I’m Maddie, I’m sixteen years old and I’m a lockdown teen. This year I would have been sitting my GCSE exams, but that all quickly changed when Covid-19 became a global pandemic, resulting in the UK being put into lockdown, meaning our exams were cancelled. Now I’m not saying this is the most important thing happening right now, but for the class of 2020 it has totally rocked our world.
We found out only two days prior, that Friday the 20th March 2020 would be our last day of school and shocked was an understatement. This not only meant we wouldn’t sit our exams but its also meant we had no time for a proper last day of school celebration, our prom was cancelled and we had to say goodbye to friends not knowing the next time we would able to see them again. This was especially hard as a lot of my friends were boarders at the school and lived a very long way from where I do.
This all happened so quickly and I know I can speak for a lot of us when I say that all of the hard work, dedication and stress feels like a complete waste of time and now we are expected to rely on our school work and our mock exam results. We have spent five years of school building up to the moment that we would sit our exams and now we are leaving school empty handed with nothing but uncertainty and worry about our final grades. GCSE’s, Prom, a last day of school are all a rite of passage and a massive part of people’s lives, which leaves year 11’s across the country feeling cheated of this milestone.
I was definitely someone who didn’t want to do their exams because of the anxiety and stress it brought me, but now that I actually don’t have to sit them something feels very empty and I feel like all of the mental health problems that I have struggled with that were mainly triggered by school work and exam stress have been pointless.
I know that I can speak for most of us when I say that we really do feel like we have wasted our time and while everyone else is being set schoolwork online we’re sat at home wondering what the hell did we get as our final grades? I mean how can we just be expected to not sit the exams but be okay with the grades we get? I really wanted to prove to everyone that I could pass maths, and now I don’t even get the chance, and even worse, I could be given a fail, despite the fact I’ve had multiple tutoring sessions and worked my socks off in school and out of school.
It’s not fair, any of it, but I can’t lie to you and say this has been completely terrible. For the most of it yes it has been, but while I’ve been in quarantine I have been trying to look on the bright side of things. School and exam stress for me personally took a massive toll on my mental health to the point where I actually couldn’t make it into school on somedays and the fact that I no longer have to go through any of that might actually be a blessing in disguise, I really feel like a massive weight has been lifted off of my shoulders and I couldn’t be more grateful for that. I’ve also been able to focus and spend lots of time on the thing I love which is music, instead of revising for an exam and to be honest I couldn’t ask for anything better than that. I’ve found a new love for music production which I don’t think would have happened if I was sitting my exams because I would have been busy with them. So I guess that’s pretty cool?
Overall this has been a really confusing time for me and of course I’m angry that I can’t see my friends, I don’t get to do my exams and all the things that year 11’s usually get to do at the end of their school year, but at the same time I’m trying my best to make the most of it and use it as time for me to really improve on my music skills whether its songwriting, singing or production, which I wouldn’t have been able to do if all of this hadn’t happened. So for that, I’m grateful, very very grateful and I guess there’s nothing I can do about everything that’s happening so I may as well put this time to use and I guess it is kinda cool that I never have to sit my exams, I mean imagine if I get a pass in maths without having to sit the exam? That really would be a dream come true.