Guest Blog: Life as a Year 12 Student in 2020 | OpinionPanel x YouthSight

Guest Blog | 09 Jun 2020

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The OpinionPanel Community is more than just a research panel; it's a platform for young people to express themselves, share their thoughts and experiences with peers, learn from thought-leadership articles and hear alternative views on topical subjects.  

In our regular guest blog we share some of our panellists' stories and this week's blog is written by panel member Nadia.

Nadia is a Year 12 student who shares her experience of life as a student during the pandemic. Learn about the struggles that many AS Level students like Nadia are facing right now, gain insight into their fears for the future and understand what they're looking from those around them.


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Life as a Year 12 Student in 2020

By OpinionPanel Member Nadia Kusi-Appiah

Being a year 12 student during the pandemic has been tough. Last year we had to take on our hardest exams yet – our GCSEs – then we had to adjust to the leap from year 11 to year 12. A step up that no one can really prepare you for. And just as we are beginning to settle into life in year 12, 2020 hits.

Transitioning to A Level Studies

Getting our GCSE results last year was a moment of evolution for many of us. It was a moment that we could break out of our shells and let loose for the first time without the stress of looming exams – I felt like a changed person. I had experienced what my mind and body could be put through and was amazed by my own strength.

Then the reality of starting sixth form happened. I get it, we’re all told that the jump from year 11 to year 12 is a huge step, but I guess you’ll never really know what it feels like until you go through it yourself. No one tells you that you must change your way of thinking, from how you answer questions to how you must apply real-world opinions to your reasoning in daily tasks.

Yes, the amount of subjects we’re studying has drastically reduced, but the reduction in subjects does nothing to reduce the workload. Basically, A Level studies take their toll on you both mentally and physically, and I’ve not yet met a student who disagrees with that.

New Decade – New Problems

So, as I’m adjusting to studying and thinking differently, the almighty 2020 comes along.

A new decade brought the chance to do things differently and grow ourselves and our surroundings – or so we thought! To be very honest, the year started pretty weird. We faced the wildfires in Australia, the death of Kobe Bryant, the locust invasion in East Africa, the launching of missiles and disagreements between the United States and Iran… the list goes on! I won’t go through everything, but I will just conclude by saying that we’ve all been through it, and we’re all coping with it differently.

The Impact of COVID-19

You’re probably half-way into this article and wondering: “OK, so where do I, the year 12 student, come in?” Well don’t worry, here’s your floor.

Somewhere in March of this year, the skeleton in the cupboard became globally recognised – COVID-19. The fatal virus that supposedly begun in Wuhan, China in December 2019 became a global threat. I mean we’d all heard about the virus early on and probably thought: “Oh, it’ll die out soon, no stress!” But it didn’t, and it showed us ‘where power lies’.

Many of us year 12 students had only just started picking up on the curriculum and understanding the content when the school closures begun. Some of us applied to firms for work experience, taster days and the likes of such, basically planning for the end of secondary school life and the beginning of adulthood. But coronavirus cancelled all this.

Our summer plans, travel and, let’s face it any real chance to improve our standing in sixth form, has been taken away.

I get that some people say: “mature and organised students would still study and make the best use of their time at home”. But right now, this doesn’t have much meaning. It doesn’t help the students who are going through struggles which they can’t talk about, or those who use school as an escape.

Next year, we’re meant to write exams and God knows how prepared any of us actually are. It’s a struggle and even though some of us may still try to study or improve ourselves, I for one don’t know how our results will pan out if action isn’t taking to give us some leniency.

This is probably a difficult read but guess what, it is reality! I just want others to know that you are all doing great because it is hard.


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