A rushed goodbye. This wasn’t the way it was meant to be. Like many of you, I was due to take my GCSE exams at the end of this school year. The announcement that all exams were to be cancelled was just a small part of the bigger Coronavirus crisis but was the biggest part of my world. In a flash, a few spoken words on TV put an end to all I had been working towards for the last five years. The shock was like a thunderbolt and did not seem real. It still doesn’t sometimes. My initial reaction was upset and frustrated as I felt as though all my time and dedication had been wasted; which I now see is not the case. For many of you I’m sure it would’ve come as a great relief as exams are a hugely stressful and often overwhelming time for young people; but I was, as odd as it may sound, excited to take my exams. I love learning, I longed for the sense of achievement on results day, the rush of pride and triumph as I walked out of my final exam and coming together with my entire year group who had all just finished as I had.
Not only did I feel as though I was missing out by not taking the exams, I was not going to get to experience all the things I had been looking forward to post GCSEs. What about prom? Or leavers day? Results day? The infamous parties following the end of exams? Or the 12 week summer break spent chilling care-free with friends and attending festivals? I felt a massive loss in my teenage life.
Instead of all this, I was left with my last five years in the main body of the school terminated on a random Friday in March; nothing like planned. Transitioning from one evening spent knee-deep in a history textbook, practicing exam technique and adding to the mountainous stack of flashcards and mind maps i’d spent endless nights creating, to the next spent sat in bed with no work to do – the uncertainty was overwhelming. It still hasn’t really sunken in fully but the benefit of a little bit of time has allowed me to see that no amount of work or effort was ever wasted; the knowledge we have all acquired over the course was invaluable and the discipline and skills used throughout revision will be so useful as we continue the next stage of our education journey!
I have struggled at times with how to occupy my time now that I have no exams to work towards. Should I continue revising as I would have done or abandon it altogether?? I’ve found it useful to keep exercising my mind during this time of uncertainty ahead of my A-levels in September and to give me some sense of routine. But this period can be used for so many things; an opportunity to learn a new language – I’m learning Italian! I’ve perfected a chicken katsu curry, baked for my family, Zoom quizzed with my friends, am exercising daily, started yoga, read books, watched movies and more. Use the time to discover a new hobby or skill you never knew you had or just use it to focus on your wellbeing and take a well-earned break! And look forward to the journey ahead…..