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Aidan’s Diary: My Experience Of Lockdown As Part Of The ‘Class of 2020’

Published on: 22 Jul, 2020
Updated on: 6 Aug, 2020

Aidan Todd.

Aidan Todd is 19 years old and has lived in Guildford for most of his life. He is planning to study politics and international relations at university. He has asked The Guildford Dragon NEWS if he can write some articles over the summer and we are pleased to oblige. This is his first, in which he describes his experiences of lockdown during the Covid-19 pandemic

In February 2020, I, like thousands of others, was busy preparing for A-level exams. I had recently gotten good results in my mocks, which I was very proud of.

I had ambitious plans for the future, I was going to university in September, was close to being able to take my driving test, wanted to go traveling abroad in the summer, and end the academic year as a more accomplished, more fulfilled person than I started it.

It took me a long time to get to this point. My struggle with asperger’s syndrome had affected my childhood, and I’d suffered with depression throughout my teenage years.

I had made a massive effort to improve my social skills and assimilate into mainstream society during the past two years, and early this year it felt as if it was finally in reach, as if I was finally getting somewhere.

Then the virus happened.

In the space of two weeks, my entire world collapsed. Everything I thought was going to happen, everything I had been planning and preparing for, completely gone.

Initially it felt like a weird dream or an alternate history; now it feels like life before was the dream, and a world where the pandemic never happened and I took my exams is as hypothetical as one where Germany won the First World War!

Throughout my life there had been numerous pandemics, I remember the hysteria surrounding bird flu, swine flu, and Ebola.

Those outbreaks ended up not affecting the daily lives of my demographic, so I had no reason to believe that Covid-19 would be different, and by next month we’d be onto the next news story.

It seems that those three outbreaks were in fact near misses, and that we completely underestimated the fragility of our 21st-century way of life.

The most demoralising event was exams being cancelled. The first few weeks were agonising, as we didn’t know how our grades would be allocated, and whether our work done under lockdown would count towards our final grade.

I became severely anxious and depressed, spending a large part of my days sleeping, perhaps subconsciously hoping to wake up from this nightmare. I was relieved when I found out they would be based on our predicted grades, although I still felt empty and un-achieving.

Currently I’m agonizing over whether to go to university this year, or to defer until next.

I was really looking forward to university, with the independence and lifestyle that is associated with it, but at the back of my mind I know that university this year won’t be the same as normal, that there is a good chance of a second spike and having to do courses all online for full tuition fees, which is one of the most unfair rip offs I’ve ever heard.

If I defer however, I will spend a year in limbo, with very little to do in terms of fun gap year activities.

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