"The next twelve months could be the most exciting of my life so far"

The coronavirus crisis robbed Sussex student Jenny Bathurst of the chance to sit A levels.

Jenny Bathurst
Jenny Bathurst

But she ended up with three As and is now going to study journalism at the University of Brighton (Eastbourne campus). We have asked Jenny to share her thoughts on the difficult times we are living through... Here is her latest contribution.

"With the chaos that is experienced by all students come September, I had managed to forget entirely until only a few days earlier that in just a couple of weeks or so I will turn nineteen. And if I am honest, in realising this I was a little underwhelmed. I have never been one to invest much effort into celebrating my birthday no matter how old I am turning, but nineteen just seems to be one of those ages that does not mean a great deal. Turning eighteen made me an adult – I could vote, get a drink with my friends, and even buy a house if I was maybe earning a little more than the wage earnt in my part time waitressing job.

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"Next year I will be 20 – that feels grown up, perhaps the beginning of the decade in which I can pursue a career I love and start a family. But nineteen…it’s just somewhere in the middle. Of course a number does not define the events or experiences that will arise from this year, in fact starting university could potentially make the next twelve months the most exciting of my life so far, but you understand what I mean.

"2020 seems to also have been written off as a wasted and perhaps even worthless year. And in many ways, it could be argued that it has. I have noticed only recently that many have labelled 2020 “the lost year”, whether in terms of the economy, the lives that have tragically been taken or the surplus of opportunities stolen from the vast majority of us. When researching this term more I found an article suggesting that we’ve even lost what it is to be alive, and as stark as this statement is I can see how people may take that attitude. Due to churches being forced to keep their doors shut and theatres being unable to show any productions, these are just two incredibly important aspects of my life that have remained unfulfilled for over half a year now. But does this mean I think 2020 has been a ‘loss’? Not really.

"I cannot stress enough the extent to which I realise that for many, this year has been catastrophic. For those who have lost loved ones or had their dream career snatched away, I can only imagine how they will look back at this season in the future. However when I review this pandemic I don’t want to focus on everything that I have personally lost, but on what I have gained. I have learnt the value of relationship and family and how vital human contact is in our day to day lives. I have had the opportunity to begin this column and from that appear on the radio discussing my views. I have been able to watch the nation gather together and unite in a fashion that I never thought would occur in my lifetime. So for me, I will not call 2020 a ‘lost year.’ I have obtained valuable knowledge akin to that of any period of my lifetime, and that, surely, is not a waste.