Goodbye 2020, Hello 2021!

Lessons learned from the #YearofResilience amidst a series of disruptions and all the things the academic fraternity is looking forward to in 2021

It has been a challenging year for many of us, with uncertainty looming over what lies ahead. But we’re finally about to bid adieu to 2020. With 2021 just round the corner, we spoke to the students and the faculty about their hopes and aspirations in the year ahead and how they are preparing to bounce back with renewed enthusiasm and efforts. Here’s what they had to say: 

Dr Atul Razdan, Professor, School of Business, UPES

For me year 2020 has been a period of challenges and innovations. My active involvement in Pre-Semester Learning (PSL) for the Resilient Class of 2020 at School of Business and School of Modern Media gave me new experience and insights into online learning. I compensated for my inability to participate in a marathon with indoor jogging and yoga. Adversity brings with it many opportunities; I am sure 2021 will bring numerous opportunities for all of us and everyone will be active and healthy.  

Dr Shambhavi Sinha, Asst Professor, Team Academic Strategy, UPES

March is my birthday month and I was all ready to go home. And then the pandemic struck. At work, I moved to a new role and there was pressure to perform. Homesickness mixed with insecurity felt heavy, but the little things like an informal Zoom chat with my colleagues, some cooking experiments, talking to friends and family, going back to reading and enjoying my work kept me going, one day at a time. With plans to visit my family in the last week of the year, I am a happy and grateful person who says “carpe diem” (seize the day). I look forward to the 2021 sunrise with renewed faith to push myself beyond my comfort zone and live my life to the fullest. 

Dr Divya Rawat, Assistant Professor, School of Health Sciences, UPES 

This pandemic caught us all off guarded, but I pushed myself to face it fearlessly. I redoubled my love for gardening, created best out of waste, worked on home décor and tried my hands at different cuisines. My online classes enabled me to forge a stronger bond with my students. Our virtual birthday calls, master classes, project-based learning, celebrating National Nutrition Month online gave us reasons to give ourselves a pat on the back. Once campus reopens, I will plan a short nature walk with my students or a day out with them and discuss how they survived this span of pandemic.  

Adviti Pant, Assistant Professor, School for Life, UPES 

2020, a year of trifles and tribulations, but also a year for new beginnings. With the pandemic setting in, we all set foot on a journey which would never let us be the same again – as many of us would call it ‘the new normal’. I lost my mother a few months back – a kind lady and an academician – and in my new role as a faculty with the School For Life I could see myself as a true reflection of my mother that gave me hope and helped me discover a stronger me. My passion to be with students gave me goals, whether it was long calls with parents and students or keeping their morale high by conducting virtual events, or by just simply creating a virtual classroom for them to feel closer to college – all of this kept me going and brought me satisfaction.  

Saurabh Shanu, Assistant Professor, School of Computer Science, UPES

As an avid field researcher, the Covid19 came as a big halt to all my plans to make it big this year. But advancement in technology came to my rescue. I collaborated with people via Zoom calls and Blackboard and successfully completed a project on ‘Optimizing Wildlife Patrols based on prior spatial information, attribute data and vulnerability to illegal activities’, Wildlife Institute of India (WII) / National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA). I am keen to do lot of travelling and capturing this world through my lens. 

Joyanta Chakraborty, Assistant Professor, School of Law, UPES 

The mantra of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new. Although the pandemic dramatically stalled all our social and professional engagements, but our vehicle of life never stopped. Thanks to technology, we never were isolated even though quarantined. Online classes, webinars, cooking experiments, and most importantly, quality time with family, kept me up and running. As the world is adapting to the new normal, I look forward to the prospects of going back to the workplace, and meeting colleagues, and students. 

Campus life is always buzzing — there’s always something to do or events to attend. This is something students look forward to when the campus reopens in 2021

Anshika Arora, Assistant Professor, School of Modern Media, UPES 

I joined UPES in the middle of a pandemic, virtually. It was unknown to me how the entire process would unfold. It was a bit overwhelming to meet the class, for the first time, online. It has been rewarding to be supported by understanding friends, colleagues and even students, who have adapted to this new paradigm of learning and decided to open up ‘outward’ rather than closing ‘inward’. I have hugely benefitted from optimally using my spiritual learnings to simply practicing stillness every day. Enjoying every moment, be it just the act of cooking, eating or talking to people, but fully immersing in it can make one value and be grateful for the experience, which in turn keeps our brain wired to think positively and also build resilience – inner and outer to be better prepared for challenges like these – even on an everyday basis.  

Apurva, Doctoral Research Fellow, Department of Research and Development, UPES 

2020, a year to be remembered in the pages of history, marks a significant phase of my life. I am a gregarious person and an avid traveler, I love exploring new places and making new friends. Due to Covid, I got stuck in Dehradun (a beautiful place, but lonesome due to lockdown). This period taught me the virtue of living alone, to move out of my comfort zone and embrace my own self. Post Covid, I would like to visit new places, have house parties, go out to cafes and explore more cuisines. 

Aashi Jain, Student, BBA Foreign Trade, School of Business, UPES 

I joined UPES as it is hub for student activities, so the confinement induced by the pandemic hit me hard. But I took on the challenge and made dance videos for my YouTube channel and participated in online events and won in many debate competitions as well. I look forward to a bright year ahead wherein I get a chance to travel with my friends, participate in lot of events and make my college proud. 

Anupriya Banerjee, Student, BA,LL.B., School of Law, UPES 

Covid confined me to the four walls of my house for 4-5 months. Also, my father got stuck up at his work location, so it was very challenging to fill in for him and support my mother and other family members. Online learning was also extremely challenging in the beginning, but with regular guidance and nurturing, it has now become a part of our new normal. After the pandemic ends, I wish to visit college for one last time before the completion of my degree course. 

With sports and clubs taking up their time, there’s so much excitement going around for the students at the campus. They are raring to return to a college life full of action and endless fun

Prarita Agarwal, Student, BBA Aviation, School of Business, UPES 

A sudden change came with the pandemic in the life of every student. From a kindergartener, to a doctorate, everything went online. Although online classes do not offer the same benefits to a student, the efforts put in by the faculty ensured that my learning never stops. My internship with an aviation consultancy firm ‘Aerotech Support Services’ kept me engaged during the pandemic. Being a final year student, I yearn to go back to the campus soon and enjoy that hostel Maggi and Nescafe coffee. 

Sanchit Singh Thapa, Student, BBA Digital Marketing, School of Business, UPES

Got stranded in India for four months during the lockdown, as I could not travel back to my place in Dubai. Learnt to live on my own during the pandemic.  A big shout out to my online classes, my classmates and my mentors for all their support to keep my sanity intact. Embarking on my special fitness journey has been the biggest feat I have achieved this year. Currently, I am in Dubai and have volunteered for the Covid vaccine as well. Can’t wait to get back to the campus and meet my friends. 

Vaishnavi Chandrashekhar Golatkar, Student BBA Foreign Trade, School of Business, UPES 

This year, being confined to our homes made me realize the value of things I used to take for granted – my health (mental as well as physical), human connect and freedom. I coped up with this difficult period with the support of my meditation practice wherein I connected with myself. I dearly miss my campus and yearn to relive all those crazy, fun-soaked moments with my hostel mates. 



  1. 2020 has been challenging for all of us , but somehow it made us much stronger and helped us to push our boundaries , our limits.
    Thank-you for sharing this story , looking forward to magical 2021.

  2. You might give all the curses you know to 2020, but we gotta be glad that we now are closer to our family ever before 🙂

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