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Musings of a student on post-MCO university life

by StudyMalaysia.com on June 5, 2020 | Top Stories

Musings of a student on post-MCO university life - StudyMalaysia.com

Are you for or against your university opening the campus for classes in the near future? And when classes do resume face-to-face, would you find yourself missing online learning from home?

Weeks after the Movement Control Order (MCO) came into effect, the initial secret joy most students shared regarding the closure of university has probably worn off. After all, it is around these years in university that all are eager to “find yourselves” and what better way than to be trapped alone in a dorm room or at home for weeks on end?

A great percentage has probably discovered passionate feelings towards the art of cooking—whether that be hate or joy would depend on the individual. The more proactive of the students are probably all caught up on the e-learnings and have discovered skills they never knew they possessed. The less proactive might have indulged in a hibernation spell before venturing to experiment with their individual interests. But then, things can only go so far in this isolation—and dare we hope that the end of this pandemic seems to be in sight? And if it is, should everyone remain vigilant and cautious over the next few months… and what will student life look like moving forward?

Before we get all excited about reconnecting face-to-face with our university mates, one can’t help but shudder at the thought of all the notices and guidelines issued by the universities on the new normal—smaller classes perhaps? Social distancing at the cafeteria and library? An extension of online classes? Oh, and let’s not forget the masks. Will we end up looking like a post-apocalypse horror movie prologue… a campus filled with pallid young adults in masks avoiding touch and maintaining a very specific 1.5m safety distance from each other?

Or perhaps we will look like some futuristic sci-fi scene. Temperature scanning before we enter the campus, QR check-ins and the obligatory splash of hand sanitizer before we are allowed admission. In between lectures and tutorials we inhale disinfectant as rooms are sanitized after every session, while controlled meetings are conducted with masks and gloves in a room as clean and wiped-down as a hospital.

Or would you throw caution to the wind—after all, universities wouldn’t request attendance on campus if it wasn’t safe? I predict there will be rebel groups who don’t give a hoot and would be out and about with others who think alike. A dangerous mix of arrogance and the invincible complexity of 20-something-year-olds who have been trapped for too long and care not as they are certain their immunity would triumph against the disease, forgetting they live with or might come in contact with others who aren’t so lucky. Would there be chased around the campus by the security guards for not adhering to guidelines? Will vigilante bands emerge to take control of matters? After weeks of staring at a screen for entertainment, this live performance would be a nice change.

Whatever happens, I can only imagine that it would be a rocky start getting back into the rhythm of what used to be university life. But as the seasons turn—well, the two alternating monsoon seasons we have anyway—the pandemic will hopefully die out and everyone can go back to chilling together without masks. The terror level from meeting and greeting strangers at uni, which escalated from “High” before Covid-19 to “Run for your life” during the pandemic, would probably drop back down to “Alarming high”. But let’s all hope that when schools and universities open, it won’t cause a surge in the pandemic and we rinse and repeat this process all over again. To quote by Brian Tracy, “This is a wonderful time to be alive”.

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