Corona Impact: The Plight Of Drop-Year Students

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Puru Malhotra is one of those drop-year students who passed class 12th in 2019 and dropped the year to prepare for JEE Mains, only to begin college in 2020. He left going out with his friends, his hobbies and gave a complete change to his daily routine. Puru’s interactions with the outside world were relegated to his weekend entrance exams coaching. Considering a year-long sacrifice would be worth, Puru saw 2020 with nothing but expectations of normal college life. 

However, with the continuous postponement of JEE Mains, he has been forced to see the year through the air of uncertainty. “I have no idea when college life will begin for me. Even if I successfully take the exam and get the college of my dreams, I think a large part of it, including my classes, will be online. There would be no thrill for getting into societies, no excitement of going around places with new friends and other such things which a college student expects to indulge in.” What also comes with the constant postponement of exams especially after skipping a whole year is hampering consistency and mistrust. A drop-year student gives in months and months of preparation for a particular exam. As and when the exam approaches, preparation becomes more elaborate. Every bit of study pattern is hampered, the seriousness and dedication towards the exam get inhibited.

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Kartikeye Srivastava, another drop-year student preparing for CLAT and AILET 2020 exam says, “As a drop-year student, at first it was exciting for me when I came to know that my law entrances will be postponed because I would have used that 2-3 week period of time for a thorough revision. However, the tables turned for me when the exams kept on getting delayed because on one side I knew that competition was increasing and on the other side, I was getting exhausted, as the days passed. It is very difficult for students to stay consistent with their studies when they actually are not aware of the exam dates.”

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Needless to say, the stigma attached to a student dropping a year to prepare for something gets worsened in this very moment of uncertainty. For a lot of people in our society, dropping a year equals wasting of time and that mentality strengthens when several months of another year go by and the exam does not take place. “I keep hearing a lot of remarks from my relatives about the situation I am in. Things like, “You should have prepared better or taken admission in any other college”, are said to me. It makes me feel responsible for the constant delays.”, shares Puru Malhotra.  

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With the constant delaying of major Indian entrance exams owing to the pandemic, the academic schedule and career plans have thrown out of gear for many students, and especially for the drop-year ones. These students will lose out on months and months of classroom studying and other college life essentials. With dropping a year only to get into their dream college and then getting caught in a web of precariousness and delays, the situation of drop-year students still not much talked about. 

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