Living through the COVID Pandemic as a Student - Part 02

As a slightly older student, it’s understandable if you’re much more concerned about the state of current affairs, the impact of the pandemic on your studies and progress in whatever period of your academic life which you may be in. 

If you’re in year 6, you can see this as an extended summer break before the joys of secondary school begin. Your school may still be setting you some work to do from home and it’s worth staying on top of it, purely to make the transition into secondary school easier. Spend the time doing things which you truly love before entering the realms of secondary. 

For both KS2 and KS3 students, you might want to make a list of things you’d like to do with your free time. A project on something which you love or truly fascinates you. Or maybe the aim of reading the entire series of the Harry Potter books. Personally, I loved learning about the Romans and Celtics at school, so I very well may do some extra research on them with the current free time which I have. Aside from academics, now is the perfect opportunity to learn new skills. Although team sports are inaccessible, it’s important to remember the air out in the open is actually cleaner than indoors. So take this opportunity to learn how to skateboard, to learn football skills or how to hula hoop. Indoors, take this opportunity to learn how to cook, bake or origami. You can spend hours developing origami models, lego models and items out of clay or wax. You have the literal world at your fingertips, what with YouTube, Google and the Dummy’s guide on how to do everything you can think of. 

Now, if you’re in KS4, don’t be too worried either - but you do have a bit more work which you can be getting on with. As a year 9 and 10 student, we’d like to think that by the time you get around to sitting your GCSEs, life will be back to normal and the COVID virus will no longer be of any imminent threat to society. So, it’s worth continuing your studies to the best of your ability now. For those of you who have long complained about the strict regimen of school life, as it disturbs your sleep in the mornings and costs you many hours of travel, now is your opportunity to take learning into your own hands. 

Find a routine which works for you. Again, nothing extremely regimented (unless that is precisely what works for you), but something which allows you to make best use of your time. For my sister, she’s currently enjoying daily lay ins, and then beginning her working day at about 12pm. A break at 4 or 5pm, and then she’ll do another hour or two of work in the evening. And that seems to be working for her. Use this time to learn whether you’re a morning person, a night owl or perhaps a mix of the two. 

If you’re struggling with understanding concepts and ideas alone, as you self-teach, consider hiring an online tutor. Many older students will also have free time on their hands, so reach out to your network and you should be able to find a good tutor or mentor. Prices will vary, so pick wisely - someone who’s of good quality but isn’t ripping you off your money. Once you’ve understood the content which you’re being told to learn, this time is also a great opportunity to do some wider reading and research. If you’re learning about rivers and their formations in Geography, look at real life examples and the impacts they’ve had on society. Although it won’t necessarily be examined, it will help you get to grips with the actual content better. So, indirectly, you will do better in examinations in the future. It will also make the learning more fun and enjoyable. 

And finally, GCSE and A Level students. You truly are embracing the unknown. Your exams have been cancelled and we are all waiting in a somewhat limbo state to see what will happen next. College and university applications are somewhat trying to navigate their way but that’s not for you to worry about at the moment. It has been announced that GCSE and A Level students will be given teacher-predicted grades by approximately the end of July, so until then the best thing to do is to relax. If you’re not happy with the grades, you will be able to appeal or sit an exam early autumn. The exception to relaxing is if you’re a student who had been clearly underperforming the last two years, and you know without a doubt that the teacher-predicted grades will be much lower than what you had wanted to obtain in the real exam. In this case, you should carry on revising in preparation to sit exams early autumn. 

Students in year 11 and year 13 should look to have at least completed the content on their respective specifications to give them a good foundation when entering into the next stage of their lives. 

In terms of how to spend your free time, make sure you’re not isolated. The power of the internet means you have easy access to video call friends and family. Apps like Skype, Facetime and HouseParty make it extremely easy. Spend time with your family because this might be the only time in your lives where you have no stresses or responsibilities. Rekindle friendships and relationships which have been lost or damaged. You can also join charities online. With elderly people being isolated, volunteers are needed to be able to video call the elderly and give them some company. Just spending a little time with an older member of society will undoubtedly make their day, and studies have shown, that social interaction reduces the likelihood of deteriorating health in people. Most importantly, look to do things which relax and make you happy. Pick up a fiction book if you haven’t done that in a few years and miss the ability to read for fun. Learn skills which you’ll need at university, i.e. how to wash clothes and cook for yourself. Or, just catch up on some much needed sleep.

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