VISAKHAPATNAM: As the clock strikes 5 in the morning, a loud alarm goes off and Radhika (name changed) springs out of her bed and grabs her books and class notes. The study hour begins at 6 am sharp. If she is late, she will be made to stand outside the hall for an hour, causing her to miss out on the first period.“But it’s Sunday,” she smiles. “It’s not a fun day, we focus on subjects we are lagging behind in. It used to be a holiday until I joined the residential college. Not anymore,” says the first-year MPC student of Sri Chaitanya College in the city.
The study hour begins as students, a majority of them half asleep, gather for class that continues till 8 am. They are worried about the revisions for the EAMCET mock test which is conducted for more than four hours every week. “From 6 am to 10 pm, we have to be in classrooms, barring two and a half hours of break every day — half an hour for breakfast, an hour for lunch and evening snacks each. During exams, classes go on up to 11 pm,” she says.
Such is the daily routine of Intermediate residential colleges where grades and marks fetched in mock tests and exams are the benchmarks for talent, creativity and learning. And the results have started showing. In October alone, 10 students committed suicide in various campuses in the state. But it looks like parents will do anything to ensure that their wards get a seat in the best engineering and medical colleges in the country.
Students are battling mounting stress to live up to the expectations of their families and colleges. “It is all about scoring more marks to prove ourselves. If we score less in class tests conducted every week, we have to face harsh words from junior lecturers during study hours” says Radhika.
Parents too are keen on admitting their children in residential colleges so that they don’t get distracted by other activities.
“Our health condition does not matter. The timings are not flexible,” says Radhika.
As per the schedule, students are to be given time to revise their lessons during the study period from 2.30 pm to 5.30 pm, but lecturers take classes for 2 hours during the time, forcing students do late night revisions after they get back to their rooms.Unable to get enough hours of sleep, the students remain
lethargic the next day. It’s vicious cycle.