My lockdown experience. A Year 9 student reflects on the last two months

Tackling boredom, finding a routine, and a word of advice for parents

Zak Yusef Year 9 student

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A teenager’s dream.

No school for 2 months and yes it was a dream for the first week and then it kicked in.

We were going to be under house arrest indefinitely for an unknown period of time and I think it was at this point I realised the harsh reality. This was not going away in 1 week or 2, it would go on for many weeks even months.

In this piece, I will be totally honest with you about how lockdown feels as a teenager and my honest opinions and experiences.

Boring

You see the single biggest distraction is the phone and regardless of where you put it, it always seems to end up in my room distracting me, with another post, and it all starts with replying to that one message from your friend, to a casual scroll through instagram, which inevitably leads to the 2 hour Netflix movie and before you even know it, it’s 10pm.

I conducted a survey among my peers and asked them to describe lockdown in one word and one word came up more than all of the others combined, and yes you guessed it: Boring.

Now, I could sit here and tell you about how boring lockdown has been but I will just be doing what everyone else has been doing. As an extroverted person, lockdown hasn’t been that bad and I’ve learnt maybe I’m not as extroverted as I thought. I genuinely enjoy the time that I wouldn’t have had, to do stuff that I’ve always wanted to do. Although it can get boring, in a big city every day goes so fast and every hour feels like a second and lockdown has given us the time to appreciate the little things that allow society to function, for example the NHS, emergency services and teachers.

Exercise

I’d also like to point out the fact that organisations like the Trussell Trust who are helping the less fortunate in society effectively live and they are playing a massive role in ensuring the safety of society’s most vulnerable.

I’d also like to address the fact that although teenagers may seem unwilling to talk about their day and how lockdown is for them, it is imperative as a parent you try to discuss the state of their mental wellbeing because it is hard being away from normality and your friends for such a long period of time.

As we are at home we will tend to spend more time on our phones and this can be a bad habit because what I’ve seen personally is that you rely on it more to do stuff that has nothing to do with your phone.

Luckily, for readers I have concocted the perfect remedy: Exercise.

A lot of families don’t go out together and explore the wilderness, so use this extra time to go out and enjoy the outdoors, as we hardly ever do it due to our busy schedules.

Although your child may seem reluctant at first, so try and incorporate what they enjoy doing in some kind of outdoor exercise.

Routine

As a teenager who loves to game sometimes you can get carried away and forget about the time  and as I already mentioned by the time you finished gaming it can get very very late so to ensure that I keep my sanity I’ve tried to keep a sleep schedule as well as trying to go bed early so I can wake up early the next day. Organisation and a good sleep schedule have helped me massively in attending all lessons on time and in an energetic state. It also keeps some sort of normality and I think that it helps for at least a few things to stay consistent for me because I believe that it’s the consistency that has helped me keep a sense of normality which has played a major role in ensuring my sanity.

37% of people in my Borough live in poverty and I know this will have everlasting effects as we see the gap between the rich and the poor increase significantly. Many people I know have no internet at home let alone a device and I find it sad people are deprived of the right to learn due to their socio-economic background. I know it’s hard to revise as it is with the internet for some but others don’t even have the internet and during lockdown have learnt little to nothing.

Change

If anything should be learnt from lockdown it is that schools should never be the same and I feel like it takes events like these for people to understand school should be so much more than just the place you get your grade. I think schools need to see beyond standardised tests and look at building each student as a well rounded person. Because life is way more than atoms and particles and many more kids would succeed if they had the basic life skills you would need to get through an interview etc.

Coming from the view of a student, lockdown has been hard. I  doubt you could ever recreate the atmosphere of a classroom. I believe the classroom is where all children need to be currently, but some have taken this to improve and reflect upon themselves and I believe this time has been very beneficial for some.

However, I have been fortunate as the school I attend is already a very technology friendly school and this has not only made the transition smoother than other schools this has made lessons a lot more comfortable.

Everyone in our school community feels the effort our school has made to ensure we stay in contact as well as being able to reach our teachers easily. This has allowed me to be consistent in my routine.

I believe it is the responsibility of schools and teachers to make sure their students aren’t worrying about school because combined with a global pandemic, it is simply unsustainable for children to worry about this many things.

Lockdown has simply proven one point and that is schools in the UK need to change because a student is a human before they are a student and making a well rounded human is more important. Year 11’s this year left without doing their exams and the things that differentiate them are the skills they have gained.  These are the skills you use in life and these are the skills that should be most important.

‘Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world’

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