It is every kid’s dream for school and exams to be cancelled. Much like the majority of teenagers in the UK I was eagerly tuned in to BBC news last month to hear Gavin Williamson’s announcement that schools were to be closed and exams cancelled. Initially buzzing about the result I took to my group chat to find my friends celebrating the announcement like a goal in a football match with a combination of happiness and disbelief. What followed was perhaps the most low-key last day of school Highgate has ever seen with minimal pranks, a low attendance and a distinct lack of any inflatables.
It took a while for the cancellation of exams and closure of schools to sink in and I was still in total disbelief and denial about the whole situation for a good few weeks afterwards. While the idea of waking up at 1pm, playing Xbox and watching Netflix throughout the day and into the early hours of the morning seemed appealing for the first few weeks, I eventually realised that this was a totally unproductive and largely depressing existence. Without the structure of school and impending threat of exams for the first time in my life since about age 8, I found myself totally unmotivated to do anything. This is something I have had to develop over this period, trying to schedule my time and set myself targets, making sure to exercise daily and making the most of the weather with long walks on the heath.
As the weeks go by and the uncertainty over when we will be able go back to school rises, I started the school’s Highgate@home programme and found it extremely useful. The lessons given largely focus on university topics for our chosen courses and these have certainly served as a useful preparation for when we all go off to university next year. Most importantly though the lessons have brought back a bit of normality and a schedule to my daily life. Even if getting up at 8:30 for a lecture on Marx isn’t necessarily top of my list of what I want to be doing at the moment it’s certainly the thing I most need to do. It feels weird to say it but I’m happy to be back at school even if it’s only in a virtual capacity.
Benny is a year 13 student in Westgate studying History, Politics and Economics. He has been at Highgate since year 7 and was appointed deputy head boy last year along with his role as OC prefect. Benny is also a keen sportsman, representing the school with various levels of success (mainly low) in football and cricket.