The Final Part in The Series
Throughout the COVID-19 lockdown, SGGS Year 11 students have shared their thoughts and feelings via a series of blogs. Below, we continue to share excerpts from these written submissions, illustrating and exemplifying this unique and unprecedented time.
Julia Zampronio Gurden
I think I’m just about starting to get used to this ‘new normal’. It was definitely strange, finding myself without exams to be spending a lot of time thinking about and preparing for. At the beginning of lockdown, I had a bit of a rocky time adapting to it all, with something I had been working towards for the past three years suddenly being taken out of the picture. However, I have adjusted to the change and found in its stead, a whole world of time to spend improving myself in other ways that I perhaps didn’t have the opportunity to before.
My day usually starts with a short walk to take some fresh air and get my body and mind moving. I’ve found myself discovering places and routes I didn’t even know existed just a few minutes from my house! I think, particularly in such an uncertain and stressful time, exercise (preferably in nature) is perhaps just as crucial for our mental health as is it is for our physical. The rest of the morning is spent doing something ‘productive’ whether that be looking at the A-level science textbooks available on Kerboodle and making some notes or reading a book I’ve recently started called ‘THINK’ about Philosophy. I am quite eager to studying again and beginning to look at the A-level courses, as I feel it will give my days a little more structure and direction.
While it is a little daunting that I will be starting Sixth Form having not done my GCSEs, I will be using the time to consolidate all the knowledge I’ve learnt in order to prepare myself fully for next year and A-levels. In terms of Results Day, I feel similarly, knowing that grades will be awarded fairly by teachers and that there is nothing I can do at this point other than to look ahead to next year and be as prepared as I can be.
The rest of the afternoon is spent relaxing, reading or on creative projects, such as macramé, writing, playing guitar and working through mindful colouring books. I have also been baking lots of new cakes and treats which we’ve been eating alongside tea at four before watching the briefing. With the wonderful weather we’ve had recently, I have finally had the opportunity to spend lots of time in my garden and I have just planted some flower seeds which - fingers crossed - should sprout soon. I look forward to when we return to school but I’m also excited for the skills and hobbies I will build up between now and then. I hope everyone is well and staying safe.
We are all now well into quarantine, isolation and online school and it’s safe to say it has been a huge adjustment. For Year 11’s, it happened very quickly; one day we were all revising for our upcoming exams, the next we were told no examinations will be taking place. The worst thing about it was the uncertainty. For me and many other Year 11’s this means results day will be the time when we can reunite, catch-up and collect our leavers hoodies - as well as nervously receiving our results!
An introduction to A-level work and Sixth Form has been something constructive to do with my time as I was struggling to fill my day with activities. Most days I have been practicing a language, reading books which are related to my A-level subject course and baking lots of banana bread. A lot of my time is currently spent going on dog walks, probably the most exciting thing to happen in my day! We all miss our friends and I have found myself speaking for about two hours per day with my friends and catching up with them. Watching movies then using FaceTime or Netflix party is also a great way to spend an evening and does make it feel like we are all there together talking about the movie.
I enjoyed the Thursday “clap” for key workers and NHS workers. Not only do we get to show our gratitude and appreciation for their efforts and determination but I also get to have a real-life conversation with my neighbour from two metres apart. It is lovely to see how our whole country comes together to show our appreciation for their amazing work. Ultimately though, this has all been an unwelcome change and I am looking forward to the day we can return to school. It will be an experience to come back after about five months off, but like many others across the country I feel a mixture of anticipation and eagerness. Stay safe everyone.
To keep busy and active during lockdown, I have been trying to go for 5km runs and walks with my dog as part of my hour-a-day outdoor exercise. I have also started working on my A-level subjects, to get a head start on my learning and to keep my brain active!
As well as working on my A-levels, I am also doing research on the EPQ topic that I am interested in, which has been really informative and interesting for me. By doing a research project I have been able to keep on learning so that I can be effective in my studies once I start Year 12. I have also enrolled in the Open University and joined one of their 4-week courses. The one that I am doing is Finance Fundamentals: Financial Planning and Budgeting, which is really helping me gain an insight into this sector; whilst also helping me learn more about how to make the right financial decisions and how to order them.
Because of lockdown, I have been able to spend more time with my family doing things that we enjoy, like baking and going on family walks. A positive aspect to being in lockdown is that we have been spending more time seeing our extended family - virtually of course! We now have two family quizzes a week. I also turned sixteen during lockdown, a special day added to my other unique experiences!
A Week in the Life of a Cat
Tuesday. Gone are the days of bliss when I could spend eight hours of my day in peaceful solitude, napping on the windowsill, watching the world go by, going out to meet Linda (you know, from a few doors down) at the same time each day to enjoy lunch in the sun. How I long to spend just a minute alone on the sofa, without the relentless click-clack of that “computer” the woman won’t get up from. I tried to shut her up today by jumping onto the desk and positioning myself comfortably on top of the keyboard, however my efforts simply resulted in my banishment from the room for the rest of the day.
Wednesday. I miss my nice food. The woman went shopping today and apparently, they’d “run out” of the scrumptious tinned food I do so love. She rubbed my chin and gave me a treat but in her eyes I could see that she knew nothing would make up for it; life is full of bitter disappointment. I also miss Linda- last night I couldn’t meet her because Fynn, one of the bullies from next door, refused to let me leave the house. As soon as the humans went to bed, he appeared in front of the cat flap and didn’t leave until the sun rose many hours later. The teenager’s been utterly insufferable all day, blasting away on that “trombone”. Trombone? More like leave me alone! Why won’t the humans go away?!
Thursday. Forced out of the house so spent the whole day on the shed roof. Why? Because the teenager got bored and decided to “clean”. Cleaning is licking the dust from your tail for a few hours a day, not taking that horrifying, deafening sucking machine out from under the stairs. I was just taking a midday nap on the teenager’s bed when all of a sudden the whirring comes out of nowhere and all I can do is bolt out of there as quick as I can before it devours me. My paws are still shaking and I don’t know when I’ll be able to relax again. Still no tinned food.
Friday. Hurrah! The humans have taken up gardening. Purrfect news for me- spent a couple of hours tanning on the lawn, knowing that Fynn and his gang wouldn’t dare attack while I was protected. Decided to mark my territory on the rhubarb anyway, just in case, but feeling pawsitive. I let the teenager give me a belly rub today as a reward for protecting me. Nice to give back and all that. There’s been people in masks and gloves visiting the neighbours an awful lot recently, putting boxes on their doorsteps and leaving again. Not even a hello! Seems very rude to me. And the boxes are odd, too, you can’t even climb in them. What’s the point? Quarantine must be getting to these humans.
Saturday. Heard the humans saying something about the Prime Minister giving a speech tomorrow, sounded very impawtant. Apparently, they might be going back outside soon and I simply cannot wait. I’ve bonded with the teenager but I still don’t trust the woman. She thinks she can fool me with the treats and the pats on the head, but I’ve not forgotten who took me to the vets that time. Hiss…