PVG's essay contest sheds light on lockdown effect on students

All winning entries will be awarded cash prize by Selvaraj Venkat of Printronics, Chennai.

13 Jun 2020 | By Aultrin Vijay

Mahajan: "Students had to write in about 1,000 words, how the Covid-19 lockdown has changed their lifestyle"

An essay writing competition organised at Pune Vidhyarthi Griha's College of Engineering and Technology (PVG COET) by the Circle of Printing Engineers (COPE) of the Department of Printing Engineering and Graphics Communication, transpired into a revelation of how the students diverted the lockdown blues to their advantage.

The idea was floated by professor Shrikala Kanade to let the students express their heart through essays the lockdown effect on their lifestyle. The idea, however, was executed with the help of Madhura P Mahajan, head of the department, and Laxmi Sapkal, COPE in-charge.

Speaking about the competition, Mahajan said, "We received 15 entries, out of which we selected nine winning candidates – three from second year, three from third year, and thee from final year. All winning entries will be awarded cash prize by Selvaraj Venkat of Printronics, Chennai."

Mahajan said the title was left to the students, but an abstract for the essay was provided. "They had to write in about 1,000 words, how the Covid-19 lockdown has changed their lifestyle. They could write all things they have done apart from online lectures and assignments, and how they plan to utilise the next few months."

Although there were many students who were dreading the further extension of the lockdown, she said there were those who were actually enjoying it and making good use of it in their own way, too. "The students had to tell their side of the story, be it a good experience or a bad one. They could express the distress of the pandemic, the comfort of spending time with their family or an amalgamation of both."

Furthermore, the students were also given freedom to write in English, Hindi or Marathi because "it doesn’t matter which language they chose to write in as long as the emotions were conveyed correctly".

The competition was announced on 19 May 2020 by Kanade. The deadline was 31 May 2020, which gave contestants enough time to think and express their honest feelings on paper or in MS Word document, whichever was suitable for them. The essays were assessed by a panel of judges (all faculty members) and the top three essays each from the second year (SE), third year (TE) and final year (BE) was awarded.

"The students of the printing department participated enthusiastically in the competition," said Mahajan. "Each essay was expressive, creative and honest to its very core. The students found a platform disguised as a competition to vent, share and reflect."

The results were announced on 5 June 2020 by Mahajan. The winners of BE were an all-girl trio, Rutuja Mahindrakar, Mahima Yadav and Gayatri Anaspure. The TE winners were Deepak Gaikwad, Revati Hardikar and Prajakta Tikam and the SE winners were Chaitanya Hiray, Riya Palhade and Pranali Katariya. All the winning essays were made available to the department as well as the students so that they could relate and maybe try participating next time.

"This competition has surely helped students to gather their haywire thoughts in one frame," said Mahajan. "These uncertain times and havoc around the world and in our own country may have led them to drive their thoughts into a corner. Through writing they have learnt to express and pour their insides out."

The students wrote about how they now have the time to do their favourite things. Some regarded this lockdown as a much-needed respite to slow down and enjoy simple pleasures of life – heartfelt conversation with family, a board game with siblings, reading books, reconnecting with an old friend or creating something.

"These were the pleasures they shrugged off before, because they were too busy hurrying through life. They wrote about their anxiousness, worries and doubts pertaining to the pandemic. Some have rekindled their long-lost hobbies and some have developed new ones," Mahajan added. "Household chores have become a part of routine and almost everyone was trying out new dishes. The feelings were mixed, as it was very difficult to stay productive and positive while the world succumbed to a measly virus."

She stated that the purpose of the competition was to make students express, with a bit of creativity. "Such beautifully curated essays certainly fulfilled the motive," she added.

COPE committee aspires to organise many such events during the lockdown, so that students will not miss out on learning with a hint of amusement.

The winners were sponsored prizes by Selvaraj Venkat of Printronics, Chennai as a token of appreciation and encouragement. For those interested in reading, copies of the winning essays are made available with the HOD. 

The winners

Second year (SE Printing)

(l-r) Chaitanya Hiray, Pranali Katariya, Riya Palhade

  • First prize: Chaitanya Hiray, Lockdown
  • Second prize: Riya Palhade, Lockdown: Plethora Of Productivity
  • Third prize: Pranali Katariya, Little Things: Amid Covid!

Third year (TE Printing)

(l-r) Deepak Gaikwad, Revati Hardikar, Prajakta Tikam​

  • Deepak Gaikwad, Corona: Mi Ani Lockdown
  • Second prize: Revati Hardikar, Durun Dongar Saajre
  • Third prize: Prajakta Tikam, Vel

Final year (BE Printing)

(l-r) Rutuja Mahindrakar, Mahima Yadav, Gayatri Anaspure

  • First prize: Rutuja Mahindrakar, Little Things In Corona
  • Second prize: Mahima Yadav, How I Spent The Lockdown
  • Third prize: Gayatri Anaspure, Give Me A Break!
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