Student Column: Alice Eley

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The lost COVID-19 generation; are we following the right path? All over the world, as you are reading this, governments like ours are fighting to contain the COVID-19 virus. However, the life saving measures the British government are making, are also major life changing conditions for many students. Parents are having to become teachers, and teachers are becoming IT support. In these harrowing times we must have empathy for those students who have worked two years for exams that will never be. From an outsider’s perspective this must seem like a time for students, like me, to rejoice; but we are not celebrating, we do not think ourselves lucky, we are in mourning for the education we are losing and the opportunities we will never experience.

Overwhelming feelings of a disheartening and demoralizing nature envelop students all over the country. Proms become a distant dream. Goodbyes seem premature as Leavers are left in limbo, never quite feeling satisfied with their departure from school. Our futures are not in our hands. Tensions are high as students wait anxiously for the decision to be made on how leavers will receive the grades they deserve. Many students feeling cheated and lost. But the students are not alone in their feelings; teachers are just as dumbfounded by the situation.

A common feeling amongst teachers is the fear that their students will not be rewarded with the grades they have worked so hard to achieve. They feel helpless and just as lost as their students. This is new territory for everyone, and so far, no one can see the end result. Feeling lost within a job that they love, sitting at home, setting work over a screen and answering emails. both teachers and students alike are missing the social interactions: friendly, funny and educational conversations that fuel classrooms.

Even though the country is in a state of mourning, for several reasons, I do not want to just focus on the negatives. These are harrowing times, but we must keep looking towards the future. No matter how changeable it may be. We must look at those who have made happiness out of devastation. On their last day of school, after the cancellation of their May Ball, year 13 students from King Edward VI School arrived in style, wearing their tuxedos and gowns. Take inspiration from these students, find joy from this unfamiliar situation. We must also look to those risking their safety and health to help others in these desperate times. on Thursday the 26th of March thousands of people all over the country, some even joining from overseas, at 20:00 hours applauded all the NHS workers and volunteers working to keep us safe and healthy. Supermarkets are opening in the early hours of the morning to provide these key workers with the supplies. But it is not only the NHS workers and volunteers we need to applaud, key workers all over the country, working hard to keep order and provide us with essential items, also need appreciation. The supermarket attendant that stocks the shelfs; the school teachers providing education to key workers children; the cleaners keeping important locations sanitized; the delivery men who deliver the essential items; these are the usually forgotten workers, without them we will not survive this crisis.

People all over the world are finding light in these dark times; singing in the streets of Italy; Chicago’s We Will Rock You singalong; free online concerts from hundreds of entertainers. Keep the light shining and keep spirits high, the world will recover if we support each other.

by Alice Eley, Student at Abbeygate Sixth Form College