How will my non exam based A Levels be perceived?

Sussex student Jenny Bathurst is hoping to study journalism at the University of Brighton (Eastbourne campus).

Jenny Bathurst
Jenny Bathurst

The coronavirus crisis has robbed her of the chance to sit A levels. We have asked Jenny to share her thoughts on the difficult times we are living through... Here is her latest contribution.

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I consider myself very fortunate to have been able to use this column over the lockdown months as an outlet not only to offer my opinions and attitudes on the current climate, but as a space for me to be honest about my personal experience in this bizarre period. Although I feel I have been particularly focussed on the short term impact of the pandemic, i.e. the week at hand or perhaps the coming months, I realise that the long term has not been something I have contemplated. I don’t mean the threats of a second wave that are circulating the media, but years to come when (hopefully) the virus is a distant memory, what will be the fragments of this time that are still present in my life?

I never thought that I would reach a day where I would look back fondly on the period in which Brexit stood at the forefront of every news headline and report, a political event that was perhaps extensive but did not require us to sport restrictive face masks and keep a distance away from others. I remember at the time pitying future history students who would have to examine the causes and consequences of the referendum, knowing that it isn’t exactly the most stimulating course of study. Now to know that 2020 as a period will also likely make its way into a historical textbook one day amazes me, thinking that I was alive to experience every up and down and able to tell future generations about the peculiarity of this summer.

Like everybody I have certainly faced some challenges but also some opportunities that certainly wouldn’t have been available had the pandemic not occurred. Even speaking briefly on the radio about my experiences has been something that I had not imagined being able to do as the year began. But it makes me question how I will remember all of this as time goes on, particularly events such as schools and colleges closing which at the time I found devastating but I now look back on as minor, seeing as I was due to leave in just a couple of months’ time regardless. As well as this there is similarly the question of how future employers will view me and my generation. How will my non examination based A Levels be acknowledged and perceived? Will this be a setback for me? Will I be put at an advantage or disadvantage over those who took their exams as A Levels are intended to be assessed? Of course we cannot be sure of any of this at the current time, and perhaps it is unhealthy to look this far ahead rather than focussing on the here and now. The comforting phrase that we are ‘all in the same boat’ that I hear and use on a frequent basis will seemingly be increasingly relevant when questioning how Covid-19 will impact the long term, and a concept that I, and many others, will find reassurance in clinging to.