Seriously though, why have you come into school today? Because I can guarantee you’re not going to learn anything.
A phrase uttered by no teacher ever, especially to a year eleven, until March 19th 2020. It had been announced that our GCSE exams would be cancelled in the summer and we would never return to school. My school only goes to year 11 so I will never go back to that building. We have been stolen of joys that all past 16-year-olds have had: putting your pen down and smiling after finishing that final exam, cheering during the leavers’ assembly, going outside in the sunshine to sign everyone’s shirts and take pictures. I have no prom in a couple of weeks. We, as the class of 2020 have had those novel experiences ripped away and do not know if they will ever happen – left in the dark about our futures and the next few months; with the light suffocated and extinguished without a second thought. For all we know, this virus may be cured in a month’s time due to the heavy lockdown forced upon the country, or we could reach Christmas and still be sat in our living rooms growing wider and older every day with no light at the end of the tunnel.
However, as a Christian these problems are not as extreme, they do not hit as hard and I will not let them consume my mind. I know that there is something bigger, someone in control and able to understand this crisis that we, as humans cannot comprehend. My life, for the near future, has been turned upside down, true GCSE results are no longer a thing. The never-ending summer holiday we have long awaited has been extended to almost 6 months (not exactly what we wanted) and all students have been left with nothing to do, but my life for as long as I have it is not defined by my qualifications but by my faith. As a follower and believer of Jesus, my aim in life is to grow in my faith of him, spread the good news and help others in their Christian journey – and this will not be affected by a deadly virus.
Back to the question asked by my teacher, initially, I had agreed with him, of course, we won’t learn anything; but as a matter of fact, we did learn something, we learnt how much we take for granted, how valuable the education system is to us and how much we value our friends. To that question from my teacher this morning, our answer was, “That we wanted to see our friends and have a good time.” Isn’t that what we strive to do as human beings? What are we as a generation going to do now without it? Spend our days productively keeping our minds and bodies active? I think not. Lie-ins until early afternoon followed by junk food and gaming? That’s a far more likely possibility. This solution of keeping us locked away like caged animals with no purpose will not solve problems the government is trying to combat like mental health, obesity and depression amongst teenagers.
Such a small sentence drew out the path for our future, everything we had worked so hard for, had had a positive mindset for and had even been looking forward to thrown out the window in a second. Yes – it was expected, in the wake of bordering countries limited to total lockdown and other schools being shut down we all knew deep down that we would be affected by this. Of course, there was no simple way to go about preventing a deadly, life-threatening virus from attacking the country, and I salute the government for their decisiveness, but it’s not exactly convenient.
Many people are going to be and have been affected by the prison-like sentence of this virus. I don’t want to make it all about myself and my age group. Millions of people will lose money, jobs and livelihoods, and isolation will bore the whole country to the brink of madness. However, since the first news of Covid-19, I have been very aware of the positivity and messages Christians around the globe have been sending out on social media. From my Instagram page being flooded with Bible verses of hope and perseverance, to worship and sermon live streams by church leaders, and people asking for prayer requests. Despite having a negative reputation, social media has pulled us together in times of a crisis. The Church has shown evidence of that far and wide. Even in the dark valley, the trust we have in God outshines all the shadows.