'My Experiences During Lockdown'
I think it’s safe to say that we all had our own unique experiences during this lockdown. Over the course of just a few months, it’s funny to think how much you can learn about yourself and the people around you in such a short period of time. The lockdown had such a profound impact on everyone, whether that be good or bad, but some people (myself included) used this time to learn new things and discover what it really means to truly live while encapsulated by four walls.
The virus came as a shock to everyone, it hit us all by surprise and before we even had time to comprehend what was even going on, we were issued to stay at home and only leave the house for essentials such as food, e.t.c. The lockdown hit at the perfect time for students though. We were only two weeks away from our Easter break and this lockdown was like a blessing in disguise. From our point of view, we saw this as a nice extra two weeks off of school which would lead nicely into the Easter break. We figured that we would be going back to school after the break and all would slowly go back to normal, but we couldn’t have been further from the truth. If someone had told me that I was leaving the school in 4th year and would return as a 5th year student, I would have thought you were going mad.
During the first lockdown when I was in 4th year, I didn’t have too many online classes so I tried to keep myself occupied as much as I could. I immediately decided to do much more reading over the lockdown period as I knew it was vital to keep up with some sort of learning, and reading just appealed to me the most. I specifically remember my brother and I ordering over a dozen books online determined to read as much as we could, feeling almost this sort of competitiveness between us both. All this reading even inspired me to write my own story at the start of the summer which took me two weeks to write and by the end i had written a total of 52 pages, I was very proud of that.
All this reading and writing really helped me to stay on top of my learning while also trying to make the best out of a bad situation. Looking back on that first lockdown, I realise how vital it was that I made the choice to stay on top of all that, and it has definitely benefited me now. So before I knew it, we were finally back in school and to be completely honest, I could not have been happier. I considered, and still do consider, the first lockdown to be an absolute success in terms of learning, mental health and new personal experiences. I arrived in 5th year a determined young man destined for greatness, and I pursued that like nothing else before. I was doing well in my subjects, was happy in school, enjoyed seeing my friends everyday, broke my finger but managed to recover nicely, was happy with my Christmas exam results, enjoyed the Christmas break and then all of a sudden… BOOM! They told us to go back into lockdown.
Now knowing how successfully the first lockdown had gone for me personally, I wasn’t too worried about the idea of going into another lockdown, but that excitement quickly turned to terror when I remembered that I was no longer in Transition Year. I was in 5th year and I knew that I needed to be in school so that I could properly focus on the Leaving Cert course and in return, do well in my subjects. So after the Christmas break, I started my online classes, and it was immensely different compared to the online classes I was doing in 4th year during the first lockdown. Although it took me a little while to get used to doing classes online and getting into the whole swing of things, I still managed all the same while hoping that we would be returning to school soon enough.
And so after what really didn’t feel like that long, but was actually over 2 months, we returned to school and continued classes like normal. It was fairly easy to get back to doing classes like normal as I had been looking forward to it for the past two months and I was more than ready to get back to working hard in school and hopefully leave online classes in the past like they were just a bad dream. I am now in my second week back in school and I am finding that it is going very well. I am determined to study hard so that I can do well in all my subjects and although it can certainly be difficult at times, I just remember to stay positive and stay focused.
So looking back on both of the lockdowns that have taken place over the past year, I can easily point out some incredible moments that happened and some that I think I would rather just forget. I learned so much not only educationally, but also personally. I created memories that I will remember for the rest of my life and although this whole situation we are in right now does all feel like a nightmare, I’m happy that over the course of the first lockdown at least, I discovered how beneficial it is to make the best out of a really terrible situation.