along with their regular college courses. Who will take charge if the dates of these collide?

A NEET aspirant, Priyamvada Nair, who was to sit for the exam in May has friends who are having anxiety attacks due to the delay in the national level entrance test as they had taken a drop of a year or two post 12th grade. She, however, feels that she has more time to prepare for NEET.

Aashna Binu, CA student pursuing B.Com. (Hons.) on the side from LSR, says, “I wasn’t prepared enough to sit for the Foundation exam in December and thus decided to appear for it in May this year. I couldn’t have anticipated this virus coming into our lives and disrupting my plans. The exam now has been postponed to August but since DU has not released any official notification for the even-semester exams, I am tensed as I do not want the dates to clash with the CA foundation test.”

Since many competitive exams have been postponed, the setback has been mentally affected candidates who had taken drop year/s and are now left with uncertainty lingering in the air. Also, there are students who have been preparing for these tests along with their regular college courses. Who will take charge if the dates of these collide?

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Soumya Bhama, a student who just appeared for her 12th grade Board examination had a different opinion about the entire situation. The lockdown has given her some time to calm her nerves down and think about her future plans. She now has more family time as earlier her parents were out for their daily 9-5 jobs.

Furloughs and lay-offs are giving the students a sense of financial insecurity. Not only this, but the millennials are also undergoing major mental health issues due to the stress instigated by a coronavirus. Are they going to bear the brunt of the crisis that seems to have shaken the economy to its core? But more importantly, are institutions, employers and authorities just sit and watch an entire generation struggle?

Image Credit: Hindustan Times

Saavriti is an intern at SheThePeople.TV.

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