A Coventry Teenager Opens Up About Life in Lockdown

As we entered into a new decade, none of us could have imagined that in a matter of months our lives would be turned upside down.

As a 16-year-old living in Coventry, I was just approaching my GCSEs which was the final destination of what had been a 12 year journey. With the exams just over a month away it was a very stressful time which was full of revision and textbooks but also the hope that it would all eventually be worth it to see the long-awaited payoff on GCSE results day. The vision of seeing the elation painted on the faces of my family would have been worth the hard work. But things didn’t go to plan…

With COVID-19 spreading quickly around the UK there was a lingering feeling of dread circling around year 11 with the worry of school closures and the subsequent implications of sitting exams on the minds of everyone. On 18th March those worries became reality, as it was announced that after Friday 19th March, all schools would close until further notice for the first time in history. In a matter of a few hours, I (like many) went from questioning how I was going to cram years of information into my head, to utter frustration and disappointment, as suddenly everything I had been working for had been ripped away. Suddenly, there were no more school days, no exams, no last day celebrations, no leavers assembly, no prom. Simply, there was nothing left.

Unfortunately for me, the disappointment kept coming, as the football league announced that all football would be cancelled until further notice, with numerous people reporting that the season would not be completed. As a season ticket holder at Coventry City for many years and hopeful of a career in sports journalism, football is a major part of my life, so to have this also taken away from me and many others, suddenly felt like everything was gone and there was nothing I could do. Being a Coventry fan, it felt typical that the one season that we were top of the league and destined for promotion, the season was going to be voided.

All of this left me struggling at the start of lockdown. It felt like in the blink of an eye everything I cared about had gone. It’s crazy to think that in a matter of months life has turned upside down. At the time of writing this article, we have been in lockdown for almost 7 weeks and there doesn’t appear to be a definite end in sight.

With everything that has changed, it can be easy to let these extreme circumstances take over your life, but it’s important to try and take any positives, however big or small, out of this situation.

I have learned much more about my family and while spending all day every day together has had its troubles, ultimately it has brought us closer than we have ever been. I have also learned that (despite their best efforts) my grandparents cannot use technology! Most importantly, I have learned not to take anything for granted. Whether it’s football on a Saturday afternoon with mates or just everyday routines, it’s only when you lose something that you realise how much you appreciate it.

I am incredibly thankful that so far none of my family has been directly affected by the virus. Of course, I wish anybody affected by it a speedy recovery and send deep condolences to anyone who has lost someone. As I’ve already said, I’ve realised how important it is to take positives from the situation and to learn from this, to really appreciate those things that are special to you.

By Jamie Riley