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Verve People
July 14, 2020

A Class Act

Text by Anandita Bhalerao. Videography by Joshua Navalkar

Five students from the National Institute of Fashion Technology’s graduating class discuss the state of their mental health and creativity, their interrupted graduation, and how their perceptions of ‘work’ have changed in the wake of an unrelenting pandemic.

After years of being sheltered under the comfortable aegis of student life, graduates arm themselves to face the formidable adversary that they have come to be warned about ever since their first childhood misdemeanours. It’s the same one Monica refers to in the pilot episode of Friends when she says “Welcome to the real world. It sucks. You’re gonna love it”, as the characters huddle around Rachel, encouraging her to cut up her father’s credit cards and embrace an independent lifestyle. Most students from graduating batches are brimming with excitement and trepidation – in equal measure – at going out into the big, bad world, but what they all seem to have in common is this indomitable belief of being able to conquer it.

When the world doesn’t revolve around you anymore, you’re forced to accept that certain things will always be out of your control and that you are but a speck in the grand scheme of things. No graduating batch in recent years has had a ruder awakening to this than the Class of 2020, who never got a formal ceremony to celebrate this crucial rite of passage due to the ongoing pandemic. And yet, this is also a uniquely receptive time for swift and sweeping changes, with fresh graduates becoming the new vanguard of a radically different fashion industry. We brought together five graduates from the National Institute of Fashion Technology for a freewheeling discussion on the surreal experience of graduating during a pandemic, economic slowdown, and national lockdown. Aishwaryashree, Khush Kakkar, Mehar Mann, Nandini Shukla, and Yovna Rai weigh in on redefining productivity, nurturing creativity, tending to their mental health, and navigating uncertain futures.

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