The impact of coronavirus on student life

Eva Lemmy Cheshire young writer

Eva Lemmy Cheshire young writer - Credit: Archant

Eva Lemmy, a Year 12 student at Sir John Deane’s Sixth Form College in Northwich, on trying to master a schoolwork-life balance from the four walls of home.

As spring turns to summer, student life becomes revision guides and flashcards. Exam stress and the excitement of the holidays ahead is as much a part of school life as sitting in lessons and trying not to zone out after yet another late night you really shouldn’t have had. Yet, with one single announcement, all this was taken away from us.

No sunny days spent on the field at lunchtimes, no slaving away at 10pm over the homework due tomorrow morning. The college gates were firmly closed and we were sent home with no idea of when we’d return. At what should feel like the start of a summer holiday, all I’ve been left with is emptiness, confusion and – like many – an overwhelming sense of sorrow. The Year 11s and 13s have lost the right to make their years of hard work worth it; they’ve lost the right to a leavers’ celebration; a results day. Our time has been cut short and now it’s a waiting game for the people in power to decide our future.

As a Year 12, I have to think about next year: when will exams happen? I’ll be expected to have learnt a full two years of content, which means remote learning, logging on to a computer every morning to hear my teachers talk through presentations I should be there to see, completing the work and submitting it online. Learning from home requires a huge amount of motivation, but it’s this structure that is saving me from a dangerous boredom. My day starts early; I’m up, dressed and ready to go by nine every morning. I check my emails, print off worksheets and download the video lessons I need for that day. I try to work solidly until lunch, under the watchful eye of my mum.

Some people say it’s better to work in small chunks, but despite all good intentions, I find a 10-minute break turns all too quickly into more like an hour. After lunch it’s back to work until everything is done. I’m usually kept busy until half past four. It’s good for me to have something to focus on, and after studying I go on a dog walk. Just getting outside into the fresh air is important as nothing takes its toll like being cooped up indoors all day long.

I’m part of a big family and in the evenings we cook together, eat together and have recently started joining in with our neighbour’s quiz (which is sent daily, with the answers coming the day after): we love a bit of healthy competition.

The worst part about quarantine, for me, is the loneliness. It’s surreal to drive through Frodsham, usually bustling with people going about their business, and instead seeing everywhere shut up and closed. There are no coffee shops, no cafés, and my weekly shift as a waitress has been taken away.

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I’ve lost my freedom, but in some ways I’ve gained control. My day is no longer timetabled to the minute, but rather I decide when to get things done. For a person who’s used to being out every day and evening, rushing from college to dance, or trying to balance basketball and debate, it’s strange to have nothing to do. Yes, there’s a lot of college work, but everything that was personal to me – that made me who I am – has stopped. I feel I’ve lost a sense of my identity. It’s as if our lives have been put on pause and we’re waiting for the green light to head back to normality.

It isn’t all bad, though. And as clichéd as it sounds, there are silver linings. Our generation has been given the opportunity to discover and explore hobbies we perhaps wouldn’t have ever had the time for before. We’ve got months to learn a language, finally reach our fitness goals or become experts with a guitar.

So why not use this opportunity to discover your passion and invest time in it?

Trust me, you’ll need it. u

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