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How Covid-19 is impacting students in school and college

Abbie talks about the reality of studying from home and why it's so important to follow the government's guidelines


Written by Abbie Somers and posted in voices


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With the outbreak of Covid-19, many people are anxious about the virus and all the possible outcomes. The situation with the virus has affected everyone in the country with schools, colleges and pubs closed, and many people now working from home. With the public now being told to stay at home as much as possible, this can have a negative impact on our mental health, especially on those who are already under stress.

Feeling lonely

Social distancing and self-isolation are key to flattening the curve and decreasing the spread of the virus, but they can also lead to many people feeling lonely. To those with pre-existing diagnoses such as depression or anxiety, this can be a particularly difficult time. Students, who are transitioning from seeing their friends and classmates five days a week to seeing them solely through a screen might be finding this tough too.

School closure

The closure of schools was both a shock and expected by students across Ireland. While we all know that it was an essential precaution, many students were understandably anxious about the announcement and what it means for their future, particularly with the 3rd and 6th years.

As I’m writing this, I’m sitting on the couch in my living room with my school books piled beside me, yet they remain unopened. The checklist of what work I need to do sits on top of them, with only two of about 12 things marked as finished.

Getting motivated

Personally, I find it hard to motivate myself to do much work when I’m outside of school for reasons still unknown to me, but a guess of mine would be that it’s due to my mental health. The only time I find myself with enough energy to do any work is when I am actively going to school and sitting in the classroom listening to a teacher. So, you can imagine that being out of school for so long is the last thing I’d want right now.

But I know that I’m not the only one who feels this way. I know that like me, there are many other students struggling with the same thing across the country.

Sure, studying from home may be a good thing for those who need an extra push to do schoolwork. They might even find themselves to be more productive than they usually are when they’re in school. Those who are generally more proactive about school work might have no problem sticking to a schedule and working hard while teaching themselves new material. But those of us who already struggle to work in school are at a disadvantage.

Government measures

As of now, it’s been announced that our oral and practical exams have been given an automatic 100%. This brought on a mixture of emotions for many students. Some were happy not to worry anymore, some were disappointed they didn’t get to showcase their learning, and some were frustrated and felt that their time and effort went to waste. For those of us who struggle with finding motivation to revise, this announcement was one of the best things that could’ve happened to us.

While the oral announcement has come and relieved students of some stress, we still find ourselves waiting for a back-to-school date.

Everyone playing their part

I feel like I shouldn’t have to ask this of people, but please continue to self-isolate and practice social distancing. Please be mindful of those doing exams, whether they’re secondary or college level, who need to be in school or university to learn the material.

While you might miss your friends now and have no problem meeting up and going to town on your ‘days off school’ I’d like you all to be mindful of those who are working hard and hope to achieve good grades or high points in their exams.

For me, personally, I’d actually like to go to college in September. To do that, I need relatively high points for the college courses I’ve applied for. With the outbreak of the coronavirus and, subsequently, the social distancing, I’ve found myself at an academic disadvantage. Not to mention the fact that we’re not too sure what’s going to happen with exams at the moment.

Understanding this is a serious situation

If we don’t continue to stay at home now, the back-to-school date will only be pushed further and further away. It’s important for us all to understand the seriousness of this virus and the importance of staying at home and social distancing. There are students all over Ireland who are struggling with school work and studying as a result of schools being closed, and yet there are those who still choose to ignore the warnings and risk increasing the time we have to spend fighting this pandemic.

I don’t know what is going to happen with my exams. I don’t know how I’m going to manage with trying to teach myself the curriculum. My future, as of this moment, is pretty unclear.

So please, be considerate of your peers. Their future, along with your own, is in your hands. While I know it’s hard not being able to see your friends, I’ll ask you this: would you rather wait it out by following the guidelines and see your friends relatively soon, or would you rather fuel the spread of the virus and have to wait much longer?

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Published March 24th2020
Tags opinion covid-19 coronavirus school exams
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