Pandemic life: "A virus cannot simply pack up its things and leave at midnight on June 20"

Sussex student Jenny Bathurst has been writing for us about pandemic life since lockdown began back in March last year.

Saturday, 27th February 2021, 6:00 am
Jenny Bathurst

The pandemic robbed her of the chance to sit A levels. But she ended up with three As and is now studying journalism at the University of Brighton (Eastbourne campus).

Here is her latest contribution.

"In the past week, it seems that it has been made possible to split the UK into two groups. One half of us are counting down the days until that revered 21st June, already planning what we’re going to wear, where we’re going to go and how many family members we are going to hug and in which order. The other half of us, however, are not so sure. We sat in front of the TV on Monday night apprehensively watching Boris as he announced that society could be entirely reopened in a space of four months, sceptical of what lies ahead. Whatever team you fall in, there is of course a universal chorus of longing for this all to be over and done with, but the resounding argument is that if everything returns to ‘normal’ come June, what is there to say that we may undo the past year of isolation and lockdown?

"For me, I personally err towards the side of the sceptics. Perhaps this may be viewed as pessimistic, a negative stance on a time that may be the first moments of joy and togetherness that we can experience as a nation for over a year. But I have learnt since the first closures and interruptions in March 2020 that situations and data can change so easily that getting our hopes up to only have them let down again is not another disappointment that we should have to bear. That may obviously not be the case, but a virus cannot simply pack up its things and leave at midnight on 20th June – “sorry about that small disruption, but Boris says I better be on my way now.”

"Despite this much anticipated day, the perhaps more manageable milestones that have been announced on the country’s roadmap in the coming months fill me with some hope. Although there of course remains some room for U-turns and changes, the prospect of being able to sit in the sun with my friends and all the food we can fit on a picnic blanket is the motivation I need as the rain continues to fall and I am not where I expected to be in my first year of university. If anything that the Prime Minister said left me feeling disappointed it was certainly the state of my education, without a clear or imminent plan for when I can return to my studies and the friends I have been without since early December. This waiting game has ultimately taught us the arduous art of patience and resilience, and how plans can change in the blink of an eye. I hope to one day bore my future children with the details of my late teens whenever they complain about school or long walks or staying in all day, reminding them for the fifty-seventh time that they should be grateful that it is all over (and if it’s not by then – well I have no words)."