Lessons From 2020 For Students

Introduction

Humans have always tried to simplify things for the sake of their convenience. Behind every discovery or invention, there is intent to make something simpler.

Now, for the purpose of conveying these simplified things to the students, they are being distributed among subjects and then taught in schools, colleges, and universities.

But things are not that simplified as it looks from the outside. There is a lot to look at while deciding which course of action should be summed up and in which ‘subject’. Now, before these things get complicated and you close the tab, let me clear this with the help of an example.

Consider the things which have happened in the span of the last 8-12 months. These are not normal times in which we are living. This pandemic has tested us quite rigorously. Health professionals are working hard to limit the number of deaths. Scientists are working hard to get a vaccine as early as possible.

Governments around the world are figuring out how to conduct mass vaccination so that everything returns back to normal.

I have tried to find out something for the students between this pandemic and the events that took place during this period.

History is important

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Now let’s consider our first course of action after the outbreak. Knowing that this virus is contagious has helped us to prevent many lives.

Lockdown ensured that many, who could have suffered from the infection, were prevented because the scientists knew about these types of viruses and how they spread.

Not only that, with their struggle in fighting viruses before, inventions like PPE kits and hand gloves ensured that the doctors who operate on patients suffering from the virus, do not get infected themselves. Although, some got infected too.

Technology 

Scientists have developed the vaccine for covid in a span of 8-10 months whereas an average vaccine takes around 8-10 years to get completed.

If you can point the single most important reason for that, it has to be the technology. Scientists have always tried their best to achieve their goals. It was only a matter of how they are assisted with technology and funds.

Covid came as a challenge for them. The technology helped these extraordinary people to collaborate and share their developments sitting at their desks.

Economy stumbled

Image by Queven from Pixabay

It was quite obvious that due to lockdown, the economies will suffer. This was really a time when we got to see what globalization means.

When flights between the two nations stopped, lack of health equipment worsened the situation. Due to this stoppage, major economies of the world suffered due to the unavailability of PPE kits, face masks, etc.

It was the time, we came to know how badly the countries depend on each other for their requirements. Keeping this picture in mind, it seems quite ridiculous to see countries boasting about their being better than the rest.

Job Stability matters

These 10 months can be said to be the toughest period for many people around the world, particularly for the daily wage laborers.

Only people who got a job and were not forced to leave could weather the storm. People working in small industries were sacked from their jobs as the lockdown ensured the factories shut down.

One can conclude that the stability of income, more or less, is important to an average person. Also, one must be prepared for the worst with at least minimum savings.

Education in crisis

Image by Alexandra_Koch from Pixabay 

The closing of schools around the world has been a major concern for parents and students.

Yes, technology has been helpful in these crucial times. Online classes tried to keep students up-to-date with their studies. But, this lockdown has shown the importance of schooling.

The teacher-student interactions, the environment of a classroom, working in teams, and the extracurricular activities.

Also, as the online classes require a smartphone and fast internet connection, many students who can’t afford it have to wait long and are still waiting for things to get back to normal.

The In-Human act between the pandemic

Of all the people who died during this pandemic, the death of America’s George Floyd, for completely different reasons, caught international attention.

The incident and the repercussion that followed it can be used to take a very important lesson about the great nation.  Here’s how….

There were reports that the Trump government was not able to handle the pandemic but no one came to the streets against mismanagement because the situation and the lockdown demanded that the people should not gather.

But, as soon as the video of the George Floyd Killing got viral, people realized that there is a much bigger problem in the country, the magnitude of which is even greater than this pandemic. This problem must have been dealt with before and if not there has to be a case of now or never.

The long  way back

This pandemic caught attention because people start dying of it. What if I tell you there is another major concern surrounding the earth whose consequences maybe even more serious than this and there will be no vaccine for it.

Yes, environmental concerns. 1 billion wild animals have died in forest fires in Australia this year. This was just one of the many similar incidents that took place during this year.

