To the Class of 2021

Once the implications of lockdown became clear, we, like so many parents, breathed a huge sigh of relief that we didn’t have teens in the Class of 2020 – nobody due to take GSCEs, A levels or graduate. Their story is simply heart-breaking, as one of our teenage Lockdown Creative Challenge bloggers so brilliantly demonstrated in A Rushed Goodbye.

But we both have sons in the Class of 2021 and as time has gone on, we’ve realised that it’s pretty tough for them too.

We’re fortunate in that we’re all healthy and have gone through lockdown pretty comfortably. But we don’t agree with all of the online negativity that’s been directed towards teenagers (or their parents, or journalists) who are saying they’re finding it hard to study at home and not be with their friends. Yes, there are worse things, of course – nonetheless it can be very hard on them and particularly on their mental health, as another of our amazing LCC teen bloggers explained.

Even though we know this is short-term and they’ll get through it, there’s more to deal with right now. They might not be taking exams, missing out on proms and other rites of passage, but they are still facing the unknown with school plans and exams next year and there is so much they’ll never get back either – such as the school sixth form rugby tour that’s been eagerly anticipated for six long years.

We came across this, from a US blogger talking about the equivalent of our sixth form, and couldn’t agree more:

 “It’s the year that most adults have been telling you, since before you set foot inside high school, that it’ll be one of the most consequential of your academic life, especially if you wish to go to your dream college. It’s a year that most schools offer the most challenging and intellectually stimulating classes, and open up the widest opportunities for you to get involved and demonstrate leadership. It’s a year that a lead part in the school play finally becomes a reality, or first chair at violin, or captain of the sports team.”

And the future will be even harder to deal with. So many of the Class of 2020 are thinking of deferring their university places, despite the year ahead, with no work or travel prospects, being described as “the world’s worst gap year”. This means that many students now in year 12 face uncertainty and worry about competing for fewer places next year and many will see their dreams pass them by. Anyone needing work experience for vocational applications such as medicine is already struggling and stressing.

It’s going to be equally hard on those looking for a job or an apprenticeship, especially with the economic crisis that’s facing us all. Part time work and CV building opportunities are scarce too and all round it’s a scary future to be facing.

We can’t know what that future holds – like everyone else, we’re in a “wait and see” situation. But we just wanted to say to all those year 10s and year 12s out there – we hear you and we are so, so sorry. We’ll be doing anything we can to pass on advice, information and hope and if anyone can help with this, we’d love you to contribute with a comment below.

Louise & Anna x

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