It’s spring! A time to rejoice and a time to wave goodbye to Winter. Except we can’t. We can’t exactly wave goodbye to winter and, to make things worse, we can’t exactly welcome in Spring either. We have been physically and mentally bound to the four walls that confine us in an area that we call ‘home’. All because of a disease that can only be viewed microscopically. COVID-19.

Two weeks ago, I was not entirely looking forward to the months ahead of me. I had my first GCSE exam on the 11th May, and my Latin and Computing revision was still held in the air, among the rest of the subjects. However, in that time I have learnt that schools were to close before Easter, all public exams were to be cancelled for this academic year and, frankly, we were all to have an extended holiday lasting just under half a year. Any other student would have presumably been delighted by this news, yet I was in a limbo here. Was COVID-19 a success, because I had to no longer worry about school and my GCSEs. Or was COVID-19 a disaster, because I could no longer see my friends at school, and worse, my GCSEs were no longer in my own hands but in my teachers’!

It has been a week and a half since most school gates were closed for the last time this academic year and life has certainly changed. From seeing empty shelves at supermarkets to not being able to go to parks, restaurants and cinemas, our lifestyles have clearly witnessed huge cultural shifts. Yet, from a teenager’s point of view, I feel that the pandemic paths way for much improved family bonding, especially with our parents, who we may often forget to show our love and appreciation to. I feel that it also enables us to take a step back from the hustle and bustle of our daily routines, often crammed with several deadlines, tasks and activities. I will be honest: I have hardly read any books since primary school, despite my English teachers and parents often pleading me to indulge into the realms of a classic. In this way, the coronavirus pandemic gives me the perfect excuse to seek for mental relief, whether that be by reading, listening to music or even playing games or watching TV with my family. After all, there may never come a time again where I can cherish such moments with my loved ones.

So I urge you today to reflect on the coronavirus pandemic, to reflect on how your lives have been shaped by the outbreak and to reflect on how you could turn partial lockdown into a positive experience. Feeling bored at some stage or another is inevitable (my teachers have made sure I won’t be!), yet we can still use the rest of our time constructively and wisely if we are sensible, and who knows, you may pick up some key life skills along the way. Spend more time with your family, relax and enjoy the extended holiday, but most importantly, don’t forget to wash your hands!

By Aaron Sanjeevan, Saint Olave's Grammar School