It has been 332 days. 332 days since schools first closed at the beginning of March 2020. I remember the cheers of joy and laughter as many students couldn’t wait to spend a few weeks at home instead of facing the stress and pressure of school. But what we all thought would be a few relaxing weeks turned out to be months of home learning with only Netflix to pass the time. You remember Tiger King, right? Well, we’ve almost come full circle as March 2021 is approaching fast… yet, we are still in lockdown.
For most young adults, year 11 is meant to be a balance of hard work (preparing for GCSEs), socialising, and making memories with friends; a well-deserved reward for the perseverance and focus they have put in over the last five years. Unfortunately, Covid 19 has taken away one of the most important years of any teen’s life, leaving a crucial part of our secondary school journey missing. I, myself, am a year 11 student experiencing these harsh times first-hand, so I completely understand the outrage many students have had towards the government, and those in charge of how we will be assessed to achieve our final grades. This anger and confusion directly correlates with the lack of stability, being forced to teach ourselves from home as well as not having anything to look forward to in the near future. Proms, and other end of school celebrations, will most likely be cancelled for most teens, leaving many with a sense of hopelessness within their academic journey.
As well as missing out on important social events, students now have to make major decisions, such as which college to attend, without being fully informed of their choices. Post-16 and college open evening tours have been cancelled alongside face-to-face visits with teachers and other staff members. There are online meetings to attend, but I don’t understand how you can get a taster of college life through a computer screen. Furthermore, many students don’t have access to technology at home which makes home learning a lot more difficult, and finding out about which college to attend near impossible.
Not having access to the internet and not being able to make these life-changing decisions with confidence can cause many students to stress and worry. This added pressure, plus the hopelessness many young teens feel, due to having no end goal, can have a very negative impact on their mental health. Another factor adding to the strain on a young person’s mental health is not being able to socialise with friends. Many students feel this way, including me, but I find it helpful to remind myself that I am not alone even through these harsh and trying times. It’s important for any student to understand, no matter what year group they are in, that almost every student across the country will be feeling the same way as them.
Finally, even with all these negative consequences created by Covid-19, people should try take the large amount of free time now available to do something they love and enjoy. Whether that is spending more time with family, taking time to read a book, or watch that TV programme you’ve always wanted to watch. Personally, I have taken this time to try and read more. Immersing yourself in a good book can really help you escape reality, which can be quite helpful during these stressful times.
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