Student Voice: Candy's Lockdown Diary — Aimhigher West Midlands

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‘I take this opportunity to urge all of you out there to show compassion to one another… Let all your loved ones know one way or another you appreciate and love them.’

Aimhigher student, Candy, gives an account of her lockdown experience as a current Year 13 student.

It has been over a month since the UK went into lockdown, where the lives of every single individual changed significantly one way or another. As a current year 13 student, I think I speak for all of us when I say we were beyond devastated and disappointed when our Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, announced that all exams will be cancelled, meaning our time at Sixth Form comes to such an abrupt end. Strangely enough, these feelings of frustration soon made me feel a sense of emptiness, to realise that we have spent the last two years working our hardest to find out we don’t get the chance to prove we deserve our grades. I wasn’t alone experiencing these feelings, my friends shared similar thoughts, but we soon learned to accept that this pandemic is nobody’s fault and we mustn’t focus on the negatives.

I must admit, it was hard to adapt to this new lifestyle. If I look on the bright side, I’m free from all exam stress, yet I can’t help but feel like a bird trapped in a cage. To feel a sense of control, I’ve maintained my weekly schedules of ‘to-do’ lists. These often include what I want to get done for that day, whether that is to go out for a bike ride, read a few chapters of a book, do some extra university research, or just a nice lazy day of Netflix and self care! I have also been inspired by a lot of youtubers to create a little bucket list of things I want to get done during lockdown and honestly it’s great to reinforce a sense of accomplishment when you’ve completed something.  It is also so important for my mental health to keep in touch with my friends and for us to look out for each other. I’m aware such a change in our normal lifestyle will have a toll on everyone’s mental health (some more than others), therefore I take this opportunity to urge all of you out there to show compassion to one another, drop a text to a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while or help out with making dinner. Let all your loved ones know one way or another you appreciate and love them.

During such a difficult time, I have learnt so much about myself and other people. I am dedicated in ensuring I make use of this time in quarantine to develop myself but also to take a big rest from how overwhelming everything has been over the past few months, from exam stress to coronavirus. In a way, we learn that we take the small things for granted; being able to see our friends every day, go out whenever and wherever we want to or even just having a simple chat with a stranger whilst waiting in line at our local supermarket. After lockdown, I will be sure not to be afraid of taking more pictures of moments I share with people I love. It is the simple things we miss, but they hold so much value.

Despite being in lockdown, we’ve never been more united as a community. As individuals we are showing kindness and compassion for each other during such a difficult time, we are all in this together and I believe we will come out of this learning so much more about ourselves and the world.