Mumbai: Battling academic and financial crises and staring at an uncertain future is taking a toll on the mental health of students. In the last three months of the lockdown, some students claim they have had panic attacks while others have suffered anxiety, mulling over how their academic careers will unfold in the near future.
It has been a nightmare of waiting, thinking and waiting again, exclaims Suraj Upadhyay, a final-year student of biotechnology. Upadhyay said, "Initially, when the lockdown was imposed in March-end, I did not bother much because I was convinced that a metropolitan city such as Mumbai could never stop or shut down. But that is exactly what happened in these last three months, everything has come to a standstill. I spent more than 80 days worrying whether my final exams would be deferred or cancelled. All I could do was to wait for a decision from the state government."
Upadhyay channelised his time exploring other avenues, in order to secure a job in such crucial times. He said, "I would get sudden panic attacks on some days during the lockdown because I was constantly worrying about my exams and future prospects. Last month, I began blogging about different concepts of biotechnology. It did not stop me from worrying completely but it diverted my attention, for good. Now, I can at least apply for work as a content-writer or blogger for science websites if I do not get to work in biotechnology in the near future."
Aviation student Nidhi Swamy reveals, "I never knew I had anxiety till I spent the last few days anxiously worrying about my future. I have been jobless for the last three months, as flights are not operating. I was pursuing my training in aviation simultaneously, but that too is on hold too due to the pandemic situation. All of this had made me anxious about what will happen in the future. It has also made me question my field of study, coaxed me to think of alternatives."
Swamy reveals she has realised the gravity of mental health isssues and the need to express one's thoughts in some way. "I never thought of anxiety as a major issue but now, I think it is important to let it out. I have started sketching and expressing my thoughts. It may seem cliched but it is my way of describing what I am feeling and be at ease. Most of us are going through a crisis, but mental health differs from person to person. We cannot do much about the situation around us but we can take small steps to take care of ourselves."