Ibtisam Al Muqbali
Student of English Language Studies, Sohar University
The coronavirus crisis is the biggest catastrophe I have witnessed in my life. However, our attempts to avert, and vanquish this epidemic has opened up neoteric horizons of contemplation, and appreciation for the simplest blessings of God upon us. Here, I wish to narrate how I am striving to adapt to the developments following the COVID-19 outbreak and the subsequent lockdown and quarantine as an undergraduate student representative, and as a citizen.
Distressed and disappointed
My classmates and I were distressed and disappointed with the announcement of the lockdown as this is our final semester at the university. We were hoping to fly out and try the strength of our wings, but here we are, locked down by a killer virus! We were wondering how we would be able to balance both home and the university, when the online classes were announced by the university! However, we began to calm down when reassurances began to pour in from the government as well as the university. Our lectures began to keep us engaged with both academic and non-academic activities.
Blessings of a micro-green garden
Initially, when we were troubled by profound feelings of dismay, one of our professors introduced us to a new vocation: growing our own micro-green garden. As soon as we received her instructions, many of us were running to our kitchens and taking out lentils, pulses and other seeds. And soon we were sharing pictures and videos of our seeds, pots and soil in our WhatsApp group. In a couple of days, the seeds began to germinate and grow, and a new ray of hope began to grow with it. To our disbelief, we realised that fast food was relegated to the background and it has become a forgotten story!
A whole new world opened
Once the university launched the directed remote learning mode, a whole new world of experience opened up in front of me! Of course, we do miss meeting our teachers in our classrooms and in their offices, and hanging out with our friends in the cafeterias. However, I really enjoy this experience too as it is strengthening the cooperation and empathy among the students and teachers. It has also contributed to the building of self-reliance and autonomy in us since there is no face-to-face communication between our teachers and us. I am confident that the experience is going to empower us rather than weaken us.
The birth of a new Ibtisam
This lockdown has made me think deeply about my role as a student representative, the power of language and communication, and the importance of collaboration while taking care of my individual goals. This challenge has empowered me with many skills. I learned to discuss, negotiate and co-construct new realities with my lectures, and coordinate between them and my 200-plus classmates. The most important thing that I learned was that the success of a group must be the aim of every leader. Ever since the lockdown, I have been saving money that I used to spend on coffee and fast food. This money now goes for charity purposes. To conclude, a new resilient Ibtisam is born!