The REACH Study
Being a Student in 2021: A Young Person's Perspective
Written by Jonas - REACH Research Champion
2021 hasn’t been a normal year by any means, and students have felt the ultimate brunt of it all. From completing half our school year sitting at home on our desks (or just in our beds!), to having exams cancelled, it’s been a whirlwind of a time for students all over the country. Now that our summer holidays have begun, it seems like a good time to reflect on our experience over the past couple of months.
Looking back to January 2021 and receiving that dreaded news that we’d be in another lockdown after a year of disruption including on-and-off schooling, there was an undeniable sense of frustration in the air for all of us. ‘Three whole months of online school?!’ I thought, ‘I am definitely not going to get through this!’ Being very honest, I struggled a lot with staying focused. I mean, with Netflix, my phone, and my bed right in front of me, I didn’t stand a chance, and I’m sure I’m not the only one! But about three weeks in, something clicked for me, and I had to realise that as a student, especially being an A-Level student, I have to work hard for myself. Once I realised that, I instantly took control over the distractions and low motivation, and started working much harder at home, despite everything going on around us with the pandemic.
It's also important to note the effect this year has had on our mental health as students. Spending so much time isolated from our friends, family and loved ones while dealing with the pressures of keeping up with schoolwork and balancing our rest time – it’s a lot to handle. It’s okay not to be okay, and don’t feel guilty for letting yourself have a break. As much as we students want to excel, we have to prioritise our mental health and ensure we strike a balance of being productive and looking after ourselves. For all the students out there, it's important to recognise when you’re not feeling okay. You might want to confide in a loved one – I always feel better talking to someone I trust.
It’s definitely been strange to be a student at any stage this year, but I know that above all the disruption, a sense of resilience has been built up amongst all of us, so each and every student deserve a pat on the back for making it through.
The REACH Festival for Young People is bringing young people together to discuss such experiences, as Jonas has shared, during the pandemic and what we need to do now to enable young people to thrive. REACH understands the importance of including young people in conversations surrounding their own futures. In bringing young people together, we’re hoping to amplify their voices and opinions to help shape mental health, education and government policies directly affecting young people. It is only through thoughts, opinions, and voices of young people, that steps towards positive change are made possible. Click here to learn more about our Festival for Young People 2021! Sign up to have your voice heard!