It’s now been about four weeks since we’ve been at school, and there’s still a while to go. Because we haven’t seen anyone for a while, it can be hard to figure out what’s going on in the lives of our peers. We contacted 17 students across the school to find out how they’re keeping busy, and the ups and downs they’ve been facing during their time in lockdown.
Though it certainly could stand to be under better circumstances, some students have found lockdown to be a really valuable time to take a break and refocus.
Prior to lockdown, normal day-to-day school could get quite hectic. “I always had school, I had things after school, I always had to be somewhere. I don’t think there were many days where I didn’t have anything on,” Year 13 student Lily Harvey said.
With the extra time, students have been able to invest in activities that they wouldn’t normally get to fit in. To keep boredom at bay, students have been baking, playing video games, learning instruments, exercising, and likely throwing their sleep schedules out the window. Other students have been busy picking up supermarket shifts as essential workers.
Identical twins and Year 13 students, Julia and Chloe Hamilton, have even broken out the salon scissors and decided to take the issue of there being no hairdressers into their own hands.
While this lock-down has proved a refreshing break and a chance to relax for most, giving up social interaction with extended family and friends outside of our bubbles is a challenge we’ve all had to face.
Everybody’s missing their friends, and perhaps more surprisingly, sometimes we even miss those random classmates we hardly say a word to.
“I miss drama company, choir and other group meetings I’m involved in, as the groups I’m in are a lot of what brings me happiness in day to day life,” Year 13 student Sophie Hampson said.
There’s also a general feeling of frustration towards the standstill of progress, whether it’s within sports or other school groups. Cancelled tournaments, competitions and events have left some students reeling as they come to terms with missing out on what would usually be the highlights of their year.
We’ve also had to adapt quickly in the shift to online learning. Due to all the websites and applications we’ve been given access to, the transition has been fairly smooth. But there are definitely times when we wish we were physically back at school – however crazy the thought might have seemed a couple of months ago.
For one, there’s that back-and-forth email tango we all know so well, which probably drives both teachers and students up the wall. But perhaps more pressing than slight annoyances, is the fact that some students are struggling with stress and feeling overwhelmed.
“I’ve found homeschooling harder in the way that there isn’t a definitive line between work and chill time… I always have school on my mind as there isn’t that separation of environments which has increased my stress levels,” Year 12 student Kenya Malone said.
There’s also the issue of quieting down family and pets during online video classes – though it certainly sometimes provides great entertainment for the rest of the students attending.
Rather than following a timetable, the option to choose our own routines is working well for some students. “I like that I can decide what to do and when to do it, and also if I can do it in my P.J’s,” Year 9 student Rosie Cameron said.
Year 12 student Lily Barlow has found spending more than the scheduled 55 minutes on a specific subject, uninterrupted and “on a roll” is an advantage over regular timetabled learning.
But the lack of structure and the watchful eyes of our vigilant teachers can also lead to decreased productivity. “I find it hard to concentrate without motivation from the rest of the class,” Year 10 student Molly Clarke said.
“I miss being forced to do work instead of having to start on my own, because I’m really bad at that,” Year 13 student Emily Rutherford joked.
All in all, for most students lockdown is a mixed bag. No matter how we feel about it, there’s no doubt that it’s for a good reason and it has given us a greater appreciation for little things we once took for granted. “As cheesy as it sounds, I know that by staying home and following the rules we’re saving lives,” student leader Sophie Hampson said. “It makes it all worth it.”
By Student Journalists Aleisha Smith and Maya Jayasena, video by Tyler Curtis, photos supplied by students.