"The number  of doors that continue to be opened to young women is growing"

Sussex student Jenny Bathurst has been writing for us about pandemic life since lockdown began back in March last year.

Jenny Bathurst
Jenny Bathurst

She has now turned those columns into a book Lockdown Observed: Becoming an Adult Without Leaving the House.

The pandemic robbed Jenny of the chance to sit A levels. But she ended up with three As and is now studying journalism at the University of Brighton (Eastbourne campus).

Here is her latest contribution.

"We shuffled back and forth in the uncomfortable university swivel seats as the lecturer described in detail the following two years of our degree. Travel weary from an early morning commute I can’t say that I digested every point that I was told, but there’s one thing that certainly caught mine and my fellow student journalists’ attention. “Last year we warmed you up to the subject. This year we’ll discover who of you really wants to be journalists.” She stared at us each individually as she made that final statement, and if before I had slightly glazed over I definitely hadn’t now.

"Of course I am passionate about journalism. Of course I am working hard to reach my goal. And for the past year and a bit I have committed myself entirely to the subject. But hearing my lecturer’s remark was like hearing someone question if you REALLY want that massive slab of chocolate cake you just purchased. I had committed time and money to enjoying that piece of cake, but now that you’re questioning if I’m 100% sure I want it it’s hard not to wonder what it might entail.

"As a young person I am consistently questioning and remoulding how I think my future will pan out. The number of doors that continue to be opened to young women is growing and growing and it would be odd not to wonder what may unfold. As I near closer to the day I graduate and I am consistently asked what I want to do with my life, the cliched prospect of ‘the world being my oyster’ becomes more apparent. No longer can I answer with ‘magic fairy’ or ‘popstar’, I have to sound sensible and dedicated. (Although magic fairy does still sound rather fun.) I realised this week that ever since I have been in education I have had a pretty good idea where I would be headed in the next few years. Although I might not have known the exact institution, I knew that college would follow secondary school and university would follow college. But what comes after I graduate? I wouldn’t necessarily label this a source of insecurity, more of excitement, but it is a strange feeling nonetheless.

"If this past year has taught us anything it’s that we can never fully predict what may lie ahead. 2020/21 wasn’t exactly the surprise we were all hoping for but had its own positives if you searched for them, even so. I wonder if this optimism for my future endeavours will remain or if age will tear that particular attribute away from me. I rarely see adults enthused about their occupation but that’s not to say they’re unhappy. I keep getting quite deep in this column don’t I…

"To answer my lecturer’s question, I would of course say yes. Journalism – bring it on. But where exactly will I be and when? Who knows."