Studying from home full-time during the pandemic was a huge adjustment for the Class of 2020. We hear from them about how they coped and the unexpected life lessons they learnt.
This time of isolation has been especially tough on the Class of 2020. They missed out on graduation and all the parties to celebrate the end of an era. Graduating into a world of instability has been a tough pill to swallow.
After many weird months of unsettling changes and deep uncertainty about ... well, everything, we asked them to reflect on their experience of remote learning:
"My initial thoughts were about how studying at home would affect my learning – specifically building up to our exams. Fortunately, the school had prepared us with OneNote to continue our studies.
With increasingly absent friends, I worried that we would leave without proper goodbyes and that my first prom would be cancelled. Thanks to the determination of the staff and year group, we organised an enjoyable makeshift “prom” to commemorate our time at KCLMS.
Overall, studying during lockdown was stressful, especially with the uncertainty over grades. It was difficult to understand and ease the hardships of lockdown because of the varying situations between people. The range of social, technological and economic issues depending on an individual’s circumstances created a personal set of challenges, which uniquely affected their learning and forced each student to adapt differently.
This new, remote style of learning was not as seamless as in class. Sometimes, there were issues with viewing or uploading work. Resisting temptations like family members, other potential activities and the casual environment made motivation and focus challenging. Our teachers were quick to respond to many issues experienced. The perseverance, resourcefulness and wholehearted support of teachers, peers and family made learning in these conditions more bearable."
"The final school day before lockdown began became a defining attitude for me to carry forward. We organised a mini prom on such short notice (under 24 hours) and it brought us all together. Why did that day have this impact on me? Every day that I felt I needed more motivation than usual, I remembered the school community’s strength and how we were all going through this together.
During lesson times, we would video call as if we were working in a classroom together, which helped us have a better attitude towards our learning. Even once the formal studying was over, we had the opportunity to take voluntary classes in interesting topics we would normally never get the chance to study together. As well as this, clubs such as Feminist Society were still running.
However, I will not sugar-coat the fact that this was a difficult time. But, there were small pieces that were positive. Collectively, these little things showed me that even though we are going through “unprecedented times”, I am glad that I had the support of the KCLMS community to make things slightly easier."
"It took a while to come to terms with the fact that we weren’t going to sit any A-Levels. Who would have imagined the last paper I would sit would be in my kitchen, with my dad invigilating? I don’t feel particularly deprived though; Curriculum + was definitely more fun than A level exams.
It was cool to be reminded that all my KCLMS teachers are smart and incredibly interesting people. Being able to properly experience the genius of Dr Chu (and work on my coding skills) was one of the most productive uses of my time. Studying English Literature or History or Politics at a Maths school was not something I expected to do. The big warning I was given about going to a maths school was that I wouldn’t be ‘well- rounded’ enough. Yet, I feel like I’ve finished school as a very well-rounded person.
Despite enjoying my adventures out of maths, this huge gap in learning has left me super eager to get going into Uni maths. My first term at uni may end up being very different to a normal one, but hopefully I’ll be able to get some of that satisfaction back."
Alex Morgan"Finishing school within the pandemic has been a harsh test, a wake-up call to what life can bring. A lot of films aimed at teens discuss this very time – the end of school. They are filled with the picture-perfect ending; final exam celebrations, proms, summer holidays and road trips, the iconic throw of a graduation cap.
These are the stories that our generation grew up hearing. So, it has been an odd experience to have all the excitement suddenly quelled by an event no one could have predicted.
However, this time has also been a valuable experience. We can also learn that things don’t always go our way. We can do everything right and not reach the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. And that is not something to be angry about, because it’s just a part of life. Studying and finishing school in COVID-19 has been a unique, but not necessarily unwelcome experience."
"There are many good reasons we go to school in person and the pandemic has made them painfully obvious. The move to online schooling will surely exacerbate the inequalities we see in education.
Our school was presented with the dilemma of trying to give students a chance to work for the grades they wanted without frustrating or disadvantaging such students. It serves as a reminder of how lucky we are to be provided with 5 days of in-person education throughout our childhood.
Another frustration was how our leaving process was disrupted. No number of video calls made up for the months left I was expecting to spend with friends in school. For all the arrangements made by my peers and the school (the highlight, of course, being the student-planned mid-morning prom, organised on a days’ notice), it was a shame to miss out on the end to KCLMS which we’d planned and hoped for.
On a personal level, I was lucky to have an easier time than most with online school. I was able to remain quite motivated with the work, particularly with the preparation for STEP."
Whether you are at uni or in work or taking some time out, we'd love to hear how you adjusted to lockdown. What were the biggest challenges? We'd love to hear your views and thoughts in the comment box....