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Students focus on exam as city wallows in throes of pandemic
It was a cloudy morning that shifted into a rainy day. While others took shelter inside their homes, students appearing for the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) in Chennai waited outside examination centres to write one of the most important entrance exams of their lives. But while the city was caught in the throes of a pandemic, the students were only focused on their exam.
“There was one participant who had a higher temperature than the rest. They stood really close to me and my friends before we wrote the exam. I was really nervous that I might catch something from them, but my mind could only focus on the examination,” said V Dhanvanth, who wrote his NEET exam on Sunday.
Preparing for such a massive examination is always stressful, say the aspirants, so the shutdown and the pandemic were factors did not affect the preparation process directly. Indirectly, however, the students were nervous about safety measures at examination centres, and whether there would be an examination at all, amid state-wide resistance.
Travelling to and from the centres were easy for those with access to their personal vehicles, and for those with centres close by. The School Education Secretary, Dheeraj Kumar, was seen dropping off his daughter at her examination centre on Sunday. But it was not an easy ride for others.
“It took me three hours to go to my examination centre from my home in Tiruvannamalai. I am lucky that my parents were ready to take me to the centre in our car,” said an aspirant.
At the centres itself, there was crowding due to poor facilities but the aspirants were not in the right headspace to think about safety.
“I couldn’t think about all of that. I had been preparing for this for so long, and I’m finally here to write it. It hasn’t settled in that I wrote the exam during a pandemic. Even if I die, I wrote the exam, so I can heave a sigh of relief,” said Dhanvanth.