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As a 16-Yr-Old, COVID-19 Has Made me Appreciate ‘Normality’ More

Many girls at my school quickly packed up and left before tighter regulations on borders were implemented.

Updated
My Report
4 min read
This means, for me, a 16-year-old student studying in the UK, I will remain at home for the foreseeable future.
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As we celebrated the end of 2019, the future of 2020 looked very promising. It was meant to be a great year for me and many others alike. I was looking forward to finishing my General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSEs) and then travelling in the summer. However, in a completely unexpected turn of events, 2020 has proved to be the complete opposite. I now find myself having just turned 16 and in lockdown. A situation that I would never have thought of experiencing in our global and modern world.

(Click here for live updates on COVID-19. Also visit Quint Fit for comprehensive coverage on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.)

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When the coronavirus first came to public attention, a lot of us disregarded it as a meagre ‘flu-like virus’ that would not have any detrimental effect on our lives and would be forgotten in the coming month or so. No one could have predicted it turning into a global pandemic within four months, leading to most affected nations being put on lockdown and over a million cases globally – in most countries, it’s only expected to get worse. We all continued with our lives as per normal, still working for our exams and assuming we’d be sitting our GCSEs.

As the coronavirus spread further, more havoc was wreaked. Many international girls at my school quickly packed up and left so they could return home before tighter regulations on borders were implemented.

I vividly remember a girl in my boarding house receiving a call from her parents saying she had to pack up and leave for France within three hours before the borders closed.
Current reading during self-isolation. 
Current reading during self-isolation. 
(Photo Courtesy: Jiya Chathley)

In the UK, on 20 March, schools closed – and just a couple of days earlier it was announced that the annual public exams would not take place. I went through a whirlwind of emotions.

At first it was just plain shock. The closure of schools was expected, but I had not prepared myself for the cancellation of exams. The exams I had been working towards in school for the past two years wouldn’t be taking place – who would have thought? Slowly as the announcement settled, I went from relief to even joy, that I wouldn’t have to sit any public exams. However, as the days passed, I realised the amount of effort I had put into these exams, and that it was somewhat unfair that I wouldn’t get to sit them.

As I previously said, the closure of schools was certain, but what still remains uncertain in the UK is when schools will reopen. This means, for me, a 16-year-old student studying in the UK, I will remain at home for the foreseeable future.

As a student in a boarding school, if I had been told, before the outbreak of COVID-19, that I would be made to return home and stay there with no knowledge of when I would be coming back to school, I would have been ecstatic. However, given the circumstances, my attitude is not at all the same to what it would have been merely a few months ago. In fact, it’s the complete opposite. When being forced into difficult situations, we finally have an appreciation for normality. That is the curse of familiarity- we take everything for granted.

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Just a week ago, it was my birthday – my sweet 16. I spent the whole day in isolation, not being able to go out or see my friends. Whilst this is nowhere near to the worst of the devastation that the coronavirus has brought, it was a massive milestone for me. The coronavirus will be responsible for many missed or postponed milestones.

I find myself reading more, listening to podcasts, watching movies and spending more time with my family.
I find myself reading more, listening to podcasts, watching movies and spending more time with my family.
(Photo Courtesy: Jiya Chathley)

There is a limited number of things to do when in lockdown, but at the same time there is also an abundance of time for other activities which I would not have previously been able to do. I find myself reading more, listening to podcasts, watching movies and spending more time with my family.

What I find most incredible at this time of adversity is, despite the risks, there are people that still stock our supermarket shelves, deliver our post, answer our health needs. I am in awe of them and what they continue to do – they are holding our society together.

 Each morning I wake up and remind myself that I am healthy and we’re one day closer to normality.
Each morning I wake up and remind myself that I am healthy and we’re one day closer to normality.
(Photo Courtesy: Jiya Chathley)

As I write this, the UK has paused and encouraged everyone to ‘clap for carers’ – an event in which people all over the UK applaud the NHS workers from their windows, gardens, balconies. Thank you.

Personally, I am trying to put all of this in a more positive light because the only thing I have control over is my perception of this situation. Each morning I wake up and remind myself that I am healthy and we’re one day closer to normality. Thank

(All 'My Report' branded stories are submitted by citizen journalists to The Quint. Though The Quint inquires into the claims/allegations from all parties before publishing, the report and the views expressed above are the citizen journalist's own. The Quint neither endorses, nor is responsible for the same.)

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