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Earn while you learn

During the ongoing pandemic, college students are spending more time on digital platforms not just to keep themselves entertained but also learn and even earn. They share more with NT KURIOCITY

MARIA FERNANDES |NT KURIOCITY

The fear of the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns forced many people indoors for a long duration. Youngsters in particular used this time to connect with people, entertain themselves, and learn, on digital platforms.

In fact, in a study conducted by professors from Delhi’s Lady Shri Ram College and All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) where 300 college students in the 18-25 years age group from middle- and upper-middle-class families were surveyed, it was found that on an average the students spent up to six and a half hours every day on social media platforms.

In Goa too, many youngsters have been using their online time productively over the last couple of months.

“Initially it was fun, as there was so much free time to do and watch what you like,” says Keegan Monteiro, “However now it has become a bit too much. Even the various challenges and trends are getting boring. Hence I have taken to learning instead and since I am interested in programming I look for sites where I will be able to increase my knowledge.” Here he mentions Python; an online programming site which he says is easy to follow.

Sujay Bhatt’s passion has always been cars but he says during the lockdown, he realised that he also had talent in sketching. “I started just on a whim but after feedback from my family members I decided to upload my sketches on Instagram. The response has been very encouraging and I now use a lot of my time in drawing whatever comes to mind. In fact I find it very liberating as there is no restriction on the subject of my works!” he says. When he is not drawing, he says, he also learns more about cars from Donut Media.

A fashion designing student, Rajani Dhar, was initially busy with her assignments and the research she was doing, she says, really got her curious to know more about the field. “How the pandemic will affect the fashion industry was the topic for my research and while I was getting information about it, I realised that I too wanted to find a solution to the problem that will surely arise.” Besides making the mask a fashion accessory, she is also learning how the industry can be made less polluting via video chats with prominent personalities from the industry. In addition to this, she has become an Instagram influencer after collaborations with a few cosmetic and fashion brands. “The payment is not always cash and often I get paid with products of the company,” she shares.

Internet and technology have definitely opened up avenues for youngsters in these times and many are utilising them to the maximum. Mayuresh Naik who is a travel buff has uploaded videos on YouTube of his last trip to Kerala and is working on his Instagram page which he hopes will not only help travellers in the future but also be a source of income for him. “With time on my hands, I now work on my page and am doing intensive research about various places. I am trying to source information that travellers can use and benefit from,” he says. Besides information that is available on the internet, he also connects with travellers who have been to the places he writes about, thus getting accurate data and even inputs for better travel

and enjoyment.

A field that many students are exploring is online tuitions. In fact the demand for it is much more now than ever before. “Parents are not very satisfied with the teaching on the online classes that schools have started and even some students find them hard to follow. They realise that the one-to-one interaction between student and teacher is very essential and to complement the classes, they prefer their child to get individual attention,” says Mahip (name changed), who tutors three school students online. “Each student is given a different time slot which is flexible and there is a lot of interaction as well.” He gets paid about `2000 per month for five one-hour classes and wants to keep doing this in future too if possible.

Besides tuitions, many like Carey Ann Gonsalves have also turned to cooking and baking as a source of income. She began with making eclairs and with the success of her enterprise, has now ventured into cupcakes and doughnuts. “Having a mother who is a baker really helped me and I follow Cupcake Gemma whose recipes are easy to make,” he says. With most pastry shops closed, she says her orders have increased and business is doing well.

Anushree Devkar’s Whatsapp post saying she is taking orders for rissois was met with instant success. So much so that she now advertises on her Instagram page with help from her brother. “I am very happy that I have found a way to earn while at home and I am even improving on my culinary skills,” she states. Taking it a step further, she now also makes combo dishes with a dessert added to the fare.

For students like Naisa Lotlikar, using her talent in singing to brighten someone’s day was the goal in having live requests sessions on Instagram. The winner of ‘Goencho Awaaz 2018’, she believes that in these times when people are not feeling really great, music and song can add a spark of fun and entertainment. “I started on June 15 and the response was so overwhelming that I did another live show on June 20,” she says. She has also used the time to work on her music and singing and has also composed a Marathi song. “It is so satisfying to know that I can help people with my singing and the encouragement I receive through the comments is simply

unbelievable,” she adds.

Yes, times are hard and with no physical contact with friends or classmates, many are feeling the loss. “Recently I was going through a rough patch and felt rather alone. All I wanted was someone to understand me without patronising me,” shares Srushti Borker, who feels parents and teachers do not really appreciate what youngsters feel. “I wanted to reach out to teenagers like me and started my podcasts where I speak about issues that most teenagers face.” From depression to over thinking and loving yourself, her short podcasts called Teen Tweets are gaining popularity and momentum.

Youngsters are definitely finding their footing in these times and the phrase, ‘There is always a way out’ applies very aptly here.

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