Experiences of 2020

Sarah - Mature Student

I’m Sarah and I live just outside Dundee. I live with my partner and youngest son, who is 15. My eldest son is 19 and is in the process of his first phase of army training at Pirbright.

I am currently a full-time (very!) mature student undertaking a BA Community Education. The academic year didn’t get off to the best start for the 2nd semester of my 2nd year. My classes were affected significantly by industrial action throughout February. I think I had about three face to face classes in all. So, when the university eventually closed in March, I was kind of in the swing of online learning. However, I found it difficult to get motivated and focus on studying.

The week before lockdown was the beginning of what continues to be a surreal time. My partner decided to begin shielding before the government made any announcements. It was very worrying as he has a heart condition. Then the schools came off. I had no idea at the time that my son would miss so much of his schooling. The school did everything they could to help but with my partner working from home and me trying to study it was pretty much impossible to do any home-schooling. I have a new admiration for teachers, they are absolute saints.

At the end of lockdown week my eldest son informed us he would be coming home from recruit training. He was less than pleased to be home. Having two teenagers in the house was very challenging at times. My eldest didn’t really take on board the seriousness of the situation, and pretty much carried on as usual. My youngest was very understanding and stuck to the guidelines without a complaint. I’m proud of him for coping so well, it could not have been easy having the whole world turned upside down in an instant. I feel this will have a lasting impact on young people for a long time to come.

Issues such a social isolation and racism have always existed. Food banks are now the norm. Whether the virus is eventually brought under control or not, I hope that we can all become more aware and understanding of the injustices people face every day. I’m not sure I want to go back to “normal”, not the old one anyway. This is an opportunity for change. There has been so much kindness and humanity shown all over Scotland, let’s hope this continues.

Reflecting on the past few months the experience has been a rollercoaster, this maybe comes across! I’ve learnt a lot about myself and what’s important. I’m trying to live in the moment as much as possible instead of worrying about the things I can’t control. I managed to pass 2nd year with very good grades, my son will catch up on his schooling and my partner is now allowed out to the shops - that’s pretty good all things considered!