Yesterday I put 38 exercise books, 21 text books and hundreds of revision cards in a box in the back of my wardrobe. For over 3 years I have been working hard, committed to revising for my GCSEs, which due to the Corona virus, have been cancelled. Hundreds of heavily highlighted sheets of paper are now collecting dust in the dark.
On the 18th March, we all found out our exams were cancelled; it was a Wednesday evening, my family and I were sat with baited breath around the TV listening as Boris Johnson announced school closures and exam cancellations. Suddenly it all felt much more real. I expected to feel immense relief, yet all I felt was shock and disappointment. It seemed that my years of diligence and effort would come to nothing. I felt overwhelmed and lost. I had been aiming towards high grades and was prepared to prove myself.
Now that Covid-19 finally affected us directly we understood how big the pandemic actually was. It had been creeping up on us since January but until my life was personally affected I couldn’t comprehend the impact. This virus was bigger than any of us knew or could have expected. It was scary for everyone.
Many ‘last times’ had been sprung upon us within fifteen minutes of watching the news. We all had to quickly adjust to the reality that these would be our last days at school and with each other. All these weeks of speculation and rumours about the virus could not have prepared us for news of our exams being cancelled. Some pupils were relieved at the prospect of not sitting their GCSEs. However there were many of us that were distraught. My teachers had been dedicated, focused and intent on ensuring we all reached our full potential, encouraging us to work hard. Our futures were so uncertain, an extremely scary thought.
At first, being the self-absorbed teenagers we sometimes are, we spent time dwelling on the fact that our concerts, proms, parties and holidays were cancelled. However, it was not long until I realised that my plans being postponed for a while was nothing compared to the devastation and upheaval of lives around the world that this virus has caused. My initial worries now seem irrelevant. The priority is now so much more basic; staying at home to save lives. I’ve learnt that it is ok to feel disappointed but we are all going through this together, we need to understand the sacrifices we must make to keep each other safe.
Since Boris Johnson’s speech on 23rd March we have all been in complete lockdown. Being at home for such long periods of time has made me realise the extent of freedom I had before. As a 16 year old girl living in England, I have never needed to question my rights of freedom and liberty to go where I please. Restrictions on seeing loved ones and friends has really opened my eyes to how serious this virus has become. Being stripped down to limited human interactions has made us all hopefully realise there is so much more to life than boasting and judging on social media.
Since this epidemic I feel as though the sense of community and camaraderie between everyone has increased, the amount of people coming together on social media to support each other, key workers and of course the NHS is incredible. We have all proved how, as a country, we can be there for each other through such difficult times.
We need to appreciate that EVERYONE’s lives have been turned upside down and it is ok to struggle with the uncertainty. Millions of students will be in lockdown worrying about their potential grades. Hopefully our hard work will be recognised through our results, allowing us to have the futures we had planned. However there is a much bigger picture we are all a part of. It is all of our responsibility to help one another, work together as a nation and understand that everyone is fighting their own battles. Be kind, stay safe, stay at home and begin to appreciate the little things.
Article by Young Reporter Anna Marsden
First published in Grimsby Telegraph 14th April 2020