There are acute shortages of pure drinking water in many parts of the world and in India. The air which is the fuel of the body is now been measured in cities for quality just like the blood sugar levels of a diabetic patient.  

In hindsight, when you look at this situation and compare it with a parallel world where air and water are available for free, you would start doubting the concept of development.

Industrial development may have propelled many countries to become rich but when you see that it may lead us to buy oxygen cylinders at some point in time in the near future (just for breathing purposes), you would start doubting its success.

The concept of sustainable development is not new, but if not followed by the world leaders and prime business owners, it will soon become no less than a covid myth.

The coincidence of the contactless system

After covid contactless is the new normal. As the situation demanded that people should not come in physical contact, digital payments system like UPI and wallets became famous in India.

The central government pushed this system even before the pandemic got noticed. The government introduced it to promote cashless transactions. Though it gained popularity in big cities, the average person in small cities was still apprehensive about their money and followed the old way.

But, as the pandemic spread to these places, people didn’t hesitate to pay online as it was a fully functional working system. So, the system which was introduced to make the economy cashless served the cause which was completely different from what the government had thought.

Similar things happened with OTT platforms. Due to the closure of theatres, people were bound to use these platforms. They grab the opportunity with both hands and didn’t shy away from providing diverse content and becoming the best time pass during the lockdown.

So, one can say that it is always good to have alternate options.

The young innovators

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Many devices got invented during this covid phase. From advanced PPE kits to UV sanitizing systems, from contactless doorbells to the head mask, this year proved that necessity is the mother of invention.

Many devices which we use even today are the outcomes of world wars, Similarly, innovators put everything to contribute in some way or the other.

Sweden took the wrong turn?

While the major countries around the world opted for lockdown, Sweden, one of the most developed nations opted for a completely different strategy of herd immunity.

According to them fighting this virus was “ like a marathon and not a sprint”.  It is always open for debate if it was a better choice or not.

Maybe, in the long run, we find that their strategy worked or maybe we come to a conclusion that it was a complete blunder to put everyone’s lives at risk.

As a student what you can gain here that whatever may be the outcome of this experiment but being able to take a completely different stand has an importance of its own.

There will always be an argument from them that lockdowns were not practical for long and ultimately everyone had to get back to work with the guidelines, so what’s the big deal if we did it at the start of the pandemic.

The people of Sweden were responsible enough to follow the social distancing guidelines from day one. Let’s see what happens.  

All we can say that humans always have learned from their mistakes and experimentation is the prime reason where the world stands at present in terms of development.

For Students

Now comes the most important part of this blog, i.e. the point which I am trying to make.

the subject that you opt for today in school, college, and institutes is not complete, it is a small part of a much larger system.

Some of these incidents will come under physics, some under chemistry, some biology, some history of the USA, some in environmental studies, and some in economics. 

Your subject of choice and the lessons that you learned in your syllabus get introduced to the world as an event that was much more interesting than the subject book covers. As the range of the subject that you study is limited, so you only get to know the outcomes of those events.

For eg.- After some decades from now when the use of contactless doorbell will become normal, nobody would remember that it was the outcome of a pandemic outbreak. The syllabus and subjects will only take into account who invented it and how it works.

Do you remember that one of the most common gadgets which we use today, ie. the wristwatches, gained their popularity only after world war I. Zips, which are so common to clothes and bags are also one of the many inventions which took place during that era.  

But as we opt for a particular subject for our careers, you are bound to omit the phases related to that event that was out of range for that particular subject and may belong to some other discipline.

So, when you see the current scenario of students dying for marks and grades, there is a feeling that something is seriously wrong.

There’s always a story behind an event. Marks-oriented studies can help you find good grades and good colleges but for the understanding of why a particular thing is happening, you would have to take many things into consideration.

More than anything you would have to be curious to understand the things going on in the world.

So don’t get confined to a subject. Never let the curiosity die.