Starting university in a Pandemic. Chapter 2.

Chapter 2: This wasn’t the extended vacation I asked for

I feel like everyone during quarantine re-evaluated the meaning or significance of ‘life’. I definitely did. I took moments such as getting up everyday and going anywhere I wanted (maskless) for granted. You see, we are all on this train journey where the destination is deemed the priority. So we forget to appreciate the scenery, the passengers, the machinery etc that keeps the train rolling. These aspects are just as important if not more than arriving at said destination. In fact, you spend longer on the train than the moment you board and exit from it, so why not pay attention to the journey?

Living in a pandemic is hard and quite frankly I do not have words of comfort or inspiration. The world was (and still is) not only dealing with a pandemic, there were racial injustices occurring, climate changes, fires/explosions, economic/humanity crises and so on. The hardships seem to be piling and piling on as every month advances into 2021. This combined with the everyday personal challenges we face in life can make being positive tough. But I remind myself about the tiny things and I come to be grateful to be alive amidst the tragedies the world faced and is facing.

For students all over the world results day was probably one of the most nerve wracking moments of 2020. Imagine that, getting graded on exams you never got to take. These grades would determine a students acceptance into a university, whether they took a gap year or gained employment in the future. Therefore, exam boards definitely had a lot of pressure to produce the most fair results possible and I will be honest there was no possible way this would happen. Some students predicted marks are elevated or devalued, mock exam grades are not always a student's final grades and the list of uncertainties continues. I don’t think I have to even repeat the chaos that occurred after results day with protests, petitions and pleas occurring all over the world. Regardless of how hard it must have been for the exam board to determine accurate grades. I find it abysmal that many exam boards were not 100% transparent with their marking because if they believed in the grades they produced then shouldn’t there have been nothing to hide? Additionally, the fact that exam boards changed students' results after protests shows that they found their algorithm marking system faulty. If so they shouldn’t have released the first batch of grades in the first place. Many students because of this, lost their places at university and were disadvantaged by this prior marking system. The class of 2020 deserves so much. All I can do is really wish the best for the class of 2020 whether they got into their first or last choice university, deferring a year or retaking the exams. We are in this together.

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