On Tuesday, North Campus in Delhi University was decked up and college gates were adorned with flowers to welcome first-year students, who took selfies to create a lasting memory of their first day of classes.
The last time a batch of first-year students walked into the campus was in July 2019. Since then, students of the two subsequent batches have spent their first day before computer screens, as the campus remained deserted due to COVID-19.
This year, DU freshers have faced significant changes in their admission journey: their CBSE board exam marks were not considered, instead the scores in the Common University Entrance Test (CUET) determined their seat. Despite numerous delays during the conduct of the CUET in July-August and the admission process still ongoing, most of the 70,000 undergraduate seats at the university have been filled after the second round of admissions.
On their first day, setting foot in the colleges of their choice, many freshers were busy completing admission formalities. Most colleges organised orientation sessions to apprise students of the new curriculum and the choice of subjects to earn the necessary credits.
Rukiea Khatun Chadni, a student from Bangladesh who secured a seat in Ramjas College, said, “It has been long and it is so new. Everything about Delhi is beautiful and the college seems good too, I am in love with India. I finally made it.”
Annika Gwalani, who got admission in Miranda House, said her first day at was “peaceful”. “The orientation went well and I met a lot of like-minded people. My principal delivered a very nice address,” she added.
For others, however, the wait to enter DU continues: the trials of those seeking admission under sports and ECA quotas are still going on. “I just got back from the sports trials. I haven’t been allotted a college yet, so I’m still waiting,” said Hana Moin, who missed out on what could have been her first day at the university.
Welcoming students, DU Vice-Chancellor Yogesh Singh, in a statement, assured students that the university was a “ragging-free” campus and asked all senior students to welcome freshers as their own brothers and sisters. “This new batch is the first batch to enter the university via the new admission policy and will be the first batch to study a new curriculum that has been framed on the lines of the National Education Policy (NEP-2020) and students will have more flexibility,” Mr. Singh said.
Several student organisations set up on-campus kiosks to welcome freshers on the first day and gave them an orientation of the campus. From the time students exited the Vishwa Vidyalaya Metro Station, they were handed out pamphlets by various student bodies, with some even distributing flowers and chocolates. “We welcomed students across 62 colleges by applying ‘tika’ on their foreheads. This batch has had a rough couple of months due to delays in the CUET, but now that they are here, we will do everything to make them welcome and have set up help desks across campus,” said Akshit Dahiya, Delhi University Students Union president and Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad member.