As most of us stood watching the fireworks that brightened the sky, signaling the start of a New Year as the clock struck 12 on the first day of 2020, I’m sure not many of us had anticipated what would become of the year that we so eagerly anticipated.
The world in general underwent, and is still going through, this turmoil that we call a ‘pandemic’. And it is not exactly the thing we looked forward to, is it?
At least, count me out! I, for one, certainly was not hoping to stay within the confinement of my house for the rolling 5 months in a row. And coming from someone who loves staying indoors, this should be considered RICH!
As the confusion and chaos that had settled in finally cleared out to show an unsteady and narrow path ahead, we moved on to a whole new world that many like me would not even have dreamt about. We had to finally come to terms with this ‘Era of Digital Connection’.
As things slowly changed and I, just as slowly, adjusted myself to the new norms, another problem rose. Sure, it was great to attend school at least virtually, have some form of interaction other than the three faces I’m accustomed to since the last 16 years of my life, more so in the last 16 weeks. However, studying did not equate to enjoyment all the time, and the void that the sudden restrictions on social interactions and hanging outs was unwantedly filled by the dreaded feeling of boredom. But never did I ever think that boredom could be killing. It is a drowning kind of feeling; one you desperately want to get out of.
Now, before I lose myself (in a very dramatic way) in how depression could have eaten me up, let me skip that dark side and jump onto what helped me throughout it all. The angel in disguise, the package of surprise, and all the other praises that I could shower upon it, the Virtual C amp by The Explorers Lab and Camp BizSmart was the one that helped me step into a whole new dimension of the digital world. If it sounds bizarre, do not let that thought deceit you into thinking that there is no hope for something of these sorts. And I say this from personal experience myself.
Times have changed (at least in the span of a few months, it drastically had), and one can never be too picky about things in such a situation. And thankfully for the desperation of mine, it led me to take part in what I first despised – a week-long virtual camp.
I am not going to deny that real-life interactions are better than virtual ones, which they definitely are, but what I do strongly agree with, is the fact that virtual camps serve the purpose very efficiently in the current times.
With virtual camps, the gap caused by the lack of interactions gets bridged. I got to meet so many new people through the camp I attended; and the bond we had created still stays, weeks after the camp has ended. With virtual camps, things get elevated in a totally new way too! The level of immersion, engagement and practicality are higher than ever. What I can also say is that the skills that I developed are no lesser than ones which may have been inculcated in me through in-person camps. The activities are no less fun, and the teachings are no less effective. I was introduced to a whole new stream of curriculum through the camp and it felt like stepping into some place unfamiliar and suddenly knowing that you were, in fact, in the right place.
In a materialistic world, I feel that virtual camps are the changes that many needs. I learnt, in the gradual process of virtual learning in camps, that one does not need a lot of materialistic resources to elicit the absolute best from camps. From a financial aspect, virtual camps cost comparatively a lot less than real-life ones. So, what if you cannot get abroad to another country for the camp; you still can virtually tour the place as if you were right there, with less to no money at all! Moreover, the exposure you get is multiplied immensely. In the camp that I had the pleasure of being part of, I was not just acquainted with people staying in the adjacent city or state, but also with people across the globe.
There are a whole lot of opportunities out there, and I am glad to say that Virtual Camps were my eye openers to this vast world. By interacting with experts in various fields, something which would have been hard to do in real-life, one gets introduced to a wide variety of possibilities and choices to help guide them in the journey ahead. This enhanced exposure is, in my very humble opinion, the best part of virtual camps. They are the gateway to a future we so anticipatedly look onto.
With so any pros outweighing the cons, who WOULDN’T want to give virtual camps a try? I was so amazed by the endless possibilities that were grasped in them and cannot wait to try out more!
As we find ourselves heading into a foggy future, there is very little argument that virtual camps will not serve the purpose of enhancing skill and increasing exposure in a fun and indulging manner. They will, in all probability, be the next big virtual trend. And so, do not hesitate to climb onboard this digital wonder, because you sure are in for a marvelous experience!
Diya Menon, Student
Our Own English High School , Sharjah