Pandemic life: "And yet, somehow, I am grateful..."

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

Saturday, 20th March 2021, 6:05 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.

"As I write this the date is the 18th of March 2021, which marks a year since the nation was informed that all schools and colleges would have to close for an unknown period due to the pandemic. Perhaps at the time I was more open with some than others about how shaken and disappointed I was on this day, but now I will admit hand-on-heart that I had never felt as confused and shocked as I did in that moment. I know, very dramatic. Of course, in hindsight, I now laugh at 2020 Jenny, sat in tears surrounded by her revision that would become virtually useless as my exams were cancelled. I question now why I was upset at not having to take exams that I had been dreading the thought of for two years, but of course in the moment all I could think of were the friends I would no longer spend every day with at college and all the studying I had done that I would no longer be able to channel into those all-important final essays.

"I am incredibly reflective with every stage of my life, always valuing even the silliest of anniversaries and remembering the events and memories that have happened within a year that I cherish so much. I picture the past twelve months as a series of dominoes: as one falls down and I begin to panic, the pattern begins again and something beautiful arrives out of that chaos. If A Levels had not been abandoned, I would have spent two months of last spring in constant stress, however I instead spent the day on which my English Literature paper would have been getting a tan in my garden with a book. When churches could no longer meet in person and in turn began to solely be streamed online, I had the opportunity to join services in parts of the country I would never have been able to access before due to location and timing. And where I couldn’t return to university for the spring term, I have been welcomed into the home of friends who have been the most fun to live with for the past month and a half. I believe that God has made a way out of every tricky situation I have found myself in, and the journey to where I am today has not always been as predicted, but I wouldn’t change a bit of it.

"As a natural worrier, I don’t claim to now have a renewed mindset that trusts unwaveringly that out of a challenge will always come something better, but there have been constant reminders of this in this past year. I recall waking up on the 19th of March 2020 genuinely believing that the pandemic was a dream and the distinct feeling of dread realising that it was in fact reality, yet now it really does just feel a part of life. A global pandemic is not ‘normal’, and the outcomes of it have been anything but. And yet, somehow, I am grateful.