The coronavirus crisis has robbed her of the chance to sit A levels. We asked Jenny to share her thoughts on the difficult times we are living through...
"I remember the first time I discussed the potential impact of the coronavirus crisis with a friend. Working in a part time café job at the time with a television constantly set to the news channel it was difficult to release the topic from my mind, and so I asked my friend, “Do you think there’s actually any point in worrying about the virus? I know it’s really serious in other parts of the world, but do you think there’s any chance it could affect us where we are?” We both shrugged nonchalantly and carried on with the day. However I never imagined that niggling thought to have turned my life as upside down as it has in the past month.
"As a young person, I am faced with a huge amount of expectations. Not only are we required to revise endlessly for gruelling exams whilst simultaneously sleeping nine to ten hours per night, but also to maintain a part time job, have a social life and obtain a healthy diet and exercise plan. It would be safe to say that two weeks ago I felt overloaded, and with the vision of Easter nearly in grasp, my friends and I were desperately counting down to the next time we’d be able to take a breath.
"On Wednesday 18th March, it was announced by the education secretary Gavin Williamson that all colleges and schools would be closed on that coming Friday, and all exams cancelled. It felt like the rug had been pulled out from under my feet. Hours and hours of endless revision and studying were suddenly irrelevant, and not only this, but in two days I would never again step foot into the place where I had spent the majority of my past eighteen months and met some of my closest friends. Although I have often sat in my classes longing to be at home, I was absolutely gutted contemplating the next six months of my life with little to no routine. This was only exacerbated by the later announcement that all cafes would be closing and therefore I would also be let go from my job. I am grateful to be in a position where I am living with my financially stable parents and I am not charged rent, however it was the one regularity I had left in my week so to lose that was a massive disappointment. I know that many people around the globe right now are suffering unimaginably with health, finances and bereavement and I feel fortunate to be in such a stable position, but for everything to fall apart for me in such a small space of time was devastating.
"Self-isolation was never going to be easy for any of us, and the current position that the UK is in is certainly a challenge none of us were expecting to face. I often catch myself dwelling on the next six months before I begin university, anticipating them as exhausting and monotonous, but when considering the positives of this bizarre situation it is easy to see where I’ve been stuck in the entirely wrong mindset. Never before have I had time to exercise regularly, but now at 9:00am every morning I am conscientiously running for forty minutes around my village, encouraging me to sleep better and feel healthier. Where previously I had been stooped over my laptop cramming Shakespeare into my already overflowing mind, I am now investing my time in learning Dutch, a language that had always intrigued me, but I had never had the chance to pursue.
"My biggest fear that I would lose contact with my closest friends has been quashed by technology’s endless selection of video calling and social media apps, and as soon as self-isolation is over it will mean time spent together will be even more precious. What a month ago seemed daunting and overwhelming is now an opportunity to reset and appreciate everything we took for granted, and I eagerly anticipate the day that the world has got through this in its entirety.
A message from the Editor, Gary Shipton:
In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news, I am asking you to please purchase a copy of our newspapers.
With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspapers.
Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.
Stay safe, and best wishes.