Pandemic life: "And yet, somehow, I am grateful..."

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

Jenny Bathurst
Jenny Bathurst

The pandemic robbed her 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.

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"As I write this the date is the 18th of March 2021, which marks a year since the nation was informed that all schools and colleges would have to close for an unknown period due to the pandemic. Perhaps at the time I was more open with some than others about how shaken and disappointed I was on this day, but now I will admit hand-on-heart that I had never felt as confused and shocked as I did in that moment. I know, very dramatic. Of course, in hindsight, I now laugh at 2020 Jenny, sat in tears surrounded by her revision that would become virtually useless as my exams were cancelled. I question now why I was upset at not having to take exams that I had been dreading the thought of for two years, but of course in the moment all I could think of were the friends I would no longer spend every day with at college and all the studying I had done that I would no longer be able to channel into those all-important final essays.

"I am incredibly reflective with every stage of my life, always valuing even the silliest of anniversaries and remembering the events and memories that have happened within a year that I cherish so much. I picture the past twelve months as a series of dominoes: as one falls down and I begin to panic, the pattern begins again and something beautiful arrives out of that chaos. If A Levels had not been abandoned, I would have spent two months of last spring in constant stress, however I instead spent the day on which my English Literature paper would have been getting a tan in my garden with a book. When churches could no longer meet in person and in turn began to solely be streamed online, I had the opportunity to join services in parts of the country I would never have been able to access before due to location and timing. And where I couldn’t return to university for the spring term, I have been welcomed into the home of friends who have been the most fun to live with for the past month and a half. I believe that God has made a way out of every tricky situation I have found myself in, and the journey to where I am today has not always been as predicted, but I wouldn’t change a bit of it.

"As a natural worrier, I don’t claim to now have a renewed mindset that trusts unwaveringly that out of a challenge will always come something better, but there have been constant reminders of this in this past year. I recall waking up on the 19th of March 2020 genuinely believing that the pandemic was a dream and the distinct feeling of dread realising that it was in fact reality, yet now it really does just feel a part of life. A global pandemic is not ‘normal’, and the outcomes of it have been anything but. And yet, somehow, I am grateful.